A couple of weeks ago Complex released their list of The 25 Best Rappers 25 And Under and PHH didn’t necessarily agree with their choices. So we decided to compile our own countdown of the top 10 rappers 25 years old or younger. Each contributor submitted their own top 10 lists and then we eventually came to consensus based on votes. Read more to view our very own list of who we think are the top 10 rappers that are 25 years old or younger!
P.S. We also give a little insight into our reasoning behind each pick. Leave a comment and let us know what you think!
10. Casey Veggies
Casey Veggies has built his own name and brand in the last years, and having barely graduated from High School, it’s definitely a respectable movement. The California rep, old time Odd Future affiliate (although he opted not to join, he still has strong ties with the crew), and now Roc Nation managed rapper has been making various moves in the scene, putting out consistently enjoyable music and verses, and impressing his older counterparts. The Young Nigga movement is in full force with this youngin’ and it’s definitely a movement to take note of. Unless of course, you’ve been Sleeping in Class…
9. A$AP Rocky
Harlem-native A$AP Rocky was making some buzz last year with the music video he released for his song “Purple Swag.” During some of his buzz, people compared Rocky and his A$AP Crew a lot to Tyler the Creator and Odd Future but we quickly learned that they had their separate paths. Yes, OF and A$AP have their respective groups but the music is much different. Rocky released his mixtape LiveLoveA$AP towards the end of last year and it gained him a lot of respect. He may not be the best lyricist but he has a lot of quality songs and can do his thing on the mic. Be on the lookout for his upcoming debut album LongLiveA$AP due out September 11th.
This young Cali spitter was (and still is) affiliated with OF, to the point some people thought he was a member. Although he is not, that doesn’t deter him from being a dope young Cali rapper that’s emerged in LA’s booming Hip-Hop scene. His mixtape, Shyne Coldchain Vol. 1 has been building his name up properly, and his affiliation with Mike G and Speakz! results in nothing but dopeness from young Vincent. He hasn’t reached any major landmark achievements but he’s got enough talent to be recognized regardless.
7. Mac Miller
Upon dropping his K.I.D.S. mixtape, Pittsburgh native Mac Miller embarked on one of the quickest rises to fame hip-hop has seen in a long time. If there was a code to instant success in hip-hop, Mac Miller and Rostrum Records cracked it, and basked in the glory of said task. With his debut album, Blue Slide Park, Mac Miller was the first independent hip-hop artist to top the Billboard charts since Snoop Dogg in 1995/1996. An incredible feat in and of itself that should earn Mac Miller respect among even the most elitist of hip-hop fans, and at 20 years old, he’s not showing any signs of slowing down…
6. ScHoolboy Q
Not many knew about any TDE/Black Hippy artists besides Kendrick Lamar in 2010 with his mixtape O.D.. However, mid-2011 to now has been all about Schoolboy Q (and his fellow comrades, Jay Rock and Ab-Soul, who with Kendrick Lamar make up Black Hippy). From his ridiculously lethal verse on “Brand New Guys” w/ A$AP Rocky to building even more buzz with “Hands on the Wheel” off his 2012 album Habits and Contradiction, Los Angeles’ own, Schoolboy Q has been on an uber hot trail in the rap game, and hasn’t stopped blazing tracks in the least (most notably his recent collab on XV’s “Ahh Real Monsters!”). TDE’s Puff Daddy is definitely a player to keep your eye on if you haven’t already.
5. Joey Bada$$
Joey Bada$$ is leader of the Pro Era crew and has been on the rise ever since his freestyle from when he was 15 “blew up” on some parts of the internet. The Brooklyn-native has tons of confidence but he can also back it up. He grew even more of a fanbase when he released the music video for his song “Survival Tactics” with Pro Era crew member Capital Steez. Bada$$ recently released his mixtape 1999 and proved to everyone that he can spit for real. It has a real 90′s feel to it for sure. Some think that he may be too high on this list because of the little amount of music he released. One thing is for sure though, that Joey Bada$$ has a lot of potential for only being 17 years old.
Snubnose is probably one of the lesser know artists on here but that doesn’t mean the dude can’t rap. Snubnose released a mixtape last year titled Rappin’ Ass Nigga and just showed off his skills (along side his partner in crime, Mitch). The California native spits entendres on top of entendres. I still bump this mixtape a lot and I find lines that I never even noticed before. Although he hasn’t released a lot of music like Joey Bada$$, we all felt he deserved this position despite that fact. There is no set release date for his upcoming project RAPS.
