9. Duck Down Records
Star Player: Skyzoo
Skyzoo’s style combines a mix of gritty rap and jazz-heavy soul. It’s actually not too off to compare him to A Tribe Called Quest—just with heavier lyrics. His 2012 project, A Dream Deferred, is the best audio example of that comparison, showing off seamless collaborations with Talib Kweli ("Spike Lee Was My Hero") and Jill Scott ("Dreams in a Basement"), and an impressive Brooklyn anthem titled “Jansport Strings.” By the looks of Duck Down Records’ seasoned roster of underground legends, Skyzoo is among good company.