The year in local hip-hop

Mick Jenkins headlined Chreece in August.

Indianapolis rappers and producers dropped a ridiculous amount of good music in 2015, turning in a collective effort that helped make this year a big one for the city’s scene. In the interest of editorial end-of-year list-making, however, this is an attempt to highlight some favorites:

LPs / EPs / Mixtapes

Im Up Next, Drayco McCoyBig Drayco dropped a ton of music in 2015, but Next came early in the year and stood up as one of my favorite Indianapolis releases in general. It’s lighter than his more recent work, with an array of wavy beats, some great hooks, and peak-Drayco hyperbole. Plus, Next features his iconic “Too Much Sway Based Freestyle,” which brings the house down at live shows.

Maisha, Clint Breeze – The August release of Maisha marks the second year in a row that Breeze offered a late-summer collection of sunny, snappy joints. It’s also super local, full of hallmark Midwestern samplings and drums, as well as a lineup of collaborators that’s a virtual who’s who of Indy’s hip-hop/R&B circuit.

Backyard Wrestling Association, Mathaius Young & Nagasaki Dirt – Produced by Young, BWA was a short, fuzzy EP from a pair of the city’s most enigmatic young rappers that was just the right blend of heavy and heady. Unfortunately, its Soundcloud stream was a casualty of Young’s recording contract this fall, so it's MIA for the time being.


“Only Skeevy Stoners Fart,” Flaco – Muncie rapper Flaco continued his run of almost incomprehensible output in 2015 with several more projects. Technically, this song comes from his New Year’s Eve release IKWYDLS, but it’s good enough to count for this year: a Jay and Silent Bob-referencing track with an awesome sample and insanely catchy hook.

“Body and Soul,” Grxzz feat. G Granite & Diop – This song's flitting sample, skittish drums, and sure-handed verses gave it an incredible rhythm and feel. 

"Interstellar," Sirius Blvck / KNags feat. Maxie – This one goes.

Misc. bests

Nagasaki Dirt features – His delivery always offers a compelling counterbalance, and his spot on Xavier Clark’s “Run The City” lands particularly well.

Mathaius Young productions – Young was cooking on high heat this fall –– check out “Broke the Rim” and “One to One.”

Pope Adrian Bless’s flows and deliveries – On the final installment of his Angel Musik series, Pope has never been better, including some of this year’s most impressive technical versatility.

Chreece hip-hop festival – The August local-music festival put on by Oreo Jones and a ton of sponsors was the first of its kind, a great time, and perfect manifestation of all the work this local scene has put in during the last few years.


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