Top Independent Rappers 2022
Rap is one of the rawest and purest art forms incorporating rhyme, pattern, cadence, authenticity, vocabulary, accent, and wisdom. The top independent rappers are the ones that do it well.
To be independent means you don’t have the backing of a big record label, especially not the big 3: Sony, Warner, or Universal. Also called an unsigned artist, independent rappers have a do-it-yourself mentality. Independent rappers are known to handle their own production, distribution, and promotion. Best of all, independent rap artists own their own masters.
In an industry where everyone wants to rap and where independent rappers make up the majority of the market, only a few can make it on the list of the top independent rappers.
These bios are taken from Wikipedia and the artist’s websites.
Chance the Rapper
Chancelor Johnathan Bennett, known professionally as Chance the Rapper, is an American rapper, singer, songwriter, record producer, activist, actor, and philanthropist. Born in Chicago, Illinois, Chance the Rapper released his debut mixtape 10 Day in 2012.
Aaron Dontez Yates, better known by his stage name Tech N9ne, is an American rapper, singer, songwriter, record producer, actor, and entrepreneur. In 1999, he and business partner Travis O’Guin founded the record label Strange Music.
Russell James Vitale, better known by his stage name Russ, is an American rapper, singer, songwriter, record producer and author from Atlanta, Georgia. He is best known for his singles “What They Want”, “Losin Control” and “Best on Earth”, which peaked respectively at number 83, 63 and 46 on the US Billboard Hot 100.
Jelani Robert Clay known as just JClay, is an American rapper, singer, songwriter, record producer, spiritual teacher, philosopher, and healer. Born in Chicago, Illinois, JClay incorporates deep lessons in his music that heal the listener. His album “IAMNOBODY, IAMSOMEONE” has transcended how music can be used.
Earl Tywone Stevens Sr. (born November 15, 1967), better known by his stage name E-40, is an American rapper. He has released 28 studio albums to date, appeared on numerous movie soundtracks, and has also done guest appearances on a host of other rap albums. Initially an underground artist, his 1995 solo album In a Major Way opened him up to a wider audience. Beginning in 1998, he began collaborating with mainstream rappers outside the San Francisco Bay Area. He rose to higher mainstream popularity in 2006 with his single “Tell Me When to Go”, which was produced by Lil Jon.
Rory Allen Philip Ferreira, better known by his stage name R.A.P. Ferreira, formerly Milo and Scallops Hotel, is an American rapper and producer from Kenosha, Wisconsin. He is currently based in Biddeford, Maine.
Tobechuwu “Tobe” Nwigwe is an American rapper and singer. He is from the Alief neighborhood of Houston, Texas.
Amir Mohamed el Khalifa, better known by his stage name Oddisee, is an American rapper and record producer from Washington, D.C. He is one-third of rap trio Diamond District. Oddisee was also part of the Low Budget Crew and is based in Brooklyn, New York.
Kemba, formerly known as YC the Cynic, is an American hip hop recording artist from Hunts Point, Bronx, New York. He was named one of the “Top 5 Underground Hip-Hop Artists in New York” by Deli Magazine and was ordained “DXNext” by the hip hop website HipHopDX
Sage Gabriel Carlos Atreyu Elsesser, also known as Navy Blue, is a regular-footed American skateboarder, rapper, record producer, artist, and model.
Roland Collins, better known by the stage name Troy Ave, is an American rapper from the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York City. His moniker derives from Troy Avenue, a street near his childhood home. In November 2013, his first studio album, New York City: The Album, was released.
Jo-Vaughn Virginie Scott, better known by his stage name Joey Bada$$, is an American rapper, singer, songwriter, record producer and actor. A native of Brooklyn, New York, Joey Bada$$ is a founding member of the hip-hop collective Pro Era, with whom he has released three mixtapes, as well as his numerous solo projects.
Shante Scott Franklin, better known by his stage name Curren$y is an American rapper, songwriter, entrepreneur, and record executive. He was one of the original members of Young Money Entertainment, a label founded by Lil Wayne. In 2011, Franklin founded the label Jet Life Recordings.