21 Asian American Musicians You Need To Get Behind Right Now

“Growing up Asian American, it was hard to relate with pop culture—I watched The Simpsons and Spongebob to see yellow faces.” posted on

CHOPS, a prominent producer behind the sounds of Kanye West, Lil Wayne, and Talib Kweli, has launched a Kickstarter campaign to put talented Asian American musicians on the mainstream map.


Once a musician himself (as part of Mountain Brothers, the first Asian American act to be signed to a major label), Chops identifies with “artists today who go through many of the things my group did, overcoming the same obstacles, same struggles, pushing forward, and going beyond.”

Here is just a small sampling of dope acts he believes you need to be paying attention to:

1. Dumbfoundead

Who: Rapper
Reppin’: Los Angeles
CHOPS says: Battle champ, tons of stripes, and increasingly great music. Super prolific output, tremendous grind. Listen here.

2. Baiyu

Who: Singer
Reppin’: NYC
CHOPS says: Baiyu’s talent, music, videos, and drive put a lot of major label artists to shame. Tremendous vocalist and writer. Listen here.

3. Prometheus Brown

Who: Rapper
Reppin’: Seattle
CHOPS says: Prometheus has a laidback way about him on record and in person that draws people in. His fans ride for him. Listen here.

4. Erika David

Who: Singer
Reppin’: Bay Area
CHOPS says: Singer with dope pop R&B vibe, it’s been a while since she’s released new original music but the fans are waiting for it. Listen here.

5. Bambu

Who: Rapper
Reppin’: Los Angeles
CHOPS says: Bam speaks on important things, stuff that matters, and backs what he says with action. Listen here.

6. Ann One

Who: Singer
Reppin’: Los Angeles
CHOPS says: She has songs from the mid-2000s that singers in Korea sing in idol competitions, the way kids sing Mariah, Whitney, or Christina songs here. Listen here.

7. Connie Lim

Who: Singer
Reppin’: Los Angeles
CHOPS says: Connie’s voice ranges from a whisper to a stadium belt. Influences ranging from Sarah MacLachlan to Bjork to Ellie Goulding to Florence and the Machine. Listen here.

8. DJ Bonics

Who: Hip Hop Deejay
Reppin’: Philly
CHOPS says: Bonics spins on the biggest station in Philly when he’s not on tour with Wiz Khalifa. He has a lot in the works, and he’ll be expanding even more. Watch him go in with DJ Craze.

9. DJ Neil Armstrong

Who: Hip Hop Deejay
Reppin’: NYC
CHOPS says: Respected mixtape, club, and show DJ, Neil has toured and performed with numerous big artists including Jay-Z. Check out a day in the life.

10. Hopie

Who: Rapper
Reppin’: San Francisco
CHOPS says: Creative and quirky flow with a mix of cool, fire, and book-smarts (she has a law degree!). Listen here.

11. Joanlee

Who: Rapper
Reppin’: Long Beach
CHOPS says: Joanlee’s been mostly under the radar, building with some heavyweights and strengthening his craft, which is gonna pay off nicely. Listen here.

12. Lil Crazed

Who: Rapper
Reppin’: Minnesota
CHOPS says: He’s the type of artist girls get a tattoo of (literally, it’s happened). But don’t let that fool you, Crazed raps his ass off too. Listen here.

13. Matt Cab

Who: Rapper
Reppin’: Tokyo
CHOPS says: Now based in Tokyo, Matt cruises the same highway as Ne-Yo, Chris Brown, and the like, but has his own lane. Listen here.

14. Nikko Dator

Who: Rapper
Reppin’: Las Vegas
CHOPS says: Youthful energy, swag rapper vibe but with actual strong rhyme ability, like a Drake or Wayne.
Listen here.

15. Paul Kim

Who: Singer
Reppin’: Los Angeles
CHOPS says: Modern singer with roots going back to the likes of Donnie Hathaway, I picture him like a John Legend or Miguel, blending different sounds but with a solid soul foundation. Listen here.

16. Rekstizzy

Who: Rapper
Reppin’: NYC
CHOPS says: The wild card, he’s kind of like our very own ODB mixed with a touch of Kanye. Rek is super funny, crazy, unique, and plays around with a lot of styles musically. Listen here.

17. Tasha AKA Yoon Mi Rae

Who: Singer/Rapper
Reppin’: Korea
CHOPS says: She stays attacking the charts in Korea, rapping and singing on anything from dance joints to straight hip-hop, from club bangers to ballads. Listen here.

18. Thai

Who: Rapper
Reppin’: Portland
CHOPS says: Veteran from the 454 Life Entertainment stable, Thai has a street sensibility, harder edged flow, and engaging delivery. Listen here.

19. Tiger JK

Who: Singer/Rapper
Reppin’: Korea
CHOPS says: JK and Tasha are kind of like the Jay and Beyonce of Korea. Huge respect, longevity, and music that somehow keeps getting even better with each release. Listen here.

20. Timothy Flu

Who: Rapper
Reppin’: Atlanta
CHOPS says: One of the least known artists on the project right now, but his Southern drawl, easy cadence, belie wordplay and lyricism will change that. Listen here.

21. VERBAL of M-Flo and Teriyaki Boyz

Who: Rapper
Reppin’: Tokyo
CHOPS says: Verbal has a stellar career filled with super-creative output, highly respected and successful at the same time, which is so hard to achieve. You’ve heard the band before.

For more information on CHOPS’ initiative, visit their new Facebook page.

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