1. Juice Wrld, 20
Listed at number 1 for obvious reasons. Spotify named Juice Wrld ‘Biggest Breakout Artist’ as he closed out 2018 finishing as the #9 top male artists according to Billboard. The song that brought him to fame Lucid Dreams which was a song off his debut album ‘999′ that he posted to SoundCloud in 2017. It peeked, all the way to #6 on Billboard’s Hot 100, and caught the attention of major record labels, including InterScope to which he is now signed to. It has now been certified 6x platinum and has become one of the biggest songs of 2018. ‘Goodbye & Good Riddance’ was his 1st studio album which had hits like All Girls Are the Same, Lean Wit Me, and Scared of Love. He also teamed up with Future for their joint mixtape ‘Wrld On Drugs’. As a new and regular artist, Juice had one of the best years in 2018. Between his album, collaborations, and features, there is so much upside to his artistry giving him the #1 spot in the next generation of upcoming artists.
2. Trippie Redd, 19
Known for his versatility and distinct sound, Trippie Redd rose to fame from his SoundCloud song Love Scars/You Hurt Me. He released ‘A Love Letter to You’ in May of 2017 which was his first release to chart on a major chart. This mixtape included songs like Pole1469 and Love Scars and features from Famous Dex, 6ix9ine and a couple others big names. He released two more mixtapes ‘A Love Letter to you 2’ and his most recent ‘A Love Letter to You 3’ which has his latest hit single ‘Topanga’. His first official album is called ‘Life’s a Trip’ and has features from Young Thug, Travis Scott, Reese LaFlare, and Diplo. This album shows just how capable and versatile Trippie is, dabbles with a couple different vibes on this album and find success in each style. Missing My Idols is a great song that captures his ability to rap and tell a story, while Forever Ever is another song where Trippie uses a softer tone and endures long notes. His lead single was Dark Knight Dummo with Travis Scott, which went on to become his highest charting song at #72 on Billboard top 100 and was certified platinum. Anyways, stay on the lookout for more songs and features coming from this young and talented artist!
3. XXXtentacion, 20
Where to start… X was criminally active most of his career, going in n out of jail. Meeting one of his best friends “Ski Mask the Slump God” while they were both serving time in a youth detention center. Together they decided they were going to commit some crimes and get some money, X bought a microphone with his money and began started recording music which caused Ski Mask to do the same. They started the ‘Members Only’ Collective which had some smaller named artists under them and began dropping music. His ginormous hit song Look at Me went crazy on SoundCloud and shot him to fame while serving time in prison for false imprisonment, witness tampering and aggravated battery on his pregnant girlfriend. When he got out of prison he immediately started a feud with Drake, stating that he stole his flow on Look at Me and used it for his own song KMT this caused X to gain an insane amount of fans and honestly helped him become as popular as he did. X took pride in his music, which was a mix of rock, emo, and rap, a style that many do not succeed at. He signed with Empire Distribution for a lower salary so that he could have full creative control of his music. With a die-hard fan base, X had it all, some would even go as far to call his fanbase a “cult”. His debut album ‘17′ had his hit song Jocelyn Flores being his highest debuting song and appeared at #31 on the Hot 100. His second debut album ‘?’ had artists such as Joey Bada$$ and PnB Rock. This album debuted at #1 on the Billboard Hot 200, becoming his first #1 album. His life was cut short on June 18, 2018, when he was fatally shot after struggling with two gunmen who were trying to rob him. This news shook up the whole music industry, from the young aspiring artist to the hip-hop veterans. Month’s later there were some posthumous songs that followed and X was even featured on Lil Wayne’s ‘Tha Carter V’, and is Featured on Kanye’s upcoming album ‘Yhandi’. Before he passed away, X has accomplished so much for a kid his age. He used music as a way to deal with his anger while spreading light on mental illness and inspiring the youth.
4. YoungBoy NBA, 19
Known for getting in trouble with the law and dropping a ton of music, NBA has some serious talent as a rapper. When I hear him I really appreciate his ability to spit bars and tell a story at the same time. He is best known for his song Outside Today which peaked at #31 on the Billboard 100. He grew up in a poor environment with not much help from his parents, he dropped out of school in the ninth grade to focus on music. Shortly after he was arrested for robbery and soon was in and out of jail. Using criminal acts to pay for studio time and equipment he started making songs which eventually put him in the position he is in today. To keep it short NBA has released a slew of mixtapes with his most popular one being ‘A.I. YoungBoy’ which was released August 4th, 2017. He released his first and only studio album ‘Until Death Call My Name’ which was certified gold. The only thing holding this kid back is the trouble he gets himself into. As mention before, he puts out a lot of content and my problem with that is I feel some of his music comes out rushed and not worked on. Quality over quantity any day. At only 19 years old he has amazing talent and shows so much promise.
