It’s time to give more respect to Michigan, a state with an incredibly diverse rap scene. What other state could produce a rapper like Royce Da 5’9”, who will make you crack open an encyclopedia and unearth unknown regions in your brain, then offer an artist like Sada Baby, whose wild energy will make you want to belly-to-belly suplex your nemesis through a McDonald’s drive-thru menu? Then there are rappers like Teejayx6 and Kasher Quon, who have unique flows and bars that will get you to contemplate scamming your own grandma out of her social security check.
For casual listeners, the most familiar reference to the new Michigan rap scene might be a song like “We Paid” from Detroit’s 42 Dugg and Lil Baby. Dugg is one of the state’s biggest up-and-comers, and a good entry for anybody trying to understand what the state of Michigan has to offer, but I want to focus on a group of rising rappers from Detroit and Flint who made it their mission to have some of the funniest, most unique, and creative new music that you will encounter right now. From the Shittyboyz rapping over disco samples that my uncles did cocaine to back in the ’80s, to Baby Smoove rapping about men in their late 30s still asking for rides to the grocery store, all the way to BandGang Lonnie expressing how most rappers are worried about women but he’s way more concerned over a toothache, there’s a lot of new rap music worth paying attention to.
Michigan has dozens of new artists worth keeping an eye on right now, but for the purposes of this list, I focused on seven rappers who are some of the funniest and most unique in the state right now.
After hearing Cash Kidd’s “On My Mama,” I couldn’t believe how many back-to-back punchlines he was able to string together. I don’t know if I’ve heard that many creative punchlines in a row since mixtape-era Lil Wayne. I know that remark might evoke strong emotions out of people, but trust me, Cash Kidd is the real deal. He makes it a mission to include a crazy bar in every verse. Just listen to gems like “AR with the silencer at the end like a bad joke” or “Holes in my face like a hockey mask, I had to punch for this belt like karate class.”
I always have to show respect to great punchline rappers because it’s a very hard thing to do while actually crafting great bars each time. Punchline rappers often get repetitive or say a bunch of trash one-liners if they do it all the time, but Cash Kidd finds ways to stay fresh and creative with each time around. A song like “Aduhh” shows how relentless he is with every single bar he writes, featuring lyrics like, “We gon’ run it up till every nigga that I’m with froze, till my whole section ate like the rent low.”
The origins of his punchline style derives from Lil Wayne. He tells Complex, “My first favorite rapper was Lil Wayne. I could tell was smart as hell, and the people that introduced me to his music wasn’t even catching his bars. Once I started rapping, that was my type of style, and that’s just the way I rap. I got to think of some crazy shit to say every time.” The influence of Lil Wayne is clear in the music, but he’s original enough to not sound like a carbon copy.
Cash Kidd has steadily progressed as a rapper each year he’s been out. He started off as a very raw talent, but he’s transformed from a guy who can just rap to an artist who makes great all-around music. A track like “Unappreciated” shows how strong of a songmaker he’s become. Plus, he and Sada Baby have great chemistry, making a catchy song while still delivering those signature punchlines.
Cash Kidd’s music makes me want to buy Cartier shades, get the straight-back braids, and spend all day in Detroit. During our interview he told me, “I’m just having fun with it,” you’ll feel the same when you hear his music.
Standout Cash Kidd bars:
“Banana clip on that Draco, bitch look like half of the moon/Your bust’ fake, them bitches plastic and fu’/Our shit super white with black on the other side like Family Feud” – “Man in My City”
“Gotta keep glock in the fanny, you not finna hound me/put a body on the ratchet like Dr. Miami” – “Friday Night Cypher”
“Niggas know I open doors like in a drive-thru when your window broke/5k on a game playing Nintendo 64, Mario cart race, I got shells in your vehicle” — “Zorbas”
“Cameras on the crib, hammers in the crib, bowls of the cookie like we expecting Santa in the crib/Dirty metal on me like I’m shoveling, 40 with the light on it, shoutout Thomas Edison!” — “Reason”
I’ve heard men identify themselves as “boobs guys” or “butt guys.” But YN Jay identifies as neither. He would like to be addressed as a “coochie man.” The Flint native is one of the more eccentric rappers in Michigan, rapping about coochie, using very distinct “hold onnnnnnnnnnnnn” ad-ibs, and starting off songs by asking the producer: “Why you always do that mannnnnnnn?” I’m honestly not sure what these producers are doing while YN Jay is recording in the booth, but whatever it is, it’s working. The music is always wildly entertaining.
