SOHH teamed up with ReverbNation to select 20 unsigned rappers with "True Grit" --that rough, authentic swagger and determination to win at all costs. After weeks of deliberations and debates reviewing hundreds of worthy (and simply wack) contenders, the SOHH.com team countsdown the top 20 grittiest rappers on ReverbNation with a hustle so hard and rhymes so raw, they can't go unnoticed.
The SOHH True Grit Artist #12: "DJ $CRILLA", CLEVELAND HEIGHTS, OHIO
The journey to find the grittiest emcee is far from over but after you take a listen to Ohio's own DJ $crilla, you might think it's time to become his latest MySpace/Facebook fan. It must be a Midwest swang, because when $crilla lashes his quick tongue against a heavy bass, we immediately hear pieces of Bone Thugs N Harmony in his flow. Bottom line? This Buckeye's ready to carve his place amongst hip-hop's notables and quotables.
It could be misleading to credit $crilla's talents in the form of nearly 2,000 Facebook fans or daily plays on his ReverbNation page. What draws us into him is the story behind his stories. A Cleveland native who decided to pick up a mic before he was even legal enough to purchase albums marked with "Explicit Content" stickers, $crilla ia out to prove that his flavor goes beyond local tastes.
Influenced by rap-approved greats like Tupac Shakur and Jay-Z, $crilla will be the first to tell you that non-urban inspirations in the form of Al Green and Coldplay have shaped his music. His style and craft has earned him the privilege to grace the stage alongside Jay Sean, Lloyd, Petey Pablo plus 8 Ball & MJG.
$crilla's unstoppable grind can be heard on tracks like "I Ain't Gon Stop", as he professes why he's smarter than your average rap hustler ("Took your swag, made it mine and gave it back to ya/Put your hands on my bread and I'm smacking ya/Cooked more heads than the eggs on a spatula...."). But he grinds even gritter than that: His "nippaR" track calls out cookie-cutter cornballs and displays this creative cat literally rapping backwards.("How many rappers just fade out, how many rappers made the word swagger just played out/How many rappers know another rapper that claiming he trappin'/But really acting 'cause he's going the same route/That lame route...."). If you're a co-ed with bursting school spirit, you'll definitely appreciate a few choice tracks from $crilla-- he's recorded several anthems dedicated to specific fraternities and sororities!
With hip-hop heavyweights like Kanye West and Pharrell Williams have proven to be successful producer-slash-rappers, $crilla may be next up to hit the trackmaster wining streak.