Best of Hawaii Hip-Hop 2016

So now that we have reached the end of 2016 and breaking ground into 2017… it’s time to look back at last year and reflect on the many amazing projects Hawaii has brought the almighty genre of Hip-Hop. Everything from debut releases to mixtapes to EP’s to collaborations. All are free game.

I just want to be clear that this is my personal “Best of” list. I don’t mean to offend anyone or make anybody feel the wrong way. It’s simply just what I enjoyed most throughout the year, personally.

I was able to compact this list into the Top 10 projects of 2016 and it wasn’t the easiest of tasks at certain times. P.S. I know I probably missed some projects this year, so if I missed yours… just be sure to give me a heads up. I’ll be more than happy to listen and show some love.

Let’s begin…


Quite possibly one of the best projects he released, it’s unfortunate that it is no longer available to listen. Was bumping this for awhile. Dude really blew me away with this “lost tapes” type of material, but either way, can’t ever go wrong with free music or tracks from Decibel for that matter.


Lazy Luciano released a mixtape titled, Sad House, with features from many of your favorite Hawaii artists. I enjoyed this 8-track tape and you may recognize a few of these cuts that were released prior to this project such as, So Long & Headphones.  Nonetheless, solid work, strong features, and great production all around.


Without much promotion, DEF!NiTiON, released an EP last year for the first time in ages. The tracks Crickets & Hollowed Midnight are my personal favorites off this and I recommend this EP to anyone out there supporting real hip-hop and HI hip-hop. Check it out here, if you haven’t already.


Las Vegas Hip-Hop artist and Hawaii/Workhouse affiliate, King Teezy, dropped this project for 4th of July. Featuring some Hawaii All-Stars such as, Creed Chameleon, Prie, Jim Hurdle, J. SHIU & Common Difference. It was slightly surprising to me that I enjoyed a good amount of his solo work on this project (since he was a new listen for me). As for the Hawaii features, excellent verses. Everybody came through, especially on that Freelance track, Krystilez murdered that! I thought Teezy did a really good job overall, definitely will be getting his name out and attention worthy from this.


Rukka’s latest release, Black Fire Lava Chiefis a 7 track tape full of some soon-to-be classic Hawaii hip-hop. Features include Joncozy, Punahele, Cruise & Shikz with production from the boy Shrxxmhead and BN5stax. This project highlights a lot of what I enjoyed from his previous album; especially on Early Birds and Paddle Out. Cozy & Punahele killed their verses on this tape! He speaks about living and loving life, getting high & making the best out of what we have here on Oahu (the good life). I always look forward to hearing new material from Rukka, one of my favorite local artists.


The long awaited first legit project from the, THE HI-LITES CREW x THE HU$TLE CREW, featuring production from Purps Music, Winzel Mcfly, CHA$E N. CA$HE and THC’s own Hugh Hempner. Their mechanics and beat selection is one of the main reasons I put them so high on this list and it doesn’t stop on this tape. They have continued to release countless higher echelon music throughout 2016. Something about their charisma and flows that really sound good over these type of beats. Really dug this tape, if you’re a fan of Curren$y and enjoy chill (stoney) rap with good lyrics, this is your sh*t. Straight good vibes only!


Yup, Decibel made the list twice. He had a strong start to the year, but not sure what happened to the monthly releases (was looking forward to those). Anyway, this was his second release for the month of March. Unfortunately, it was also removed from his page along with ladybug. 😦 I preferred yellow.paint mainly because of the excellent features this time around which complemented Decibel’s lone skill.


Following the releases of Seeds of Growth & Akira, brings us another highly anticipated album that came out late last year. Trust Me, You’re Not Alone. In recent years, Prie has always been a stable force in the Hawaii Hip-Hop scene. From dropping yearly & quality releases, to extensive collaborations with other local artists, and opening for over a dozen well-known performers such as the g.o.a.t, Nas. We all know he has credibility. This 17-track project features the likes of some of Hawaii’s most gifted emcees such as: Jim Hurdle, Sire, & Lazy Luciano. I felt it was a strong project, definitely one of the years best, but Beautiful Memories really does give it a run for it’s money.


First of all, I would like to praise whoever created the artwork for this project because it is incredibly dope. Here we have a great & solid tape. I feel they worked got damn hard on this because everything flows so nicely. Each song connects to one another and almost makes it difficult to tell if the next track started or not. Major props to magu on the boards. Overall my favorite track would have to be kasumi’s heartache. Cause I love the sample a lot. So please listen to the entire tape… Everything is worth recommending especially with all the sick Pokemon references as track titles. It’s quite flawless if you ask me.


This was one of the projects I anticipated the most throughout the yearAnd to keep things simple… it exceeded my expectations. Koins has had a terrific year. He not only took his music to the next level, he set a higher bar for quality music coming out of the 808. The concept behind this album is quite straightforward; its a journey of Koins’ growth, experiences and lessons learned. All from the eyes of a local boy with aspirations of being a force to be reckoned with in this densely populated hip-hop industry. What connects all of this are the ‘Familiar Faces‘ that accompanied him along the way. I’ve been a fan of his music for the past year-and-a-half now and I couldn’t be prouder of what he has achieved. I see the growth from Keep Your Koins & being just a member of the Broke Mokes. For these reasons and some, gives it the top spot in my book for the year of 2k16.

Much love to all you hardworking individuals. What a time for Hawaii Hip-Hop music…

One thought on “Best of Hawaii Hip-Hop 2016

  1. Dope list. I’m from Hawaii too, tryna make my own music. Peep my music if you have the time:

    My first tape is on Audiomack, just search “Kobiin” (although the things I have in store are faaaaar better).

    I’m dropping a mixtape either at the end of this month or sometime in February, and I’m hoping to make it on this year’s list.

    I promise I won’t disappoint.


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