Weekly associate editor Eric Griffey is the smartest man in the world. Now, we know what you’re thinking: We’re only saying that because he asked us to compose the 2019 Fort Worth hip-hop top 20 list. Asking us to rank MCs isn’t smart. In fact, it’s just common sense to ask the voice of Fort Worth hip-hop to construct the list. The true genius lies in the act of handing over the most thankless job in Fort Worth to idiots like us. The comedic value in all of this is everybody pretty much already hates us. So gather round and watch us alienate 19 immensely talented individuals, all the while bestowing a crown upon a king that is none the wiser to his coronation.
20. With the help of the good people over at Hear Fort Worth, the city’s music-promoting arm, we all know the answer to the question “Who Is Lou?” For some, the engaging, emotionally intelligent MC Lou Charle$ has become the face of Fort Worth rap.
19. Some out-of-town Fort Worth hip-hop day-tripper will flippantly assign the label of “Juggalo rapper” to T-Ryde, and it’s probably the laziest thing anyone could do. The heart-wrenching 2014 track “S.I.M.C.I.T.R” dispels any such notion. The prolific, high-speed six singles T-Ryde released in 2019 drive that point home. T-Ryde is No. 19 on this list but No. 1 in Blue Mound’s heart.
18. I once saw David Allen Dope win a knife fight in a dark alley by slashing his assailant with slick wordplay and sharp-ass metaphors.
17. Your favorite bartender’s favorite rapper J/O/E closed out 2019 strong thanks to his Milky Beatz-produced, “Live From the Funk.” Catch the man Panther City Propaganda dubbed “Brewpac” spitting rhymes to a crowd –– or game to some shorty –– at the local brewery of your choosing. He’s probably there right now.
16. If you allowed me to play five Roddie Flacco tracks inside the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra’s gala, I swear the pornosonic MC’s music would quickly turn the event into something resembling an AVN after-party.
15. Ashxs is the kind of experimental rapper you can create only when Sigourney Weaver, Wavy Gravy, and Old Dirty Bastard have sex at the 1988 Burning Man festival. Allegedly, he is too pretty for a face tat.
14. Lil Sick is the one person on the list with more soul than Andre the Giant’s wrestling boot. The last year, Fort Worth rap fans were blessed with the third installment of his mixtape series, No Longer local.
13. The best things in life aren’t things. They are attitude-altering Soundcloud uploads from a person who, if you closed your eyes and thought about what a “Soundcloud rapper” typically looked like, you’d never picture. See D Flo’s emotionally wrought track “Kofi Kingston.”
12. Aric Evans’ “Thank You, Kendrick” and “The Light” should both comfortably land on song of the year lists. Drink it in, though. Allegedly, the Fort Worth young legend in the making is retiring.
11. This past year, Clay Perry was able to avoid, deal with, move past, and ultimately laugh off an absurd amount of hip-hop industry BS that probably would have derailed many other rap odysseys. Not Clay, though. Despite the setbacks, he doubled down on himself and dropped two very good albums –– Lyin’ King and Checkmate –– in 2019.
10. The sultry, no-nonsense Senta The Artist said it best in her song Drugz, “But I am a prin-cess / Never been a mist-ress / When they cop the stick, bitch / Then I shoot, won’t miss, bitch / Who’s yo favorite ar-tist? / Better be that black bitch! / Yes, I’ll be that black bitch / But I am not aver-age!”
9. The reigning, defending, and somewhat disputed best hip-hop artist in the city, Wrex enjoyed the back half of 2019 by spreading his MC wings across different musical landscapes. We are very much anticipating the forthcoming Dru B Shinin’ collab, Bruce Leeroy.
8. This gravel-throated verbal gymnast released just enough songs and videos to keep himself at the top of the local food chain. 88 Killa is a throwback to a time when lyrics mattered more than stats. We here at Panther City Propaganda desperately pine for more content from the #1 playa at the kick back.
7. Properly ranking and compartmentalizing Lil’ CJ Kasino in 2019 was harder than Level 3 on Battletoads. He dropped two albums, saved his best work for feature appearances, and went through a messy divorce with Kasino World. Neither of the two albums he dropped in 2019 –– Death Trap and G. S.O. 3 –– measure up to his two 2017 classics, however they do enough to keep him near the top.
6. The producer-turned-MC Solar Slim dropped two stunningly great albums in 2019 –– Vice City and Landing Permissions –– and he rocked the stage at Fortress Fest. Yet, to the ones in the know, it is The Solar One’s Dennis Rodman-like dominance on the (sound) boards that truly conveys his musical genius.
5. When Thanos snapped his fingers, half the human population died. When G$ Lil Ronnie snaps his fingers, half the money at the dice game disappears. Chuckie is Fort Worth rap’s Thanos, with his whipsmart lyrics, crackhead-quick delivery, and devastating punchlines.
4. Rell Williams is the super-crisp $1,000 bill Fort Worth rap didn’t know it had until it did two loads of laundry. His album Focus was the manna from heaven hip-hop contribution of 2019.
3. Two albums, three singles, and something like 6,000 features get The Stop 6 Mad Man Boogotti Kasino this spot. We also took into account that he basically treated Lil’ CJ Kasino like he was Marty Jannetty, and it scared us out of ranking him any lower.
2. If the 2019 Fort Worth hip-hop landscape were best described as an old Western movie, Nino SoSupremey’s Pray 4 Summer album would be the big, tough, ugly bad guy who kicked open the saloon doors, pistol-whipped the bartender, and then stole a handle of whiskey in front of God and everyone. He has a dark sense of humor and a wry charm that, combined with his choppy flow and gruff voice, give his music buoyancy.
1. Until someone comes along and matches his quality and quantity, this is your king of Fort Worth hip-hop. A staggering amount of people will disagree with this either because of Yayizzle’s lyrical content or his nasally, nauseating boastful persona. It matters not. Go Yayo is more than comfortable playing your hip-hop heel champion.