1K Phew exploded onto the Christian hip-hop scene this year after a few years of grinding it out. His first big look came when he was featured on Lecrae’s “Hammertime” single which was subsequently followed by an addition to the “All Things Work Together” tour and then an eventual signing to Reach Records. His album Never Too Late was dropped earlier in 2017 and then re-released with Reach.
Aha Gazelle is another artist who’s been around for a few years. 2015 was a busy year for him which led to a quiet 2016 that saw him named a Rapzilla Freshman anyway. It must have been biding his time for the wave he’d make in 2017. Aha released Trilliam 1,2, and 3, was signed to Reach Records and dropped features with Lecrae, Social Club Misfits, and KB among others.
Angie Rose had a fantastic 2017. The former Rapzilla Freshman made appearances on nobigdyl.’s acclaimed Canopy album, R-Swift, and Illuminate. She recently dropped a track with Ty Brasel and has been serving up hot cups of coffee all year with her EP Sipp’n Coffee in The Bakery.
Dru Bex has been around for several years, but in 2017 he really came into his own with the release of The Good Album. Dru also saw his label, Role Model Records, get picked up by RMG Amplify. Despite what he’s accomplished so far, he does not have many releases and qualifies to be a Rapzilla Freshman this year.
Phil J. was a pretty tough name to escape in 2017. He was dropping singles left and right and was featured on just as many songs. He released two great EPs, Nu Age Soul and Foreigner. His hard work through this year made his Rapzilla Freshman list nod last year a worthy one.
Steven Malcolm hit 2017 hot off his Rapzilla Freshman nod and did not disappoint. Toward the end of 2016, he dropped his IV Against V self-titled debut and also received a Dove Award nomination. In addition, Malcolm teamed up with Hollyn and Andy Mineo and dropped one of the hottest tracks of the year, “Party in the Hills.”
TheKnuBlack is also hot off of their Rapzilla Freshman nod from last year and completely went out of the box with their album Ohana. The duo is among the most creative in the genre and uses anime-inspired artwork and visuals to bring their music to life.
Ty Brasel is a former Freshman and also up for Artist of the Year, so how is he a new artist? It’s simple, Ty has not been around very long, and 2017 was his coming out party. You heard Young T on songs with KB, Derek Minor, Thi’sl and more. Ty dropped one of the best projects of the year, and a couple of hot singles. To top his year off, he signed a record deal with IVAV, a division of Curb Records.
WHATUPRG in an anomaly. He only has four tracks of his own but is one of the most talked about young artists in the genre. He can rap, sing, produce, and does design work. He was heavily featured on tracks by Derek Minor, and has done songs with Lawren, nobigdyl., Mogli the Iceburg, and Eric Heron to name a few. He recently joined the indie.tribe collective, and you can expect that his debut album is dropping soon. RG is nominated to be a Rapzilla Freshman as well.
Zauntee, much like RG, is one of the newer artists on this list. His 2017 left an impact with his smash single, “God Taught Me,” which quickly became one of the most watched videos of all-time on the Rapzilla YouTube. His fans, known as the “Zealot Gang,” are as hardcore a fanbase as any out there. He released his All.things mixtape and is another candidate for Rapzilla Freshman.