15 Unsigned Rappers Who Should Get a Deal After SXSW

Young Thug

Affiliations: Brick Squad
Previous Releases: I Came from Nothing 1, 2, and 3; 1017 Thug
X-Factor: No one else has such obvious influences, yet sounds so completely original.
At SXSW?: No evidence that he is.

It's hard to even introduce this kid without addressing the name, which is so generic there's no way it isn't intentional. Maybe he thought the way to be distinctive was by hiding in plain sight, or maybe it's a joke on his extremely unique rap style; either way, it gives you something to talk about.

He also carries himself like a star, with a lanky swagger and unusually tight-fitted clothing and facial piercings. His raps are full of street rhymes and oblique references to a possible drug dealing past (or present), but delivered in a brittle, apocalyptic sing-song, as if he took the extreme peak of drug-instilled Lil Wayne and used it as a baseline.

Oh yeah, and when he wants, he has hooks. Sometimes the experiments don't work, but when they do—check out "Nigeria" from his recent tape, recorded under the aegis of the Brick Squad—they hit another level.

Video That Sold Us: Ca$h Out f/ Young Thug "I Got It"

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