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If the rap game were an easy mountain to climb, everyone would do it. The fame and recognition that goes with being a wordsmith who expounds poetry above a bumping track can be quite intoxicating, but it’s also very difficult to get recognized amid the mass of hip-hop artists out there. More than ever rappers have avenues to get recognized, with the internet and sites like SoundCloud and YouTube allowing budding artists to pump out their product.

Through all the static, there are gems: aspiring rappers that seem leagues above their competition due to the intangible “it-factor.” These five, young artists have it, and if their recent work is any indication of the future, the future is looking bright.

Somewhere at the crossroads of R&B and rap — the place where Drake calls a home — is a little cottage belonging to this man, Luke Christopher. His home is not as big as Drake’s, but give it time — the foundation for a bigger facade is being built. Hailing from Los Angeles, Christopher can sing better than Drake, but takes a more narrative approach in his rapping; it’s something that’s evident on his single “Lot to Learn,” a song that professes his immaturity in certain matters. At only 22 years old, Christopher has the world ahead of him, and has buckets of swag and talent that will likely propel him to the top of the heap in the hip-hop world.

Andy Mineo

Whomever told you that religion and rapping can’t mix lied to you. Andy Mineo is a Christian-based rap artist who started his career working with the highly esteemed Christian artist Lecrae. A rapper and producer out of Syracuse, N,Y., Mineo doesn’t slather his verses with God-talk, but does espouse a highly motivational and inspirational tone, one that rockets his recent titular single, “Uncomfortable,” past tunnel-banger status (the beat is serious fuego) to something more ethereal. Showing that he has the skills to excel in this rap game, Mineo recently ripped some verses for the Sway in the Morning show. For those searching for something more positive in hip-hop, and crave high-quality lyrical flows, consider your search over.

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