Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

Milwaukee's rap scene is heating up, but structural barriers remain

cam will

This week on Tap'd In, we're talking about some exciting new talent in Milwaukee's hip-hop scene, including rapper Huey V, who's been growing an audience both in and outside of the city since signing to Memphis Bleek's Warehouse Music label, and Cam Will, whose sticky new single "Dance With Me" both Piet and I have had in heavy rotation these last few weeks.

Both of those rappers are exciting, in part, because they break from the usual sounds that have been dominating Milwaukee rap for the last half-decade. In a recent interview, Huey V explained to me that he's opted for a more cinematic sound with potentially wider appeal than most Milwaukee rap, in hopes of growing an audience that could help shine a light on the city. That's an approach that historically hasn't worked for local rappers, but Huey V argues that he really is positioned to break out on a bigger level -- and that he can do it without leaving Milwaukee behind for a bigger music hub like Atlanta.

Also on this episode, we praise recent projects from Milwaukee native Donno (whose new album "Kid on Firee" is another exercise in deeply personal writing) and veteran local rapper Blax, who has a lot of fun twisting classic hip-hop traditions on his new project " Angeline."

We spend the second half of the episode having a "state of Milwaukee rap" conversation. The city's rap scene has had some big wins over the last couple of years, namely the success of Lakeyah, but it's also had some big set backs, including the death of one of its most promising young artists, Big Wan.

What's frustrating, Piet and I agree, is that for all the traction Milwaukee rap has garnered over the last half decade, the city is still missing some key support systems to lift up emerging rappers -- including venues and festivals that book Milwaukee rap. Milwaukee rappers have done their part, raising their game and presenting a product that's ready for a global audience. Now it's time for the city to step up.

Hear us discuss all that and more on this week's episode below.