The best rapper from all 50 states

28 of 51


Artist – Mars Black

Years Active – 2008-Present

Notable Track – “Scotch on the Rocks”

Sample Rhyme:

“Black label president, I’m also a member

Hope to get thick baby, word to my gender

Making it hot in the middle of December

Oh you forgot? Don’t you remember?

We were rockin’ jams, me and my man

Mike and Ham

Over beatbox or a live band”

Omaha, Nebraska is a strangely fertile little island of music in the dead center of the United States’ Midwest.

Saddle Creek Records directly or indirectly fostered the development of a crazy amount of indie music darlings. Bright Eyes, the Faint, Jenny Lewis, Cursive and many others found their start with the Omaha-based label.

To those readers in the know, none of those aforementioned acts are even remotely “rap.” They’re all either folk or punk or rock or a combination of the three. No rap.

That doesn’t mean that some rap culture hasn’t grown up alongside Saddle Creek and the like. Indeed, a small group of artists came up through Omaha and the environs through the 1970s and 80s that ended up presiding over a small but significant underground scene.

The legacy of that early Omaha rap scene is Mars Black. The Brooklyn-born rapper has earned some notoriety in recent years, thanks in some small part to his association with Conor Oberst.

The latter is the lead singer of Bright Eyes and Omaha’s beloved son, arguably the city’s most well-known musician. His label, Team Love, signed Mars Black as its only rapper back in the early 00s. Thus Omaha’s music scene continues to evolve.

Next: Nevada