3. Big K.R.I.T.
Meridian, Mississippi representative Big K.R.I.T. has paved his own lane in hip-hop with self produced albums and mixtapes, mixing up content dealing with his life in the South and the hardships he’s endured rising up in the music industry. Mixing the simplicity of the South with a sharp intelligence, one thing remains true…K.R.I.T. works hard at his craft, and is one of the more underrated Southern rappers that’s stuck true to his work. His latest album, Live From the Underground epitomizes all of his work so far (which can be good and bad in hip-hop), and hopefully he can branch out and try new things to appeal to an even bigger audience than he does now.
From Sly Tendencies to his own imprint through Columbia Records, Earl Sweatshirt has come a long way. At 18 years old, Earl has a verse on just one song for sale and yet here he sits at #2.
As a rapper, he fascinates. It’s not just the mystique around his forced absence from the western world, though that’s certainly part of it. It’s not just the graphic content of his rhymes delivered with the technical mastery of his idol, Eminem, all at age 16. It’s not just about what he’s already accomplished, a dedicated following with more buzz than a suitcase full of vibrators. It is what’s on the horizon that has hip-hop fans everywhere so excited.
Potential. And this kid has it in spades. Upon arriving stateside, Earl Sweatshirt teases that at 50k followers on his brand new Twitter account, he’ll release a new song. Three hours later, we have a new song with the same lyrical depth and rhyming intricacies we’ve come to know and love through what little he put out before his departure. In his only commercial effort thus far, he spends two minutes juxtaposing the old Earl with the new in one of the most complex verses of the last few years. Considering the effects of his time in Samoa, Earl illustrates his evolution thusly: “And threw his own youth off the roof after paradise.”
Since the Oldie verse, reports and photos from recording studios have been steadily stoking the flames. He’s continuing the EarlWolf saga with his OF bandmate Tyler, the Creator. He’s recording a trio of songs under the guiding hands of Alchemist with Domo Genesis. Instagram is flooded with photos of Earl in the studio with The Neptunes. He’s making beats. He’s one of two rappers with features on Frank Ocean’s Channel Orange. The other? Andre 3000.
Earl Sweatshirt sits at number 2 for the content on the way. The roller-coaster train that is his rap career teeters on the edge of its big hill. Hold on, it’s going to be a wild ride.
Compton-native Kendrick Lamar has been in the rap game for more than a couple of years now. The Top Dawg Entertainment (TDE) and Black Hippy (Black Hippy consists of him, ScHoolboy Q, Ab-Soul, & Jay Rock) member really started to gain some buzz after the release of his 2010 mixtape O(verly) D(edicated). After that he started to get a lot of recognition and got a huge “co-sign” from the one and only, Dr. Dre. The man is undeniable on the mic with tracks like “Rigamortus” and “Michael Jordan”. Let alone his freestyles.
Last year he released an album titled Section 80. For a lot of writers here on PHH, this was one of their favorite projects. It was definitely my AOTY (Album of the Year) last year. This year he signed with Aftermath/Interscope records along with the rest of Black Hippy. Be on the lookout for K Dot to get more of a fan base with the release of his upcoming album good kid, m.A.A.d city which he said will be the best album released in the last 20 years. Will he live up to his own hype? We’ll find out October 2nd.
Big Sean – Big Sean released a plethora of mixtapes a couple of years back and continues to grow his fan base with the help of Kanye West and G.O.O.D. Music. His 2011 album Finally Famous was a hit. He has a mixtape due out in a couple of weeks and his sophomore album is due out later this year. I felt that Big Sean could have cracked the top 10 but the votes didn’t go his way.
Ab-Soul – Here is another Black Hippy member that, in my opinion, could have been on this list especially after the release of his album Control System this year. He brings a unique aspect to Black Hippy and has some very enjoyable content out there.
Chip Tha Ripper - Chip is a Cleveland, OH native and has been releasing music for a couple of years now. I feel that he should be on this list but the votes just didn’t go his way. He released one of my favorite mixtapes last year titled Gift Raps. His flow has improved a lot and the guy just has a lot of great music out there.
Domo Genesis – The resident weed rapper from OF, Domo has rapidly become so much more in the last year. With his next project entirely produced by The Alchemist, and a slew of scene-stealing features, there should be no doubt that his star is on the rise.
B.o.B. – Yes, his recent albums are hip-hop bubble-wrapped in pop. Yes, he’s released major hits with not one, but two cute Nashville crooners. Yes, Atlantic seems to have him by the balls. And yes, he went on tour with Paramore. But even during his pop-career, the Grand Hustle artist has managed to put out the compelling No Genre. A return to that style would see him above just an honorable mention.
The Palmer Squares- Yes, they are a duo…but they’re some of my favorites. Check them out on Youtube. You won’t be disappointed!
thanks to the people over at PHH for putting in the time to make their own list