Counting down the best tapes from hip-hop's most active scene.
Compton, Chicago, Baton Rouge, Pompano Beach - in 2016, there are countless regions, spread far and wide across the country, with revitalized voices in the rap game. But it’s still Atlanta that births new, innovative talent more often than New York City chooses to champion those of the past. The same city to spawn Outkast and mold Usher now has equal claim to relentless curators of culture like Future, Migos and Young Thug. Georgia’s capital is a creative hub where harsh realities collide with futuristic escapism; it’s a city that has built enough resolve to stomach the losses of both Shawty Lo and Bankroll Fresh in one year, and enough compassion to care for and protect Bankroll’s six-year-old nephew, Bankroll PJ. Even as the audience’s attention shifts around the map, searching for new voices, eyes are always lingering on this singular city. Because, let’s admit it, most places are just aping the Zone 6 roster anyways. And for good reason.
From the relatively unknown to those iconoclasts on the verge of becoming household names, here are the 21 best projects to come out of Atlanta this year: