A Guide to the Michigan Trap Scene: Hip-hop’s Next Big Thing

Always bubbling, the Detroit trap scene has ascended in the past year as one of the most popular and influential in all of hiphop. With its off kilter, bouncy beats, and rapid flows (often about scamming and fentanyl), rappers across the board are starting to catch on and imitate it while the sound blows up. 2021 alone has been hugely productive for Detroit with some of it’s biggest and best projects dropping. Here we’ll discuss some of the best and most essential projects out of the scene!

Sada Baby – Bartier Bounty (1 & 2)

One of the biggest and most influential names in the Detroit scene, Sada Baby is an absolutely essential listen. With such high energy and charisma (I mean he’s even got a Fortnite dance), you can just leave his discography on shuffle all day. With rapid flows and the occasional melodic cut, he’s got a lot to say about pimping and percs. Production is always fast and bouncy, with quite a bit of G Funk influence (There is a long standing connection between Detroit and The Bay). Sada has hits, drops consistently high quality projects, and will hopefully continue his ascent in popularity

Check out our Sada Baby 2021 recap playlist here

Babytron – Back to the Future

A core member of ShittyBoyz, Babytron is one of the most interesting artists out of Michigan. His monotone, double time flow might sound a little strange at first but he is so unique and addictive to listen to. Perhaps best known for rapping over massively famous samples (Bin Reaper 2 alone samples Harry Potter, Everybody Hates Chris, Star Wars, and The Office), he also has some distinct lyrical themes. You’re guaranteed to hear about smoking Runtz, scamming Walmart, and basketball references. Babytron is really everything unique to the Detroit scene distilled to it’s purest, most over the top form and it makes for some really fun music.

Listen to Back to the Future on Spotify

Tee Grizzley – Activated

One of the most iconic songs to come out of the whole scene

Tee Grizzley might have fallen off a bit in popularity, but his album Activated was instrumental in bringing Detroit trap to the forefront of hiphop. Featuring some slightly more traditional sounds and big name features, he likely introduced a lot of people to a whole new world of rap.

Listen to Activated on Spotify

Payroll Giovanni – PayFace

Payroll Giovanni is a bit of an OG in the Detroit scene at this point. A founding member of Doughboyz Cashout, he tends to have some more mature themes in his music, always approaching the game from a boss’ perspective. Payface is fully produced by Helluva, a frequent collaborator of Sada Baby as well. Ironically, Giovanni’s best work actually tends to be far more G Funk influenced and has some west coast trap sounds (most notably his collab series with CardoGotWings). Regardless, he is one of the most essential names in the city and further proves the link between The D and The Bay. His 2021 release Giovanni’s Way is also phenomenal.

Listen to PayFace on Spotify

Icewear Vezzo – Rich Off Pints 2

Icewear Vezzo is quickly becoming one of Detroit’s very best. Coming off 2020’s strong Robbin Season 2, he dropped Rich Off Pints 1 and 2, among the very best trap albums to drop this year. With versatile flows and memorable hooks, Vezzo brings dark and mature raps over some simple bangers. Rich Off Pints 2 notably has strong features and iconic samples, such as “Five on Em”. Regardless of what happens in the rap game, Vezzo makes it clear he had his money up without it.

Check out our Icewear Vezzo 2021 recap playlist here

42 Dugg – Free Dem Boyz

42 Dugg has had a meteoric rise to popularity in the past 2 years, perhaps becoming the biggest in the city at this point. With big placements on Lil Baby’s My Turn, Dugg has an endearing, one of a kind voice. With a variety of flows, he can go over both aggressive and emotional cuts, making for a ton of replayability. Hopefully he continues to put on for The D and release more strong projects like the sprawling Free Dem Boyz.

Listen to Free Dem Boyz on Spotify

Other Great Artists to Check Out:

Babyface Ray

Rio da Yung OG

Kash Doll

Baby Smoove


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