In what’s been hands down most unpredictable and unprecedented year many of us have seen in our lifetimes, maybe even in most individuals recent memory, our hometown city of Orlando has seen tremendous growth in its music industry scene since the polarizing year that is 2020 began.
Maybe not in the traditional sense of growth we see in live concert performances, as most tours and stand-alone shows have been axed since mid-February. But most artists from the 407 have continued to see themselves take the next step in their growth in popularity through creative content like music videos (or in the case of Danny Towers collaborations with Chicago based fashion brand HALF EVIL’s trailer that accompanied their latest drop), more and more new music and projects being released, and of course the magic of the world’s favorite new social media platform TikTok.
Breaking away from the rest and solidifying themselves as Orlando’s next up in Hip-Hop (or even the leaders of the culture) in the city beautiful are the following five mainstays and one ‘honorable mention’ that could be the second half of 2020’s fastest riser and bonafide superstar-to-be.
1) HOTBOII: No real surprise here with the insane last month and a half the West Orlando product has had thanks in large part to his smash single Don’t Need Time which has done nearly 10 million streams on Youtube and 2.2 million on Spotify. The visuals partnering with DrewFilmedIt only worked to take this unique artist that blends the sounds of trap rap stars like Rod Wave and Youngboy NBA worked to give him the extra buzz he needed to put his music over the top.
He brings something new to the hard-nosed trap rap game though, fitting into a unique pocket of sound that no one’s really hit before. At least not in the way he has. It’s hard to put a comparison out there when he fits into a category all on his own. Mixing deep, personal, and heavy-hitting stories detailing his upbringing with very melodic hooks and versatile instrumentals is his money maker and he’s damn good at it. Even scarier, there’s room to grow as an artist and early signs of versatility that could take him even higher.
HOTBOII is no one hit wonder either, tracks off his latest project Kut Da Fan On such as Goat Talk, Where the Love, and They Don’t Know all have garnered serious attention with as many as 617K streams. As the visuals begin to rollout over the course of the next few weeks, look for HOTBOII to keep making waves and popping up on popular platforms with regularity like HotNewHipHop, Say Cheese, and more.
Something tells me the 407 product is just warming up though, look for him to take an even bigger jump in the second half of 2020 and beyond. Whether that’s through more music, visuals, or maybe even some shows and tour dates (although that may be unlikely because of COVID-19) whatever HOTBOII touches in 2020 is platinum.
2) LPB POODY: Truthfully, the slots in number one and number two could’ve gone either way especially considering the amount of time LPB Poody and HOTBOII spend together.
The two running mates seem to be feeding off each other’s success so far in 2020 with Poody going toe to toe with his cohort after the release of the single Address It which has seen nearly 14 million streams to date and a huge boost from Tiktok trends including the song, not to mention the newly released music video which has done almost a quarter million views in less than 3 days.
After many in Orlando, and nationally, became familiar with the 407 rapper in 2018 following the release of No LOL’z and the Streetz Callin’ tape that accompanied it LPB has only built on his early success so far in 2020.
Visuals that accompanied tracks like Fresh Out Da Dentist, How You Do That, and more have all run up millions of views too. Coincidentally, the same trend that applied to HOTBOII applies to Poody, as LPB is primed to take another huge step forward in the second half of 2020 too.
3) TYLA YAWEH: Don’t get us wrong, the Altamonte Springs area native at three might feel like a slight. But this Rager is only checking in at #3 for now while we still wait for his sophomore album and only have the smash summer hit Tommy Lee to work with at the current moment. For conversations sake, the Post Malone featured track that released less than two weeks back was Yaweh’s start to his 2020. He could easily be number one by years end.
With Tommy Lee eclipsing over 21 million streams on Spotify, similar attention for the visuals that accompanied it on Youtube, and an extreme fanbase of over 8.6 million monthly listeners he’s now built up thanks to continuous touring with one of his best friend’s and mega-superstar Post Malone the Orlando product could very well be the first true superstar we see come out of the hometown.
