Within the past few years, the culture of rap music has reached unexplainable heights. The pool of Generation Y rappers is getting massive day by day, with the help of streaming services like SoundCloud to help create them a platform, drawing in millions of fans and “clout”.
Many artists have found success with their distinct appearances and seemingly indecipherable lyrics marinated by gritty trap beats. While veteran rappers like Ghostface Killah and many others believe that the new generation of rappers is a disgrace to hip-hop, the genre is continuing to evolve and expand; some of the new rappers might be able to shift the culture of Hip-hop in the right direction.
Here are 10 new wave rappers you should know.
From: Miami, Florida
Lil Pump gained notoriety from SoundCloud in 2016 with his single, “Lil Pump” produced by his co-collaborator and best friend Smokepurpp. He quickly followed the song with singles “D Rose” and “Boss”, which racked up a combined 70 million streams. Lil Pump instantly became one of the most well-known rappers in Florida’s flourishing underground wave. Pump blew up with “Gucci Gang”, which peaked at #3 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. From his vibrant dreads to his catchphrase “Esskeetit”, Lil Pump has gained attention from many fans, as well as rappers like Gucci Mane who was of many eager to sign the 17-year-old.
From: Miami, Florida
Omar Pineiro, professionally known as “Smokepurpp”, began his career as a producer. However, when no one wanted to buy his instrumentals, he began to rap on his own beats. By the age of 18, he gained some exposure on Soundcloud for songs such as “Ski Mask and “Glock in My Benz”, which as a result lead him to drop out of high school his senior year.
Smokepurpp released DeadStar in Sep. 2017, which introduced the world to his straightforward rap style, with a developing melodic approach. The mixtape features smash singles “Audi” and “Fingers Blue” featuring Travis Scott. Following the release of DeadStar, Smokepurpp was the first signee of Cactus Jack Records, Travis Scott’s label. Smokepurpp is set to headline 2018 Monster Energy OutBreak Tour beginning late April, and is planning to release a collaborative mixtape with producer Murda Beatz, teasing fans with “123” and “Do Not Disturb” featuring Lil Yachty and Offset.
8Ski Mask The Slump God
From: Broward County, Florida
A close friend and collaborator of XXXTentacion, Ski Mask has a playful, quick flow, along with a cartoonish persona that is slightly similar to Busta Rhymes. This is most evident with his most well-known song “Catch Me Outside”, as he begins the song with: “Naruto nine-tailed fox coat fur/ I feel like a Gucci ad-lib, burr!/ Colder than Coca-Cola mascot, polar bear/ Put my sauce on lasagna it could make Garfield purr (prr)”; The song now has over 40 million views on Youtube. He has collaborated with numerous artists, such as XXXTentacion in “Take A Step Back” and “What in XXXTarnation”, and MadeinTYO in “JustLikeMyPiss”. His debut mixtape, “YouWillRegret”, dropped in 2018, with hit singles “BabyWipe” and “Catch Me Outside”.
From: Chambersburg, PA
Kimetrius Foose, or professionally known as “Lil Skies”, could be the next breakout star to come out of Pennsylvania, just as Wiz Khalifa and Mac Miller successfully did. He began rapping at the age of 12, taking on the “Lil Skies” moniker when he began taking music more seriously. He began releasing several singles and videos. “Signs of Jealousy” landed him a record deal with Atlantic Records in 2017. His debut mixtape, “Life Of A Dark Rose” highlights his ethereal, yet emo sound which can be heard in “Red Roses” and “Cloudy Skies”. “Welcome To The Rodeo” is a pure rap intro that unravels Skies life story, proclaiming that he’d tattoo his face reminding himself to be committed in music. Skies is continuing to elevate and evolve, as he recently signed a major deal with Sony/ATV Music Publishing.
From: Broward County, Florida
XXXTentacion has one of the largest followings in underground rap, and is one of the most controversial rappers, from his aggravated battery and robbery charges, feuding with multiple artists, to even assaulting fans. Nevertheless, XXXTentacion is an extremely versatile artist with his music ranging from R&B, Punk-rock, to Heavy Metal. “Look At Me” is XXXTentacion’s biggest hit, which was streamed over a million times on SoundCloud. His debut album, “17” was a pure melancholic diary, featuring singles “Revenge” and “Jocelyn Flores”, a tribute to his friend who committed suicide. His second album, “?”, takes it up a notch with the somber melodies in “Moonlight” and “NUMB”. “?” debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200, with “Sad!” and “Changes” peaking at #7 and #37 on the Billboard Hot 100.
