2021 has been one of the biggest and most important for music made by artists from Milwaukee in a very long time(and maybe ever). From a national standpoint, quite a few artists started to get major recognition. Artists like Lakeyah and Grace Weber have been putting Milwaukee on the map, and it feels like neither of them are going to be flashes in the pan. The amount of attention they are getting is just going to draw more eyes to the other music being made in the city. And the music being made in the city of Milwaukee is more eclectic than ever(specifically its Hip Hop scene). For much of the 2010s, it seemed like the only way an artist could get any traction at all is if they made gruff and intense drill music. A few artists got some popularity online(like one of the artists mentioned below, Chicken P) and it felt like everyone thought they had to embrace this style to get popular themselves. In 2021, however, the Milwaukee Hip Hop scene has become very diverse. All sorts of cool music is being made by artists in the city, and these artists are embracing sounds and influences from anywhere and everywhere. Because of this, Milwaukee musicians are being introduced to a wide audience, and the world is beginning to see how great the artists from Milwaukee can be. With that being said, here is a list of some songs from Milwaukee musicians that have come out recently I think everyone should know. Please let me know in the comments if you enjoy these songs and artists as well, and also please comment some other songs from Milwaukee musicians that I should check out and potentially write about next.
WAVE CHAPELLE – BUILT DIFFERENT FEAT. WILEY FROM ATLANTA
Wave Chapelle has been on a hell of a run in 2021. At the beginning of the year, he committed to releasing 52 songs for the 52 weeks in the year. This is a ton of work, and the fact he has been able to do it is an accomplishment in itself. I have noticed that Wave Chapelle has tried to expand his sound and take chances with his music this year. He is showing that he can make any kind of Hip Hop he wants to and that he can not be put in a box. Of course, even with the variety of sounds used this year, Wave Chapelle’s excellent lyricism and his excellent flows still shine through on every song. His latest release, ‘Built Different,’ features up-and-coming star Wiley from Atlanta and has a sound I would not necessarily expect to hear from Wave Chapelle. It has a Poppy Trap R&B sound that makes me think of artists like Roddy Ricch, Guapdad 4000, and Lil TJay. I love this sound from Wave Chapelle, and I think he kills it on this track. He sounds so smooth and silky on this track, and it shows off a side of him that we do not normally see. Wiley from Atlanta kills it on this track. The Trap R&B veteran has a voice that provides a contrast to Wave Chapelle’s, and it adds a necessary layer to the track that I would have never known it needed had he not been featured here. ‘Built Different’ is a great Trap R&B track from two rising stars who are both in their element, and I know these two are going to blow up to even greater heights in 2022.
Note: Wave Chapelle actually released his third single on the month today, ‘Let Me Guess’ featuring Jarren Benton. It is a harsh and tough Trap banger that provides so much energy. If you love Trap music that will hype you up, you need to check it out.
PMRDIMI – WTFDYM?
In the last write-up I did about Milwaukee artists, I addressed how interesting and exciting I think PMRDimi is. He has a sound and style that sticks out so much among the Milwaukee music landscape. The music he makes is so ultra-modern and unique; from the instrumentals he uses to his vocal style, there is not anyone in Milwaukee like him. This is so evident in his latest single ‘WTFDYM?’ The instrumental for this song goes so hard. I love the gritty and distorted bass that is constantly buzzing in the background, and the melody is so tough and anxious sounding in the best way. It reminds me a bit of Playboi Carti, but it still has a flair to it that makes it unique from him. I also love PMRDimi’s vocals on this track. He switches back and forth between a high-pitched “baby voice” style and a low and guttural vocal style that is kind of intense; this constant switch up in vocals keeps the listener on their toes. I also have to address PMRDimi’s flows on this song. It is amazing how in such a short track he can demonstrate a variety of interesting flows that show off how talented he is at rapping. ‘WTFDYM?’ packs such a punch and is so good, and it makes me very excited to see what PMRDimi does next because he just keeps getting better every time I hear him.
IAMMARCANDREW – ONEWAY/RUNWAY FEAT. PMRDIMI AND SOGGY BRITCHES
When I last wrote about Marc Andrew, I commented on how electrifying and fun his songs are. He dives into the R&B Trap sound that a lot of artists embrace today head first, and puts his spin on the sound that makes him stand out in a big way. Artists that can make music that jumps in between genres so effortlessly always have the potential to do big things, and Marc Andrew is someone with a sound and style that makes him palatable to a very wide range of music listeners. His new song, ‘Oneway/Runway,’ which features PMRDimi and Soggy Britches, demonstrates this in a big way. I love the melody of this song. It reminds me a lot of the bright and vibrant “video game” style of melodies that artists like Lil Uzi Vert tend to embrace. It is very uplifting and colorful and just puts me in a good mood when I hear it. All three artists on this song kill it with their vocals on this song as well. Marc Andrew, PMRDimi, and Soggy Britches all have slightly different styles and fluctuations in their voices that compliment each other so well. ‘Oneway/Runway’ is such a fun and interesting track that stands out and highlights how talented Marc Andrew and his features are. It is yet another example of what makes him awesome as an artist, and I know he will continue to keep making great music and getter more popular because he is just that good.