His sound has always been unique, blending the contemporary worlds of pop and rap, and as Yaweh has consistently embraced his own creative evolution since his days opening up at The Soundbar in downtown Orlando it truly feels as if he’s now seizing the moment while taking the next step up into the upper echelon of celebrity status.
4) DANNY TOWERS: Man, has Danny had quite the year since he headlined for us last summer. The Kissimmee native finally gave us his debut project Tarantula in late 2019 after a fall and winter spent touring with his close friend and collaborator Ski Mask the Slump God, along with another Florida native in Pouya. Despite the long wait for fans, the timing on Danny’s end in its release was flawless, just like the vibes on tracks like Sunday.
He’s seen his fanbase reach new heights, going from under 12K followers this time last year to nearly 80K less than a year later. His music releases in 2020 have continued to follow the upward trend in his brand and artistry too. Giving us Gangsta Party, Loner, and Florida’s Finest (featuring Pouya) so far this year has culminated in an extremely strong first half of the year. The standout track here in our minds being Gangsta Party, a fun and classic Towers type song with a fun reggaeton crossover in featured artist Eladio Carrion.
All of this was capped with a huge collaboration with legendary hypebeast and high fashion Chicago-based brand HALF EVIL, where he starred in the lead role of their trailer that was released with their latest line. Be on the lookout for more from DT, maybe even a new project, in the second half of 2020.
5) DAVE FROM THE GRAVE: What isn’t there to love about the Rosemont native? It was just a year ago we were trying to book Dave from the Grave for a show through his Instagram lives, which are popping even more now than they were this time last year, following his Who Run It remix that put him on the map nationwide. This was back when he had just under 20K followers (he now reaches over 56K).
Flash forward a year later and a label tour in the Big Apple, opening sell out shows in Ohio for artists like Lil Durk and G Herbo, not to mention his continued YouTube takeover including countless videos touching north of 50K views and its clear this clever rhyming, self-proclaimed super trapper has the potential to be the next big artist out of Orlando and at the same level as LPB Poody, Hotboii, or Glokknine real soon.
He’s made his name in large part thanks to his second to none wordplay, reminiscent of an early 2000s Lil Wayne that features hard punch lines and intricate verses. But its his production, delivery, and versatility that he’s improved on the most when it comes to the music. After a strong self titled debut, and what’s been almost a new music video every other week here in 2020, fans are definitely starting to itch for his next project.
Dave was in 2020 this time last year, so we’re sure he’s already envisioned a strong close to what’s already been a hot start thanks to visuals for songs like Grave Story, Belly of the Beast, and MYSELF.
6) HONORABLE MENTION: SEEYOUSOON
This Orlando collective is somewhat of an enigma (pun intended) of sorts. Having just begun to emerge as a collaborative group here in the beginning of 2020, there’s only four total tracks to judge seeyousoon off of to date. But that’s plenty enough to let you know that for our purposes, this group brings a fresh, new and alternative modern sound (and the visuals to match) that resembles the likes of a BROCKHAMPTON. Really blending the lines of modern hip-hop into a sound of music that’s all their own.
The group of nine, featuring an Orlando staple in Drex Carter and also including Ignacio, Kenny, Denny, Maddie Barker, Josh, Dre, Luke, and Mitch is amazingly versatile and extremely, extremely talented. Truthfully, there isn’t much to know just yet about the group (we had to look up their members on their Spotify bio). But this isn’t necessarily a bad thing its actually fun, mysterious, and leaves us on the edge of our seats looking forward to more music, more eclectic visuals, and hopefully a debut project sometime this year.
For now, as we’re all left guessing what’s next from the diverse and polarizing group maybe the best decision you’ll make all day is to Shut Up and give their latest single a listen. We can just about guarantee you’ll get hooked and end up bumping Blue Chord, Steamy, and ICFWT next.
Think we missed somebody on our list? Let us know who you think is the hottest artist in Orlando so far this year in the comments or on any of our social media accounts (@engmtcent).