What’s the Hottest Rap/Hip-Hop Scene Right Now?

Kyle Eustice:

Right now, New York City, the designated birthplace of hip-hop, is exploding—and not just with legends celebrating the 50th anniversary of the culture. Drill music and artists like Scar Lip and Ice Spice are making their mark, igniting yet another wave of East Coast rap. 

Candace McDuffie:

New York City has always showcased the breadth of Black women emcees, whether it was a Lil Kim, a Nicki Minaj, or a Cardi B. It continues to be an epicenter of raw female talent, as evidenced by the immense popularity of rappers like Ice Spice, Lola Brooke, and Maiya The Don.

Khari Nixon:

New York City looks ready to reclaim its claim as the most impactful and hottest rap scene right now. From heavy-hitters (Cardi B, Nas, A$AP Rocky, A Boogie, Jay-Z) to upstarts (Lola Brooke, Cash Cobain, Fivio Foreign), NYC has done a great job of re-entering a conversation that Atlanta, Los Angeles, and Chicago had dominated for much of the previous decade. The industry-wide impact of sounds being honed in NYC, namely drill, says a lot about its continued influence. But it isn’t the only lane the region relies on: A$AP Rocky’s Southern-influenced sound will return this year with his new album, and Nas is on a legendary run right now with a more familiar and traditional sound. From variety to productive output, it’s hard to argue against NYC. 

That said, more abstractly, the most exciting frontier in rap right now is being led by female emcees. Women are and have been making the most interesting, inventive, and exciting rap music for much of, if not the entire, 2020s. A plethora of styles exist on mainstream platforms and landscapes that did not exist in the 2010s. You could listen to strictly female rap for an entire 24 hours and still experience trap, boom-bap, mumble rap, crunk, and many other beloved subgenres. It’s truly a fascinating time to observe the development of the female emcee arena. You’ve got to be excited about it, just as a fan.

Jaelani Turner-Williams:

While under the radar, the current alternative and jazz-rap movements are significant to modern hip-hop heads. Running the scene are eccentric rhymers like Earl Sweatshirt, Pink Siifu, Noname, MAVI, Maxo, Mach-Hommy, redveil, Quelle Chris, and MIKE, whose Young World festival series in Brooklyn has been a local fan-favorite. But the scene is pretty widespread, from New York to L.A.

Jeff Weiss:

Michigan rap, specifically Detroit and Flint, has been the hottest region for the last half-decade. Maybe it’s the old “laugh to keep from crying” adage as applied to hip-hop, but rappers from these blighted and environmentally toxic communities (eg Rio Da Yung OG, RMC Mike. Babytron, Veeze, Peezy, Babyface Ray, YN Jay, Sada Baby, and Danny Brown) are essentially the funniest people alive – one-man Netflix specials, brilliant and bleak scam and shit-talking comedy. 

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