South Carolina has a storied and rich history of several great artists and producers to blow into popularity, particularly with the latest generation of hitmakers. From producers like Jetsonmade, Neeko Baby, and 1st Class to rappers like 18veno, PG RA, and Blacc Zacc, you can’t deny the star power coming of out the Palmetto State. South Carolina is a gold mine for new talent in every category, with many of its leading acts breaking into commercial success over the past several years.
Nevertheless, here are nine artists from SC to keep an eye on in 2021 and beyond.
Coined the “Richest Rapper in SC,” Blacc Zacc spent several years perfecting his craft as a rap artist, from self-released mixtapes to creating his own independent label. Known for records such as “Tuesday” featuring DaBaby, “Trappin Like Zacc,” and “Sassy” alongside LightSkinKeisha, Zacc signed to Interscope through a joint venture with South Coast Music Group in late-2019. An extremely smart business decision, he’s released three projects via the label: Trappin Like Zacc, Carolina Narco, and most recently 803 Narco.
Upon digging through his catalog, you’ll find the South Carolina native with a plethora of features which includes Stunna 4 Vega, Key Glock, Kevin Gates, and Moneybagg Yo. It appears he has the hit-making formula down pact. This year, Blacc Zacc continues his triumph as a power player in Carolinas. Releasing music on every other occasion, the Columbia rapper has been paving the pathway for his recent DME signees Fat Loc and Lul Eli, who appear on records like “Amazing” and “Fool.”
Dro Kenji’s rise is a testament to the power of the internet. In 2020, the 19-year-old artist was a senior in high school in South Carolina, releasing a string of captivating singles and mixtapes on his SoundCloud with scant equipment and about 700 monthly listeners on Spotify. His earnest songwriting on early singles like “Finished” caught the ear of Internet Money Records (Taz Taylor, Nick Mira), who he eventually signed to.
Fast forward to today, Dro Kenji released his highly-praised label debut, EAT YOUR HEART OUT, which amassed over 1 million plays on Spotify and features Guwop Reign and $NOT. The Carolina rap artist draws upon the video games and the lo-fi sounds of rap’s online underground that he was raised on and creating a sound that captures the apathy and aspirations of his generation.
Litty Vuitton is an enigma. She describes her sound as “Cyber Trap” and “Digital R&B,” a unique blend that makes her music a worthwhile listen. One of the more soul-leaning artists in South Carolina, Litty is poised to be a star through her songwriting skills and ability to structure songs over synths and puncturing claps and cymbals. Some popular picks in her catalog include the Cormill-produced track “Oh Shit,” “Diggy’s Interlude,” and “SK8” amongst others.
Columbia, South Carolina rapper Black O is a bonafide hustler when it comes to spitting bars over bass-heaving 808’s and puncturing hi-hats. In 2018, he rose to the plate upon the release of Speaking for the Trap. The 11-track offering featured fellow artists Frank Dinero and Smoke Gambino to name a few. Black O is only growing in numbers as seen in recent drops such as “Pros & Cons” and “In My Head.” Drawing from his past experiences and hardships, the rising rapper is one to keep an eye on.
A rising artist to watch out for, Juhovah made major waves in 2019 upon the release of his All Dawgz Go to Heaven project. Last year, he followed up with 2020’s Soda City Love Story which boasts features from fellow natives such as BJFROMTHEBURBS, Frank Jordan, and Remy Lazarus. In 2021, Juhovah has been dropping a slew of singles including “Demons” and his TikTok ready “Poppin.” He has a unique sound coming out of the Carolinas which infuses R&B and hip-hop elements.
With eyes on the Carolinas thanks to the mercurial rise of DaBaby, PG RA rose to the occasion to keep the South’s momentum healthy, releasing 2019’s Blowing Candles to notable acclaim both regionally and in rap circles across the country. The Orangeburg native is notably known for singles such as “I’m Vibin’,” “Stick on Me,” and “Pfk,” an ode to the tragic loss of his younger brother Ray Ray, who played a pivotal role in influencing his music career and mindset, encouraging him to explore the breadth of his talent.
Now signed to Asylum Records, PG released a short-offering in mid-2020 titled God’s Gift, which boasts production from GRAMMY-nominated producer Jetsonmade and Neeko Baby amongst others. The rap phenomenon has been releasing a slew of singles this year with his buzz only getting bigger and bigger.
Hailing from Rock Hill, Shawn Scrilla is a force to be reckoned with. Best known for his records with multi-platinum producer Jetsonmade, the South Carolina rapper caught national attention upon songs like “On Fye” featuring Gunna, “Sing” featuring DaBaby, and “Blew My High.” These past few years, Scrilla has released a number of independent mixtapes that surpass the previous. On the heels of his District 19 project, Shawn Scrilla is looking to take hip-hop by storm in the near future.
Late Winnsboro rapper 18veno had an undeniable impact on the Carolinas as well as hip-hop as a whole. His 2020 debut project, Pablo, set the stage for a mega-successful career in music with production from Jetsonmade, 1st Class, Its2Ezzy, Neeko Baby, and more. It boasts a lone feature from PG RA as well as several visual efforts directed by Chidiebere Udogwu. Veno had the recipe for success, amassing over two million YouTube views to date and even more streams.
Unfortunately, the rising rap phenomenon passed away in January. However, Veno’s first posthumous project, Space Route, dropped this year. With a whopping 18 songs and no features, the offering contains some of his best work so far including tracks like “18 Nights,” “Until I Die,” and “Blocc Life” to name a few. You don’t need a clear eye view to recognize how big of a star 18veno was going to be, and this Space Route exemplifies that.
One of rap’s boldest and brashest voices coming to the forefront of women in hip-hop, Renni Rucci serves as a mouthpiece for female hustlers alike. Establishing herself through a series of freestyles in 2017, the South Carolina rapper has garnered millions of views and even praise from label execs from Quality Control. In 2019, she released her debut project Big Renni which paved the way for her being an XXL Freshman contender in 2020.
The Columbia native is by far one of the biggest female musicians to come out of the Carolinas, leveraging her social media following and music into bigger heights. Renni Rucci is currently releasing music in partnership with Wolfpack Global Music, the publishing group behind Atlanta megastar Lil Baby. In 2021, Renni has struck up quite the audience with songs like “Hands On Ya Knees” featuring Kevin Gates, “Can’t Be,” and the controversial “Beat Box Freestyle.”
Elsewhere in music, check out our interview with Seddy Hendrinx!