SoundCloud, the streaming platform that emerged in the late 2000s, quickly became a hotbed for budding rappers to showcase their raw talent and unique sound. This innovative platform broke down barriers, allowing artists to reach listeners directly without the need for major label backing. It was here that a new wave of hip-hop began to take shape, a wave that was wild, unfiltered, and completely unapologetic.

Whether it was Lil Uzi Vert’s genre-blending melodies, XXXTentacion’s emotional intensity, or Denzel Curry’s mosh-pit lyricism, SoundCloud became a platform for these artists to explore and express their artistry without constraints. They weren’t just rappers; they were pioneers, leading a cultural shift that would redefine hip-hop in the years that followed. With names like 21 Savage, Juice Wrld, and Kodak Black, the influence of these SoundCloud rappers continues to reverberate through the industry, shaping the sound and attitude of today’s era of hip hop.

So let’s get into it. From Lil Uzi Vert, Denzel Curry and XXXTentacion to Lil Peep, Trippie Redd, and Ski Mask The Slump God, here are the top 25 greatest SoundCloud rappers of all time.

25. Lil Pump

Essential listening: Lil Pump (2017)

Love him or hate him, you can’t have a list of SoundCloud rappers without Lil Pump. Dedicating his pen game to drugs and money, you won’t find many quotables and standout verses with Pump, but his music isn’t about that. Fast trap beats, hypnotic hooks, and smooth flows make up his signature sound, crafting club anthems with hits like “Gucci Gang” and “Esskeetit” where the MC’s swaggering mic presence is enough to make each track a highlight. Coming from any other rapper, his repetitive hooks and predictable lyrics would be unbearable, but with his popstar presence on the mic, Pump makes it work. Gliding over bass-heavy production with no shortage of charisma, the Miami native is the definition of simple but effective.

24. Tay-K

Essential listening: Santana World (2017)

Sentenced to 55 years in prison, we might never get another Tay-K project, but Taymor already has a strong legacy with #SantanaWorld. A lyrical prodigy, every bar is like a punchline, sprinkling comedic one-liners and clever wordplay into every animated verse. As talented on the mic as he is with the pen, Tay-K 47 switches back and forth from playful to menacing, never taking himself too seriously, but making sure the culture knows that nobody is on his level. From classic tracks like “The Race” to the gritty gangster tales of #SantanaWorld, the SoundCloud legend had the potential of a superstar.

23. YNW Melly

Essential listening: I Am You (2018)

In and out of jail since the start of his career, prison time hasn’t stopped Melly from becoming a mainstream sensation. The Florida-based MC has mastered the art of melodic rap – he has an ammunition of hard-hitting bars perfect for trap bangers, but also the soothing voice for more moody cuts like “Murder on My Mind” and “Suicidal”. Emotional ballads or explosive hits, Melly is as energetic as he is versatile, pulling off both styles thanks to his confident delivery and passionate pen game. No matter how many times Melly gets arrested, you can always rely on him to bounce back with another batch of trap excellence.

22. Jay Critch

Essential listening: Hood Favorite (2018)

Releasing tracks on SoundCloud through 2015, it wasn’t until Critch got a co-sign from Rich the Kid that his prolific career kicked off. Dropping six mixtapes since 2017, the Brooklyn native has a relentless work ethic, pumping out ferocious projects every year and fiery singles twice as often. Tearing apart a range of fast-paced trap instrumentals, Critch’s deep-voiced rhymes dominate any song, rivalling legends like Offset and Fabolous for the best verse on the head-bopping highlights of Hood Favorite. Rapping about everything from the hustler’s grind to his drug-addled experiences, Jay’s subject matter is nothing unique, but his commanding presence and oppressive flows make every verse one of a kind.

21. Lil Skies

Essential listening: Shelby (2019)

Dropping Life of a Dark Rose as his debut mixtape, Skies has been a talented MC from the very start. Full of one-liners and clever wordplay, his fast-paced bars hit harder thanks to his hungry delivery, rapping with a steady flow and clear voice for every line to make an impact. With a keen sense of pop appeal, the rapper strikes that perfect balance between soft melodic rap and hardcore trap production, showing off his relentless flows on “Lust” and his emotive vocals on “I”. Not every bar is a standout, but with his determined mic presence and ear for memorable beats, Lil Skies rarely misses the mark.

