More than any other genre, hip hop has exploded with the rise of YouTube releases and easily shared mixtapes. It’s often difficult to keep a finger on the pulse of the game, so let us get to the sharing, here, of five telling lines from rappers we expect to make waves in the coming years. Each of these lyrics from the following MCs about to explode were selected for showing a growing trend in rap. Here’s your sneak peak at the future of hip hop:

Joey BADA$$ – “Killuminati

Source: BADA$$ is 17. That means he wasn’t quite a toddler when Illmatic came out. But still the Brooklyn-native harks back to the era when New York was hip hop, when rap had an edge to it that kept soccer moms nervous, conservative pundits spitting anger, and Tipper Gore doing both. The Nas and Tupac influence is felt heavily as BADA$$ displays an already developed aesthetic with a teenage chip on his shoulder that tells of a style born in imagined nostalgia and the return of the social conditions that birthed the genre in the first place:

I’m a beast with these flows
Two birds, one stone, you get geese when trees roll
They say I’m evil ’cause I trained my eagle to see gold
See, no seagulls couldn’t see these goals
Please, it’s the return of the beast coast

Ab-Soul – “Illuminate

Source: Black Hippy crew is one of the strongest of dozens that seem to pop up every week. But though Kendrick Lamar and Schoolboy Q may be getting the most press, Ab-Soul isn’t lacking any confidence. The young MC channels the dreams of every rapper in the game today – the first generation to be entirely surrounded by hip hop – and announces the surpassing of an era. Though his lines will almost surely be dismissed as posturing – with due cause – Ab-Soul still shows that Hova, Pac, and crew won’t be untouchable forever, and that rap is most certainly a young man’s game:

I used to wanna rap like Jay-Z
Now I feel I could run laps around Jay-Z
Nas ain’t seen nothin’ this nasty
B.I.G. and ‘Pac got it comin’ when I pass too
You got the mic, I ain’t the one you wanna pass too

SpaceGhostPurrp – “Been Fweago

SpaceGhostPurrp is, unsurprisingly given his name, carrying the banner for the syrup drinkers in today’s rap scene. Even more unsurprisingly, given that fact, his recently released Mysterious Phonk: Chronicles of SpaceGhostPurrp is heavily influenced by Three 6 Mafia. But SpaceGhostPurrp is much more than his name may suggest – his work thrives in dark production with hard life lyricism focused on misfit youths. The result is an honest and creative look at modern life in urban centers from a twisted and creative mind:

Money is my Lord, ain’t life hard
When your ass broke
Can’t get a job so you try to sell coke
Life ain’t a joke, I know what it’s about
You can’t trap coke in the motherfuckin’ draught

Wiki – “Wikispeaks

Source: looks and sounds like the annoying wanna-be kid with a Napoleon complex in an early-90s teen movie. In fact, he could very well have been an extra in Newsies if he were old enough. Nonetheless, the 18-year-old does more than endear with his relentless flow and vicious delivery. He and his RATKING crew are working to bring New York hip hop back to its more combative roots (and away from what, say, our next entry Theophilus London is doing). Wiki is the New York of Basquiat, the New York of street artists with a beat poet approach – and he is well aware of the power hidden there:

Said I’m stuck in New York, stuck rappin’ in a dungeon
Well I’m really lovin’ all the action in this dungeon
Ain’t leavin’ ’til I’m runnin’ every faction of this dungeon
Five boroughs my boroughs, laughin’ at assumptions

Theophilus London – “Big Spender

Source: with guest A$AP Rocky, Theophilus is bringing in a kind of fashion rap that lays its French stylings on thick in theme, though you may not guess it given the genre. But unlike Rocky’s often grimey solo production, Thelophilus is here backed by a sample from a 60s musical, and elsewhere with influences from The Smiths to Kraftwerk. “Big Spender” demands more than cash and Cristal, aiming instead for full blown aristocrat status as hip hop solidifies its entrance into the cultural mainstream. Theophilus is rap at its big money level:

Home boy, I’m never home, I’m not even in my continent
In a town, I can’t pronounce this shit, this is more than confidence
Fuck your continental breakfast, you incompetent
My nickname International, my accent changed by accident