From: Canton, Ohio
Trippie Redd became interested in music while growing up listening to Ashanti, Lil Wayne, KISS, and Marilyn Manson. He began to take things more seriously after his older brother, known as Dirty Red, was killed in a car crash. He leaped into the music scene in 2015 with mixtapes “Beast Mode” and “Awakening My InnerBeast.” It wasn’t until his 2017 release, “A Love Letter To You,” where Trippie’s music has evolved into a blended element of trap rap, stadium rock, and R&B melodies. It features “Love Scars” and “Poles 1469”, featuring 6ix9ine. He followed with “A Love Letter To You 2” . It features “Bust Down” and “In Too Deep”.
Within the past few years, Trippie has elevated in his career, collaborating with many artists such as Famous Dex, D.R.A.M, Uno The Activist, Chris Brown, and with Travis Scott in “Dark Knight Dummo” and Diplo in “Wish”. Receiving co-signs from Lil Wayne, Drake, and Erykah Badu, Trippie Redd is on his way to total stardom.
From: Brooklyn, New York
From his colorful, flamboyant style, to his mound of face and body tattoos, 6ix9ine, also known as Tekashi69, is one controversial artist where it seems impossible to completely hate him. 6ix9ine’s cohesive music style—cold, gritty, in-your-face lyrics with dark visuals and trap beats to match is hard to ignore. Before his smash singles like “Kooda”, 6ix9ine released several singles and videos since 2015 such as “Sinaloa”, “Yokai” and “Hellsing Station”. They were all sponsored by a Slovakian-based Youtube channel titled, FCK THEM.
All within a matter of five months, 6ix9ine blew up in the industry with singles, “Gummo”, “Kooda” and “Keke”, racking up a combined 300 million views on Youtube. Gummo and Kooda are both certified platinum by RIAA. 6ix9ine then released his debut project, DAY69 on February 23, 2018. It features singles like “Billy” and “Rondo”, featuring Tory Lanez and Young Thug. 6ix9ine’s lyrics aren’t clever but with random songs titles and catchy hooks, 6ix9ine is smart at attracting new, intrigued fans.
From: Birmingham, Alabama
Before rising to fame, YBN Nahmir spent his free time as an avid gamer, playing on Xbox Live. He would freestyle on Xbox Live, along with the friends that he had, establishing the “YBN” collective, featuring Nahmir, YBN Almighty Jay, and YBN Manny. Due to the lack of mainstream rappers in Birmingham, Nahmir would listen to many West Coast rappers such as E-40, Eazy-E, and Tupac. His single, “Rubbin Off The Paint” was released on “WorldStarHipHop’s” Youtube channel and tallied over 22 million views in just 4 weeks. The song was so popular that Nahmir was pulled out of school and is now taking online classes while pursuing his career. Nahmir followed the song with “Bounce Out With That” on “Lyrical Lemonade’s” Youtube channel, which has received over 12 million views in only a week. In many of his songs, Nahmir’s rap flow and slang are similar to artists from the Bay Area.
From: Carol City, Florida
The oldest artist out of the list, Denzel Curry is distinctive among many of the artists emerging from Florida. His South-Florida sound is a mixture of Punk, Hip-hop, and Dancehall. Before going solo, Curry became part of SpaceGhostPurrp’s Hip-hop group, Raider Klan in 2011, along with other members like Xavier Wulf, Eddy Baker, and Chris Travis. During his tenure as part of the Raider Klan, he released three mixtapes, King Remembered Underground Tape 1991–1995, King of the Mischievous South Vol. 1 Underground Tape 1996, and Strictly for My R.V.I.D.X.R.Z, which was released after the death of Trayvon Martin, who also lived in Carol City and went to the same high school as Curry.
After departing from Raider Klan, Curry embarked on his solo career and released his first album, “Nostalgia 64” in 2013. The album was critically-acclaimed to be the “best project to come out of Miami in 2013”. He followed the album with Imperial in 2016, featuring the viral single “Ult”, and “Zenith” featuring Joey Bada$$. Curry delivers lyrical and packed bars, combined with rabid energy in his songs. He’s planning to release his third album, Ta13oo later this year.
From: Largo, Maryland
Maria Kelly, professionally known as Rico Nasty, is a female rapper full of skill, charisma, and rebellion. Rico gained exposure from her single, “Poppin” which was featured on HBO’s Insecure. Rocking platform boots, punk-styled clothes, and neon wigs, Rico’s nonconformist and playful appearance matches with her eclectic, speaker-blowing raps. Rico expresses her complicated persona in “TacoBella EP” and “Sugar Trap 2”. Songs like like “Key Lime OG”, “Watch Me”, and “Rojo”, underlines her alter egos, such as “Tacobella”. Rico Nasty is a rare artist, whose self-styled personality is one that will never die.