20. MadeinTYO

Essential listening: Sincerely, Tokyo (2018)

Blowing up off the success of “Uber Everywhere”, Tokyo’s breakout single contains all the elements of what make him stand out in the rap game. With an ear for spacey beats, the MC’s music transports the listener to another world of dreamy synths and booming bass, putting the lyrics aside to focus on making a laidback vibe with his projects. TYO’s playful sense of humor works well with his understated flow, spitting one-liners with a relaxed delivery to feed into the laidback atmosphere of every album. Rapping alongside everyone from Chance the Rapper to Ski Mask, MadeinTYO always delivers with his distinctly dreamy sound.

19. Lil Mosey

Essential listening: Northsbest (2018)

Naming himself a ‘certified hitmaker,’ it’s no surprise that Lil Mosey is one of the sharpest pop rappers active today. His lyrical skills are nothing major, but his voice makes his style special, with the dreamy vocals and slick flows to glide over any instrumental. From the head-bopping hook of “Blueberry Faygo” to the laidback melodic highlights of Certified Hitmaker, Mosey rarely switches up his style, but he’s perfected his own hypnotic brand of pop rap. He isn’t the rapper to go to for hardcore bangers or lyrical spectacles, but for simple tracks to vibe out to, few MCs do it better.

18. Ugly God

Essential listening: Bumps & Bruises (2019)

Comedic rappers tend to be hit or miss, but for Ugly God, almost every joke lands. Cramming his verses full of over-the-top similes, hilarious disses, and unapologetic brags, the Southern MC is a master of punchlines who packs laugh-out-loud bars into every track. Whether he’s shooting down the haters or narrating his eventful love life on The Booty Tape, Ugly God has a comedic tale for any theme, never running dry on clever play on words and imagery to add even more humor to his hysterical stories. You won’t find Ugly God topping any lists of sharpest lyricists, but for straightforward comedy, he’s in his own lane.

17. Wifisfuneral

Essential listening: Ev3rything Sucks (2019)

Hailing from Florida, Wifi is one of the strongest lyricists to emerge from the SoundCloud scene. Never afraid to reflect on his past, the rapper’s music is filled with introspective tales and brutally honest verses, looking back on his struggles of drug addiction with the tight rhyme schemes to make each verse lyrically and technically precise. Switching from trap bangers to moody, reflective songs, albums like Boy Who Cried Wolf and PAIN? show off the MC’s natural versatility, thriving on both club-shaking and tear-jerking tracks. With an arsenal of flows and range of animated cadences, Wifi can’t be boxed into one sound, always tackling new styles but never losing his lyrical touch.

16. Smokepurpp

Essential listening: Deadstar 2 (2019)

Years on from his rise to fame, Smokepurpp continues to embrace the rugged style of his SoundCloud days. With a laidback, nonchalant delivery, the MC floats over bass-heavy instrumentals, spitting simple rhymes and infectious hooks too catchy for anyone to hate. A natural hitmaker with a knack for hooks and a limitless supply of flows, Purpp has the charisma to rhyme for days, finding new ways every project to hype up his talents and brag about his riches. With an ear for beats with bass heavy enough to break speakers, the MC’s harsh brand of hip hop has kept the SoundCloud style alive, from Deadstar all the way to Florida Jit.

15. A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie

Essential listening: The Bigger Artist (2017)

A Boogie may not have pioneered the pop rap formula, but there’s no doubt he perfected it. Performing all his verses in a half-rapping, half-singing tone, the New York MC seamlessly blends hip hop and R&B, with a melodic flair to add pop appeal to every performance. His relatable lyrics of romance and grinding to the top make his music that much more accessible, with the catchy melodies to flood the charts and the occasional standout bar to impress the rap purists. If you’re looking for innovative sounds or experimental concepts, he might not be for you, but when it comes to technical ability and hook-writing talent, A Boogie ticks every box.

14. PnB Rock

Essential listening: TrapStar Turnt PopStar (2019)

One of the best rapper-singers from the SoundCloud era, PnB Rock had the potential to be hip hop’s next superstar. The Pennsylvania native had the vicious pen game of a trapper but the smooth vocals of a soul singer, combining his love of hip hop and R&B into a glamorous twist on melodic rap. Projects like TrapStar Turnt PopStar and Goin Thru the Motions are compilations of flawless hooks. With a knack for catchy melodies and a talent for crafting choruses, every song Rock made had the head-bopping appeal of a chart-topping single. Gone before he could reach his full potential, the MC will always be remembered for his glamorous catalogue.

