Pay It Forward: 5 Artists Who Have Helped Catapult Charlotte Into The Spotlight

Charlotte is our home. Since our genesis in early 2017 we’ve seen many artists from the Queen City come and go, so we decided to show our appreciation to the ones who have helped pave a way for the talent breaking into the spotlight currently, and bring the buzz back to the city in which it originated. The five artists listed have all paid their fair share of dues to the city, seeing as how there are more eyes than ever locked onto the scene currently. Rest assured, we will continue to support local artists and bring you the best new music from Charlotte and the entire underground movement as we continue to grow. With that being said, thank you for your support thus far, and enjoy.

Honorable Mentions: Elevator Jay, Deniro Farrar, Jay Storm, Well$.

1) DaBaby: Need I say more? It’s almost impossible to step out in public and not hear DaBaby’s relentless delivery echo from every stereo system on the block in North Carolina period. The ‘Goin Baby’ rapper inked his deal with Interscope on January 23rd, after climbing his way to the top since late 2014. His charismatic personality and authenticity laced throughout his music has made him the most talked-about name in the industry at the moment, giving Charlotte the breath of fresh air it most definitely needed. DaBaby is here to stay.

2) Frais: Often times there are names that don’t appear on the radar when credit is being given, and that’s where we come in. When I first lent an ear to the Charlotte hip-hop scene in 2014, Frais was the first artist I came across (who had recently dropped the “Yachts” from the latter portion of his name) on a song entitled “Infamously Rich.” From then on, 006Set was born, which could be an entire story in itself. But let’s just say some names you may have heard of had the city on their backs at that time, including Fendi Benz, Lil Fetti, Jezu$, Eli Kumor, and Jay Storm. The Set even brought Cole Bennett to the city for the first time to shoot the video for their notorious group effort “Let’s Get It,” which you can watch below. With Frais’ debut project ‘Cursed’ on the way, expect to see his name in lights soon.

3) RonSoCold: A true pioneer to the SoundCloud era, ‘SoCold has definitely left his imprint on Charlotte and the entire underground community alike. Early classics such as ‘Faith,’ ‘Popeye,’ and ‘Pac’ established Ron as one of the most electrifying underground artists, landing him a deal with Alamo Records in 2018. Often stylistically compared to Playboi Carti or Duwap Kaine, Ron’s sound is one-of-one, and a heavyweight in the freestyle category, in which he showcased in his infamous Chicago Sleepers interview. Another name that might not get all the credit he deserves, anytime Ron steps on the scene it’s sure to be a movie.

4) 10Cellphones: Established in 2013, 10Cellphones’ sound started to elevate in late 2016 accompanied by one of the most genuine personalities, and a trunk full of poles. Since then, we’ve been right beside 10 every step of the way to watch him emerge into an underground veteran, and a better shot than most U.S. Marines. Always evolving, 10Cellphones’ versatility and ability to resurface with an entire new sound will surely continue to take him to the top of the mountain. With new personalities such as Belis and Nascar Aloe making their way into the center of attention, 10 definitely helped unlock the door to stardom for the next generation of North Carolina artists.

5) BigBabyGucci: Is he from Texas? Nashville? No. BigBabyGucci bleeds 1500 West Blvd, and he’s quickly becoming one of the most unique artists to watch as his sound continues to evolve with everything he releases. From humble beginnings recording on an Xbox 360 microphone turning those recordings into some of your favorite SoundCloud anthems, Gucci has inked a deal, formed his own collective, and helped jump-start the careers of your next favorite artist all in about 3 years. Well on his way to superstardom, BigBabyGucci has certainly cemented his spot as a Charlotte pioneer, as well as an underground king.

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