The year is already half done, and a lot has already transpired in the realm of Hip-Hop. All in all, there’s a tons of great music that has been released, and rap songs and albums have enjoyed a major presence on the music charts.
In the following list, we talk about 10 rappers who have enjoyed a lot of buzz and notable success in the last six months. The list includes rappers with #1 singles, incarcerated emcees who somehow continue to drop regular mixtapes, and a couple of new faces who are making a real name for themselves in the Hip-Hop world. Check out the list below, we think you’re going to see some recognizable names in the mix.
10. Young Thug
Say what you want about Atlanta rapper Young Thug, but his influence in the rap game cannot be ignored. For many, he is considered as the new Lil’ Wayne, especially with his affiliation with Baby “Birdman” Williams as part of the Rich Gang crew.
He is seen as a cross-dressing weirdo with bleached dreadlocks and a rapping style that’s hardly audible. But he marches to his own drum and has been featured on hit records with major artists like Jamie XX , Tyga & T.I. It feels like his ascendancy in Hip-Hop is just beginning, and he will be around for a very long time.
Atlanta rapper Future likes to refer to himself as the Jimi Hendrix of rap. Most of his songs are about the street life, women, drugs and sipping lean (a potent mixture of promethazine and codeine). He has a sing-y rap style that is really popular now in Hip-Hop, and he is constantly featured on hit songs by artists like Meek Mill, DJ Khaled, 2 Chainz and more.
He recently announced that he will be dropping his next album, Dirty Sprite 2, on July 17. It will also be accompanied by a documentary that will be co-produced by Complex Media. This year, he also accompanied Drake on his worldwide Jungle tour. Either way you look at it, Future is definitely winning in Hip-Hop in 2015.
8. Gucci Mane
One of the most enigmatic rappers in the Hip-Hop arena is Atlanta’s Gucci Mane aka Guwop. He is the undisputed king of the Trap Music scene in Atlanta, and he is pretty much responsible for the careers of popular Atlanta emcees like Migos and Waka Flocka Flame. He’s currently serving a jail sentence for firearm possession by a convicted felon, disorderly conduct, carrying a concealed weapon and marijuana possession. But even with all his legal woes, he has managed to put out several mixtapes this year.
It just goes to show how great his work ethic is and how much music he already had recorded. Even French Montana recently put out a song titled “Gucci Mane” featuring Rick Ross and Lil’ Wayne that was co-produced by Kanye West. Gucci Mane is an undeniable force in the rap scene.
7. Dej Loaf
The 24-yr-old Dej Loaf is a perfect example of the success a viral internet hit can bring to an upcoming artist. At the tail end of 2014, the Detroit rapper scored a monster Internet hit with the smooth-flowing track “Try Me.”
Since then, her career has totally exploded and she has been featured on mainstream songs with top Hip-Hop stars like Kid Ink, The Game and Young Thug. She was also featured on 2015’s XXL Freshman List. She is the only female rapper on this list and it’s a position she definitely deserves.
6. Meek Mill
It’s fair to say that the 28-yr-old Philly rapper, Meek Mill, has officially arrived and can be counted as one of the elite rappers in the Hip-Hop game.
His sophomore album, Dreams Worth More Than Money, was released on June 29th, and it soared to #1 on the charts with first week sales of 246K. He celebrated the news of his #1 album by sipping champagne with Jay-Z at the Roc Nation offices and attending a Kevin Hart concert with Fabolous.
This is also the year that he officially hooked up with his girlfriend Nicki Minaj. Yep, Meek is definitely on top of the world right now.
Sometimes there are things that happen in the world of pop culture that you really can’t understand. For example, how do you explain that in 2015, the top-selling rapper is a Toronto-native who was a former child actor?
Earlier this year, Drake broke the Internet when he released his surprise album If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late. The album sold 495K units immediately soaring to #1. It featured awesome songs like “Energy,” “Madonna” and “10 Bands.” Once again, it proved that when it comes to crafting hit rap songs, Drake is certainly sitting at the top of the game.
4. Kendrick Lamar
When you talk about leaders of the new school of Hip-Hop, you certainly have to mention West Coast rapper, Kendrick Lamar. Earlier this year, he released his sophomore album – To Pimp A Butterfly. The album did amazingly well on the Billboard charts selling 324K units. He also broke a record on Spotify by notching an astounding 9.6 million streams. Add to this success his sponsorship deals with Beats by Dre and Reebok, and you can firmly count him as one of the hottest rappers in the game this year.
3. Wiz Khalifa
One of the most popular movie franchises in Hollywood at the moment is the Fast and Furious series. The most recent installment, Furious 7, was a huge global hit and one Pittsburgh rapper named Wiz Khalifa benefited handily from being affiliated with the movie.
Khalifa’s song, “See You Again”, featuring Charlie Puth, was featured on the soundtrack, and this affiliation helped the song reach 12 consecutive weeks as #1 on the singles charts. This kind of exposure is priceless for a rapper, and Wiz’s popularity has certainly grown exponentially as a result of this.
Tyga is one of the most talked about rappers in 2015, but the funny thing is that all his fame and tabloid appearances haven’t been because of his music. All the attention has been a result of his relationship with the 17-year-old Kylie Jenner. Tyga is 25 years old, and he has been catching a lot of flack for dating a starlet who is not 18 yet.
Of course, anything that is affiliated with the Kardashian clan hype machine is sure to catch a lot of media buzz. To be fair to him though, Tyga did score a huge hit earlier this year with his collaborative track “Ayo” featuring Chris Brown.
1. Fetty Wap
It’s funny how quickly a rapper’s fortunes can change in the Hip-Hop game. New Jersey rapper Fetty Wap released his buzz-worthy song, “Trap Queen”, in February of 2014. The song didn’t really start catching any heat till November of last year. And then, in the beginning of 2015, the song completely exploded.
It’s been picked up by both Urban and Top 40 radio stations and he even got to perform at the MTV Movie Awards in April. He has since been picked as one the new faces to watch by XXL Magazine and his star continues to rise. We have a feeling this guy is just getting warm.