Mainstream rap over the past few years is always looking for the next viral young act from the underground. These rappers are often labeled “Soundcloud Rappers” due to the streaming technology that is used in this era for an artist to reach their audience. Whether they’re label mumble or emo rappers this young group are breaking boundaries and forging new paths for Hip-Hop in ways we’ve never seen before.
In an era that values streaming numbers, social media and the possibility of being a viral sensation, there’s nothing stopping these young artists increasing influence on the culture With that we present 10 ranked 21 and under artist making a buzz in the industry.
10. NLE Choppa
Age: 16 years
Notable songs: Shotta Flow
Starting off the list we have the youngest entry at only 16 years old. Memphis’s newest talent NLE Choppa found himself with a viral hit after the release of the music video for his track ‘Shotta Flow’. The track features intense, rapid-fire flows that stay true to the title of the song, and debuted at 96 on the Billboard charts. ‘Shotta Flow 2’ the follow-up track has already garnered a few million views.
9. Lil Pump
Age: 18 Years
Notable songs: Gucci Gang, Butterfly Doors
With a highly expected entry, Lil Pump is one of the youngest artists to make it at an extremely young age. Even though his music often features repetitive lyrics and basic flow, Lil Pump has gone to become one of the most successful rappers to make it from Soundcloud. With the release of his track ‘D Rose’, Lil Pump filmed a music video with the rapidly growing Cole Bennet and quickly started seeing success. Within just a year the music video had attracted a whopping 140 million views and inevitably multiple record deal offers. Gucci Gang later becomes his most popular track maintaining his position in the new era.
8. Roddy Ricch
Age: 20 years
Notable songs: Die Young, Every Season
Hailing out of Compton California, Roddy Ricch found fame after the release of his track ‘Die Young’ in 2018. The song was written on the day of XXXTENTACION’s passing and is said to be a tribute to the late rapper. The track feature’s smooth flows and catchy melodies which pinpoint Ricch’s overall style. After receiving a mass of attention Roddy Ricch has received interest from esteemed artists such as Dj Mustard, Meek Mill and most notably the late Nipsey Hussle. Roddy Ricch even states that Nipsey is the reason why he is making music today. It has been 2 years since Ricch’s career lifted and he show’s no sign of slowing down.
7. Lil Mosey
Age: 17 years
Notable songs: Noticed, Greet Her
Most likely the youngest flexer to hail out of Seattle, Washington Lil Mosey started getting a buzz on Soundcloud with the release of his track ‘Pull Up’. Shortly after ‘Noticed’ became his breakout single which led to his incredible success. In 2018 he landed a deal with Interscope records as well as the opener spot on Juice Wrld’s ‘Domination’ tour as a start to a prosperous career.
6. Trippie Redd
Age: 19 years
Notable songs: Topanga, Love Scars, Dark Night Dummo
Trippie Redd has been active since late 2015 releasing mixtapes on Soundcloud which gained traction faster than anticipated. Love Scars was among his first tracks and quickly became his breakout hit which lifted his career to a new level. Trippie’s sound is contemporary and unique although he has been compared to Lil Uzi Vert despite their extreme differences in vocal styles. Trippie’s music features an Alternative Rock/Rnb style which he says is inspired by the likes of T-pain and KISS among others.
5. Polo G
Age: 20 years
Notable songs: Finer things, Pop out
Polo G has been active since around 2017 and started releasing his music via Youtube while slowly building his fanbase. In 2018 Polo G’s track ‘Finer Things’ attracted considerable attention which eventually got him a record deal with Columbia. The Northside Chicago Native collaborated with label mate Lil Tjay to release their first Billboard track ‘Pop Out’. The track debuted at 95 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart making waves in the music scene. Polo G’s street style has captivated his audience slightly straying from the new-age trap style most rappers choose to pursue.
4. Lil Tjay
Age: 18 years
Notable songs: Resume, Brothers
Before his profound success, in 2016 Lil Tjay tried passing time while in a youth detention center for robbery. He mostly spent his time writing songs which later attributed to his come-up, and was released in 2017. He released his first track ‘Resume’ in early 2018 which featured a smooth and melodically catchy sound. The track quickly picked up steam and has gained 14 million views within a year. Lil Tjay later released a track titled ‘Brothers’ where talks about being incarcerated, and his appreciated for his family. The track ultimately got him a record deal with Columbia and has since gained over 44 million plays on SoundCloud as his most popular song to date. Lil Tjay has often been compared to A Boogie wit a Hoodie even while having his own unique style.
3. NBA Youngboy
Age: 19 years
Notable songs: Slime Belief, I came thru, Outside Today
NBA Youngboy has been active since around 2014 and has long had to work to get to his current state of success. He had been interested in music from a really young age and was mainly raised by his grandmother due to his father’s incarceration. After Youngboy’s mothers’ passing, he moved in with his fellow rapper NBA 3Three and began committing robberies in order to afford studio time. Youngboy’s strong work ethic is what allowed him to release 5 mixtapes between 2015 – 2016 in a convincing effort to get noticed in the scene. Eventually in 2017 NBA Youngboy signed a 5 album contract with Atlantic Records for 2 million dollars. Youngboy’s success has since grown with the lead single ‘Outside Today’ for his first album peaking at 31 on the Billboard 100 chart.
2. Lil Skies
Age: 20 years
Notable songs: i, Red Roses, Nowadays
Lil Skies is one of the greatest examples of an artist who took many years of work to make it in the industry. Since the age of 12 Lil Skies has been writing and recording taking inspiration from his father who as a rapper originally went by the moniker ‘Dark Skies’. After meeting and befriending Cufboy crew member Landon Cube, Skies was introduced to music video director Cole Bennet. Soon after videos for both his tracks ‘Red Roses’ and ‘Nowadays’ were filmed. Both tracks were in the Top 20 most streamed SoundCloud tracks and the Hot 100 Chart eventually leading him to sign a deal with Atlantic Records.
1. Juice WRLD
Age: 20 years
Notable songs: Lucid Dreams, All girls are the same, Hear me calling
The ‘Lucid Dreams’ singer became one of the most loved in the music scene after discovering his infectious heart-break tracks. His success started with when he filmed a music video with Cole Bennet for his track ‘All girls are the same’ in early 2018. The video quickly gained popularity growing attention from newfound fans awaiting his next track. Juice WRLD released his Track lucid dream which became a hit on Soundcloud eventually gaining 1 million views. Within a few months from the first video, Juice WRLD released yet another shot by Cole Bennet. This time his track ‘Lucid Dreams’ gained mainstream recognition reaching the Billboard Hot 100 chart and peaking at number 2. This amazing feat landed him a 3-million dollar deal with Interscope Records. He released his debut album with the label Goodbye & Good Riddance’ peaking at number 6 on the Billboard 200.