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The 10 Best Up & Coming Rappers

Updated on August 3, 2015

The Ten Best Relatively Unknown Hip Hop Artists

Is Hip-Hop dead?

The answer to that question all depends who you are asking - I would have to disagree.If you are one of those who believe the art form died out years ago, and don't like what you have heard so far from the more popular new rappers, check these guys out.

Some such as Irv Da PHENOM! have been on their grind for years steadily building a solid catalog while some have a very small amount of songs - but of very good quality.

While the level of general notoriety varies from artist to artist, they are all on the come up and deserve recognition.

Curtiss King (Honorable Mention)

Who Is Curtiss King?

I first discovered Mr. King through Google; a curious search to see if there was a successful MC who represented my local area code, the "909". I found a song that connected him to a rapper who I was listening to a lot at the time; Ab-Soul.

Here's the thing: I am not particularly fond of his rap. He is not bad, but just not my type. What piqued my interest in him was actually his production. After looking through his music, I moved on and didn't really look him up again.

A year or so later he started making noise in the industry again; collaborating with MURS on a mix tape titled $hut Your Trap. He also produced a the second track from Ab-Soul's These Days, Tree of Life. I believe he has a future as a producer in the industry.

At just below 1,500 fans on Facebook, he is the least discovered artist on this list. Check him out and if you like him, support the dude with a like on Facebook or a subscription to his Youtube page!

Jeff Turner (Honorable Mention)

Who is Jeff Turner?

I have yet to hear much from Jeff Turner Music, but I like what I've heard so far. I first noticed Turner on a Team Backpack cypher.

His flow was impressive, his content was notable, and he has a sense of humor. Most importantly he has a unique style that will help him stand out in the future.

#10) Passionate MC


Who is Passionate MC?

Hopsin introduced me to this dude by throwing him on the Lunch Time Cypher joint. He most definitely lives up to his name.

Within the first two bars you hear from him, it is obvious that he puts a lot of work into his craft. He is worth a Youtube search for sure.

#9) Aqualeo


Who is Aqualeo?

Yet another pair of artists who I found with the assistance of the one and only Tech N9ne.

Tech is frequently collaborating with young up and coming rappers that he finds especially dope.

He has expressed his admiration for the duo on more than one occasion.

If you are interested in some thought provoking lyrics, check the two man act out. Just make sure that you don't sleep on these dudes. They can create tracks that convey some real world knowledge.

#8) Snow Tha Product

Aqualeo "What's Really Goin' On" Official Music Video


Who is Snow Tha Product?

A more conservative Hip-Hop fan may be hesitant to listen to the music of a new generation, female artist of Latin descent. That fan would be making a huge mistake, as this girl is no joke.


What other female rap artist can hold their own on a track with both Crooked I and Tech N9ne?! Those guys are lyrically legendary, and Snow has no problem keeping up with them.

She was recently included on the annual BET Hip-Hop Awards Cypher, where she killed it in two different languages. This girl has a bright future ahead of her.

#7) Stevie Stone

Tech N9ne Ft. Snow Tha Product - "So Dope" Official Music Video


Who is Stevie Stone?

A Strange Music artist who reminds you of a DMX or Mystikal with his aggressive tone and booming vocals. He has been quietly making his rounds across the country, touring with Tech & hopefully working on some new material.

A talented member of a talented team, his catalog includes only three projects; one with Ruthless Records & two with Strange Music. His music will get you pumped up most of the time, but don't think he can't come up with an emotional tune as well.

#6) Isaiah Rashad

Stevie Stone - "Midwest Explosion" Official Music Video


Who is Isaiah Rashad?

The most recent rapper added to the Top Dawg Entertainment roster who hails from Tennessee. While Rashad continues working on his debut studio album, all we have to sample him off of is the Cilvia Demo and his Welcome To The Game mix-tape.

I really enjoy listening to what he has released thus far. His style and abilities definitely resemble those of his label mates Ab-Soul & Kendrick Lamar, although he flaunts a unique sound all his own.

#5) Skeme

Isaiah Rashad - "Heavenly Father" Official Music Video


"Those is the homies and that's always going to be the same, but the angle I came at it was I've been working for a long time at trying to be somebody on my own two and that was the end all be all of that, just wanted to be able to stand out and do my own thing."

