Milwaukee rap has finally generated some real buzz over the last several years, but that attention hasn’t been spread evenly across the city. While the city’s North Side continues to do blockbuster streams and garner national interest, Milwaukee’s South Side remains almost completely overlooked—to a degree that a lot of the city doesn’t even realize that the South Side has a rap scene. A compilation spotlighting the scene last year called Welcome To The $outh $ide 3 didn’t disguise the chip on its shoulder. “They try to cut us out, they try to keep us from the rest of the city,” its intro track steamed.

It’s true that the city’s South Side has been unfairly neglected—ironically just like the city’s North Side had been until recently. But that’ll change eventually. The scene has too much talent to remain slept-on forever, and if nothing else through sheer force of will it’s bound to make the rest of the city start paying attention. All it takes is one breakout act to lift a scene, after all, and Milwaukee’s South Side has two prime candidates in Puerto Wiccan and Tay Diego, both of whom were standouts on the Welcome To The $outh $ide compilation and both of whom shine on their new track “Michelle.”

Of the pair, Puerto Wiccan is the one you’ve most likely heard of, just because she’s so distinct, so good, so perfectly branded that you can’t help but take notice. Puerto Wiccan can make the kind of witchy trap her moniker suggests, and it’s always a blast when she does, but she’s not wed to that lane. She’s a Wiccan rapper, sure, but she’s first and foremost a rapper’s rapper, and on “Michelle” she and Diego trade no-nonsense bars. Her verse about stealing your girl may be the coldest thing you hear this spring.

Diego may be the less established of the pair, but he’s a talent, and his verses are all muscle, no fat. It’s a little funny hearing him rap about “the South” as if south of Burnham is the same thing as the American South, yet his sentiments stand. The South, as the old adage goes, really does got something to say.

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About The Author

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Evan Rytlewski is the former music editor for the Shepherd Express and web editor for Radio Milwaukee. His writing has appeared in Pitchfork, The A.V. Club, NPR, and The Washington Post.