13. Rico Nasty

Essential listening: Nightmare Vacation (2020)

From trap to hyperpop to punk, Rico Nasty is a genre-bending monster on the mic who can’t be boxed into any genre. Whether she’s screaming into the mic on “Black Punk” or singing autotune-assisted high notes on “IPHONE”, Nasty always delivers, shredding up every instrumental with an explosive delivery and limitless supply of energy. Projects like Nightmare Vacation and Anger Management show off the MC’s abilities in full form, cutting up the mic with her razor-sharp verses. Never getting too comfortable with one sound, Rico tackles more styles in one album than most rappers could hope to in a lifetime and has cemented herself as one of the best female rappers in the game today.

12. Ski Mask The Slump God

Essential listening: You Will Regret (2017)

Possibly the oddest MC to emerge from the SoundCloud era, the Slump God has a bizarre pen game and an even stranger delivery, dominating the mic like the mainstream equivalent to Danny Brown. His comical rhymes are made even more hilarious thanks to the rapper’s wild mic presence, with the off-kilter flows and cartoonish cadences to make every verse as animated as possible. Unleashing his full potential on STOKELEY, highlights like “Faucet Failure” and “Unbothered” show off Ski Mask’s unhinged ability, asserting himself as one of the strangest MCs to hit the charts.

11. Lil Tjay

Essential listening: True 2 Myself (2019)

Like the SoundCloud equivalent to Usher, Lil Tjay dedicates his rhymes to his loved ones and riches, singing each line with the smooth vocals of an R&B star. Layering his voice in autotune, Tjay never misses a note, turning songs like “Calling My Phone” and “F.N” into slick melodic ballads where the MC proves he’s one of the best singers in the game. Thriving as a feature rapper, Tjay has a hard-hitting verse for every style, going bar for bar with everyone from Ice Spice to Pop Smoke to Polo G. Hopping on dozens of the biggest rap albums this decade, Lil Tjay refuses to leave the spotlight.

10. Lil Yachty

Essential listening: Lil Boat (2016)

While one-hit wonders fade into obscurity and trend-hopping MCs become irrelevant, Yachty continues to reinvent himself, growing sharper with every release so the culture will never forget his name. From the addictive trap bangers of the Lil Boat series to his psychedelic rock odyssey Let’s Start Here, the Southern legend is up there with the most creative MCs in the trap game, always pushing out of his comfort zone to deliver some of the most colorful and hard-hitting music in the mainstream. A talented singer as well as a formidable rapper, Yachty is a master of smooth melodic hooks and ferocious verses, dominating any track with his multitalented presence.

9. Trippie Redd

Essential listening: A Love Letter to You 4 (2019)

Whether you’re into hardcore trap, melodic ballads, or Carti-style rage bangers, Trippie Redd has it all. The SoundCloud MC is a musical machine who never turns off, constantly grinding in the studio to build one of the most eclectic catalogues in the mainstream. While lyrics aren’t his strong suit, the MC’s passion is undeniable, carrying every track with his energetic flows and show-stealing vocals. Dipping his toes into rage music with Trip at Knight and flexing his technical consistency with the A Love Letter to You series, Trippie has a project for every kind of rap fan. Constantly innovating, when a new Trippie Redd album drops, it’s impossible to predict what it will sound like.

8. Kodak Black

Essential listening: Painting Pictures (2017)

With a distinctly raspy voice and witty pen game, Kodak’s style is instantly recognizable. One of the best Florida rappers of all time, the mixtape monster has dropped 10 tapes and five albums in just under a decade, grinding his way from a SoundCloud rookie to a chart-topping titan. His fast-paced rhymes and ear for hypnotic beats have helped Kodak rise to the peak of the mainstream, showing off his hit-making talent on timeless bangers like “ZEZE” and “Super Gremlin”. Working alongside legends from Kendrick Lamar to Travis Scott, the Florida MC holds his own with some of the catchiest flows in the game.

