Memphis has never been a stranger to big-time rap— just ask the Three 6 Mafia! With Memphis lighting up the rap scene since the 90s, there can be little wonder that some of the hottest, freshest new rap acts are still pouring out of the city’s gates. If you’re wondering who should be on your Memphis rap hit-list, make sure you’re turning over these fantastic acts. From rappers with a following already, to new names you might not even know, each deserves a spot on your top list.
Slowly climbing to global attention since 2012, the noise around BlocBoy JB really started to build with his release of Shoot in 2017. It’s even spawned a dance of the same name. Rover in 2018 had much of the same momentum, and he’s become a mentee of Drake. Their “Look Alive” collaboration in 2019 just sealed the deal. He’s a great, fresh performer, and needs to be on the list.
Here’s a Memphis rapper who isn’t afraid of the grind. Also on the scene since 2012, he signed to CMG Imprint in 2016. His success has been incremental, but it’s not from lack of talent, so put this guy on your radar. He’s gone gold-certified since 2020, and his gruff delivery pairs with underrated lyrics for a combination that’s hard to beat.
While some argue that crunk and rap are now different genres, they’re both fantastic Memphis exports and we beg to differ. Duke Duce caught Offset’s eye in 2018, signing him to Quality Control Music. With a debut mixtape rife in great sounds, he has lyrical dexterity and a gangsta-vibe that’s unbeatable. His personality shines, he dances like a beast, and he’s seriously worth the listen. He’s even dabbled in some copyright-free music.
A graduate of the Paper Route Empire, this is also Young Dolph’s cousin through marriage. He has a sneering bite and intricate dexterity that makes him a top-end Memphis rapper everyone should know. Packing charisma and with plenty of lyrical talent, he has the vibes of old-school Memphis rap, but the fresh, new-age take your hit list is craving to go to the next level.
Choppa can rhyme, yo. Signed to Warner Records in 2019, he’s actually managed to go platinum as well. Make sure you have Top Shotta, his 2020 album, on your radar. He’s done a ton in very little time, and no Memphis rap fan can call themselves that without this guy on their play list. His modern stuff is relaxed, displaying a ton of technical skills, and sure to please even the hardest genre snob.
Big30 is often eclipsed by his friend, Pooh Shiesty, but he shouldn’t be. In 2019, he started to see his local songs take off, with Allegations and Neighborhood Heroes being can’t-miss lyrical entries you need to know about. He gives gut-punching imagery, switches seamlessly from flow to flow, and has a brand new mixtape, King of Killbranch, for you to enjoy. He’s just getting started— but you need him in your playlist right now.
Who else hits the spot in your Memphis Rap Spotify list? We want to hear from you, so give them a shout-out below.