When it comes to the rap game, everyone’s quick to mention the legends—2Pac, Jay-Z, Nas, Biggie, Lil Wayne, Kendrick Lamar, Rakim, and the list goes on. But let’s take a moment to shine a light on the unsung heroes, the underrated rappers who have been diligently contributing to the hip-hop culture from the very start of their journeys.
In this realm, we find artists like Black Thought, whose lyrical prowess and unwavering flow stand unchallenged. Jean Grae, whose rhymes weave intricate tapestries of emotion and intellect, deserves a spot in this conversation. And then there’s Missy Elliott, whose transformative artistic contributions have left an indelible mark on the culture. Cormega, with his storytelling prowess, has the remarkable ability to transport listeners straight into the heart of Queensbridge.
Today, we’re diving into the world of these underappreciated gems. While their names might not be on everyone’s list of rap legends, the impact they’ve had on the culture is undeniable. Join us as we explore the legacies of Black Thought, Cormega, Missy Elliott, Jean Grae, Aesop Rock, Brother Ali, and more. These are the 35 most underrated rappers of all time, and it’s time to give credit where credit is due.
25. YN Jay
Top Song: “Coochie” with Louie Ray YN Jay collaborated with Louie Ray on the hit “Coochie,” creating a viral sensation that spread across various online platforms, especially TikTok. Despite being recognized for his TikTok success, YN Jay’s musical talent extends far beyond, making him more than just a “TikTok artist.” Explore his diverse range of top-notch music to fully appreciate his skills.
24. Shawny Binladen
Top Song: “Whole Lotta Wickery” (feat. Bizzy Banks) Shawny Binladen has earned recognition in New York City’s rap scene and is rightfully acknowledged as the “King of the Samples.” Despite currently serving jail time, Shawny’s impact remains significant, and his return promises to be noteworthy. His name is synonymous with NYC’s role in the evolution of drill music.
23. Hurricane Wisdom
Top Song: “AI (feat. Luh Tyler)” Hurricane Wisdom, though relatively early in his career, has already collaborated with artists like Luh Tyler, NoCap, and NLE Choppa. His incredible sound sets him apart, and as you delve into his music, you’ll find it to be an experience worth appreciating.
Top Song: “Rich Ooter” (feat. Bizzy Banks) Originally from Jamaica and raised in Virginia, Kwad is a rapper deserving of recognition among underrated artists. His collaborations with Bizzy Banks and Xanman serve as excellent examples of his rap prowess. Dive into his catalog, starting with “Rich Ooter,” to begin your journey into his musical world.
Top Song: “Heroic” $odaman, hailing from Atlanta and the blood brother of Sid Shyne, is an artist with undeniable potential. His ability to innovate and exceptional stage presence make him a standout in the rap scene.
20. Mick Jenkins
Top Song: “Carefree” Mick Jenkins, a highly underrated rapper, has achieved considerable success in his career. However, given his level of talent, he deserves even more recognition. Take a deep dive into Mick’s music, including the lesser-known tracks, and you’ll undoubtedly become a fan.
Top Song: “Free Ralo” (feat. Veeze) 2Ski, a Detroit rapper, demonstrates a knack for producing quality music. Tracks like “Still Here” and “Free Ralo” exemplify why he is regarded as underrated in the rap game.
18. Sid Shyne
Top Song: “Cyberlove 333” from ‘Dreams Unlocked’ Similar to his brother $odaman, Sid Shyne is an exceptional performer with a unique musical style. His consistent touring has further honed his sharp skills.
17. Jae Skeese
Top Song: “Burner Phone” from ‘Abolished Uncertainties’ Hailing from Buffalo, New York, Jae Skeese, signed to Conway the Machine’s Drumwork Music Group, is a cunning lyricist who has had a significant 2023. His albums, “Pain Provided Profit” and “Abolished Uncertainties,” showcase his undeniable talent.
16. Blvck Svm
Top Song: “tarragonbutter” from ‘mangalica mink’ Blvck Svm, another deserving rapper, captivates with his beat selection, compelling lyrics, and unmatched flow. Listen to “tarragonbutter” to experience his unique sound.
