Fly Guy DC’s 5 artists to watch
After breaking acts such as Lil Baby, the influential host and on-air personality reveals who he’s eyeing next
While the hip-hop community patiently awaits the release of XXL’s annual freshman class, host and radio personality Fly Guy DC has a list of his own that solely spotlights Atlanta artists. The Streetz 94.5 mainstay has become an influential force in the city through regular community outreach and frequently breaking artists alongside co-host Ferrari Simmons.
Born Audley Feemster Jr., Fly Guy DC relates solidifying oneself as an artist to his progression into radio and event hosting. A college athlete studying criminal justice at Clark Atlanta University, he stumbled into his current career path after a last-minute hosting opportunity at a party. There he realized he had a voice, and now he searches for new artists who have found theirs as well.
“It’s nothing you can practice,” DC says. “It’s nothing you can perfect because you either have it or you don’t.”
For the Atlanta transplant, determining which rising acts have the ‘it’ factor is equally important as helping them break through to the mainstream. When Fly Guy DC and Ferrari Simmons tapped Lil Baby for his first radio interview, he was pushing his single “Grindin.”
“We were like, ‘Yeah, it’s cool, but that ain’t the one,’” DC says. “We premiered ‘My Dawg,’ and from there it was history.”
With Streetz 94.5, he has done the same for artists such as Gunna, Derez Deshon and Ayo & Teo. His penchant for finding and guiding new talent continues to beam as he predicts which artists are next up from the city in 2019. From bubbling acts who have already signed record deals to social media sensations channeling their starpower to follow their dreams, here are Fly Guy DC’s five Atlanta artists to watch this summer:
I. Lil Keed
“He’s like the new generation Young Thug.”
Lil Keed has the city’s backing as he prepares for the release of his upcoming project Long Live Mexico. A Young Thug protégé and YSL Records signee, Keed crept onto the scene last year with singles like "Fetish” and "Blicky Blicky" before exploding with “Nameless.” The Cleveland Avenue upstart has quickly developed a cult following, adapting a shrill delivery reminiscent of his mentor's early output and distinct in tamber and clarity. Over the course of a year, he has made numerous surprise appearances at events such as A$AP Rocky’s Injured Generation Tour and V103’s Tycoon Music Festival, doing the legwork to earn Atlanta’s love and become an unstoppable force.
Essential Songs: “Nameless,” “Balenciaga” and “Fetish”
II. Lil Gotit
“He has his own sound, and his delivery is incredible”
Lil Gotit is another emerging artist from Cleveland Avenue and, by happenstance, Lil Keed’s younger brother. While both cite Young Thug as their mentor, Gotit has embraced the technical aspects of his work and crafted a raw, speaker-shattering sound of his own. Best exemplified on his popular Lil Baby-assisted cut “Da Real HoodBabies Remix,” Lil Gotit makes the perfect music to hit the Woah to: ratchet, but refined. The 19-year-old MC is signed to Alamo Records and already has major collaborations with Gunna, Lil Durk and Hoodrich Pablo Juan under his belt.
Essential Songs: “Da Real HoodBabies Remix,” “Now” and “Drip School”
III. Renni Rucci
“She’s one to watch- already super lit with major labels after her.”
Stripper-turned-rapper Renni Rucci is a Wolf Pack artist and Quality Control affiliate from South Carolina who caught the eyes of major industry players with her unofficial remixes to records such as Moneybagg Yo’s “Trending,” Kodak Black’s “Roll in Peace” and Lil Baby’s “Freestyle.” With her recent project Big Renni, the Atlanta transplant aims to join the ranks of rap heavyweights with original material. The 10-track offering is a sampler of her prowess as a performer and a songwriter, from the wit and petty vigor of “Act Funny” to her captivating storytelling on “For Ever Mine.” As visuals from Big Renni continue to roll out, Renni Rucci’s momentum continues to snowball.
Essential Songs: “Act Funny,” “Fuck Em Up Sis” and “Cold Hearted”
“She was lit from Instagram and Vine, but nobody respected her music-wise. From there, she grew and grew and grew, and the song she has now is going crazy.”
Social media darling Summerella gained traction for her hilarious six-second sketches on Vine, but even back then her vocal capabilities were on full display. Since finding internet fame, the multihyphenate has starred on MTV’s Wild ‘N Out and consistently pumped out quality R&B. Summerella eventually signed a record deal with producer Polow Da Don’s label Zone 4 Inc and unleashed her debut project First Day of Summer last fall. The project’s runaway single “Do You Miss It” is a triumphant cut with an infectious sample of Mary J. Blige’s “I Can Love You,” and it’s ironically making noise just in time for summer.
Essential Songs: “Do You Miss It,” “Pull Up” and “Pretty Bitches in the Trap,”
V. Famous Ocean
“I haven’t seen talent like hers in a long, long time, especially for her to be so young.”
Although Famous Ocean doesn’t yet have a robust catalogue, her internet following compensates for it. A bonafide social media star, she boasts a massive 1.1 million followers on Instagram alone and vlogs regularly. Alongside fellow rapper Kung Fu, Ocean formed the female rap duo Hollywood Dollz, garnering attention for their record “Big Ole Flex.” The 16-year-old artist has since been featured on BHM Honcho’s single “Hate On” and released singles such as “BYE BYE” and “Get Active,” the latter of which secured radio play on Streetz 94.5 merely a month after its release.
Essential Songs: “Get Active,” “BYE BYE” and “Big Ole Flex”
Honorable Mention: Rotimi
“Although he just moved here, his EP is incredible, so I have to include him as an honorable mention.”
Famous for his role as Andre Coleman on the Starz series Power, Rotimi has also made strides as a contemporary R&B singer-songwriter. The New Jersey native and Nigerian talent signed to 50 Cent’s G-Unit label in 2015 and has since released tracks such as “Lotto” and “Want More” in addition to a slew of mixtapes and EPs. In April, Rotimi announced his departure from G-Unit and his subsequent distribution deal with EMPIRE by dropping his latest single “Love Riddim.” The contagious record is the lead single from his recent Walk With Me EP, a slick blend of Afrobeat and R&B.
Essential Songs: “Love Riddim,” “Decisions” and “Kitchen Table”