Detroit has a rich history of raising some of the most unique artists of the modern era. To this day, musicians from the Motor City continue to push the limits and reshape culture on their own terms. From Motown to punk to hip-hop, said metropolis has given us enough for several lifetimes but is still mass-producing some of the most talented names in the game right now.
While scientists figure out what exactly it is that artists from Detroit are eating that makes them so different, here are some rappers from the city that you need to listen to in the meantime.
These Rappers from Detroit Aren’t to be Taken for Granted
All Mickey Diamond needed was a platform. Over the past three years, he has climbed up the ranks faster than the average aspirant because his music leaves no room for skepticism. Listen to anything he’s put out since his 2020 debut EP, Bangkok Dangerous, and you’ll see what we mean. His voice, beat selection, demeanor and lyricism feel complete together. As listeners, that just leaves us asking for more.
Tay B has been among the leading prospects from Detroit, but Skilla Baby’s 2021 hit, “Tay B Style,” made it known just how important he is to the local scene. The Midwest MC has worked with Lil Baby, Lil Durk and A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie, among others, and is on his way to becoming a giant. You might recognize him from his tagline, “All Facts Little N****,” or just the quality bars he lays over every beat that comes his way, but one thing is for certain — you’ll be hearing a lot more from him in the coming years.
BandGang Lonnie Bands
One of the six spitters who comprise Detroit collective BandGang, Lonnie Bands is making it impossible to ignore him. Still in the early stages of his career, he has been churning out music since 2016 and is now reaping its benefits. You can pick out any record from his dense catalog and it is guaranteed to fulfill your needs if you’re into his brand of hip-hop. The one thing BandGang Lonnie Bands can promise his fans is consistency, so if you’re with it, dig in.
By no means is Fat Ray a newcomer or a rising star; he’s well-established and on cruise control. This Detroit legend actively refused commercialization and stayed true to his sound, city and culture. The only downside to that is people will sleep on you, which is why we consider it our responsibility to shine a light on the talent that doesn’t get its due respect. All you need to do is listen to any one of his songs and you’ll see what we mean.
This guy is weird, but the good type of weird … the type that keeps music interesting, authentic and believable. When someone like Illingworth comes along and refuses to do things any other way except his own, it’s rather difficult to turn away. The producer and MC is so based that he could only be from Detroit, and fortunately, others see in him what we do as well. He has cosigns from Open Mike Eagle, KOOL A.D. of Das Racist and Nameless, among others, as his brand continues to grow. We’re thrilled to be here for it!
Restricting Quelle Chris to a single category would be the greatest disservice to his artistry. Let’s just call him a creative for now, because his track record covers everything from punk rock to poetry to lo-fi to neo-soul… we could keep going. The innate need to bring something new and challenging to the table every time is something that immediately stands out the more you listen to his work and is arguably his greatest asset. What makes his work so exciting is you never know what to expect. It might be humorous or philosophical or philosophical humor — no one knows, and that’s precisely why you’ll feel the itch to find out.
Known as a member of the iconic Motor City outfit Doughboyz Cashout, Payroll Giovanni has kept the group’s spirit alive through his solo work. Though his style is influenced by 90s West Coast hip-hop and local legends like Street Lord’z, this MC brings his own trademark flavor to his city’s culture of vivid storytelling. This is as Detroit as it gets, so there’s no way we’re letting you skip past him.
Originally from Lexington, Kentucky, 13five came into his own as part of a group called Madd Militia. Upon developing his skills as a rapper, he moved to Detroit and joined Sun Tzu Cadre. Aside from advocating for disadvantaged youth, he has devoted his time and resources to raising awareness about the social issues he addresses in his music. So far, 13five has worked with artists such as CunninLynguists, Sunz of Man and Boldy James, among others.