Arkansas has sat on the side of the southern rap scene for years. They’ve never really had anybody pop off, like at all. Well, Ne-Yo was born in Camden, but he grew up and made his success outside of the state. The Arkansas hip-hop scene is like a stack of vinyl in a crate at the back of a thrift store.
You can see that it’s there, but whether it’s good or not, well you’d have to walk over there, dig a bit and listen to know that. Once you settle in and start listening, you find a few gems, but then the stack is gone and you have no idea if there are any more records lying around to listen to.
To be fair, there are plenty of cats who have done great things on a state and regional level. Back in 2012, Natalie Elliot of the Arkansas Times wrote an article on the state of Arkansas hip-hop that highlighted some of these artists. One of them being Little Rock rapper, Big Piph.
Back in 2017, Big Piph was joined by Memphis hip-hop duo, 8 Ball and MJG, for a charity concert with proceeds going to the Boys and Girls Club of Central Arkansas.
Arkansas Bo is another underground rapper from Arkansas who’s repping his state regardless of where he lives. He was one half of the hip-hop duo Suga City, alongside Pine Bluff rapper Goines. In 2009, the duo had their song, “New New,” featured on Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.
Cuz Lightyear was formerly known as SL Jones. He was born in Flint, Michigan, but grew up in Little Rock, Arkansas. In the mid-2000s he was rocking with Killer Mike as part of the Grind Time Rap Gang before releasing solo projects. Eventually, he switched up his sound, and his moniker, most recently releasing the album Blue Slime in 2018.
The State of Underground Hip-Hop In Arkansas
Arkansas is steadily releasing music but you still have to dig for it. I found so many rappers who started their song or video off saying that they’re super slept on. Yet when I tried to find them on social media or mentioned in an article, I mostly just found tumbleweeds.
I found quite a few spitters through compilations on Youtube and found some artists through hashtags on Instagram. Quite of few of the rappers that I found had previously worked with some big-name artists like, Kevin Gates, and Isaiah Rashad. Overall, my understanding of the Arkansas hip-hop scene is that they have a lot of artists who have been making banging music, but nobody backing it and spreading the word.
Indie Arkansas Hip-Hop Playlist
Eight Rappers From The Arkansas Hip-Hop Scene
Errol “E Dubb” Westbrook
KNOW AN ARTIST THAT SHOULD BE FEATURED, PLEASE EMAIL RMR AT LOCALHIPHOP.RMR@GMAIL.COM