— Skeme on signing a deal with Top Dawg Entertainment

Who is Skeme?

Who is Skeme?

Skeme is one of many incredible lyricists to spawn from Southern California over the past five years.

The area has seen sort of a resurrection as of late, thanks in part to Crooked I, Top Dawg Entertainment, YG/DJ Mustard, & many more. Skeme was actually invited to be a member of Top Dawg; himself being a frequent TDE collaborator with a lyrical ability to match up with his would be label mates.

He declined though, insisting on doing things his own way. We will see if this was a good decision depending on how it pans out in the future. Either way, I am a fan of his and am always keeping an eye out for new music from him.

#4) Vince Staples


Who is Vince Staples?

The Long Beach, California native is the composer of some very dark yet reality based narratives, detailing the struggles faced in a society that breeds violence.

He gained notoriety working with members of Odd Future, eventually catching the attention of Mac Miller. The two eventually teamed up to craft a mix-tape entitled Stolen Youth. Mac Miller produced the entire project under his moniker "Larry Fisherman", while Vince provided the smooth and intricate bars to layer on top.

Staples most notable work to date,the Hell Can Wait EP, is an incredible piece of work from beginning to end. I foresee the career of Vince Staples to be a long and prosperous one. He has shown improvement on every project to date.

#3) Jarren Benton

Vince Staples "Blue Suede" Official Music Video


Who is Jarren Benton?

"Brass Knuckle Benton" may not be too unknown anymore since appearing on the 2014 XXL Freshman List & the 2014 BET Hip-Hop Awards Cypher.

Before that Benton already had a significant fan base considering that he is part of independent label Funk Volume.

Jarren is extremely lyrical and can draw the listener in with tales of struggle, poverty, and depression; or with a sharp flow over a banging beat. Either way he is one of the stand outs as far as our new generation of rappers goes.

On the road to becoming a member of the illustrious Atlanta Hip-Hop scene, Benton continually improves while always keeping a consistently sick sense of humor.

#2) Irv Da PHENOM!

Hopsin, Jarren Benton, Dizzy Wright, & SwizZz - "TeamBackPack/Funk Volume Cypher #3" Official Video


Who is Irv Da Phenom?

Irv has been on his grind in this rap game for around a decade now. Year after year I patiently wait for him to blow up on the music scene. PHENOM! excels at killing quick tempo rap instrumentals, while laying some meaningful lyrics and smooth vocals on the slow melodic beats as well. Despite his numerous talents, he has just recently gained a larger following.

Irv Da PHENOM! is a perfect example of someone who puts in the work all day and all night, but won't sell out. The thing is, his fans aren't bandwagon fans. A day one fan is usually pretty hard to lose. The Kansas City rapper has appeared on numerous Tech N9ne songs, declining a chance to jump on Strange Music in order to promote his own label - Def Metal Gospel. He has also collaborated multiple times with members of Funk Volume, & some notable hip hop artists, many fellow residents of Kansas City.

Irv Da PHENOM! is an extremely creative artist with an strong work ethic. If any one musician on this list deserves a new fan, it is him. "Music for Humans" - the Def Metal Gospel motto, and a great way to define his music. No record sounds quite the same.

#1) The Horseshoe Gang

Irv Da PHENOM! "Disguise" Official Music Video


Who is The Horseshoe Gang?

The crew consists of four siblings of lyrical mastermind Crooked I, These guys paid close attention to their older brother when molding their styles and perfecting their craft. They all spit incredible raps in different ways. They combine the raw talent while occasionally showing off their double time ability that we have come to love from many other artists.

The Gang released a new project every few weeks of 2014 with their Mixtape Monthly series. That takes some serious dedication. It's not surprising that they have not seen any mainstream success, complicated rhymes schemes and clever wordplay usually aren't as popular on the radio waves.

Whether they ever find a formula for success with the masses, they should have absolutely no problem maintaining a strong foundation of both local and online fan bases.

Horseshoe Gang & Others "C.O.B. Cypher 2012" Official Video

What Do You Think?

Do you know of any up and coming rappers that belong somewhere on this list?

Go ahead an leave a comment below and I'll check them out!

Thank you for reading!

What Artist/Group was your favorite selection on this list?

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