5 Dallas Rappers to Watch in 2016: Sam Lao, Pat Ron and More

Sam Lao had a low-key year last year, but it should be ramping up to a big year in 2016.
Sam Lao had a low-key year last year, but it should be ramping up to a big year in 2016.
Mike Brooks

There are two reasons to keep an eye on the artists listed here. One, they’re established acts in the city who have been putting in work for years and have a well-founded reputation but had a relatively and purposely quiet 2015. Or two, they’ve been bubbling in Dallas’ youthful underground scene and haven’t exactly received the attention some of the city’s other artists have in the local media but nonetheless seem poised to have a breakout year. With a talent pool as rich as we have in North Texas, it’s difficult to limit this watch list, but we’re confident these artists' upcoming projects and shows will put them among Dallas’ most established artists.

Sam Lao

2014 felt like the year of Sam Lao. Her debut EP West Pantego caught fire and received critical acclaim from literally every publication in town. She played stellar SXSW showcases and earned opening slots for local favorite Sarah Jaffe, UK superstar Jessie Ware and tons of other shows. She was everywhere. 2015 on the other hand was a much quieter year for her. She made fantastic contributions to tracks with the aforementioned Jaffe and Larry g(EE), but most importantly she’s been working on an album that’s set to be released this year. With her skill set and the time she’s put into this project, we know that Lao is capable of setting the city ablaze and beyond when she makes her return.

Xes

If the name doesn’t look familiar, that’s OK, because it’s a new one. It’s a new moniker but the artist formerly known as Braingang X’zavier and X, the Misfit has been busy contributing to the success of numerous Dallas artists for years as a producer and featured artist. He might even be best known as Blue, the Misfit’s hype man to some. But this year he’s stepping out from the background and taking his own spot in the limelight. During Bobby Sessions’ album release show for LOA (Law of Attraction) in November, Xes took the stage by himself and performed a lot of new material he’s been working on for the first time. We were impressed and trust us when we say that we are looking forward to hearing the album once it's released in the early part of this year.

Pat Ron

Pat Ron blew us away when he released “Backpack Boy 2” in October. It was the first track we’d heard from the young rapper and we were impressed by his effortless flow and his ability to carry a track with a minimal beat. Since then he’s kept up the momentum with the release of “(95)” with Ea$e and most recently “Indica.” Pat Ron has our attention and we look forward to seeing his ascension as he debuts various projects he's working on. 

Loudiene

Loudiene is one of the most interesting characters in Dallas’ hip-hop scene right now. If you sprinkle some Ol’ Dirty Bastard with some Waka Flocka Flame you might come close to comprehending the aura that surrounds him. His music revolves around unabashed drug use, sex and violence, and his music videos project the same aesthetic. His face is tatted up, his gold grill makes him stand out in a crowd and his music does the same. So much so that it’s rumored he signed to Waka Flocka’s Brick Squad Monopoly record label after the artist’s latest show in Dallas last month. Loudiene is on the rise and we’re certainly intrigued.

Pyrex Pirates

There is an underground movement in hip-hop that’s steeped in a punk aesthetic and revolves around rage-inducing music that results in mobbing and moshing at shows. The Pyrex Pirates have mastered this style and made it their own. The trio of charismatic performers make it a mission to ensure their shows are unforgettable and their music is an onslaught of hypnotizing and addictive audible treats that have garnered an impressive amount of plays on Soundcloud thanks in part to their ability to network with artists far and wide. The Pirates should have a new project released by the end of the month and we’re sure it will propel them even further.


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