Ten of the Best Denver Hip-Hop Artists to Watch in 2017

A crowd at Cervantes'.
A crowd at Cervantes'. Mariah Taylor
The metro Denver hip-hop and rap scene has been booming for a long time now, though there's always that nagging feeling that people farther afield should be paying more attention. We have artists here that span the various nooks and crannies that make up the genre, creating intelligent and fascinating music. Here are ten artists that could well make a big noise this year, in alphabetical order.
click to enlarge AP - COURTESY OF ARTIST
Courtesy of artist
1. AP
Straight outta Park Hill, the rapper born Anthony Porch is getting some national attention thanks to his complex rhyme patterns. This man has a firm grasp on his own voice, despite the fact that it appears to be running away with him like a car with no brakes. That’s the skill of AP: The dude’s raps are like a math equation, if you try to study them. Instead, just chill and listen as he rhymes about his very real problems (literally, on the song “Problems”).

Listen to AP with Soundcloud.

Wes Dog
Courtesy Wes Dog
2. Wes Dawg
With his distinctive style, Wes Dawg could be Denver’s answer to Danny Brown. Blessed with a similar level of inventiveness, Dawg writes lyrics that are incisive and smart, especially on the brilliant song “What Are We Doing?” Over dub beats, Dawg raps, “Women have got to know that they are all queens.” He’s right, you know.

Listen to Wes Dawg with Soundcloud.

Courtesy of artist
3. Pries
Pries has seen his reputation steadily grow over the past months, and 2017 could prove to be a breakthrough year for him. He recently passed three million views on his YouTube channel thanks to his easy-to-relate-to tales of college life. This is chill, smart music made by an intelligent young man who clearly has a big future. He’s also responsible for his own marketing material, which gives him a hefty leg up in the industry.

Listen to Pries on Soundcloud.
Koo Qua
Mary Willson
4. Koo Qua
Koo Qua, or Niquasia Waddles, might have been in the music industry since 2009, but her talent demands that people start paying attention outside of Denver, sooner or later. Writing uplifting lyrics aimed at youth, she has an enviable reputation here. She’s performed with well-known names like Lady Wu-Tang and Mane Rok, and has been recognized by both 5280 and Westword for her work. It’s time the rest of the world started paying attention.

Listen to Koo Qua with Soundcloud.
Ray Reed
Courtesy of artist
5. Ray Reed
“I’m getting bigger now, they say my competition’s getting bitter now, they say my competition is for dinner now,” raps Ray Reed on a nameless track on his Soundcloud page. That might sound cocky (and it kinda is), but it’s a sign that Reed is seeing his stock rise. His cool vibe, strong lyrics and those distinctive dreadlocks are earning him plaudits. The recent Cuffing Season album helped. The world is his oyster.

Listen to Ray Reed with Soundcloud.

Read on for more of Denver's best hip-hop acts.
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