2015 was a great year for Bay Area Hip-Hop. There were moments when we were heartbroken, surprised, and proud to claim some artists as our own! Last year we selected our last Bay Area Freshmen 10 class ever. We want to take today, the first day of 2016 to review the year and celebrate the progress everyone’s made in the past year.
We’ve also finally decided to finally deliver the previously unreleased BAF10 2014 mix that DJ Ghost personally put together to give fans a chance to familiarize themselves with the incoming class of Bay Area Freshmen. The mix is over a year old, so take a moment to slap that as you read and recall what made you fall in love with the music and artists to begin with.
Nef The Pharaoh – After a signing to E-40s Sick Wid It Records, a smash single in “Big Tymin’”, joining Kool John and P-Lo on their Moovie! Tour, and gracing stages such as KMEL’s Summer Jam and How The West Was Won, and a solid effort in the Nef The Pharaoh EP, there’s no doubt that Nef The Pharaoh has had the biggest 2015 of anyone on this list. If there’s a question about that look no further than his year end statement “No Masturbation”. Nef’s Big Tymin’ was arguably the biggest single to come out of the Bay Area from a newcomer in 2015. The success of the Cash Money Records inspired single garnered the Vallejo rapper nods from publications ranging from Complex to Pitchfork.
It was announced that he’ll be joining G-Eazy and A$AP Ferg on the When It’s Dark Out Tour beginning January 2016. It’ll serve as a welcome opportunity to get his music in front of a broader audience and exponentially grow his budding fanbase.
Caleborate – Caleb Parker also known as That Black Kid That Raps, and most familiarly, Caleborate released what felt like the most talked about mixtape the Bay’s seen in 2015 after remaining relatively quiet during the first half of the year after dropping his Winter Break EP in January. His growth was both organic and fast. So much so that even those who were paying attention didn’t realize what was happening until it happened. Before we knew it Caleborate’s album Hella Good was appearing on every blog you could think to name, garnering shout outs from IAMSU! and G-Eazy, and Caleborate was invited to perform on every of concert and local festival stage short of Summer Jam. To punctuate his noteworthy year, Hella Good was named in both SF Weekly and the East Bay Express’ best albums of 2015.
Tia Nomore – For most of 2015 fans were asking where is Tia Nomore? She’s blessed fans with a song here and there during the first half of 2015. “Cakewalk” featuring Show Banga was probably the most noteworthy of those. What fans were waiting for was her much hyped debut Holloween, which was given a handful of release dates that never came. That all changed on December 18th when she finally released a 3-track EP by the name of Holloween. While it was a brief effort, it delivered on all the things that fans have come to expect from Tia. She’s a slick talking, mobby wordsmith who can really spit bars. We’re waiting on her full length release, and hope that her perfectionism doesn’t deprive fans of new music for too long.