10 More of the Best Rappers in OC

By: Nate Jackson and Gabriel San Roman
Last week, our list of Top 10 Rappers in OC seemed to cause a bit of a stir in the local hip-hop community, lots of whining but plenty of praises. Well, good–we're always glad to bruise egos and shake things up over here at Heard Mentality. But of course, the talent on these lists is what matters and frankly, there wasn't enough room for all the names we wanted to squeeze on there. So we gladly took another opportunity to share some of the music we've been bumping in our car stereo whilst trying hard not to get pulled over by the cops. And so we bring you another heaping hip-hop helping of 10 more emcees who are definitely worth your time.

See also: The Top 10 Rappers in OC


10. Rage
Born Dave Penalver, Rage is an Orange-based emcee who comes with 'uncontrollable' fits and flows. Always in the pocket with his rhymes, Rage is one to watch. New music is on the way this year, but looking back at Rage's “Going Crazy” shows you what he's capable of. Produced by Louden, the beat maker backing Reverie, the track displays Rage at his best. Catch him rockin' the mic too bringing the live energy to local hip-hop. (Gabriel San Roman)

9. Illnes
Santa Ana
Raised in SanTana, Nestor Medrano, better known as Illnes, is infectious. His voice delves into raspy realms and growls delivering a political punch in trying to elevate social consciousness. With a laboratory setting in SanTana's El Centro Cultural de Mexico, Illnes is involved 'Elemental Expression' workshops maintaining the culture. Since the release of his Dose One mixtape, Illnes tackles gentrification and other issues in new solo projects, including rhyming in Spanish. He's also part of the group Salvajes who are readying their debut album. (Gabriel San Roman)


8. Pecks
Among the litany of fresh faced rappers of the Grand Theft Auto Generation, there's a few giving the older cats a run for their money. Pecks is one of those dudes. The Cypress emcee born Josh Spetzman sports a relaxed, fluid flow that can come off dirty or debonaire depending on the track, but songs like the woozy “Dirtball” have us willing give him a shot no matter which way he breaks. (Nate Jackson)

7. Matt Allenn
Santa Ana
When you're looking for mood music to hot box your car before stepping into the club, you can rarely go wrong with a Matt Allenn track. Bristling tap beats, deep bass and a deft rhyme delivery about fly honies and kush are always on tap. Despite the party vibe, the bars are never lazy, neither are his live shows. The ability to conjure instant on-stage charisma makes his rhymes that much more perfect to be the sound track to the night you might forget you had (but will definitely feel in the morning). (Nate Jackson)


6. PWest
Santa Ana
PWest gives OC hip-hop a different take with his indie, energetic feel. The Santa Ana rapper definitely has chops and is deservedly nominated in the genre category at OC Music Award shows. To the trained ear, Jessie Ware's “Wildest Moments” was just begging to be sampled and flipped into a hip-hop track. PWest went ahead and did it on “The Greatest.” The rapper's delivery is finely crafted and ready for big things coming in the future. (Gabriel San Roman)

5. Epademik
Rancho Santa Margarita
Epademik has been in the game for a long time since moving from Gardena. That means he's seen a lot of shit. And what Ep sees, he has no problem saying as last year's The Beast Within shows. Armed with a sharpened delivery, Epademik spreads his message. On the witty “I Don't Care,” it's clear as day that he's doing his thing without worries of what others might say. (Gabriel San Roman)


4. Kadillak Kaz
Santa Ana
Santa Ana's Kadillak Kaz is one of OC's few emcees that's qualified to spit gangsta shit and not come off corny. Though his roughneck life style came with a price, which we chronicled in a 2013 cover story, it no doubt makes for some pretty authentic rhymes. His bars, laced with K-Day flavored flows, often collide with raw wit and southern fried trap beats. Typically you can find him rhyming alongside cleverly named OC comrades Cake Boi Sav and Big2DaBoy. Since being released from jail after a flimsy assault and carjacking charge almost earned him 25 years, Kaddy's wasted little time resuming his steady stream of released, including a full length, Late Nights, and an EP dubbed Downtime. (Nate Jackson)

3. C4mula
C4mula's got one of those voices that overtakes just about every track he's on. But he doesn't muddle it, he cuts through like a gas-powered chainsaw. Born Andrew Bowman, the Orange-based rapper is a long-standing staple in OC's underground rap scene under the umbrella of Huntington Beach-based crew label/crew Technicali Sound and the Committee Fam. Despite being a local name in OC rap, he has had near-misses with mainstream success, including a gig ghostwriting for AMC records after being discovered out of high school by a label rep who offered him a recording deal. Still very much a local artist, his undeniable charisma on stage is just as explosive on record, especially paired with his main rhyming partner Brawdcast. If you don't have his latest release, Another Stupid Mixtape Too, blowing up in your headphones…you need to fix that. (Nate Jackson)


2. Supreme Cerebral (Bugzy Nino)
It's rare to hear a lyrically lethal emcee in OC that sounds like he belongs to the wrong coast. But the big beat, east coast delivery of Supreme Cerebral, a.k.a. Bugzy Nino carries an Illmatic-inspired style with a bite and swagger that should come with a pair of loose laced Timbs and (hopefully) a record deal. The rapper born Bradley James signature tag line “Your Favorite Rapper's Rapper” my still be hyperbole at this point, but with every track he cuts with producer Flip Da Soul Fisher or featured artists like MayLay Sage, it seems like it's only a matter of time before it could be the truth. For a polished slice of his work, check out the 2012 LP, Muladoe King, the title of which is a play on his mixed ethnicity. (Nate Jackson)

1. Ariano
Huntington Beach
A longtime staple of OC hip-hop, Ariano is a dual threat. He can come at a track with his seasoned rhymes on verses and soulfully croon the kind of hooks that get stuck in the mind. The HB rapper has collaborated with Snoop Dogg and the Visionaries over the years. Ariano took a creative risk when dropping his solo effort Everything You Can't Take With You. His longtime collaborator LD layered progressive beats while the rapper hit positive vibes in his thematic contemplations. The effort went on to show that hip-hop is indeed a movement and that includes songs that help listeners identify with healing and moving along in life. (Gabriel San Roman)

See also:
Top Five Female Rappers in OC
Top 10 Rappers in OC
The 20 Greatest OC Albums of All Time: The Complete List

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