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Five Brown Emerging Women Rappers in L.A. You Should Know About in 2018

11:42 AM PDT on May 21, 2018

[dropcap size=big]E[/dropcap]veryone has a story to tell and for these rappers, Los Angeles looms large as a background character, a catalyst. Their finessed songs take inspiration from their Hispanic backgrounds, and L.A. breathes life into their work.

The trick is, of course, to orchestrate their life and times into that ba-dum-tish beat. After all, someone’s inner-most thoughts, fears, and hardships make the best catchy hooks. These artists are not merely surviving under the weight of the region, they’re thriving and seeming to hold the world accountable for its actions.

Topics from these five women’s work range from listening to hip hop as a baby, coping with mental health, surviving misogyny, and coming to terms with success. Here are our five of them that have been making our head bob lately.

Vel the Wonder

Over time Vel the Wonder, 29, refined her laidback, East Coast-style. She takes a page from Digable Planets but has made it into a distinct blend that is bolder and narrative-driven.

The Baldwin Park native started from where many other rappers of her generation have gotten their start, Soundcloud. She breathlessly freestyled in 2014 with her hit, “Cafe Y Mota,” and sang along with “Roll Weed.”More recently, she spun a tale of a gruesome murder in “Penny.”

Last year’s album “Joyride” is an unrelenting burst of lyrical precision. It is packed with more of that deft storytelling and an even more pronounced message of feminist empowerment than her past work. The track “Woman in the Crowd” is a good reminder to men on feminist empowerment, objectification of women, and rape culture in the industry. Her following lyrics show this.

“It’s not encountering evil, it’s how you counter the evil. Rectifying what it means to be a woman in the crowd of people. Whether they need you, greed you, or become deceitful. You still transmit the rays of light, see through, and every month you bleed through.”

However, on that same album is a fun song named “Peaches,” which is a love ode to Princess Peach from Super Mario Bros. In it, Vel recites, “Moody ass bitch, I’d love to take you out for a spin. I’ve got a couple go-karts we can through, couple rainbows we can row to." 

She often collaborates with Reverie and Gavlyn.


Reverie carries the same swagger that all rappers project in their work, like singing about being faded with the homies or partying until one’s voice gets horse. She boasts on “Critique Like Me” that she’s “hood famous overseas,” as she dances in front of brightly colored shops in Santee Alley in her music video.

But Reverie, real name Jordan Caceres, commands her introspection like a lethal blade, carving up her lyrics about substance abuse, barrio politics, and mental health.  

There’s a simmering resentment on “Black Hearts” detailing the pull of Los Angeles, Reverie’s family history, poverty, and discrimination. Her lyrical approach is almost confessional while remaining opaque.

Reverie, 27, grew up in Highland Park, before moving to Seattle with her family. She made her way back to Los Angeles and often collaborates with her brother and producer, Louden.


From her humble beginnings on MySpace to headlining shows throughout the country, Gavlyn effortlessly turns on a dime. She bends her sing-song-voice from stomping out spitfire verses to just good ‘ol fashioned catchy hooks.

Gavlyn, Audrey May Godoy, commands an instinctive, matter-of-fact tone on tracks like “LitUp” where she raps about, “This the shit I smoke. This the shit I lit up.” Her work ethic is consistent and Gavlyn seems to be dropping a track almost every month.

Gavlyn is a frequent collaborator with Los Angeles-based producer DJ Hoppa and also pals around with Reverie and Vel the Wonder. The three starred in a trip-down-memory-lane music video in “Looking Back,” a sort of victory lap celebrating the artists’ careers and unique styles.

On the track “Why Don’t U Do Right” she sings over the Pegg Lee’s classic of the (sorta) same name. She’s a member of Broken Complex Records and before all that grew up in the San Fernando Valley.


The Boyle Heights-based hip-hop crew EOTR, (East of the River Network), are a scrappy bunch, punching above their weight class with a strong roster. Shanelle De Anda, aka Kiddo, released her debut album “Escapism” last year, produced by Badson and her track “Buy In” is an indictment on the type of masculinity a woman like herself has to deal with when performing on stage.

She starts the track, “First off, fuck anyone who want to judge me for my sex.” Later she calls out another male MC who is grabbing at his “johnson” and trying to grab on her.

Kiddo’s bite is fierce throughout her seven-track album, it is obvious her style relishes collaboration, but also a day-in-the-life approach that can be endearing while pouring over the banal details of life.

Kiddo’s following lyrics first recall her first real memory of music and how it blended into her world. She starts her album with it in the song, “Making a Feeling.”

“It all sparked when I was still in diapers. While bobbing my head in the backseat of that '87 Acura. Pop-popping tapes, cruising around, jotting errands, all I remember was a mix of melodies, drum kicks, and word blends. And maybe then I couldn’t yet decipher what was set, but round and round I went creating pictures in my head.”

Raven Felix

Much like Frank Ocean’s voicemails from his mother find their way into his work, so too does Raven Felix’ abuelita, warning her to be careful before she goes out for a night of partying on the 2015 track “Bad Little Bish.”

Mija, con cuidado,” her abuelita says as Raven Felix launches into the chorus, “Bad lil' bitch, Bad lil' bitch. Bad lil' bitch, from the valley.” That’s the San Fernando Valley that she’s representing and the 818 tattoo on her hand can attest that she rolls pretty hard for the Valley.

Raven Felix, 22, is of Mexican and Puerto Rican descent and she peppers her songs with Spanglish and music videos includes montages at taquerias. She cultivated a party-girl persona early on but has since developed a more serious pop-star aesthetic. She’s collaborated with Snoop Dogg and is signed to Wiz Khalifa’s independent record label, Taylor Gang Entertainment.

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