The best rapper from all 50 states

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Artist – Why?

Years Active – 2004-Present

Notable Album – Alopecia, 2008

Sample Rhyme (from “The Fall of Mr. Fifths”):

“Just another Sunday paddle boat ride

On a man made lake with another lady stranger

If I remain lost and die on a cross

Well at least I wasn’t born in a manger

I can sense somewhere right now

I’m being prayed for

Seems like I always arrive on the same shore

From where my sails set maybe

with one less lady than my vessel left with

Is that a threat?”

Nope, you’ve not heard of Why?, and that’s okay. Yoni Wolf’s rap “band” — based in Oakland, California, but originally out of Ohio — is still very indie despite having released four albums since 2005.

Listening to the song above, it might immediately become clear why you haven’t heard of Why? He’s not your typical rapper, put lightly. His delivery can be monotone, his subject matter esoteric at best. He raps about boredom, about infatuation, about depression, about his battles with Crohn’s disease. Taken together as an album, it might derogatorily be referred to as dense or, worse, arty.

And it is. There’s a slight bit of pretension to Why?’s whole shtick. It’s meant to be a little alienating to someone who is only casually listening. But further listens are rewarding. Stories unfurl, the rhymes and allusions become sharper and more devastating.

In sum, it’s well worth the effort to love Why?

Next: Oklahoma