LADY SABO – FOR THE WORLD
Lady Sabo has been very busy in 2021, and especially over the last couple of months. In addition to her single ‘Demons’ with HeyZeus that came out a couple of months ago, she has also released a trio of EPs this year all called OUTWEST. The first of the EPs, was released back in July, with OUTWEST 2 coming out in November and OUTWEST 3 having just come out a couple of days ago. All of these projects have different sounds. I particularly really appreciate the old-school West Coast Rap theme that was embraced on OUTWEST 2. If you are into music by artists like Kurupt or Warren G, definitely check out that EP. I would like to shift the focus onto a song from OUTWEST 3 ‘For The World.’ This song especially shows off the tough and dark nature of Lady Sabo’s demeanor in her music. This song has such a harsh and intense instrumental. The melody honestly has a bit of a creepy feeling; it reminds me of something out of a horror movie. Lady has a super smooth flow on this track, and she rides the beat in a way that is so addicting to listen to. I love her vocal style on ‘For The World’ as well. The way she fluctuates the sound of her voice throughout the song gives it a bit of a sinister feeling, and it goes with the instrumental so well. ‘For The World’ is a great track that shows off what is so cool and unique about Lady Sabo. She is someone to keep an eye on, as she has a sound and style that I think has the potential to pop off in a huge way very soon.
BISCA RAE – BLUSH
Bisca Rae is another artist based in Milwaukee who has a sound and style that is entirely her own. She’s able to toe the line between old-school alternative R&B and new Neo-R&B/R&B Trap in a way that is unlike anyone else doing it. She is one of those artists that I could see popping off in a big way very soon just because people do not get to hear artists like her often. Her ability to feel old school and new school at the same time is highlighted in her song ‘Blush.’ This track actually came out in June and I somehow missed it; I am glad that I am getting to write about it now though because it is great. The instrumental for this one has a lo-fi Alternative Hip Hop sound that reminds me a lot of another one of my new favorite artists, Deb Never. Bisca Rae’s delivery on this song is so cool and distinctive. At some points, she has a slow and sultry delivery that reminds me a lot of Erykah Badu, and at other junctures, she has more of a modern Hip Hop flow that reminds me a lot of artists like 6lack or Rod Wave. On ‘Blush,’ Bisca Rae shows off how she is so different from everyone else doing it today in the best way, and I can not wait to see what she comes out with next.
KING MYLES – ALMIGHTY FEAT. ELI $TONES
King Myles is an artist that I always get excited to listen to whenever I see that he put out new music. He has such a refreshing style of rapping for this day and age; his rapid flows and his lyrical choices remind me a lot of old-school Midwest rappers like Lupe Fiasco, Twista, and even Eminem. On his newest track, ‘Almighty,’ these qualities are brought to the forefront in the best way. Over an eerie and melancholy Trap instrumental that has a bit of a creepy element, King Myles rips up this instrumental with a fast and boisterous rapping style. He brings so much energy to the microphone on this track and listening to him on this track just pumps me up as a music listener. His feature, Eli $tones, brings a different energy when he comes on to the track. Eli is someone that can switch up his sound and style on any song, and he often provides just what the track needs as a contrast when he is used as a feature. On ‘Almighty,’ he has a bit of a softer R&B Trap sound that stills brings a ton of energy and brings a nice level of variance to the track. His vocals and style of rapping bring a much-needed melodic element to this track that gives in an extra layer. King Myles and Eli $tones are excellent on their own as rappers and when they collaborate, and I think they will both have huge years in 2022.
CHICKEN P – VVS FEAT. YUNG BLEU
As I mentioned in the introduction, Chicken P is one of those artists who saw a decent amount of success throughout the mid-2010s with his gritty and intense Drill music. With a sound that was just as gruff and harsh as living in certain areas of Milwaukee can be, Chicken P’s music engulfed and embraced what it means to be from Milwaukee. Lately, though, Chicken P has seen that relying on this sound may not be able to take him to the top of the music world. As great as it can be, it is very regional and does not resonate with every Hip Hop listener around the country. He has not completely abandoned the Drill sound, but now he is also making music like ‘VVS,’ which features Yung Blue and is a melodic R&B Trap track that reminds me a lot of music by artists like Pnb Rock and A Boogie Wit da Hoodie. This song is super smooth and silky, and it shows off a side of Chicken P that I hope to hear more of in the future. I love his flow and singing vocals on this song. It shows a side of him as an artist that is so different than what he is known for, and it proves that he can be more than a one-trick pony. If Chicken P can perfect this sound while still embracing his Drill sound every once in a while to switch it up, I think he can end up taking things to new heights and becoming one of the net breakthrough stars to come out of Milwaukee.