I’ve been listening to hip-hop for nearly 20 years now. The debate about which coast is the best for hip-hop is a never-ending battle. We won’t get into that too much besides West Coast, best coast you feel me?

I will say that since moving to Seattle, I have developed such a love and appreciation for the music created in the Pacific Northwest. Below are some artists I am excited about in 2018 that call the Pacific Northwest home.

Northwest Hip-Hop Artists Kyle (AP) Is Excited About in 2018

Ol’Davi – Continued: All My Friends R Dead [Seattle]

One part Kendrick Lamar and one part J.Cole (with a much better ear for production) Ol’Davi out of Seattle, released one of my favorite albums of 2017. Continued: All My Friends R Dead solidifies Ol’Davi’s voice as an important one in the Trump-era.

With his sharply tuned lyricism in the current political landscape and vivid imagery allowing a very personal window into his life, this album makes him one of the most exciting artists that no one has heard about yet. He only released the album on SoundCloud, and after talking with him, he’s already got his next album written.

ZAK. – Float [Bellingham]

The Pacific Northwest has a variety of different sounds on lock. I’ve heard plenty of boom-bap, gangsta rap, weed-infused rhymes and plenty of R&B/Soul. This isn’t to be disparaging towards those genres. There just isn’t much of the new-wave trap-auto-tuned infused R&B (yes it’s totally a genre don’t come @ me).

Enter ZAK. from Bellingham. On his single “Float” he mixes the signature R&B/rap hybrid sound but with his own distinct spin. If this track is any indication, he won’t be slowing down anytime soon.

New Track City – More and More [Federal Way]

Speaking of boom-bap, have you heard of New Track City yet? Taking a fresh approach to the genre by bending witty lyricism, a fun energy, and killer live show. New Track City is slated for a huge 2018. After selling out Substation at the end of 2017 and performing with the legend Sir-Mix-A-Lot at Nectar Lounge for another sold-out event, the sky is the limit for the Federal Way trio.

Perry Porter – Bobby Ro$$ [Tacoma]

Truly, one of the most promising and multifaceted talents is Perry Porter from Tacoma. I learned about Perry first by coming across his Instagram @perrypaints; the man is a fucking incredible painter. I then noticed him in the Sean Brooks song “40” and was even more interested.

His single “Bobby Ro$$ (Rozay)” will instantly hook you to his bouncy flow and unique voice. I got to hear a sneak peek of his upcoming album Channel Surfing, and I have to say, it’s unfair how talented one person can be. Especially relevant, you can catch him performing at the upcoming Blow Up Co. birthday party. He is also throwing a solo art show in Tacoma that everyone should attend.

Donte Thomas – Pressure [Portland]

I chose Donte Thomas for this list because he checks off all the boxes I look for in a rapper – and he’s killing it in my hometown. He can rap his ass off with the best of them, his technical skill is top notch, impeccable lyricism, songs for the club and songs to sit and vibe to.

Most notably, you can feel his confidence and swagger through your speakers. Every song he puts out feels like another big step forward. Listen to my personal favorite “Pressure,” and be on the lookout for what Donte does next.