The Best Rappers On The Hawaiian Music Scene
The Hawaiian music scene is one that kind of exists on its on. They’ve got their own style that you don’t see in many other places. One of the downsides of this is that their hip hop scene hasn’t seen a hell of a lot of support. Hawaiian music isn’t all ukuleles though. Here are some Hawaiian rappers that make the scene worthwhile.
Probably the biggest Hawaiian rapper internationally, Tassho reflects a lot about the Hawaiian scene but with a sound that plays well internationally. He doesn’t try to distance himself from his roots too. Beyond the mentions of Hawaii and the culture there’s a solid mix of that sound into his production. He’s worked with names like Kid Cudi in the past and has managed to occupy a space where both at home and abroad he’s got his following without ever feeling the pull to commercialize.
Most rappers on the Hawaiian music scene are kind of patchwork acts. They take elements of influence from all over, more so than most other places. Kid Cooper is one of the best examples of this. Taking elements of west coast golden age and mixing in some trap and boom bap, he’d frankensteined a sound all his own. Taking off in a place so far away from the rest of the scene is going to be a lot harder than making it in L.A, New York or Atlanta. While it has its downsides, Kid Cooper shows how being on the outside looking in can be a solid influence on your sound.
With production from !llmind and Mushmouf on his beats, Fortilive are the high point of Hawaiian music. Generally with a scene in a smaller place you can cut some slack for artists out there doing it on their own. Fortilive need no excuses. They can hold their own with anyone on the scene, not just in Hawaii. A sound taking huge cues from !llmind’s background, they came from Hawaii to LA and brought Hawaii with them. While their work has been sporadic recently, they’re worth checking out for anyone looking for modern takes on throwback hip hop sounds.
Kwali Fied is kind of a weird one. He’s a goofy dude and it’s hard to tell when he’s being serious. Most of what he does seems to play on hip hop cliches but he does it so well that it’s hard to say whether it’s tongue in cheek or he’s serious. If he’s completely sincere then that’s a whole different conversation but it seems like Kwali Fied is about having fun with the cliches as much as taking the piss out of them. Backed up by more quality production than most hip hop artists who lack seriousness, he’s managed to pass over what should have been the limit of his style.
The Horror Show
The Horror Show made it clear that the Hawaiian music scene didn’t need to be all high energy hip hop. Mixing between trip hop and horrorcore (not surprising given the name), The Horror Show has seen members Decibel Grand and Joncozy create something nobody else in their scene is doing. Their more recent growth into trip hop has made it clear that they’re versatile artists and definitely worth checking.