Blue Robot

Unknown Hip Hop Artist: Richie Cunning

Posted by David Porter Callanan on 04/03 at 05:49 PM

Last week I wrote an article about the XXL freshman 2012 list and defended the magazine even though I did not agree with their choices. Every year, the XXL freshmen consist of MC’s that have generated an online following, which is known as a “buzz.” Personally, I heard of all but three of this year’s class, so I’m guessing the average hip hop fan knew about two or three of the freshmen (humble brag). In response to XXL’s list, I conjured up a list of a few rappers who despite being somewhat buzz-less, deserve to have a larger buzz than a group of alcoholics at happy hour. During my blurbs all the basic info will be included like hometown, Twitter handles and their projects you can look at online. This week’s artist is one of my personal favorites.

Richie Cunning, San Francisco, California @RichieCunning

A little over a year ago a friend posted a song on my Facebook wall entitled “Pure Imagination,” by a guy named Richie Cunning. The first thing I noticed after clicking on the YouTube video was the absolutely insane artwork. As the track began a familiar sample played from a childhood classic, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Now usually these kind of samples can make a song gimmicky or corny but this track was moving. It had inspirational yet depressing lyrics, with a smooth beat and a catchy hook. This was hip hop, this was Richie Cunning.

After listening to the song, I immediately scoured YouTube for more tracks. A few of my favorites included “Smoke,”Still Livin,” and “Last Stop.” All of these came off Cunning’s self distributed and produced jazz heavy debut album entitled Night Train. Now if you have five dollars and at least an hour to spare please purchase the album and let it change your life. The album can be purchased off and while you’re there you can download both his mixtapes The Grizzly Man and Late Night Special.

Later this year, hopefully this month, Cunning will be dropping his highly anticipated (at least in my mind) 1906 EP. Richie has already leaked two tracks from the EP “Iron and Gold,” and the self titled “1906” which can also be found on his website. These tracks give me the feeling that Cunning is growing as an artist while still staying true to his hard hitting roots. Follow Cunning on Twitter @richiecunning cause it is a travesty that he does not have even 1,000 followers.

{name} Author: David Porter Callanan
Bio: David Porter Callanan is currently a senior studying print journalism and English at Penn State. In his free time he enjoys eating peanut butter, watching premium television shows, listening to rad music and being tortured by his beloved Philadelphia sporting teams. He listens to a wide range of music but his favorite genres are grunge rock and hip hop. Some of his favorite artists include Pearl Jam, Kanye West and J. Cole. Following graduation, his dream job is to write for the hip hop magazine XXL.


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