Top Rappers from New York City
List of the Best New York Rappers
The birthplace and the one and only true mecca of hip hop had fallen from its once dominant presence in rap as New York rappers have for long been overshadowed by southern hip hop. With hip hop emerging during the late 1970s, the 1980s was the era that hip hop music began to build its foundation, first on the streets of New York City, and later spreading across America, and eventually across the world.
It has been said that during the summer of 1973, along Sedgewick Avenue in the South Bronx, a local teenager by the name of DJ Kool Herc was asked to provide entertainment for a local neighborhood party. As history would have it, hip hop was born on that day. In its early days hip-hop would include MCs, DJs, graffiti artists, and break-dancers, all forms that were very popular through the 1970s and 1980s, or at least until gangster rap took over.
The 1980s was the true rise of hip hop as rappers from New York like Kurtis Blow, Slick Rick, Run DMC, Rakim, LL Cool J, KRS-One, and numerous others began their careers. While the 1980s started the popularity of hip-hop, the 1990s was the golden era for rap music. The 1990s would become the area of all-time greats, artists like Jay-Z, Nas, Notorious BIG, Wu-Tang, DMX, Kool G Rap, Big L, and many more representing all five boroughs of New York, as well sections of North Jersey, Westchester County, and Long Island.
The 2000s was the beginning of the end for New York rappers. While rappers from New York started off strong during the 2000s with Jay-Z and Roc-A-Fella, DMX and the Ruff Ryders, The LOX, Cam’ron and the Diplomats, Nas continuing his success, and 50 Cent’s introduction with the classic album Get Rich or Die Tryin’. Eventually, the south would takeover hip hop and rap music.
Today is a new era for New York rappers as a large roster of top rappers from New York has once again created a booming rap scene that is soon to repeat its reign over the rap game. While there are familiar faces to New York’s hip hop scene that still have a presence and following, there are dozens of new New York rappers that are bringing the title rightfully back to the city. From New York drill artists to the more mainstream rap artists, New York is officially back as the leader of hip hop as the list below showcases today’s generation of top New York rappers.
Top 30 New York Rappers
1. Nicki Minaj
As female artists are standing on top of the rap game, Nicki Minaj deserves much credit as being one of the first megastars in hip-hop to represent women within the genre. Beginning her career during the 2000s, the Queens native would initially gain a fan base through her time with Atlanta’s So Icy Entertainment and her 2009 release of Beam Me Up Scotty. While her journey began with the hip-hop group Hoodstars, her real start into becoming an icon was her signing with Lil Wayne’s Young Money. By 2010, Nicki Minaj released her first album, Pink Friday, and has since become an icon in music and one of the top international pop stars.
Instagram: @Nicki Minaj | Youtube: Nicki Minaj | Spotify: Nicki Minaj
2. Cardi B
With one of the best personalities in hip-hop, Cardi B’s charm has fans from all over the world gravitating towards the former South Bronx resident. While her start in entertainment was not necessarily hip-hop, but as an exotic dancer, Cardi B would gain popularity and become nationally known for her time on Love & Hip-Hop: New York. What truly transformed a former reality TV star into a superstar was her mixtape grind with the release of Gangsta Bitch Music, Vol. 1 and Vol. 2. From her debut album of Invasion of Privacy, which was awarded a Grammy, to songs like “Bodak Yellow”, “Like It”,”Money”, “WAP”, and “Up”, Cardi B has been able to stay on top of hip-hop.
3. ASAP Rocky
One of the leaders that helped transform not only a new era of New York rappers, but also a new generation for hip-hop itself through the emergence of multiple rap artists during the early 2010s. With his upbringing in Harlem, Rocky kicked off his career as a member of ASAP MOB, a large group of various creatives that was founded by ASAP Yams during the 2000s. While there were over a dozen members, many who arrived prior to ASAP Rocky, the release of 2011’s “Peso” and “Purple Swag”, helped give ASAP Rocky and ASAP Mob an entry way into the rap game.