7. XXXTentacion

Essential listening: ? (2018)

You can’t mention SoundCloud rappers without talking about X. Inspired by music legends from Kurt Cobain to The Weeknd, the Florida MC used hip hop like a form of therapy to write about all his deepest troubles, with an introspective pen game and the songwriting talent to turn his troubled stories into unforgettable rap songs. Tackling all genres from trap to heavy metal to emo rock, X was a creative who had no limits, caring more about innovating his style than getting a hit on the radio. His dark, deeply personal twist on rap music can never be replicated, because X was just that special.

6. Lil Peep

Essential listening: Come Over When You’re Sober, Pt. 1 (2017)

Taken from the world far too soon, Lil Peep remains one of the most influential rappers to ever rise from the SoundCloud era. Instead of heavy bass and punching 808s, Peep preferred slow guitar melodies and punk aesthetics, building his style around laidback production and brutally personal verses. An emo rap icon, the Allentown native crafted a moody brand of melodic rap few MCs have been able to emulate since, singing about his mental struggles with the smooth melodies and strong vocals to keep the subject matter from feeling too heavy. His music is too saddening to play casually, but for raw emotional lyricism, Peep was one of a kind.

5. Playboi Carti

Essential listening: Die Lit (2018)

At this point, it shouldn’t need to be explained why Carti is one of the greatest rappers of this generation. Whether he’s rapping over the dreamy trap instrumentals of Die Lit or the hardcore rage production of Whole Lotta Red, the SoundCloud veteran never misses, floating over every beat with his signature high-pitched vocals. Focusing more on the sound of his music rather than the content, Carti’s lyrics are secondary to his delivery, spitting simple bars with a manic energy and an array of screamed adlibs. Crowning himself the king of rage music with the instant classic Whole Lotta Red, the talent and influence of Playboi Carti cannot be understated.

4. Juice Wrld

Essential listening: Goodbye & Good Riddance (2018)

Four years since he passed away, Juice Wrld still holds the title as the king of emo rap. He was a force in hip hop who couldn’t be stopped, taking themes as dark and discomforting as suicide and depression, and turning each struggle into a timeless hit. His powerful brand of melodic rap hit hardest on projects like Goodbye & Good Riddance as well as Death Race for Life, where the MC’s emotive vocals and versatile flows were unleashed to their fullest potential. A natural hit-maker with a strong voice and vulnerable lyrical touch, Juice deserved every ounce of success he received. A formidable freestyler on top of everything else, the SoundCloud legend’s talent was limitless.

3. 21 Savage

Essential listening: Savage Mode II (2020)

There’s a reason every rapper in the mainstream wants a feature from 21 Savage – the Atlanta trapper can’t miss with a verse. Cutting up every instrumental with his cold-hearted street rhymes, Savage is the definition of consistent. Spitting violent bars on the horror-trap of Without Warning and getting personal on the introspective cuts of i am > i was, 21 is in his own lane, proving his lyrical prowess with a hundred witty bars for any topic. Whether he’s gliding over a Metro Boomin beat or stealing the spotlight from Drake, when 21 Savage is on the mic, you are guaranteed greatness.

2. Lil Uzi Vert

Essential listening: Luv Is Rage 2 (2017)

To call Lil Uzi’s music trap would be an oversimplification. Borrowing elements of rock, pop, metal, and electronica, every project is a melting pot of different genres, blending a range of colorful styles while never losing the hip hop core of what makes the rapper special. With an acute sense of melody and boundless charisma, Uzi is an effortless vocalist whose dramatic, melodic verses are just as memorable as their infectious hooks. Defining their own brand of intergalactic trap music with the highlights of Eternal Atake, or going full-on metalcore on parts of Pink Tape, Uzi is a risktaker who treats every album like a sonic experiment, and each one has been a success.

1. Denzel Curry

Essential listening: Melt My Eyez See Your Future (2022)

After a decade building one of the strongest catalogues in modern rap music, Denzel Curry belongs on the pantheon of Southern greats. The Florida native has only gotten sharper with each release, evolving from the explosive trap anthems of Imperial to the jazzy introspection of Melt My Eyez See Your Future. Gripping the mic with a swaggering delivery and ferocious flow, Denzel’s bombastic presence adds impact to his detailed lyrics, never afraid to switch up his rhyme schemes and flex his wordplay skills. A talented storyteller with a knack for personal tales and the pen of a master wordsmith, Denzel is up there with today’s sharpest lyricists, and has the stacked catalogue to back up his title as the best SoundCloud rapper of all time.