Punk-infused ragers, poetic cuts and rapid-fire bars, we’ve counted down the top 20 hip hop COLORS performances.

COLORS quickly established itself as one of the leading online platforms for live musical performances from artists from a range of genres. However it’s the meticulous curation of fantastic talent that has allowed the channel to become a reference point for finding new music for people of all ages.

The simplicity of the aesthetic and visuals alongside the memorable performances have made COLORS a staple of people’s online musical consumption. With expert outfit choices paired with short enthralling performances providing a digestible introduction to our future favourite artists.

We have listed the top 20 hip hop performances on the platform consisting of punk-infused ragers to soft poet cuts.

20.  Tobi Lou – Orange

Providing soft, introspective chattering over a lullaby-esque instrumental, Chicago’s Tobi Lou is a product of a bustling Chicago spoken word/ rap scene that has recently birthed artists such as Saba and Noname. His unique dress sense and reassuring lyricism makes for a compelling display.

19. Tierra Whack – Unemployed

In a series popularised by distinct outfit choices and colour coordination it can be hard to stand out from the crowd. Tierra Whack is one such artist that has sonically stood out since her 2018 break through project ‘Whack World’. She took it to another level in her COLORS performance with commenters likening her outfit to a ‘Nerf gun bullet’ or one you’d find in Dragon Ball Z. Outfits aside, it’s a memorable performance that demonstrates her ability to bring a rapid fire flow that is both understandable and catchy.

18. Serious Klein – 91 Flex

German-Ghanian rapper Serious Klein is perhaps one of the lesser known artists on this list however, that’s no reflection on his rapping ability as he effortlessly slaughters ’91 Flex’s sinister instrumental. Frequently switching up his flow to highlight the full repertoire of his spitting ability, the MC’s razor sharp bars has the potential to cut through much of the saturated hip hop market’s noise.

17. Kelvyn Colt – Bury Me Alive

COLORS has a record of showcasing talented artists from all over the world. Being based in Germany, it makes sense that some of the country’s best artists would appear on the platform. One of which is the husky voiced Kelvyn Colt, who no doubt won over a legion of new fans with his live version of ‘Bury Me Alive’.

16. Loyle Carner – Ice Water

For Loyle Carner’s first appearance on COLORS he performed the buttery smooth ‘Ice Water’. With a seemingly permanent smile on his face throughout, the South Londoner brought a heart warming rendition of one of the stand out tracks on ‘Not Waving, But Drowning’. The colours and mood of the whole spectacle are the perfect accompaniment to a warm summer’s day.

15. Flohio – Bands

Issue 6’s cover star provided a venomous performance of ‘Bands’ in the COLORS studio in 2018. Flohio aggressively rhymed over a heavy industrial instrumental in her  trademark combative fashion.

14. Mick Jenkins – What Am I To Do

Mick Jenkins linked with none other than Kaytranada for an inspired cut, ‘What Am I To Do’. The charismatic MC hits all the pockets, complementing his impeccable delivery and pronunciation on a razor sharp effort.

13. Little Simz – Venom

“Fuck those who don’t believe, They will never wanna admit I’m the best here For the mere fact that I’ve got ovaries.”

Mercury Prize nominated artist Little Simz returned for her second COLORS performance off the back of her ‘GREY Area’ album.  Featuring a haunting instrumental and sharp lyrical content, she reaffirmed claims of her spot as one of the best MCs coming out of the UK currently.

12. IAMDDB – Pause 

Borrowing rhythm from her father’s native Angola and cutting lyrics influenced by her home town of Manchester, IAMDDB is carving out her own distinct lane. Her instantly recognisable flow on this COLORS performance contributed to the video hitting over 14 million views and counting.

11. Lava La Rue – Widdit

Showcasing her ability to not only effortlessly spit bars but provide ear worm hooks, NiNE8 Collective’s Lava La Rue contributed to her growing hype with a fluid outing. ‘Widdit’ was a shrewd choice of song to display the diverse range of musical skills the multi-faceted creative has on hand.

10. DUCKWRTH – THROWYOASSOUT

If you are in need of a vibrant, dance-inducing anthem then look no further than LA native DUCKWRTH‘s COLORS show. One of the more rhythmic performances on the list, ‘THROWYOASSOUT’ is produced by close friend and frequent collaborator Channel Tres. The mustard-stained backdrop coupled with his high waisted trousers contribute to an aesthetic derivative of 60s soul.

9. slowthai – Ladies

Animated as ever slowthai performed an ode to women everywhere back in 2018 and on reflection it almost feels inevitable that he was going to have a massive 2019. The Northampton native’s unmistakable cadence matched with the brilliant production of frequent collaborator Kwes Darko provides a head nodding instalment of the live performance series.

8. Skepta – No Sleep

In one of the most interesting showings on the platform yet, Tottenham’s Skepta performed ‘No Sleep’ from his album ‘Ignorance Is Bliss’ with the project’s thermal vision aesthetic on display. Wearing a metallic two piece, the grime spitter hit back at his opposition in a relentless display of lyrical prowess.

7. Goldlink – Rough Soul Feat. April George

Goldlink’s trademark flow has the unique ability to simultaneously sound both lazy and dynamic at the same time. Hailing from  Washington DC, the spitter  brought an uplifting almost soulful energy to the COLORS studio way back in 2016, setting the wheels in motion for the his rapid ascendency from rap’s underground.

6. Freddie Gibbs – Fake Names

Gangsta Gibbs delivered a stinging performance of ‘Fake Names’ from the highly anticipated second collaborative project with Madlib. The LA based rapper demonstrated why is he is currently one of the coldest in the game with his cut throat lyricism and unrelenting flow.

5. JPEGMAFIA – Thug Tears

In 2018 JPEGMAFIA dropped ‘Veteran’ to critical acclaim, propelling him to the top of other artist’s collaborative wish lists, landing him guest spots with the likes of Denzel Curry and more recently Danny Brown. Showcasing glitch-ridden, experimental production and aggressive delivery, Peggy’s live performance is not one to be missed.

4. Rico Nasty – Countin’ Up

When you got a COLORS show at 3 but a funeral at 4.

Everything about Rico’s COLORS show is on point. Her outfit, breath control and execution of the Kenny Beats produced ‘Countin’ Up’ is nothing short of excellent. There’s something oddly nostalgic about the nu-metal tint in the track and it makes for a showing filled with controlled aggression.

3. Tommy Cash – WINALOTO

Estonia’s Tommy Cash is one of rap’s weirdos, he’s unapologetically himself and when he got the chance to perform on COLORS he didn’t disappoint. Featuring zany dancing and animated facial expressions Tommy is strangely mesmerising in this one.

2. JID – Working Out

Arguably the hottest commodity on a frighteningly talented roster at Dreamville, JID delivered a scintillating performance on COLORS. Featuring twinkling keys and emotive delivery, the live rendition of ‘Working Out’ is arguably better than the studio recording.

1. Earthgang – Up

With the upmost respect to the other artists on the list, this was an easy choice for the number one hip hop performance on COLORS. Atlanta’s Doctur Dot and Johny Venus’s energy is stupidly infectious in this live rendition of ‘Up’. The pair trade bars and switch up their flow on an effort that’s imperfections add a humanised charm to the track.

Words: Dylan Murphy 
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