Building from its underground roots, hip-hop music and culture have garnered immense popularity over the years. Artists like Chief Keef and Kendrick Lamar have taken artistry to unforeseen heights while living legends like Jay-Z and Kanye West are just getting comfortable in their throne.
To provide some clarity on the state of hip-hop, we put together a list of (what we deem) the 70 most popular hip-hop artists. Then, we broke them down by where the influence of their music originates, not necessarily where they were born, all to see which city is the modern hometown of hip-hop.
Then we made some cool pictures about it.
Size matters. So it should come as no surprise that two of the most influential hotbeds in modern hip-hop are still Los Angeles and New York City. In fact, the two are so big that varying styles from the cities’ major neighborhoods have created unique sounds of their own.
Nas and Jay Z distinguished Brooklyn as the heaviest of hitters. The Bronx and its angry brand of lyricism is marked by Pusha T. Harlem is home to the faces of the A$AP crew, and Queens boasts the most successful female rapper of all time.
Compton’s own Kendrick Lamar is perhaps the King of Hip Hop right now. But his style is different from his TDE label-mate Schoolboy Q, who hails from South Central LA. So on and so forth.
Hip-hop music is more diverse than ever.
Again, though metroplexes like Los Angeles and New York have the largest footprints of any cities in the country, they really can, and should, be broken up by borough/neighborhood — I mean, Brooklyn alone represents 18 percent of this list.
If we’re judging strictly by quantity than Atlanta is hip-hop’s current alpha city. It boasts genre giants such as Future, Young Thug, and Rich Homie Quan. The legends Young Jeezy and T.I. remain influential in the city’s voice, while supplemental artists like Waka Flocka, Migos, and Run the Jewels emcee Killer Mike add to a dynamite roster.
Strong showings from Detroit and Toronto (obviously bolstered by Drake), only add to the notion that hip-hop is less coastal than ever before.
Here’s the full list that’s broken down by city and please, feel free to argue about this one with us.