Instagram: @ASAP Rocky | Youtube: ASAP Rocky | Spotify: ASAP Rocky
4. Pop Smoke
Despite his death, Pop Smoke helped bring in an entirely new sound and style of hip-hop, a style that could often be seen imitated and duplicated across the globe among the nationwide hip-hop community and the international hip-hop scene. A native to Brooklyn’s Canarsie neighborhood, often referred as the Floss, Pop Smoke would seek his introduction as one of the top rising rappers from New York with songs like “Dior” and “Welcome to the Party,” along with the mixtapes of Meet the Woo and Meet the Woo 2. His death was not an end to his career, but illuminated one of the most influential rappers of today’s generation.
Instagram: @Pop Smoke | Youtube: Pop Smoke | Spotify: Pop Smoke
5. Lil TJay
Another top New York rapper who was born and bred in the Bronx, Lil TJay is much more than your average rapper. A collection of music that ranges from street ballads to street melodies, Lil TJay quickly spring boarded to the top of New York’s rap scene in 2018 with the back to back hits of “Resume” and “Brothers.” Fast forwarding, Lil TJay has become one of the most praised rappers of today’s generation. Overshadowing all artists with his debut album of True 2 Myself (2019), only to continue with his sophomore album of State of Emergency (2020) and Destined 2 Win (2021), Lil TJay has gained the hearts of the ladies and the hearts of the streets.
The man, the myth, the legend, Nas has remained prevalent and relevant in hip-hop since his debut in 1994 with one of greatest rap albums of all-time, Illmatic. Arguably an all-time great, as many rappers are retiring and venturing into other avenues, Nas has kept pace with the younger generation. While a brief hiatus following Nas ninth album released in 2008 and 2012’s Life is Good, the Queensbridge legend made a comeback in 2018 with the Kanye West production collaboration of Nasir. Since, Nas has released King’s Disease, King’s Disease II, King’s Disease III, and Magic, all well acclaimed and celebrated as some of hip-hop’s best albums of the 2020s.
7. French Montana
Now a veteran in hip-hop, French Montana is one of the few remaining New York rappers that still has a presence in music since making first appearances during the 2000s. Born in Morocco, but raised in the Bronx, French Montana showcased a one of a kind grind upon his first years in the rap game. From the hottest DVDs in the streets to the formation of the Coke Boys, French Montana was one of the number one underground artists in the streets, only to surface during the 2010s as a mainstream artist. Numerous mixtapes to lead up to his debut album, Excuse My French (2013), French Montana’s nonstop and relentless grind landed him on top of hip-hop.
Instagram: @French Montana | Youtube: French Montana | Spotify: French Montana
8. A Boogie wit da Hoodie
With unmatched talent A Boogie wit da Hoodie has been constructing his own lane, veering past artists of the often stagnant and repetitive music industry. Melodies, rhythm, and a unique pattern of tempo, the Bronx rapper’s journey to becoming a staple of New York hip-hop began during 2016 with release of the classic album Artist, an album that included hits like “Still Think About You,” “Jungle,” and “My S***.”
Instagram: @A Boogie wit da Hoodie | Youtube: A Boogie wit da Hoodie | Spotify: A Boogie wit da Hoodie
9. Lil Tecca
A young Queens native, surprising to some and predictable to others, Lil Tecca is one of the leaders of today’s generation in hip-hop. With his 2019 album of We Love You Tecca, which was led by singles like “Love Me” and “Ransom”, Lil Tecca has gained a core fan base, especially among hip-hop’s younger crowd.
Instagram: @Lil Tecca | Youtube: Lil Tecca | Spotify: Lil Tecca
10. Fivio Foreign
A product of East Flatbush’s 90z neighborhood, Fivio Foreign quickly gained momentum and has been on a continuous rise among New York rappers. With the help of Harlem rap legend Mase, Fivio Foreign was introduced to the industry following the release of the EP Pain and Love, which featured the hit “Big Drip”. With only a few years in, Fivio Foreign’s arrival was met with almost immediate success. Now, Fivio Foreign is one of the most highlighted rappers from New York, especially following his latest release, B.I.B.L.E (2022).
