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Rapzilla.com’s 15 Freshmen of 2016

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Rapzilla.com’s 15 Freshmen of 2016

KayLa Starks

It isn’t easy to be a female in hip hop, but KayLa Starks makes it sound easy on the mic. In May, she released an impressive 12-track mixtape, To Be Honest, which featured shout outs from Datin, Sean C. Johnson, Kambino and Lavoi$ier.

“In this era where there is a lack of female MCs, KayLa stands out like a sore thumb,” Datin said. “She is not only a dope emcee that can actually spit, but her delivery is A-plus. Her flow is near flawless. Then to add on to that, she can also sing and has really good song structure. KayLa will do really well in [Christian hip hop] if she continues to keep her motives in check and puts the Lord first.”

Follow her on Twitter @TheKaylaStarks.


Parris Chariz

To Christian hip-hop fanatics, Parris Chariz may be the most surprising name to earn a spot among the 2016 Freshmen class — simply because he’s experienced the least exposure of the 15. However, Chariz’s performance on his mixtape Appreciation, which Rapzilla posted this September, earned him a spot. He also recently released another EP, Cuffing Season.

Follow him on Twitter @TakeYouToParris.

When did you decide that you wanted to pursue music?

Well I’ve been doing music since I was 17, and I would say around the age of 21, I decided that this was something I wanted to take more serious. I told myself I could not only change my life, but change the lives of the people who I have a heart for as well. I read a quote that said 80 percent of people go to music when they are dealing with something, and when I read that I asked God if I had the gift to be the music they go to, and from there I took it more serious than I ever have.

What has been the most memorable moment of your career thus far?

The most memorable moment I’ve had so far was, well, I had this EP Cuffing Season release and quite a few people called me saying they needed it, and it helped them so much because what they were going through at the moment was what I was talking about in the songs. And one girl even expressed to me that the story was so relatable to her she cried, and of course, it helped her as well.

That made my heart smile, and I just thanked God because my prayer was coming true.

What should fans be on the lookout for musically from you in 2016?

I’m currently working on a project with a great friend of mine DJ DB405, and we’re looking to release that early 2016. I can’t say too much about it, but it’s definitely in the works, and I personally think it’s going to be epic and something people will appreciate and grow from.


Steven Malcolm

Steven Malcolm released his debut retail album, Monsters Ink, in Sept. 2014, although he’s built most of his buzz — at least until recently — off of music videos. Videos for his singles “I Do It” and “Yeen Know” have totaled over 76,000 views, and Reflection Music Group also named him the winner of its contest to see who could best rap Canon’s double-time song “Go Off.”. Then this fall, his biggest break yet came when KB featured him on a remix of his single “Sideways.”

Follow him on Twitter @IMGMalcolm.


(Malcolm raps the second verse of “Sideways Remix”)

When did you decide that you wanted to pursue music?

In 2011, I was serving on the worship team at my church here in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The feeling of being able to use music to glorify Jesus became the best feeling in the world to me. Performing came so natural, and I felt in my element on stage. After praying (for weeks), affirmation from peers and video comments on a cypher I was in, I decided this is what God has called me to do — inspire the world with the truth of Jesus.

What has been the most memorable moment of your career thus far?

The most memorable moment in my career thus far would have to be KB calling me to do the “Sideways Remix.” I had remixed the song and he heard it, loved it and called me telling me how I killed it and wanted me to be a part of the remix. I was super blown away because KB is someone I highly look up to and have been inspired by not only as an artist, but also as a man of God. So to get a call from him and be on a record with him is insane! I’m grateful!

What should fans be on the lookout for musically from you in 2016?

Some of the DOPEST music your ears have ever heard (laughs)! The Lord has been working on me and has opened some great doors of opportunity that He’s made me ready for. Expect nothing less than GREATNESS at its GREATEST! Hip Hop I got chu, Sget’it!


Ty Brasel

In Jan. 2015, Ty Brasel came out of nowhere to release his mixtape Cloud 9 Raps. His pure rapping ability was apparent on the 14-track project.

Brasel remained quiet until this fall when he put out music videos for Cloud 9 songs “Make a Toast” and “Speak Life”. But the potential he showed on his mixtape put him on Rapzilla’s Freshmen radar all year.

Follow him on Twitter @Ty_Brasel.

When did you decide that you wanted to pursue music?

I always admired the hip-hop culture, and growing up, I was a fan of all types of genres of music. My father played everything from country to rap to Elvis. I used to watch Wiz Khalifa’s DayToday videos in high school, and I desired the lifestyle of traveling and performing on stage. I started out just freestyling with friends, and over time, I began to realize that I was actually pretty talented in that area. That was the beginning, and as cliché as it is to say, the rest is history.

What has been the most memorable moment of your career thus far?

It was definitely when I met KB at the Dove Awards and he knew who I was, which was incredible in itself, but he also told me that I could flow and that he had heard my music. He said that he was going to come to one of my shows in Tampa, but he couldn’t make it that particular night. He has had a huge influence on my life, so that was a special moment, just receiving the recognition. It’s a very rewarding feeling. Also, meeting John Givez at Flavor Fest and hearing similar things about my music from him was very encouraging and something I’ll never forget.

What should fans be on the lookout for musically from you in 2016?

I have been working very hard over the last year to grow musically and also spiritually, so the music as a whole has matured in the process since I released Cloud 9 Raps. I’m very much a perfectionist, so it’s hard to settle since I write so much music, but I’m finally excited about some of the music I’ve been creating lately. I’m currently working on an untitled EP, as well as preparing to release some news about other things going on in my life and career, so I’m very excited about 2016. It will definitely be my biggest and best year yet, God willing.


WxNDER y

WxNDER y is one of the most versatile creators on this list. He’s a rapper, vocalist and producer, and all three of these are on display on his self-titled free EP which he released in September.

Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based artist also grinds. He put out two new singles in December, “Do Me” featuring K¥NG and “You Know” featuring Adrian Stresow.

Follow him on Twitter @wxnder_y.

When did you decide that you wanted to pursue music?

I started my music journey at a very young age. I recorded my first song at the age of nine after rapping for my cousin G in his barbershop. After him seeing the talent and potential I had, he brought me to his own studio in the basement of the barbershop. And that’s when I knew this is what I wanted, and to do this for God; not the world.

What has been the most memorable moment of your career thus far?

The most memorable moment for me within my career has been the feedback with my self-titled EP, and the amount of support of fans that I’m grateful for. I’m excited for this journey and will give the best that I can always. This is just the beginning, and I know that God will bring [me] far.

What should fans be on the lookout for musically from you in 2016?

Be on the lookout for some multiple team-up projects and also my album that I’m excited for. This is just the beginning, and my grind will never stop. That’s a promise!

Check out our previous lists for 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015. Also, listen to the Rapzilla Freshmen 2015 album available on iTunes.

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