“We put the world on wheels, the Motor city, baby! The big 3,” goes a line on Dice Game, Guilty Simpson’s new collaborative album with Detroit producer Apollo Brown. The beats carry Brown’s signature sound: pounding drums, obscure vocal samples and scratchy soul loops. Over them, Guilty raps about his weed addiction, brags about his individual talent, and naturally, trumpets his home state. Hive recently asked Guilty about Detroit’s underground rap scene and he picked the city’s top five underground rappers for us.
1. Quelle Chris
He’s part of a rap/production team called Crown Nation with Denmark Vessey. Me and Quelle actually have a record together on DJ House Shoes’ album, Let it Go — a song called “Nails.” I think Quelle is making the most noise, but that’s not to take anything away from the others. When people ask who’s poppin’, his name is really buzzin’.
2. Denmark Vessey
He has a super-dope voice and produces very, very well. He and Quelle have kinda broken apart recently — on purpose, though. They weren’t beefin’ or anything like that, but they’re doing their own thing.
3. Fatt Father
He’s a blue-collar MC and a family man at the same time. He has his two kids on his album cover. He raps about responsibility, taking care of his family and being a grown man. I think that ability to be human on a record is beautiful, because a lot of rappers don’t wanna be that open.
4. Marv Won
People recognize him as a battle rapper. He makes some crazy songs with very, very good material. He actually breaks the stigma that battle rappers can’t make songs. He knows how to remove himself from his rhymes.
5. Ro Spit
Ro is super-dope. He has a store called Burn Rubber, where he’s bringing forth the fashion. I just like the fact that somebody can be an underground rapper and still be an entrepreneur. I think that he’s able to capture some of the mainstream elements and bring it to the underground. I really admire the work he’s been doing for the city.