Instagram: @Fivio Foreign | Youtube: Fivio Foreign | Spotify: Fivio Foreign
11. SAINt JHN
Alternative rap star SAINt JHN is one of the best kept secrets in music. While New York drill music and numerous New York female rap artists have conquered the spotlight, if not up to date, spectators of New York’s rap scene will be in for quite a surprise to learn that the Brooklyn and Guyana raised rapper is miles ahead of most artists in the city with a level of creativity that draws no comparison.
Instagram: @SAINt JHN | Youtube: SAINt JHN | Spotify: SAINt JHN
12. Joey Badass
A true MC and a true rap artist, Joey Badass’ deliverance has preserved the lost culture of hip-hop as mainstream media is slowly diminishing the art form of a genre that many have come to love. Following a brief intermission, Joey Badass made a comeback in 2022 with releasing one of the best hip-hop albums of the year, 2000. Almost a veteran, Joey Badass made his first appearances during the early 2010s, eventually leading to his debut album 1999, released in 2012. Often applauded and celebrated for his craft and his originality, Joey Badass’ rise in hip-hop is prior to the current state of New York rappers, where New York drill music has been thriving of late.
Instagram: @Joey Badass | Youtube: Joey Badass | Spotify: Joey Badass
13. Sleepy Hallow
As Flatbush continues to breed top New York rappers, Sleepy Hallow is in the company of the top rap artists from the Brooklyn neighborhood. While his first official release was “Better Than Us,” the song “2 Fake” of 2019 began to cement Sleepy Hallow’s foundation inside of New York’s hip-hop scene. Receiving much of his recognition through his pure talent and the through quality music, Sleepy Hallow is one of the rap game’s most underrated artists.
Instagram: @Sleepy Hallow | Youtube: Sleepy Hallow | Spotify: Sleepy Hallow
14. Young M.A
With the hottest rap song of 2016, “OOOUUU,” Young M.A has proven to all doubters that she is here to stay. While Brooklyn’s own Young M.A has spent the bulk of her career freestyling on classic hip-hop tracks, like “Thotiana”, “I Get The Bag”, and “Quiet Storm”, but her music like “OOOUUU,” “BIG,” and “PettyWap,” alongside albums like Herstory In The Making, has placed her in a position to be considered as one of the best New York hip-hop artists.
Instagram: @Young M.A | Youtube: Young M.A | Spotify: Young M.A
15. Bobby Shmurda
Before being sentenced to prison, Bobby Shmurda was the hottest rapper from New York. Growing up in the rough East Flastbush neighborhood of the 90s, within the heart of the New York City streets, Bobby Shmurda was able to provide and showcase another side of the city during a time when New York had an insignificant presence in hip-hop. Being one of the first New York rappers of today’s era to bring New York’s new movement of hip hop to the masses, Bobby Shmurda took the hip-hop community by storm with songs like “Bobby Bitch” and “Hot N****”.
Instagram: @Bobby Shmurda | Youtube: Bobby Shmurda | Spotify: Bobby Shmurda
16. Rich the Kid
While former resident of Queens, New York, Rich the Kid origins in hip-hop and the rap game was in today’s mecca of rap music, the city of Atlanta. Beginning and first becoming known through his time linked with the Migos and Quality Control, Rich the Kid would eventually bet on himself and branch off and facilitate his own line of music. Since launching his career, Rich the Kid A has produced hits like “New Freezer” with Kendrick Lamar and “Plug Walk,” created his own label Rich Forever with artists like Jay Critch and Famous Dex, and released over a dozen mixtapes and albums.
Instagram: @Rich the Kid | Youtube: Rich the Kid | Spotify: Rich the Kid
One of the all-time greatest lyricists, Fabolous is one of the very few OGs of New York rappers to remain relevant throughout the course of his career, a career that has expanded from the 2000s to today’s era of New York hip-hop. One of the many legends to be born and raised in Brooklyn’s Bed-Stuy neighborhood, Fabolous found his way into the music industry after being discovered by DJ Clue and signing to his Desert Storm label. Appearances on numerous mixtapes, during the rise of the mixtape era of hip-hop, Fabolous would become nationally known following the Nate Dogg featured track “Can’t Deny It,” released on his debut album Ghetto Fabolous (2001).
