Feb 14, 2024 - Music

I watched every Detroit On the Radar freestyle

Rapper Shaudy Kash (left) and On the Radar founder Gabe P. Ontheradar/youtube

Rapper Shaudy Kash (left) and On the Radar founder Gabe P. OntheRadar/YouTube

Sam here. Nearly every Detroit rapper has done an On the Radar freestyle over the last three months, or at least that's what it seems like when I go on Instagram.

What's happening: Founded by Power 105.1's Gabe P., a 26-year-old mentee of radio legend Angie Martinez, On the Radar has released freestyles featuring local rappers every week. More than 70 artists have gotten their own videos.

  • Detroit is the latest city to get its own mini series, along with Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Chicago and Milwaukee.

State of play: The in-studio "freestyles" — typically prewritten and recorded — have given a boost to up-and-coming artists like Karrahbooo and Mama Million. They have also earned criticism for lackluster performances according to rapper Veeze, who told artists last month to stop booking them.

Zoom in: What makes or breaks these videos is the material an artist performs and whether the internet can make viral moments out of it. There are a few viral-worthy clips from local artists:

What they're saying: "Detroit was a bucket list place for me as I am a huge fan of the scene and everything going on and relationships with Icewear Vezzo, Peezy and many others, we decided to make the move over there," Gabe P. tells Axios.

  • The sessions were recorded at Mixfactory Studio in Southfield in November, Gabe says

Meanwhile, I was impressed with some smaller acts like Nasaan, the first artist I've seen incorporate props, and Obi Ali performing with Daniel Hex, the son of Royce Da 5'9", whom I'd never heard rap until this week.

  • Shaudy Kash came with one of the more authentic "freestyles." Maybe it's because you can hear him breathing in the mic between verses but his laid-back delivery turns him into the Joe Cool of Detroit rap.

💭 My thought bubble: Veeze has a point, especially when artists are having issues lip syncing — you can find several examples of this on your own. But still, becoming more comfortable performing while getting exposure is probably worth it.

Editor's note: This story was updated with a quote from On the Radar founder Gabe P.

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