Photo: Nikki Swarn (RMPBS) By Philip Clapham, 5280 | Hip-hop highbrows often knock Denver for lacking a distinctive sound. But Nikki Swarn, general manager of 104.7 The Drop—a rap and R&B station that has been streaming online as part of Rocky Mountain Public Media since 2019—hears the scene differently. “Mile High City rap and R&B is unique for its vulnerability and openness and commitment to cause and community,” she says. Swarn tuned us in to these three local artists, whose principles, lyrics, and lived experiences are all their own.

A Stigma-Free Zone
Aurora native Jay Triiiple moved back to Denver from Illinois when she was 15. Now 30, the unabashedly Black and gay emcee delivers sharp lyrics full of irony and self-assurance. “She’s fearless,” Swarn says. Who’s Triiiple?, her 2017 EP, laid bare the artist’s personal struggle with depression. Her latest project, an Instagram-first video series called I Rap Better Than Your Boyfriend (@irapbetterthanyourboyfriend), offers icy braggadocio fused with mantras like, “Instead of running, I’m understanding my feelings. Let it flow on out my pen and express when I’m done healing.”

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[Thank you to Alex Teitz, http://www.femmusic.com, for contributing this article.]

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