Vince Staples is a rapper from Long Beach, California. The 21-year-old is part of the hip-hop group Cutthroat Boyz, which also includes rappers Joey Fatts and A$ton Matthews. He’s best known for collaborating with members of Odd Future on their albums and his collaborative mixtape, Stolen Youth, with Mac Miller. He’s released four mixtapes, which include Shyne Coldchain Vol. 1 (2011), Winter In Prague (2012), Stolen Youth (2013) and Shyne Coldchain Vol. 2 (2014). Staples has plans to release his first EP, Hell Can Wait, sometime this year.
21 Dope Rappers 21 And Under
Earl Sweatshirt is a rapper-producer and member of the Los Angeles hip-hop collective Odd Future. Tyler, The Creator discovered Sweatshirt, who then went by the moniker Sly Tendencies, from his Myspace page. This 20-year-old is best known for his debut mixtape, Earl, which he released in 2010. In 2012, Sweatshirt made a cameo on Frank Ocean’s “Super Rich Kids” track from his Channel Orange album. He continued to gain recognition as he followed up with his debut album, Doris, in 2013.
Joey Bada$$ is a rapper from Bed Stuy in Brooklyn, who is the co-founder of the hip-hop collective Pro Era. Some of the other rappers in Pro Era, also known as Progressive Era, include CJ Fly, Kirk Knight, Nyck Caution, Dyemond Lewis, A La $ole, Rawle, Dirty Sanchez, Ali and T'nah Apex to name a few. The 19-year-old released three mixtapes with this group. His rise in popularity came when he released his debut solo mixtape, 1999, in June 2012. In September of that same year he released his second mixtape, Rejex. In June 2013 he released his third mixtape, Summer Knights, which was then re-released as an EP in October of the same year.
Virginia rapper GoldLink first became known after he released his debut project, The God Complex, on Soundcloud in April of this year. He refers to his sound as “future bounce,” which incorporates genres that most rappers don’t dare touch, such as bachata, go-go, and classic house. The 21-year-old rapper only has a few tracks to his name right now, but we can’t wait to see what he comes out with in the future.
North Carolina rapper Well$ first gained popularity when he released the singles “Lil Tommy,” “Dream Of An Insomniac” and “Django.” After garnering positive reception, the 19-year-old released his debut project, MTSYD: Revenge Of The African Booty Scratcher, in May of this year. His influences, such as Drake, Kendrick Lamar and Mobb Deep, clearly come through his music. On tracks, such as “Revenge of the African Booty Scratcher,” he touches on social issues, such as being teased about of his African descent.
Boston rapper Michael Christmas has put humor back into rapping. The 19-year-old has released some chuckle-worthy tracks, such as “Daily,” “Michael Cera” and “Overweight Drake.” In February 2014 he released his debut project, Is This Art?, which contains all these hilarious cuts along with 13 other tracks. Additional guest cameos on the mixtape include Alex Wiley, Rome Fortune and Mr. MFN eXquire.
Los Angeles-based rapper Cozz grew in popularity with his two tracks “Dream” and “I Need That.” In June, the 20-year-old was signed to J. Cole’s Dreamville Records imprint. His debut release, Cozz & Effect, was supposed to drop before the end of summer, but unfortunately it hasn’t yet. We’re looking forward to it.
The Chicago rapper Lucki Eck$ first came into the hip-hop scene when he released his debut project, Alternative Trap, in July 2013. Nate Fox, Hippie Dream, Plu20 Nash, Mullato Beats helped with the production on this 13-track offering. The 18–year-old’s latest release, Body High, which was a free mixtape, dropped in August of this year. His music is dubbed “alternative trap” and he has a laid-back flow like no other.
Casey Veggies is a 21-year-old rapper who hails from Inglewood, California. He’s been in the rap game since 2007. When he was just 14 he released his first mixtape, Customized Greatly Vol. 1. Originally he was one of the founding members of Odd Future, but only appeared on the group’s first effort, The Odd Future Tape. His other mixtapes include Customized Greatly Vol. 2 (2009), Bum Ass Shit (2010), Sleeping in Class (2010), Sleeping in Class: Deluxe Edition (2011), Customized Greatly Vol.3(2012), Life Changes (2013) and Fresh Veggies (2013). His debut album is due sometime in 2015.
