One of the reasons hip-hop is one of the most exciting and popular genres on the planet is thanks to the new artists who constantly introduce fresh sounds and perspectives. Here are the top 10 rising rappers you should know heading into 2022, including SoFaygo, Babyface Ray, Baby Keem and more.
Remble's blend of witty, cold-hearted raps and crisp delivery have made him critics' best-kept secret. "Gordon Ramsay Freestyle" landed him a record deal, but he later linked with Lil Yachty for "Rocc Climbing," an addictive sleeper hit with 12.5 million YouTube views.
Atlanta's SoFaygo was crowned the new generation's de facto leader after Travis Scott signed him to Cactus Jack in April. The 20-year-old dropped back-to-back earworms in "Off The Map" and "Knock Knock," and earned a Trippie Redd co-sign via "MP5." With fluctuating vocals that ooze bravado and emotion, SoFaygo's potential is limitless.
Asked how he came up with his name, Yeat says, "When people hear my name they feel like they already heard of me." Listening to bangers like "Sorry Bout That" and "Gët Busy," you'll likely be reminded of the unhinged sound on Playboi Carti's 'Whole Lotta Red,' though Yeat's energy is undeniable in its own way. (Drake is a fan, btw.)
7. Babyface Ray
Those hip to Detroit's rap scene know Babyface Ray has been a pillar for years. (It's only right his biggest song is titled "If You Know You Know" feat. Moneybagg Yo.) 2021 brought new and well-deserved levels of recognition for the 30-year-old rhymer. Combined with a tour in support of Jack Harlow, Babyface's legend is booming.
6. Yung Bleu
Where were you when you first heard Yung Bleu's sad yet cocky croons on the Drake-assisted "You're Mines Still"? Hitting #18 on the Hot 100, the song cemented Bleu as one of the most promising voices bubbling out of the South (Alabama, to be exact). Bleu followed up with his debut album 'Moon Boy,' laying a heartfelt foundation for a long career.
5. Nardo Wick
Nardo Wick exploded on the scene brazenly asking, "Who want smoke with me?" Turns out, Lil Durk, 21 Savage and G Herbo were all willing to back him up, contributing fire verses to the remix and creating one of the most notable hip-hop moments of 2021. Only a few months later, the Lyrical Lemonade video sits at more than 75 million views.
4. EST Gee
Co-signs are huge in rap, and few rising stars have more than Louisville's EST Gee. From Lil Baby and his mentor Yo Gotti to Future and Jack Harlow, the hype surrounding Gee is as "Real As It Gets." The numbers are real, too, as Gee's quick-cut videos often tally millions of plays. Not to mention his latest tape hit #7 on the Billboard 200.
3. Coi Leray
It's ironic how Coi Leray's "No More Parties" summed up a year of canceled parties while also being the anthem to boost everyone's morale. She kept her foot on the gas for all of 2021, delivering two more catchy viral hits – "Big Purr" and "Twinnem." Even when her Rolling Loud set turned heads for the wrong reasons in July, Coi kept shining.
2. Pooh Shiesty
The bold visuals for Pooh Shiesty and Lil Durk's "Back In Blood" – dedicated to King Von – arrived on the second day of 2021. "Pooh Shiesty that's my dog / But Pooh you know I'm really shiesty!" took on a life of its own, pushing the song to 220 million views and iconic heights. Sadly, Pooh, 22, got locked up, leaving fans eager for updates.
1. Baby Keem
Baby Keem cultivated a rowdy underground wave before he inked a deal with his cousin Kendrick Lamar's pgLang imprint. But once that partnership was secured, Keem's true ability came to fruition. His official debut 'The Melodic Blue' demonstrated his versatility, moving from triumphant tracks ("family ties") to intimate ("lost souls"), resulting in a top-five debut on the Billboard 200 chart.
Y'all feeling this list or nah?