Denver’s hip-hop scene has always been colorful, but since the legalization of recreational marijuana, the scene’s experienced a massive influx of new voices and fans. The city is booming with music and although newcomers certainly inflate the scene with acts that have limited awareness of Denver’s rich music culture. Listeners prove that the city’s homegrown heroes still reign supreme. Here are 10 Denver-based artists, native and foreign, to watch in 2019.
Earlier this month, DNA Picasso released 10 Hour Layover (EP), a 10 song collaboration with Doobie Newton that was written, produced, and recorded in two 5 hour studio sessions. He easily stays relevant and consistent by releasing new music as often as a monthly bill. With a full-length solo album in the works for 2019, DNA is set to takeover the region, with one infectious hook at a time.
Verdict: The music is made for the dance floor, but that doesn’t take away from the cold sober bars delivered in relaxed packages of fun.
Favorite Songs: “New Drip” ft. AP & Kayo Man and “Paranoia” (feat. Lil Cobaine & Shraban)
Last year, after releasing The Preview (EP) and a long stint with Colorado State Corrections, Lkeys came back to the game with “Fresher Than Me (Remix)”. The song features 2011 WNBA All-Star player and 2016 WNBA Finals Champion Essence Carson, also known as PR3PE. He’s been an integral part of the Denver hip-hop community for a long time and remains one of Denver’s favorites.
Verdict: Heavy swing, fast delivery, and super based production. This is music for the strip clubs.
Favorite Songs: “Blue Faces” and “Rain On Me”
They shared the stage with Lauryn Hill and have dominated the music culture of Colorado for a decade. Husband and wife musical duo, The Reminders, gear up to bring their next gift Out of the Woods to 2019. Seamlessly blending hip-hop, reggae, world beat, and poetry, they lead the mile high musical landscape as though they’ve been at the mic for as long as they’ve been alive.
Verdict: With powerful, conscientious lyrical content and awe-inspiring live performances, The Reminders could very well dominate 2019 on the national scale.
Favorite Songs: “I Remember” and “No Matter”
We were first introduced to Adiel Mitchell as one half of the YouTube pop music sensation Two Worlds. Last year, he dropped his 2nd solo release About Last Night (EP) which took a dramatic turn toward a pop-influenced New Jack Swing sound and this month he dropped Jungle (EP), an ode to the new rap culture.
Verdict: He’s definitely a cut above the rest when it comes to song composition and melodic phrasing. Every song he puts out is a HIT, without question.
Favorite Songs: “2nd Chances” and “Jungle.”
Trey Triple A
In 2017 as part of the ridiculously creative duo, KenandRyu, Trey Triple A caught the attention of the playmakers in Denver. After a year, the duo split and Trey released his first solo mixtape Table For One, which gained serious traction in the Denver hip-hop sector.
Verdict: The music is beat-heavy but it still manages to feel light and airy. The radio-grade production value is obvious but the delivery isn’t very common on the hip-hop charts. Cheeky lyrics, effortless genre blending, a healthy dose of autotune, and a sick sense of style. This is your girlfriend’s favorite rapper.
Favorite Songs: “Don’t Matter” and “Fantasy”
TheyCallHimAP aka AP is easily one of the best lyricists to ever come out of the Mile High. His presence on stage is magnetic and it sucks you in at the sound of the first bar he spits. An important piece of the Squizzy Gang collective, he’s released five different projects and consistently dominates every show that has his name on the bill.
Verdict: Mad bars, deep thoughts, and a very distinct style of delivery make AP a top level contender.
Favorite Songs: “Man In The Mirror”, “Practice”, and “Big Bank”
Ave Grim made his official debut with Lola Rose The EP and Lola Rose 2 in 2017. As a part of the Young Amsterdam collective he’s made significant waves on the scene by consistently pushing his own lane. With his latest release, “War 4 You” featuring Hyphe Tha God available now to stream and download, he’s preparing us for the hype storm that is imminent regarding the release of Lola Rose 3 in 2019.
Verdict: Catchy chant-like hooks, relatable lyrical content. Teetering on the line drawn between the differences of Trap Soul and Rap, he makes music for the ladies.
Favorite Songs: “Quit Lyin” and “Freaky” (Ft. Chuck T)
Aux Dior just dropped his newest work, B4 The Storm (EP) this month and he’s currently one of the youngest hip hop acts in Denver to consistently boss the stage. His collaboration with Hyphe Tha God, Age of the SoundCloud Rapper, made waves for YGAM last year and put Aux Dior’s name on everyone’s list.
Verdict: Reminds me of Rae Sremmurd with a harder edge. Super hyped and makes you want to jump.
Favorite Songs: “Hate Me” (ft. Hyphe Tha God) and “Seasick”
Chy Reco wasn’t born in Denver (as suggested by his name), but since his 2017 release, Me Between the Lines, he’s been representing from the Mile High pretty tough. At his live shows he’s known to engage with the crowd and spit a freestyle or two in between songs. He gets personal and isn’t afraid to be vulnerable, often referencing tragic anecdotes from his private life. His music hits us where it hurts, but it always reminds you to look toward the future.
Verdict: Swaying bass, R&B influenced variation, and forthright real talk.
Favorite Songs: “Lookin” (ft. Jay Triiiple) and “Friday” (ft. Danae Simone)
Top Flite Empire’s Bad Decisions brought the duo’s underground success in Denver to the rest of Colorado in less than a year. They’ve crafted their own blueprint for growing their audience and persistently attack their performances as if the stage is their greatest love. True to their reign as Denver’s internet content kings, in 2018 they produced the first episode of their docuseries which follows the duo on their adventures and gives their audience a firsthand look at the stories behind their motivation.
Verdict: Bravado, party anthems, and indulgence. These are the songs you play when you need to get pumped.
Favorite Songs: “WAVE” and “Bombay” (ft. DNA Picasso)