Compton rapper Buddy was originally signed to Pharrell’s i am OTHER imprint back in 2011. The 20-year-old first gained recognition when he released his Neptunes-produced tracks “Awesome, Awesome” and “Staircase” featuring Kendrick Lamar. Even though he was thrust into the spotlight with i am Other, he eventually left the imprint, and released his first full-length mixtape, Idle Time, in February 2014. Guest artists such as Lamar, Miley Cyrus, Robin Thicke, Asher Roth, Casey Veggies, Sir Michael Rocks and Freddie Gibbs are featured on the debut. Production credits for the offering go to Pharrell, Chuck Inglish, Boi-1da and Cardo.
Miami rapper Denzel Curry is a promising newcomer to the rap game. During his humble beginnings, the 18-year-old had a small cult following, yet now he’s predicted to blow up. He released four earlier mixtapes, but it was his proper debut, Nostalgic 64, released in September 2013, that caught the eye of a bigger crowd. SpaceGhostPurrp, founder of Miami hip-hop group Raider Klan, first helped spread word of the rapper when he linked to one of Curry’s early tracks, “Creep Creep,” on Twitter in 2011.
Chicago rapper Lil Herb emerged onto the rap scene with his debut mixtape, Welcome To Fazoland, in early 2014. Guest appearances include Lil Bibby, Lil Reese and Lil Durk on the offering, which delves into the subject of gang violence. Once he released his first offering, the 18-year-old became a prominent drill rapper among others, such as Lil Bibby and Chief Keef. Due to his spike in popularit, he collaborated with artists such as Nicki Minaj, Chance The Rapper and Common. He recently released “Just Bars,” a preview of his next mixtape, Ballin’ Like I’m Kobe, which is slated for release sometime in 2014.
Chicago rapper Zmoney started out in 2012 with only a YouTube presence. The 21-year-old rapper first gained attention with his single “Want My Money.” Cinematographer DGainz shot a dope video for the track and later the song was also featured as background music for Chance The Rapper’s trailer for his Acid Rap mixtape. In June 2013, the rapper decided to go with his own marketing plan and released two mixtapes, Heroin Musik and Rich B4 Rap, at the same time.
Chicago female rapper Tink has emerged onto the rap scene with her sick rhymes, but also has a soft spot for R&B singing. The 19-year-old drill rapper’s debut release, Winter’s Diary, came out in 2012 and included notable tracks such as “Bonnie and Clyde” and “Blunts and Ballads.” Since then, she’s impressed with her sophomore release, Winter’s Diary 2, released in January 2014, on which she sings and raps.
Chicago rapper Chance The Rapper hails from the area’s Chatman neighborhood. His debut mixtape, 10 Day, was released in April 2012 and gained mild success. It was his second mixtape, Acid Rap, released a year later, which put him on the map as a rapper. Guest appearances on his sophomore release included Twista, Vic Mensa, BJ the Chicago Kid, Action Bronson, Childish Gambino and Ab-Soul.
Rapper 100s, who hails from Berkeley, California, stepped out onto the rap scene back in September 2012 when he released his debut mixtape, Ice Cold Perm. The 20-year-old rapper released his second mixtape, Ivry, in March 2014, which was free to the public and had positive reviews. Some music critics have credited the rapper with bringing G-funk back to life.
Chicago rapper Vic Mensa got his start in the hip-hop game as one of the members of Kids These Days. In July 2010 he released his first mixtape, Straight Up, which created some buzz across the internet. After Kids These Days disbanded in May 2013, the 21-year-old rapper released his second mixtape, INNANETAPE. This offering is recognized as his major breakout into popularity. Guest appearances on the mixtape include Ab-Soul, Thundercat, Chance The Rapper and Rockie Fresh. Mensa is expected to release his first EP, Street Lights, sometime in 2014. “Down on My Luck” was the first single (released in June) from this collection.
