Names to know from the underground hip-hop landscape

Beyond the glamorous Las Vegas clubs and concert scene, an underground hip-hop landscape is emerging, giving local rappers a chance to share their creativity. Here are a few artists hoping to bring Vegas hip-hop to the forefront.

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      [email protected] Representing North Las Vegas—he calls it “Norftown”—this 25-year-old brings a powerful flow and innovative bars over bass-heavy beats that hit you in the chest. [email protected] is considered a veteran after several mixtapes and performances, including sets opening for YG, Ab-Soul and Bone Thugs-N-Harmony. “I am the last generation of cats that actually listen to Tupac, Rakim and those other guys,” he says. He deems his Art Always mixtape as his best work, not only because it shows his progression, but because it marked the first time he recruited other local musicians to help. “It says something about our city.” Choice track: “I Can’t Lose” (soundcloud.com/thetruthrabb).

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      Dillon Jamal This 19-year-old takes a smooth approach, meshing emo-rap and singing about love and relationships in a style similar to that of Drake, Bryson Tiller and Partynextdoor. “I just want to make music of substance,” he says. “I try to use real experiences that I go through, no gimmicks or trying to impress anybody or flex. It’s just honest.” Jamal says his beats have to match his flow, which tends to favor a soulful R&B sound. The Vegas native is just getting started; the full-length Vacation is almost complete and slated to drop in October. Choice track: “Communication” (soundcloud.com/dillon_jamal).

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      Play on Words (POW) High school friends, co-workers and roommates Nick Crucial, 24, and Nate Quest, 25, are constantly creating music. Since living together for almost a year—along with rapper-producer friend Asaiah Ziv—their home has become more studio than living space. The duo’s laidback flow, heavy wordplay and experimental production have helped it land support gigs for prominent artists including Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, Dom Kennedy and local product Dizzy Wright. Choice track: “3Peat” (soundcloud.com/almightypow).

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      Rob Falco Falco grew up listening to heavy metal and rock. It wasn’t until he heard Eminem’s Slim Shady LP that he felt a connection to hip-hop. And the 22-year-old Vegas native hasn’t dismissed his rock roots, crowd-surfing and raging through his performances. “There’s really no difference between rock and rap,” he says. “Rap is rock stars who can’t sing.” His collaboration with Trade Voorhees, Black Bag Brothers, demonstrates his dark and sinister sound, but he says his next album will showcase even more of a heavy-metal influence. “My music is a translation of my emotions.” Choice track: “Intro” (soundcloud.com/therobfalco).

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