YN Jay went viral in the summer of 2020 with a song called “Coochie” featuring Louie Ray. It features wild lyrics about YN Jay pinning women on the wall during sex like a ‘90s movie, while Louie Ray reenacts the sounds of the most thunderous coochie I’ve ever heard. “Damn that coochie loud!” he responds. The rest of his mixtape, Coochie Land, doesn’t disappoint, either. Not only does it quite possibly set a Guinness World Record for the amount of times “coochie” has been said on an album, but it also features some of the finest production Michigan has to offer from producers like Enrgy & Marc Boomin. On every song, YN Jay delivers some of the funniest lyrics you’ll hear all year.
This year alone, Jay has received co-signs from major artists like Vince Staples, who featured him in his Apple Music playlist. Lil Yachty has collaborated with him three times on “Dookie Shoe,” “Blind Em,” and “Flintana,” which also has one of my favorite videos of the year. It looked like YN Jay knew about 10% of his lyrics for the song, so to fill up time, he humped the ground throughout the video (which is a thing I’ve seen lots of Flint rappers do). As a side note: Lil Yachty seems to be inspired whenever he gets on songs with Michigan artists like YN Jay lately. Five years ago, I would’ve never thought that a guy who deems himself the “Coochie Man” would be inspiring artists to rap better in 2020, but here we are.
Standout YN Jay bars:
“I just made a 100 plays at the Krusty Krab, I know a bitch so stank she take a musty bath” — “Coochie Scout”
“I just DM’d Nicki Mina & she start typing back (okay Nicki what it look like baby you bad as hellllll)” — “Nicki Minaj”
“Coochie Land full of double D’s, with their titties out/If your daddy told on somebody, you a Mickey Mouse” — “Coochie Vibes”
“How the fuck you thick with no ass? How the fuck you thick with no ass? You got a smooth back!” — “Austin Powers”
Have you ever heard a rapper who didn’t catch your ear at first, but on second or third listen, they blew you away? That’s Veeze. If you catch his music playing in the background, all you might hear is a person rapping in a quiet voice with low energy. On second listen, though, where you can actually decipher what he’s saying and pick up on how clever the bars are—delivered with the most nonchalant attitude ever—you’ll appreciate the greatness.
On “Wilt,” when I heard Veeze say, “You know every story got two sides nigga, I got puff balls on the AR like Rah Digga,” I took my hair bonnet off and threw it at the wall, mind-blown from how well he was rapping. Veeze is a hip-hop head, and it shows in his music. In an era where a lot of young artists don’t know their history, it’s nice to see someone who embraces different eras. He tells Complex, “When I was a kid, most rappers knew how to rap—or at least the ones I liked.” After rapping over Big Pun’s “It’s So Hard” on his version called “Fat Albert,” he reveals, “Most of my peers who are a little younger than me thought that was just a beat that somebody sent me.”
The Detroit native’s only project to date is Navy Wavy, and he shows promise throughout the 11-song tracklist. He comes in swinging on the intro “Long Live” with bars like, “Like i’m from Philly when a pack come, in I break a bail.” And on “Itself,” he raps about being so excited to scam that he actually scammed himself. Do you know how ecstatic you must be to scam that you in turn scam yourself? I sure don’t, but it made for an amazing song. The entire project is solid and it gives Veeze space to dig into his unique style. He doesn’t have an extensive body of work yet to prove to people that he’s one of the top dogs in Detroit, but anybody with functioning ears can hear that his raw talent will be enough to take him to a different stratosphere in the near future.
Standout Veeze bars:
“We got whatever you copping, brown squares but it ain’t chocolate/Don’t look for whatever I’m rocking, it’s hard to find just like Bin Laden/Look in my bag 50’s, 20’s, look like Cosmo/Wanda.” — “Meg Thee Stallion”
“We ain’t going on tour but we got the bag on the Sprinter/I knew this hit was coming like I saw it on the Simpsons.” — “Law N Order”
“All my weed expensive, you can’t find these stems, no I’m not Tupac but I pour my lean above the rim” — “Can You Hear Me”
“You be chasing these lil ass hoes like Mojo JoJo/Drop a perc in my Styrofoam, call it snow globe, I can’t lie and say she had swag, she never had clothes on” — (unreleased)
Sada Baby checks all the boxes for me. Funny? Check. References to obscure European basketball players? Check. Recites Nickleback word-for-word? Check. Exudes enough energy to make me run head-on into prime Ray Lewis with no regard fo CTE? I don’t know about that one, but if I listened to enough Sada Baby before a game, I’m confident I could be the most electric human on any Division III college football team in the country.