Chicago rapper Alex Wiley got into rapping almost by accident. After dropping out of high school at 16, he befriended Kembe X, another dropout who was into rap, and started heading with him to the recording studio. They started recording joke songs together and went by the name Swag Village. After a while Wiley came to know people in the local rap scene and eventually released his debut mixtape, Club Wiley, in June 2013. Some guests on this mixtape, which legitimized Wiley as a real rapper, include Chance The Rapper, Jean Deaux, GLC, Vic Mensa, Freddie Gibbs and Action Bronson. He released his sophomore mixtape, Village Party, a year later and it received positive reviews as well.
Rapper Bishop Nehru hails from Rockland, New York, and is also a producer. The 18-year-old constructed jazz tracks and hip-hop instrumentals at age 13 under the name Kelz Scott and later went by Kile Kanvas. He released some of his earlier tracks on the Odd Future forum. At 15 he released his debut mixtape, Nehruvia: The Mixtape, which included production from DJ Premier, J Dilla, Madlib and MF DOOM. After this he followed up with his second mixtape, Nehruvia: strictlyFLOWz (2013) and then with the BriLLiant Youth EP (2014). His next effort, NehruvianDOOM, is due out on September 23, with another release, Nehruvia: Ununderstandable, planned for this year as well.
New Jersey rapper Da$h, who is the nephew of the legendary Dame Dash, broke into the spotlight with his mixtape, V.I.C.E.S. (short for “Very Ignorant Content Exposing Success”), which he released in June 2013. The effort includes guest appearances by Ab-Soul, Action Bronson and A$AP Ferg. Even though the 21-year-old rapper hasn’t released anything lately, he’s still one to watch out for.
Minneapolis rapper Nikko Lafre spilled out onto the rap scene with his first mixtape, The Otherside, released in August 2013. The 19-year-old followed that release up with a collaborative EP, Survival: Face The World, which he released with Feed the Fam, Inc. artists Drew Love and Devon Tracy in February 2014. Lafre’s most recent release, MPLS: West End Stories, was just released September 14 and is currently creating buzz online.
28 Grams: Hip-Hop Instagram Recap (Sept. 20)
HNHH brings you the most dope, weird, interesting, shocking and funny photos posted by hip hop artists on Instagram.
It’s been said rapping is a young man’s game, and now more than ever, it seems to be true.
Rappers from all over the United States are popping up, showing off their talents and making a name for themselves in their cities of choice. Whether it's Brooklyn, Chicago, Los Angeles or Miami, there are young emcees repping each region. These are some of the main areas inhabited by rappers, or areas one would expect. However, there are more obscure places, such as North Carolina and Virginia that produce hard-hitting rappers who have the same, if not more, passion than the major city rappers. They may see themselves as having more to prove. One thing for sure is that all these young rappers have something promising to offer.
Some off these young rappers, who have been in the game since they were in their teens, like Vince Staples, Earl Sweatshirt and Casey Veggies are some of the seasoned emcees who have proved their slick rhymes are worth checking out and have gained a significant following over the years. However, while they’ve been on the scene a few years and received recognition, they still have more to prove.
While there are young veteran rappers on this list, there are also up-and-coming teen rappers, who still have time to fall into their place as rappers -- They still have time to choose what kind of rapper they want to be. Rappers such as Denzel Curry, Da$h, Nikko Lafre, Lucki Eck$ and Well$ are still considered rookies compared to some of the other dope older rappers on this list. Even though they’re still in their humble beginnings, it’s clear they have enough impressive chops, fans and popularity behind them to be chosen for this list.
Of course, there are several rappers not on this list, who are uploading their free mixtapes to the web, waiting to be discovered. Today in rap music there’s endless talent out there, but it can be tough for brilliant rappers to find the right marketing strategy to promote their music to a wider audience. Hopefully some of the more unknown artists you may have overlooked before will catch your eye and you’ll discover some worthwhile new music.