Music
60.4k readers

The Best West Coast Underground Hip-Hop You Haven't Heard

Updated June 14, 2019 60.4k views36 items

Tired of listening to rap that samples nothing but gunshots? Sick of hearing 'bitch' and 'ho' every other line on a track? You've come to the right place...

Don't come here expecting crap gangsta rap. This is true hip hop. If you were expecting Snoop or The Game to make an appearance here, you've slept on this stuff for long enough. Ordered from most to least underrated, I present you a list of artists that are guaranteed to run lyrical circles around the competition, and chances are high that most of these names will be new to you. If so, peep dem out!
...more
  • 1

    The Shapeshifters

    Electronic music, Dance-pop

    A hip-hop group composed of Awol One, Circus, Akuma, Liferexall, Existereo, Radioinactive, Die Young, and DJ LA Jae, with appearances by 2Mex, The Shapeshifters is by far one of the greatest hip-hop groups to come from LA. If you haven't heard them by now, it's not too late. Do it, and you can thank me later.

    "Who's got presence on the microphone?
    Shapeshifters got presence on the microphone."
    Shapeshifters - Who's Got Presence?

    Rob One & Memo - R.I.P.
  • 2

    Hailing from LA and comprising half of OMD (Of Mexican Decent), Xololanxinxo simply cannot be described in words. Think spoken-word meets hood storytelling, Xolo has a flavor all his own.

    "Well I'm an Iguana
    and I move like I wanna
    Through the hills of Tijuana"
    Excerpt of Xololanxinxo from song "Farmer's Market of the Beast"
  • 3
  • 4

    Busdriver

    Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop

    WARNING: Lyrics may sound faster than they appear.

    With a rapid-fire delivery, Busdriver is the forefront of abstract hip-hop, and although his style can be abrasive at first, give him a chance and you will learn to Fear the Black Tangent.
  • 5
    Comprised of Matre, Doc Lewd, Liferexall, and DJ Jericho J, The English League is effin' impossible to find in any store, so if you see it, BUY IT. You will not be disappointed.
  • 6

    Liferexall

  • 7

    Key-Kool

    Hip hop music
  • 8

    Akuma

    Punk rock
  • 9

    Existereo

  • 10

    Radioinactive

    Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop
  • 11

    Josh Martinez

    Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop
  • 12

    Awol One

    Alternative hip hop, Underground hip hop

    Raspy voice, schizophrenic lyrics, and a penchant for social observation. 'Nuff said.

    "Up all night,
    Sleepin' all day.
    My father wasted sperm when he made me.

    I have a strange trick that I can do with my eyes...
    I can change them from brown to blind.
    Up all night,
    Sleepin' all day."

    Awol One - Sleepin' All Day
  • 13

    Deeskee

    Super-producer for the West Coast, Deeskee produces tracks that always have a raw, acoustic feeling to them unique in today's hip-hop.
  • 14
    I was hesitant to put 2Mex on this list, since he's becoming very popular, but a West Coast list of hip-hop would never be complete without him. Half of the OMD crew, and a part of The Visionaries crew, 2Mex ALWAYS brings nothing but freshness to any track he's on.
  • 15

    Joe Dub

  • 16
  • 17

    Subtitle

  • 18
  • 19

    Lateef & The Chief

    Hip hop music
  • 20

    Haiku D'Etat

    Alternative hip hop, Underground hip hop
  • 21

    The Visionaries

    Hip hop music
  • 22

    Freestyle Fellowship

    Hip hop music, Jazz rap
  • 23

    Anticon

    Electronic music, Indie rock
  • 24

    Zion I

    Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop
  • 25