Hearing Sada Baby’s bars like “She been sucking so much dick she need some extra knees, matter fact she sucking so much dick I need an extra me” and “Got my smart nigga with me he aware of all apps, pull up to a nigga crib fucking with them google maps” immediately made me realize I was listening to one of my new favorite rappers. Imagining Sada try to recruit somebody who’s aware of every app in the app store in order to have an advantage on his enemy is hilarious to me. Did he make a Craigslist ad, looking for people aware of every app invented? Did he go the old school route and pass out flyers on the street in a Men’s Warehouse suit and tie, seeing who was the app wizard of Michigan? The world may never know.
During an interview I did with Sada Baby in April 2020, we talked a lot about him being different from other rappers, and wanting to say things nobody else has said. “I was playing Injustice 2, and I wasn’t familiar with Gorilla Grodd, but he was in a bunch of the cut scenes,” he explained. “And I seen you could play as him, too, so I went to look him up on YouTube and he’s a character that’s been around. Like, you know the symbiote with Spider-Man and Venom? It’s like 15-20 different symbiotes, but they only live in the comic book, so a lot of people don’t even know about them. So, I just try to go off on the deep end and surprise people with my knowledge because I know that there’s somebody out there that knows about it.” That showed me Sada Baby isn’t scared of being creative, even if a listener doesn’t understand every bar. I always appreciate people taking risks. How many rappers are dropping Injustice 2 deep cuts and making them sound cool?
After making the excellent Bartier Bounty in 2019, he released a lot of music before putting out the follow-up, Bartier Bounty 2, a project which blew my expectations out of the water. Not only is his work ethic unmatched after putting out hundreds of songs in the span of two years, but he came back to deliver a phenomenal installment in the Bartier Bounty series. He’s truly one of the most exciting rappers breathing.
Standout Sada Baby bars:
“They thought bro was a janitor the way he clutch the mop, they thought I was agreeing with them the way I got the yop” — “Skub”
“We don’t do no internet, pussy we ain’t into that/If Dawg talking then we finish that, blood on my thumbs look like balsamic vinaigrette.” — “Bloxk day”
“You gotta pop like two Percocets to show me you can have perfect sex, Coochie made me cry like herbo in the turtleneck” — “Aktivated”
“I won’t trick or treat no nigga, never messed with a mask because Jim Carrey wasn’t a street nigga” — “WWF”
Rio Da Yung OG
Hailing from Flint, Michigan, Rio Da Yung OG has mastered the art of being menacing and hilarious at the same time. Out of nowhere, he’ll go from rapping about something very comical to rapping about a time he beat somebody up. If rap operated like MyPlayer mode on NBA 2K, and believability was an attribute, Rio would max that category out.
When I listened to his song “Legendary” for the first time, one of the first things that caught my attention was how much he rapped about his lack of respect for people that shoot up houses. To this day, I still don’t know exactly where this disdain is rooted in, but as he says in the song: “I hope you understand me, if you the type of nigga shoot up cribs, you must not love your family,”
Looking through Rio’s discography, you’ll see the name RMC Mike pop up a lot. The pair have two collaborative mixtapes and several one-off songs together. They are partners in crime and always bring the best out of each other. Their project Dumb and Dumb3r is honestly one of my favorite collaborative tapes in quite some time, because they didn’t miss on one song and it really embodies what Flint music sounds like, pairing funny bars, good rapping, unique flows, and descriptive bars.
In 2020, Rio has already been a very busy man. Since the year started, he has dropped his project City on My Back, worked on over 30 features, released several loosies, filmed countless music videos, and most recently shared his single for an upcoming project called Testers, Pt. 3. Michigan is filled with hard working-musicians, and Rio is yet another example. Not only has he been progressing his own career, he has led the charge for Flint rappers and helped artists like RMC Mike, YN Jay, Louie Ray, and RLSG B Smith get more recognition. Maybe the OG stands for “Opportunity Giver,” because it seems Rio has worked with every Michigan artist, including big names and up-and-coming rappers with little to no following. He’s a true man of the people.