18. Sheck Wes
A talent that caught the eyes of Travis Scott and Kanye West, as Harlem is one of the top contenders of New York hip-hop, Sheck Wes is at the forefront of Harlem’s rap scene. Dropping one of New York hip-hop’s number one songs, “Mo Bamba,” Sheck Wes album Mudboy gained fanfare among hip-hop lovers. While the Senegalese Harlem native is a few years removed from his debut album Mudboy, Sheck Wes has remained in the heart of New York’s rap scene.
Instagram: @Sheck Wes | Youtube: Sheck Wes | Spotify: Sheck Wes
19. Sheff G
While incarceration has brought his career to a brief halt, Sheff G has remained on top of Brooklyn’s rap scene. First appearing alongside fellow Brooklyn rapper Sleepy Hallow, Sheff G front lined Brooklyn’s and New York’s drill rap music, contributing to the growth of one of hip-hop’s top drill scenes, even overtaking Chicago for the crown. While symbolizing the streets of New York through his movement, Sheff G has brought hits like “We Getting Money,” “No Suburban pt. 2,” “On Go,” and “Weight on Me” to hip-hop, all while certifying his presence with albums From the Can, Proud of Me Now, One and Only, and The Unluccy Luccy Kid.
The Prince of New York J.I. was originally brought to the attention of viewers following his time on the reality television show Rap Game. Hailing from Crown Heights, Brooklyn with a Puerto Rican background, the young MC has slowly gained traction within the rocky road of becoming a rap artist. With hit songs like “Need Me,” “Hood Scars,” “Blame on Me,” “Love Won’t Change,” and “Love Scars,” J.I. has made his time in the rap game impactful to New York regaining the crown in hip-hop.
21. Dave East
One of the most authentic hip-hop artists in the industry, Dave East combines the nature of the streets with raw lyrics, leaving little competition to keep up with one of the best MCs of our generation. While known for his once close relationships with Nipsey Hussle, Kevin Durant, and, through signing with Mass Appeal, Nas, Dave East is a rare talent of the current era of hip-hop. Within his own lane, Dave East has gained the ability to create a solid career, despite not having any major hits, but just pure talent that led him to longevity with a career spanning over 20 albums and full-length projects, from 2010 with Change of Plans to 2022 with the projects Book of David and HDIGH.
Instagram: @Dave East | Youtube: Dave East | Spotify: Dave East
22. Ice Spice
Just entering hip-hop, Ice Spice became one of the most talked about artists of 2022, following the release of her viral hit “Munch (Feelin’ U).” A Bronx native, Ice Spice is still progressing and building her career, but Ice Spice has received the most notoriety out of the large roster of New York rappers. Following her debut hit, Ice Spice has continued with songs like “Bikini Bottom” and “No Clarity.”
Instagram: @Ice Spice | Youtube: Ice Spice | Spotify: Ice Spice
23. Dusty Locane
Another leader of the drill scene of Brooklyn, New York, Dusty Locane gained much fanfare following the “Rollin N Controllin” freestyle and “Rolando.” With a presence in hip-hop for only a couple years, Dusty Locane is among the next up rappers from New York to represent the city in its rise in the international hip hop community. A resident of the Canarsie neighborhood, Dusty Locane brings the accuracy of the Brooklyn streets to the people, through videos that have accumulated millions of views and through multiple projects, like Untamed.
Instagram: @Dusty Locane | Youtube: Dusty Locane | Spotify: Dusty Locane
24. Dream Doll
For the longest, Dream Doll has been one of hip-hop’s leading female artists, at least since the late 2010s. Equally as popular on social media and as she is in New York’s rap scene, Dream Doll has become a cherished female MC following her intial debut on reality television’s Love & Hip Hop: New York. From beginning with “Everything Nice” and the first edition of her three-part series Life In Plastic, Dream Doll has shown much growth as an artist since her first releases in 2017 and 2018.
