The Niceguys

Twitter: @265Nice

Pros: Consistently excellent production; Yves, the ringleader, is basically the coolest, cockiest guy that's ever been. DUDEBROS, HE'S A BLACK GUY NAMED YVES.

Cons: They might be living in the wrong city.

Essential Listening: James Kelley

One rapper (Yves, from New York) plus one DJ (Candlestick, from Texas) plus two producers (Free and Cristoph, also from Texas) and that's how you get The Niceguys, a group that operates in stark contrast to the traditional southern rap typography.

Over the past five or so years, they've built an emotive, brazen brand of nuevo-rap, one that's rooted in an unspoken competition between Yves and the producer duo. Last year, they got the balance exactly right and produced James Kelley, a sleeper contender for "best album that nearly everybody slept-on." It was smart and fun and interesting and fully vetted.

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