5. Jaden Smith, 20
Jaden was always destined for greatness. But no one knew it would be in music. The son of Will Smith saw his first role in a movie alongside his dad in the 2006 film “The Pursuit of Happiness” and went on to star in the 2010 remake of “Karate Kid”. After his movie “After Earth” Smith distanced himself from acting and decided to focus on music. HE shocked people when he rapped alongside Justin Bieber in his ‘Never Say Never’ which peaked at #8 on the Billboard top 100 and was certified 5x platinum! He then released ‘Cool Tapes Vol. 2’ in 2014, but didn’t gain a lot of attention. Jaden went into a 3-year work effort and released his debut studio album ‘Syre’ which includes the hit song Icon. Following up ‘Syre’ Smith released his 2ndalbum The Sunset Tapes: A Cool Tape Story. Jaden Smith can literally do it all. And whichever path he decides to completely pursue I think he will make a big name for himself regardless.
6. Roddy Richh, 20
From Compton California, Roddy randomly popped up in 2018 with his hit single Die Young which was produced by London on da Track. It quickly became a huge hit and sent the young man flying into mainstream media which got him on this list. When I heard Roddy for the first time he sounded a little like Lil Baby. Nowadays there is such a thin line between singing and rapping. He’s a hybrid, A melodic singer and a natrual rapper who can sing his own chorus and spit his own verses. His most recent release is his mixtape ‘Feed tha Streets II’ which has songs like Nascar and Every Season which are very popular right now. Roddy and world-renown DJ, Marshmello, teamed up to make the new song Project Dreams which captures Roddy’s rapping talent. Still pretty fresh into hip-hop Roddy does not have much else, but I seriously see a good future for him.
7. Lil Skies, 20
Best known for his songs Red Roses and Nowadays, Skies was inspired to make music from his father who was a struggling rapper who never made it big. He began going to studios at the age of 4! By the time he was a teenager, being a rapper was the only thing he wanted. In 2017 he posted the song Red Roses on SoundCloud and YouTube and caught the attention of Atlantic Records. After signing with the label he released his debut mixtape ‘The Life of a Dark Rose’ which was a huge hit. Skies was launched into the spotlight gaining attention from a slew of established rappers, hopping on songs like Wiz Khalifa’s Fr Fr, Lil Durk’s Rockstar, PNB Rock’s Fuck U Think U Goin, and Gucci Mane’s Mad Russian. He’s gained a pretty solid fanbase with 3.7m followers on Instagram. He’s more like a Rockstar than a rapper and that’s what he calls himself anyways. A lot of his songs have very smooth transitions from rapping to singing, to “yelling”. This guy sounds good on every type of beat and personally one of my favorite rappers of this new generation.
8. Lil Mosey, 16
Yup. Sixteen. What were you doing at 16? I’m sure you weren’t an established rapper at that age. Pull Up is the song that blasted him into stardom, the music video has over 20 million views. He shortly followed up with Boof Pack and went on to make his biggest single to date Noticed which peaked at #80 on Billboard Hot 100. 16 years old and already a song on the top 100, is pretty crazy and the last person that I can even remember doing something like that is Chris Brown and Justin Beiber. Mosey signed to ‘Interscope’ and released his debut album ‘Northsbest’ on October 19th. The popular songs on the album were Kamikaze, Pull Up, Noticed and his song with BlocBoy JB, Yoppa. There isn’t much on him yet as he is literally in the midst of becoming a superstar. At the age of 16, I can only imagine what he’ll accomplish before he’s 21.
9. Lil Pump, 18
Ah, the young “Harverd” dropout. Mr. Pump has absolutely been on a tear. His single Gucci Gang which released in 2017 went crazy and peaked at #3 On Billboard Hot 100 and has been certified 3x platinum! But before his first official single, he released Boss and D-rose which went CRAZY and amassed over 70million views on SoundCloud. The popularity of D-rose led to a music video directed by Cole Bennett and has since gained over 150m views on YouTube. Sparking a competition to land Pump, multiple labels were offering upwards to 8-12M. The lucky winners? Warner Bros. Records signed him for 8M. He released Esskeetit which peaked at #24 on Billboard followed by Drug Addicts. Alongside the video which stared Pump he called upon the man himself… Charlie Sheen. In September he released a song I Love It which featured Kanye West and Adele Givens and it became the #1 streamed song in America.
10. Smooky MarGielaa, 16
The youngest on the list! At just the age of 7, he started touring all around the U.S with his father who a Malian artist, performing alongside him while also doing covers of any Michael Jackson song. Later on, Smooky was approached by A$AP Rocky to join A$AP Mob after he got finished playing a show with A$AP Twelvyy. He was even featured on a couple songs on A$AP Mobs album ‘Cozy Tapes, Vol. 2: Too Cozy’ including ‘Black Card’, ‘Bahamas’, and ‘BYF’. His most popular songs are Vlone Flex and Stay “100”. Personally, I really like this young artist. I found him on SoundCloud in 2017 and have been hoping he makes it big ever since. He recently released a song with Chris Brown, Juicy J and A$AP Rocky called Flight to Memphis. At 16 years old, Smooky shows a lot of potential as the sound of hip-hop branches out.