Instagram: @Dream Doll | Youtube: Dream Doll | Spotify: Dream Doll
25. Kay Flock
The unfortunate tragedies of the streets have led to Kay Flock’s career to be put on pause, but the Bronx rapper was one of the number one rappers from New York during 2021. Very aggressive and the most accurate depiction of the Bronx and New York drill scene, Kay Flock was well on his way, but incarceration has currently taken his career on a long traveled detour. Still relevant and still loved by fans, Kay Flock’s D.O.A. Tape became filled with classic drill raps, like “Is Ya Ready” and “PSA”.
Instagram: @Kay Flock | Youtube: Kay Flock | Spotify: Kay Flock
26. Flipp Dinero
While having one of the biggest songs of 2018, “Leave Me Alone,” Flipp Dinero, who was raised in Brooklyn’s Canarsie neighborhood, may have trouble matching one of the premier hip-hop songs of the 2010s, but his music has been well above the standards of today’s monotonous sounds of rap and hip-hop music, so any labeling Flipp Dinero of being a one hit wonder is truly inaccurate.
Instagram: @Flipp Dinero | Youtube: Flipp Dinero | Spotify: Flipp Dinero
27. 22 Gz
While another New York rapper with his share of legal troubles, despite the distractions 22Gz has still been able to showcase to the world that he is one of the most talented rap artists. Raised in Brooklyn’s Flatbush neighborhood, 22Gz would jump off into music during 2017 and 2018 and become one of the innovators of Brooklyn’s drill scene. Providing viewers and listeners a perfect example of the Brooklyn streets of the present day, 22Gz has been growing into New York hip-hop’s spotlight with songs like “Suburban,” “Twirlanta,” and “Blixy Gang Freestyle.”
28. Rowdy Rebel
One of the forefathers of the Brooklyn drill scene, Rowdy Rebel was a rebellion against the hip-hop norms, and alongside Bobby Shmurda, he helped bring New York into a new era, generation, and way of rap music. Recently only known for the hit “Computers” before his incarceration, but following his release Rowdy Rebel has been relentless, reemerging as one of the faces of Brooklyn and New York’s rap scene.
Instagram: @Rowdy Rebel | Youtube: Rowdy Rebel | Spotify: Rowdy Rebel
29. Ron Suno
One of the top Bronx drill rappers, Ron Suno has been present in New York’s hip hop scene since 2019. While rapping years before, Ron Suno would arrive following his New Boss EP and the hit song “Pinocchio.” Now Ron Suno is among the top New York rappers, within the in-crowd of somebodies, as the homegrown Co-Op City rapper is one of the artists to be on the lookout for in the coming years.
Instagram: Ron Suno | Youtube: Ron Suno | Spotify: Rowdy Rebel
30. Jay Critch
One of the first artists under Rich the Kid’s Rich Forever imprint, Jay Critch stepped out of the shadows and created his own separate entity of music. Coming out of Brooklyn’s Clinton Hill neighborhood, Jay Critch has steered away from the crowded lane of drill rap and pursued the top ranks of New York’s trap music stars.
Instagram: @Jay Critch | Youtube: Jay Critch | Spotify: Jay Critch
Honorable Mention Rappers from New York
– Nebu Kiniza Instagram: @Nebu Kiniza and Youtube: Nebu Kiniza
– Stunna Gambino Instagram: @Stunnqa Gambino and Youtube: Stunna Gambino
– Bizzy Banks Instagram: @Bizzy Banks and Youtube: Bizzy Banks
– Rah Swish Instagram: @Rah Swish and Youtube: Rah Swish
– Eli Fross Instagram: @Eli Fross and Youtube: Eli Fross
– Edot Baby Instagram: @Edot Baby and Youtube: Edot Baby
– Jay Gwuapo Instagram: @Jay Gwuapo and Youtube: Jay Gwuapo
– Smooky MarGielaa Instagram: @Smooky MarGielaa and Youtube: Smooky MarGielaa
– Curly Savv Instagram: @Curly Savv and Youtube: Curly Savv
– Kenzo Balla Instagram: @Kenzo Balla and Youtube: Kenzo Balla
Top New York Rappers Related Topics:
*Unofficial Order. The more popular artists that have a combination of the most followers, streams, and most recent views are near the top.
*If any artists are missing from the list email firstname.lastname@example.org