Aside from the violent reputation Flint, MI, is usually known for, the city where I was born and raised has immense talent that has not only been recognized and praised locally, but nationally as well.
The small city of less than 100,000 people has seen its share of hope and despair, but always seemed to keep a spirit of grit and redemption that can be felt in the music, art, entertainment, and overall culture of Flint.
If you’re unfamiliar with the city’s rap history, I’d like to hip you to some of the best rap albums that came out of the city to date. So without further ado, here’s the top 5 must-have albums from Flint, MI emcees, in no particular order, of course.
MC Breed – The New Breed
Although MC Breed had already made his mark on the world with the breakout 1991 hit “Ain’t No Future In Yo Frontin,” his third studio album, The New Breed, was a standout project that garnered many accolades.
New Breed had it all from top-notch production from D.O.C., Warren G, and Breed himself to a memorable feature by 2pac on the street classic “Gotta Get Mine.”
The album peaked on the Billboard charts and boasted good reviews from critics, proving that no matter where you’re from, good music cannot be denied. Add this to your collection and never forget the legacy of the late-great MC Breed. Check out the album here.
Top Authority – Somethin’ To Blaze To
The gangsta rap group Top Authority hit the scene in 1993 with their debut album, Somethin’ To Blaze To, which featured their popular single “93 (Things Ain’t How They Should Be).”
The album reached #21 on Billboard‘s Top R&B Albums chart in April 1994 and made T.A. one of the first rap groups from Flint to release an album nationwide.
Underrated, even in their own city, Top Authority is added to the list of definitive rap pioneers in Flint so make sure this album gets a spin or two. Check out the album here.
The Dayton Family – F.B.I. (Fuck Being Indicted)
Some Flint-town natives may argue that The Dayton Family’s debut album, What’s On My Mind, is the best album from the group and should be on the list, but F.B.I. is my main pick because it shows their growth in lyrics, production, and overall delivery in professional sound.
Found on the album is the familiar gritty survival stories of struggle and poverty that fans come to expect from TDF but a new-found industry style is present as well, making F.B.I. a standout album for the famed Flint group. Check the album out here. Check out the album here.
Bootleg (of The Dayton Family) – Death Before Dishonesty
Breaking away from The Dayton Family for only a moment, member Bootleg showed that he could stand on his own with his impressive 1999 solo effort, Death Before Dishonesty.
I remember the year this album dropped. Five minutes couldn’t pass without you hearing it blast from someone’s car or home. It was that serious. Check out the album here.
Jon Connor – The Calling Pt. 1
Almost polar opposite of The Dayton Family, Breed, and Top Authority, Jon Connor turned the original gritty Flint sound around and managed to tell the tale of the streets in a more refreshing and hopeful light. In my opinion, he ushered in the new Flint sound that’s still heard in the city today.
His debut album, The Calling Pt. 1, is a well-put-together body of work that, much like all of the albums on the list, continues to stand the test of time.
Now that Connor is signed to Dr. Dre’s AfterMath label, we can look back at this album and literally hear him speak his success into existence. Check out the album here.
B!Z & A.P. – Perfect Timing (Producer A.P. and emcee B!Z create a perfect blend of street edge, funk, and soul)
Brandon Bars – There’s More (A solid debut effort that displays Bars’ lucid lyricism and witty wordplay)
Ace Gabbana – DMT (A trippy 8-track EP with smooth delivery over even smoother production)