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Published on July 16th, 2018 | by Guest Editor


5 Can’t Miss Hip-Hop Acts Playing Secret Stages Festival

Secret Stages is a two-day music discovery festival that takes place in Birmingham, AL on August 3-4, 2018. The full lineup for this year has been announced with 50+ emerging and under the radar hip-hop, rock, and folk artists set to play a variety of venues.

After exploring Secret Stages’ diverse 2018 lineup, below are our picks for the five hip-hop artists that you can’t miss this year.

1. Sa-Roc (Atlanta, GA)

Even before signing with indie label Rhymesayers, Sa-Roc carved out her own lane in Atlanta’s hip-hop scene through a combination of airtight wordplay and intelligent concepts. Over the course of her illustrious career, she’s performed alongside the likes of Talib Kweli, Dead Prez, Atmosphere, and Brother Ali, and is one of the few MC’s to perform regularly with The Roots as a featured artist. On her latest release, “Forever,” the hip-hop heroine delivers an empowering message over an ominous bass line, dropping bold verses like, “No, I’m not flawless. I’m scarred up, and I’m fine with it.” Ambrosia For Heads says she “Raps Like A Queen Straight Outta Wakanda,” and previously OkayPlayer deemed her “one of the most formidable microphone mavens in the game.”

Sa-Roc “Forever” (Official Video)

2. Sammus (Philadelphia, PA)

Sammus (Enongo Lumumba-Kasongo) is an Ithaca-raised, Philadelphia-based rap artist, producer, and PhD student in the Department of Science & Technology Studies at Cornell University. Known as much for her rousing stage presence as she is for her prowess as a beatmaker and lyricist, Sammus has spent the past several years cultivating a strong following of activists, hip-hop heads, punks, and self-identified nerds and geeks. Her debut LP Pieces In Space saw widespread critical praise from the likes of NPR Music, Pitchfork, and The New York Times. PAPER Magazine says, “[Sammus] fills the room with shining pieces of herself the moment she begins to perform. Her music simultaneously acknowledges and navigates the vastness of emotion.”

Sammus “Time Crisis” (Official Video)

3. OSHUN (New York, NY)

Independent hip-hop & soul duo OSHUN, comprising rapper-singers Niambi and Thandi, is the sonic manifestation of Afrofuturism. Using digital and acoustic sounds, heavy drums and bass, and ambient harmonic textures, OSHUN connects with the spirit of their ancestors to manifest a sweeter tomorrow. The duo just released their first full-length in three years, bittersweet vol. 1, and The FADER praised, “Across 10 songs that vary delightfully in tone and texture, the pair offers mantras for self-proclaimed bad bitches, tells stories of connections to the spiritual, and recounts testaments of growing up and gloing up.”

OSHUN “Parts” (Official Video)

4. TiDUS (New Jersey)

Influenced by Goth, hip-hop, Gregorian chants, the African Diaspora, and something beyond, TiDUS is noted for a nurturing sound that sits in its own genre. For what the New Jersey-native calls “Higher-Self Music,” Complex praises his “spaced out rhymes” and HypeBeast deems him “otherworldly.” He first started gaining attention with a couple EPs back in 2012, most notably his Doors EP. He then partnered with Vice for a music video for his single “Delancey” that chronicled a late night ride through New York City during Hurricane Sandy’s historic blackout. TiDUS now releases new projects as chapters in his “self discovery” series, which captures his sense of time and place in the universe through a lens that can be worn by anyone seeking to do the same.

TiDUS “My Energy” (Official Video)

5. Translee (Atlanta, GA via Huntsville, AL)

Signed to T.I.’s label Grand Hustle, Translee is a Space City rapper now residing in Atlanta who aims to change the perception of southern hip-hop and hip-hop in general. With the release of his breakout 2016 album M.A.O.T.P. Pt. 1, Vibe praised, “Translee’s grasp on everyday living is refreshing in a game where trap rap floods the market.” He hit the road last year for a nationwide tour with T.I., Yung Book, London Jae, Shauntrell Pender, RaRa, Young Dro, and DJ Pryme Time following the Hustle Gang compilation album, We Want Smoke.

Translee “Lost In The Sauce” (Official Video)

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