Standout Rio Da Yung OG bars:
“I don’t want to hear dawg perform, cut a beat on/A fan tried to do a feature and got beat on/My fault lil bro now I owe you three songs” — “Activist”
“Nigga rob me, I took his life so we more than even, ran off on the plug with the bag I couldn’t afford to keep it, said some dumb shit like meet me Monday morning evening… That mean you ain’t getting paid, nigga” — “See You”
“Conversation with an ugly girl be like ‘Bae your toes pretty’” — “Fishscale”
“I can’t catch feelings for a bitch like I ain’t got no hands, I probably got Corona, I just took a piss and ain’t wash my hands” — “Molly”
BFB Da Packman
Flint native BFB Da Packman now lives in Houston, but he still carries the full spirit of Michigan rap. On June 14, 2020, he released a song with Sada Baby that went viral called “Free Joe Exotic,” which is full of hilarious bars like, “Came up off selling pussy, free Joe Exotic!” In the video, he sports an “HIV POSITIVE” hoodie, and there’s so much going on in the clip that I had to play it back two times to digest everything. At one point, Packman and Sada have a pop-locking battle while BFB recalls a story about how a woman once told him she could feel his penis in her stomach during sex. He exclaims, “Stop capping! Ol’ lying ass bitch, my dick ain’t that big.” Bars like that will make you laugh and nod your head, but they aren’t even Packman’s own favorite bars. “The funny shit was to get my foot in the door,” he tells Complex. He doesn’t want to be constrained to the title of a “joke rapper,” but rather an artist who can succeed at multiple things within their music.
Of all the rappers on this list, Packman has the most intriguing backstory. He is a USPS mailman who won’t quit his 9-5 job because he uses his paycheck to invest in his career. I’m pretty sure this makes him the most popular mailman/rapper ever. Aside from maybe Sada Baby, Packman is the most marketable amongst these rappers because of his backstory, sense of humor, and personality. Oh, and the fact he can rap really well. He tells Complex that one of his favorite songs is “Northside Ghetto Soulja,” because he’s rapping with no jokes and straight bars. He explains, “Songs like ‘Northside Ghetto Soulja’ is me letting my pain out. Either somebody made me mad or I was in the right mode to let everything out.” His music comes from a very real place.
BFB Da Packman’s music shows he can rap, be funny, and come across as relatable at the same time, which makes him very easy to root for. Receiving co-signs from artists like Wiz Khalifa and DJ Khaled, it looks like the future is very bright for Packman.
Standout BFB Da Packman bars:
“I talked to Drake on the phone and he said he couldn’t sign me/Said I’m too damn fat and I’m too damn childish” — “Northside Ghetto Soulja”
“Side bitch need holiday money, them ain’t my children, told my baby mama that I’m Muslim I don’t like Christmas!” — “Parole Office”
“You say you getting money, niggas lying through they teeth, I don’t trust a bitch who spray after she pee” – “Fuck Condoms”
“My Bitch got herpes don’t give a fuck, still give her head…and if she had an outbreak she just take her meds” – “I don’t own a Rolex”
Babyface Ray’s relatable bars and memorable one-liners have the entire city of Detroit hooked. The reach of his music doesn’t stop at a regional level, as it even extends to artists like Future. Actually, the first time I gave Babyface Ray a thorough listen was after I saw Future and Veeze in an Instagram Story inside a strip club, losing their mind to a song with the loudest 808’s I’ve ever heard. I eventually found the song, and it ended up being Babyface Ray’s “Paperwork Party.” After a few listens, I realized it was a Song of the Summer contender, with production that almost blew my old speakers out. Ray floats over this beat like none other. The way he raps “My raps real, you cap still, need an act deal, I dropped the pint and broke the glass just like Shaq did” over the horns and 808s is incredible. It sounds like God himself made the beat and sent an express delivery to Babyface Ray’s doorstep.
Similar to Veeze, Babyface Ray has a cool, calm, and collected attitude in his music, which makes it very easy to miss out on what he’s saying, because he delivers it all in such a nonchalant way. But once you dig into the lyrics, it all starts to come together. Songs like “My Thoughts Part 2” show his ability to deliver back-to-back memorable lines, while displaying his ability as a rapper. He is one of the most promising up-and-coming rappers out of any state right now, and it’s only a matter of time before he takes off to the next level. Michigan has another star.
Standout Babyface Ray bars:
“Nigga crack the seal on it, lemme taste it first/Nigga blow that shit, I never seen a money truck chase a hearse” – “Paperwork Party”
“We be in the streets like a geek, we want every problem/Spilled some lean on my sneaks now they red bottoms” – “Meg Thee Stallion”
“She gon’ tat my name on her face, I got a drank seal/I’mma spread this cake in your face, I know how Ike feel” – “Tap in”