Much like all of the genres we cover, new Hip-Hop artists continue to appear at a rate faster than most can keep up with. Ever year the genre grows with hoards of unknown and less popular names, very few of which will even come close to the success of artists such as Drake, Kendrick Lamar and J Cole, for example. That being said, there is always room for any one of these “newcomers” or “unknowns” to become the next big thing. So, without further ado, we’ve very carefully selected our first-ever fantasy draft of the top ten Hip-Hop artists PureGrainAudio believes will not only soon emerge as some of the genre’s big names, but that they will do it in 2018.
Before you get to the list, get your stream on with our official “Hip-Hop Rookie Fantasy Draft” playlist.
01. Youngboy Never Broke Again (NBA)
Real Name: Kentrell DeSean Gaulden
Place of Birth: Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA
Date of Birth: October 20, 1999 (18)
Top Tracks: “No Smoke,” “Untouchable,” “GG Remix feat. A Boogie with a Hoodie”
– He might be one of the youngest on this list, but Youngboy NBA’s charisma makes him one of the toughest in the game. That Louisiana flavour with wily lyrics crashes down on his hard-hitting flow. His newest album Until Death Call My Name is out now on all music platforms and the above-mentioned tracks are some of the must-hear ones. Expect this album to be one of the best from this list of artists!
Check out the YoungBoy Never Broke Again music video for “Untouchable”.
02. Trippie Red
Real Name: Michael White IV
Place of Birth: Canton, Ohio, USA
Date of Birth: June 18, 1999 (18)
Top Tracks: “Love Scars,” “Dark Knight Dummo feat. Travis Scott,” “Poles 1469 feat. 6ix9ine”
– Canton, Ohio is known as the home of the NFL Hall of Fame, yet little does everyone know an extremely talented artist emerges from beneath the lights of the gridiron. Trippie Red’s most recent album A Love Letter To You 2 is a succulent slice of diversity; boasting singing, rapping and auto-tune verses. He has been teasing fans with a song featuring Drake, and another track possibly with OG hip-hop star Lil Wayne. He is being recognized by the best and should live up to the hype in 2018.
03. Lil Pump
Real Name: Gazzy Garcia
Place of Birth: Miami, Florida, USA
Date of Birth: August 17, 2000 (17)
Top Tracks: “Gucci Gang,” “Boss,” “D Rose”
– He pumped it up all right. With his blond and pink dreads, he is one of the most criticized and hated artists on this list. But, Lil Pump does well to ignore the backlash. No one can deny he is one of the most popular artists, not to mention youngest of them all at just 17 years of age. His tracks may not be lyrically gifted, however his presence is what defines his music. He will definitely continue to be tearing up the club tracks on Friday’s and Saturday’s.
04. Ski Mask The Slump God
Real Name: Stokeley Clevon Goulbourne
Place of Birth: Broward County, Florida, USA
Date of Birth: April 18, 1996 (21)
Top Tracks: “Catch Me Outside,” “BabyWipe”
– There must be something in the water… Ski Mask is another prospect coming out of Florida. His delivery and flow, stands out the most in his cabinet of accolades. He is relentless, going up against the mic much like Busta Rhymes did. He arguably has the best flow out of all the rappers on the list. His project Beware the Book of Eli is set to host a mix of popular artists including Offset, Lil Yachty, Diplo and more. There is no confirmed release date, but Ski Mask shouldn’t take too long with this one.
Watch Lil Pump’s official music video for the immensely popular single “Gucci Gang”.
Real Name: Daniel Hernandez
Place of Birth: Bushwick, New York, USA
Date of Birth: May 8, 1996 (21)
Top Tracks: “Keke feat. A Boogie With A Hoodie & Fetty Wap,” “Gummo,” “Kooda”
– Rambunctious, controversial and extremely colourful, Daniel Hernandez is what you might call the new Lil Jon. His latest releases such as “Keke,” “Gummo” and “Kooda” have been extremely popular and heavily played in clubs. His first project Day69 is out now on all platforms.
06. Rich the Kid
Real Name: Dimitri Leslie Roger
Place of Birth: Queens, New York, USA
Date of Birth: July 13, 1992 (25)
Top Tracks: “New Freezer feat. Kendrick Lamar,” “Plug feat. Kodak Black & Playboi Carti,” “Ran It Up feat. Young Thug”
– The eldest of them all with the least amount of credit, Dimitri Leslie Roger should have been in this conversation last year. With lots of experience and a feature from Kendrick Lamar, Roger has developed his own record label called Rich Forever to which Famous Dex and Jay Critch are already signed. These three artists combined have the capability to do some damage this year.
07. Tee Grizzley
Real Name:Terry Sanchez Wallace
Place of Birth: Detroit, Michigan, USA
Date of Birth: March 23, 1994 (23)
Top Tracks: “First Day Out,” “From the D to the A feat. Lil Yachty,” “No Effort”
– His platinum single “First Day Out,” not only caught the attention of LeBron James, but also earned him a new record deal with 300 Entertainment according to genius.com. This track eventually led to the “LeBron James Challenge” where others had to reenact James’ dances to “First Day Out” on Instagram. Wallace was originally sentenced to 30 years in prison for robberies while attending Michigan State University and was eventually released on parole as per genius.com. His other tracks “From the D to the A” and “No Effort” continue to gain popularity. Wallace should definitely have a big year.
Peep then 6IX9INE video for the single “GUMMO” here.
08. Famous Dex
Real Name: Dexter Gore
Place of Birth:Englewood, Chicago, Illinois, USA
Date of Birth: September 6, 1993 (24)
Top Tracks: “Pick It Up feat. A$AP Rocky,” “Rich Forever feat. Rich the Kid,” “Drip From My Walk”
– Signed on with Rich Forever his high-energy music keeps the party going. Tracks such as “Pick It Up” and “Drip From My Walk” are examples of his style. HotNewHipHop says he is one of the swaggiest rappers out of Chicago yet. Another rapper with a similar approach was Chief Keef but Famous Dex just might have the potential to be better.
09. YBN Nahmir
Real Name: Nick Simmons
Place of Birth: Birmingham, Alabama, USA
Date of Birth: December 18, 1999 (18)
Top Tracks: “Rubbin Off the Paint,” “Bounce Out With That”
– Also one of the youngest rappers on this list, you can already tell he is picking up steam. “Rubbin Off the Paint” has over 92 million views on YouTube and “Bounce Out With That” boasts 31 million views in less than a month. With just a few tracks out right now, we can anticipate there will be more this year from the Birmingham, Alabama native. Nick Simmons is signed to Atlantic Records.
10. Lil Xan
Real Name: Diego Leanos
Place of Birth: Red Lands, California, USA
Date of Birth: September 6, 1996 (21)
Top Tracks: “Betrayed,” “Slingshot,” “Far”
– Another controversial artist on this list, Diego Leanos was a heavy user of Xanax which led to the creation of his name. (Though he says he is now off the drug.) His fanbase likes to call themselves “Xanarchy” on Instagram and tracks such as “Betrayed” and “Slingshot” are good entries into rap with a laid-back voice separating him from most of the other artists in this draft. His fanbase is what keeps him strong and you might that say he will work hard to keep them happy.
– Don Q, Rich Chigga, Jay Critch, Smokepurpp, Nav, Lil Skies, Joyner Lucas and Tay-K.
Note: Information and research help from Francesco Colosimo.