15. RMC Mike
Top Song: “Flintana” with YN Jay, Lil Yachty, Louie Ray RMC Mike, representing Flint, Michigan, stands out with rap skills that rival the best in the Midwest. His album “Senior Season” from 2023, along with the track “Flintana,” is a testament to his upward trajectory.
14. Rio da Yung OG
Top Song: “Legendary” Rio da Yung OG’s technically sound approach and witty lyricism make him an artist not to be overlooked, especially in the Midwest. The #FreeRio movement eagerly anticipates his future releases.
13. Sexyy Red
Top Song: “Pound Town” Sexyy Red, having an explosive 2023, successfully continues the buzz from her breakout hit “Pound Town” with the album “Hood Hottest Princess.” Collaborations with Nicki Minaj, Juicy J, and Sukihana further showcase her shining talent.
12. Baby Money
Top Song: “Had to Ask” (feat. Babyface Ray) Baby Money, poised for even more significant success, displays versatility and freshness in a world of repetitive sounds. The collaboration with Babyface Ray in “Had to Ask” is an excellent introduction to his catalog.
11. Scar Lip
Top Song: “This Is New York” Scar Lip has become a major figure in New York City hip-hop, evident in tracks like “This Is New York,” which embodies the essence of the city. His prominence in the emerging scene is well-deserved.
10. Robb Bank$
Top Song: “Bad Vibes Forever” Robb Bank$, at the 10th spot, has a storied career that continues to evolve. Get familiar with his music to witness the beginning of what promises to be an enduring story.
9. Huey Briss
Top Song: “Heavenly Gates” Huey Briss, one of the most talented West Coast rappers, showcases his unique style and lyrical prowess in tracks like “Heavenly Gates.” The accompanying music video adds to the overall appeal.
8. THOTTWAT (Thoto and ICYTWAT)
Top Song: “SHIRT” THOTTWAT, a group on the path to success, consistently delivers songs worth replaying. Their visuals elevate the experience, and for first-time listeners, “SHIRT” is a must-listen introduction to these AWGE signees.
7. J Dlux
Top Song: “3 Days In” J Dlux, an exciting emerging rapper from Atlanta, adds creativity to every aspect of his career. His dedicated fanbase reflects the hype surrounding his rise in the industry.
6. Bizzy Banks
Top Song: “Quarantine Freestyle” Bizzy Banks, an established name in hip-hop, deserves more acclaim for his remarkable technical ability and innovation. The “Quarantine Freestyle” is a first-listen that leaves a lasting impression.
5. Concrete Boys (Dc2Trill, Draft Day, KARRAHBOO, Camo!)
Top Song: “Three Six Talk” by Lil Yachty (feat. Dc2Trill and Draft Day) Concrete Boys, featuring Dc2Trill, Draft Day, KARRAHBOO, and Camo!, claim the 5th spot with their unique styles that stand out individually and collectively. In an era of repeated flows, their new drops bring a refreshing sound to rap.
4. Rome Streetz
Top Song: “Big Steppa” from ‘KISS THE RING’ Rome Streetz, a NYC native signed to Griselda Records, secures the 4th spot with his fundamentally sound yet innovative classic hip-hop sounds. His latest album, “Wasn’t Built in a Day,” showcases his impressive sonic development.
3. G Perico
Top Song: “Gangster’s Anonymous” from ‘LA SUMMERS2’ (with GotdamnitDupri) G Perico, a prominent West Coast name, claims the 3rd spot with his top track “Gangster’s Anonymous.” Beyond his impressive music, G Perico serves as a successful businessman, setting an example for success in both realms.
Top Song: “Law N Order” Veeze, experiencing a monumental year, secures the 2nd spot with his top track “Law N Order.” Poised for continued growth, Veeze’s significant presence in 2023 makes him a noteworthy name in the rap scene.
Top Song: “Meg Thee Stallion” (with Babyface Ray, Veeze, Icewear Vezzo) Claiming the top spot is G.T., a Detroit talent with the top track “Meg Thee Stallion” featuring Babyface Ray, Veeze, and Icewear Vezzo. With nearly a decade of music under his belt, G.T. is poised for widespread recognition. His latest project, “Owe It To Myself,” features an impressive lineup and showcases his unique style that goes beyond the average rapper. As G.T. continues to accumulate wins, there’s anticipation for his expanding fanbase and household name recognition.