The year is 2011. Kids are Heelying around the hallways, Minecraft was just invented, but most importantly, Kendrick Lamar released his sophomore LP, Section.80. This was the beginning of a new era of hip-hop, an era for Top Dawg Entertainment (TDE) to rule the world. Kendrick Lamar, Isaiah Rashad, ScHoolboy Q, Jay Rock, and more began to define a collective of vivid and lyrical rappers that challenged the current hip-hop landscape. At this time, you could find me at any given moment working my way down the rabbit hole of TDE on YouTube. Stumbling upon Kendrick’s “A.D.H.D” from Section .80, clicking suggested Black Hippy thumbnails, and digging deeper and deeper into each individual member’s discography, I was on a journey - and one that, in retrospect, was the beginning of my love for curation.
Today, I remembered what it felt like to hear these tastemakers again for the first time by listening to the immensely underrated new artist 4200Kory. The 20-year-old rapper just released his debut album, HOLD ON 4 DEAR LIFE, a 14-track project that defines him as one of the most underrated artists of 2021. Sporting witty and driven flows, complex jazz-infused harmonies, and animated atmospheres, HOLD ON 4 DEAR LIFE had me out of my seat on the first listen. Let’s just say if I could present this album to TDE’s Anthony Tiffith, I genuinely think 4200Kory would be signed.
Songs like "SENSE OF URGENCY" and "LEAVE WHERE YOU STAND" are two of my favorites on the album. Displaying 4200Kory's introspective side, they navigate personal anecdotes and advice from the impressively mature artist, while also presenting two of the more complex productionon the project. "GOD BODY" and "DIRE SPIRIT" also present a window into Kory's life, but one where we see him more energized and motivated; two words that have defined him since his rebrand in 2018, the year he graduated high school.
I was shocked to find 4200Kory only had 165 monthly Spotify listeners. Let’s get his numbers up by listening below: