This year NXNE features plenty of prominent indie rock and punk, but if you prefer creative wordplay and party-starting beats to guitars and synthesizers, you've got plenty to choose from. Here are five up-and-coming and veteran hip-hop acts worth your time. Don't sleep on these:
Hailing from the Charlotte, North Carolina, Deniro Farrar is becoming known for his dark rhymes and work with boundary-pushing producers including Friendzone, Keyboard Kid and Lunice. His profile will rise this year with The Patriach mixtape featuring the Ryan Hemsworth-produced Big Tookie.
Wednesday, June 12, 11:25 pm, NXNE wristband or $12, and Saturday, June 15, midnight, NXNE wristband or $15, at Wrongbar; and Sunday, June 16, 4 pm, Yonge-Dundas Square, free.
It seems ridiculous to include veteran Derek Christoff on a list of underrated rappers in 2013. The Juno nominee is one of the best rappers in Toronto even if he hasn't gotten the national (or international) attention he deserves. Plus, his Rob Ford jokes are actually funny.
Thursday, June 13, 10 pm, Sneaky Dee's, NXNE wristband or $15.
SMIF N' WESSUN
The kids might not know the name, but Brooklyn's Tekomin Williams (aka Tek) and Darrell Yates (aka Steele) have been making music since 1993. The duo are trailblazers of gritty East Coast rap.
Saturday, June 15, 11 pm, Drake Hotel, NXNE wristband or $15; and Sunday, June 16, 7 pm, Yonge-Dundas Square, free.
While he's not technically a rapper, we're including rising Montreal DJ/producer Tommy Kruise on this list because his 2012 EP, Memphis Confidential Vol. 1, is chock full of woozy, bass-heavy instrumentals that Bun B, Juicy J and Paul Wall would feel right at home rapping over.
Friday, June 14, midnight, Nocturne, NXNE wristband or $12.
There's more to Nova Scotia hip-hop than Halifax heavyweights Classified and Buck 65. Halifax's Wordburglar has been carving out a path for himself since the early 2000s with his brand of zany rap that's sometimes cheesy but always sincere.
Thursday, June 13, 9 pm, Sneaky Dee's, NXNE wristband or $15.