Graphic by Margo Wininger
We’ve put together a playlist of local acts you should know heading into this year’s Chreece festival. From Clint Breeze and the Groove to Parris LaDame, the playlist shows off the many different styles of hip-hop that will be present at Chreece, while also serving as a guide to who to keep an eye on once the festival has concluded.
“We On” by FLACO
Known for his one-of-a-kind lyrical style, Flaco has come into his own in recent years, gaining a fanbase outside of the Indianapolis area. This song appears on his 2017 album titled WRKFRMHME and also has its own music video.
“Hang Up” by Parris LaDame
An Indianapolis native, Parris LaDame burst onto the scene in 2018 with the release of this song. Having received some much-deserved love from Indy-based radio station Hot 96.3, Ladame also scored big when “Hang Up” was added to all of Finish Line’s in-store playlists in the U.S.
“Woah!” by Sirius Blvck
A longtime fixture of the Indianapolis music community, Sirius Blvck returned to Indy last year after a brief move out West. After coming back, the seasoned emcee quickly picked up where he left off, releasing an EP titled Moon Talk this past March. The follow-up to 2018’s Major Threat, Moon Talk is highlighted by this song, which features Sirius Blvck spitting rhymes over a beat that creeps and crawls with the best of ‘em.
“Traptown, USA” by Trajik
Having appeared in television shows like Empire and Proven Innocent, this multi-talented rapper has found a great deal of success as an actor in recent years. Known for his gritty gangsta rap style, Trajik shows off his skills as an emcee on “Traptown, USA.”
“1999” by John Stamps
Formerly a member of local hip-hop supergroup Ghost Gun Summer, John Stamps regularly pumps out impressive solo work with the help of friend and longtime production partner KNags. Recent Stamps releases include 2017’s House Plants and 2019’s Dark Age, with “1999” being a standout from House Plants.
“The Bounce” by Clint Breeze and the Groove
Drummer/producer Carrington “Clint Breeze” Clinton heads up this grooving hip-hop supergroup that also features local jazz masters like saxophonist Jared Thompson, guitarist Joel Tucker, and bassist Nick Tucker. After playing around town for the last few years, the Groove released its first official full-band recording (Arrival) this past April, with “The Bounce” being one of many great tunes from the eight-track EP.
“I Guess” by Drayco McCoy
One of the most prolific Indy rappers of recent years, Drayco McCoy just recently unveiled his latest album Fully Automatic 2 on August 8. Produced by fellow emcee and beat-making-magician Mathaius Young, “I Guess” sets the tone for another memorable release from McCoy.
“Best Friends” by Mathaius Young
While working as a producer, Mathaius Young is also a talented rapper in his own right, making him a true dual threat. This can be heard throughout his 2018 album Take the Night Away 2, which “Best Friends” comes from. In March 2019, Young also dropped another fresh EP titled Boy Meets World.
“Bracket” by Double A
When he’s not behind the counter at Naptown Thrift (a secondhand store he founded), Double A can be heard spitting rhymes with the best of ‘em, as on this ballin’ 2019 single featuring fellow Naptown rapper Mula Kkhan. In addition to “Bracket,” Double A also has some other great releases out there including 2017’s Peaked and 2019’s How Soon They Forget.
“Euphoria” by Baby Ebony
Formerly known as Dose, Baby Ebony has dropped one topnotch release after another over the past few years. “Euphoria” is a selection from 2018 EP Don’t Rush Death, Vol. 1, which preceded 2018 album Spice. The song also got the music video treatment from local director Jake Huber
“House of Pain” by Mula Kkhan
“House of Pain” is a song that epitomizes Mula Kkhan’s ruthless, gut-punching style, which can be heard throughout 2018 album Inferno. In addition to doing his own solo sets, Kkhan also performs alongside Baby Ebony as part of the dynamic Indy rap duo known as Switchblades.
“In & Out” by Maxie
Owner of the much-loved Lafayette Square Mall store Nap Or Nothing, Maxie has been around Indy’s hip-hop block a time or two. It goes to show why “In & Out” from 2019’s More features a cameo appearance from Hot 96.3 radio personality B-Swift.
“Hot Sauce” by FreshDuzit
Another dual threat featured on this list, FreshDuzit was actually responsible for the beat in Parris Ladame’s “Hang Up” hit. An ear-grabbing selection from 2018’s Prince of the City, “Hot Sauce” showcases FreshDuzit’s club-bumping rap style.
“Naptown” by Ejaaz
Although now based in Los Angeles, Ejaaz has roots in the Circle City and will make a triumphant return to perform at Chreece V. Featured on 2017 album The Mood, “Naptown” serves as the rapper’s ode to Indianapolis. Like some other selections on this list, “Naptown” has an accompanying music video as well.
“Tune it Out” by DisTinct
DisTinct is the man responsible for creating “The Microphone Fiend”—a YouTube cypher series highlighting Indianapolis emcees. Released earlier this month, “Tune it Out” is the Indy rapper’s latest single. In 2018, DisTinct also released an album titled The Feeling: Kuro.