Top 10 Cities with the Best Rappers

Hip-hop was born on the streets, and its heartbeat echoes loudest within specific cities. These creative hubs nurture raw talent and foster sounds that push the boundaries of the genre. You've heard the legendary MCs from these iconic cities, seen their influence on music, and now it's your turn to decide where the hottest bars get dropped.

Some places are no-brainers - hip-hop royalty has practically sprung from their very sidewalks. But some underground scenes are bubbling over, holding the next lyrical geniuses. Is your hometown a hidden gem, or do time-tested hubs still dominate?
The Top Ten
1 New York City The City of New York, often called New York City or simply New York, is the most populous city in the United States. New York City is also the most densely populated major city in the United States.

I can't believe Houston and Atlanta are at the top. They are a disgrace to rap, in my opinion. It's easily between New York and LA, but I have chosen New York. It's hard to choose, and they have contributed the most to rap and actually have decent rappers. Biggie, Nas, Jay-Z, 50 Cent, and many more.

LA has all of NWA, Tupac, Snoop Dogg, Nate Dogg, Xzibit, and The Game. I'd say Detroit would come third, but other than Eminem, they have a lot of underrated rappers like Obie Trice, other members from D12, and Slaughterhouse.

But of these three, New York has been the most consistent and has been in the game at all times. Some of the greatest rappers come from there.

2 Los Angeles Los Angeles, officially the City of Los Angeles and often abbreviated as L.A., is the largest city in California. It has an estimated population of nearly 4 million, and is the second-largest city in the United States, after New York City, and the third-largest city in North America, after Mexico City... read more

The discussion of the best rap song should start and end with "Gangsta Gangsta." The members of NWA alone should be enough to place LA at the top. Add Tupac and Snoop, and there really isn't a question.

But if you need more, go ahead and talk about The Game and Kendrick Lamar. That should be more than enough to at least parallel New York at the top. But Detroit being ahead is a flat-out joke.

Let's not forget who gave Detroit its best rapper... Thank you, Dr. Dre.

Why is LA below Houston and Detroit? I don't know many rappers from those two cities. In LA, we have NWA, Snoop, Xzibit, Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, Ice T, and Hopsin.

3 Detroit Detroit is the largest and most populous city in the U.S. state of Michigan. Located across from Windsor, Ontario, Canada on the Detroit River, Detroit had an estimated population of 672,662 in 2018.

Although Eminem is the most successful, Obie Trice and Royce the 5'9 could be the most underrated rappers. Another reason for Detroit is that all the rappers there have a story. Just Eminem's story alone is amazing and one in a million.

Listen to Brain Damage. It explains how he was almost killed as a child. Fame isn't the only aspect that matters. Detroit also has a ton of underground rapping.

Yeah, this is how I picture it. Detroit is top in underground rap. Look at Blade Icewood, Stretch Money, Chedda Boy Malik, Big Herk. They can compete with any of the top rappers. They represent the D and do their thing. And Eminem, he came from the D and is one of the most legendary rappers.

Los Angeles would go second with NWA, Easy E, Ice Cube. Snoop Dogg, the swag master, the pimpin' king of rap, and Dr. Dre, the biggest producer. And where is the love for Pittsburgh? Wiz Khalifa, Mac Miller, Huey Mac making a name for themselves. Morgantown rappers are getting recognized too, like Ponce, Raheem the Dream, Scuba Steve, and Kons Beats.

4 Atlanta Atlanta is the capital and most populous city in the U.S. state of Georgia. With an estimated 2017 population of 486,290, it is also the 38th most-populous city in the United States.

A lot of rappers on my playlist are from Atlanta and are very talented, like Gunna, who doesn't even have to raise his voice to be a good rapper. There is so much insane music from here, from Playboi Carti, 21 Savage, Gucci Mane, Ludacris, Lil Baby, JID, Future. The list goes on.

The point is, this city just hits different.

NYC may have started rap, but Atlanta perfected it. Rap took over Atlanta in the early 2000s and has consistently generated more rappers than any other city in America. We are all biased because there are certain rappers that we like better than others, but if you look at the current music charts for rap, you'll quickly notice the majority of the rappers at the top of the list are from Atlanta.

If you're a country singer, you go to Nashville. If you're a rapper, you go to Atlanta. It's as simple as that.

5 Chicago Chicago, officially the City of Chicago, is the third-most populous city in the United States. With over 2.7 million residents, it is also the most populous city in both the state of Illinois and the Midwestern United States. Chicago is considered one of the most important business centers in the world... read more

Chicago really invented the drill rap category. A lot of amazing rappers are from here, like King Von, Juice WRLD, Lil Durk, Kanye West, Chance The Rapper, Polo G, Chief Keef, and many more.

Chicago started the whole drill scene, and it was one of the craziest styles of rapping you could ever see. It took what rap already was to a whole other level.

Kanye and Twista. Enough said. I wouldn't say they're the best, but they still have good competition.

6 Houston Houston is the most populous city in the U.S. state of Texas and the fourth most populous city in the United States, with a census-estimated population of 2.312 million in 2017. It is the most populous city in the Southern United States and on the Gulf Coast of the United States.

H-Town started the chopped and screwed movement, which is now known worldwide. All the big Southern rappers are now getting their albums chopped and screwed. Another thing H-Town started was the sipping on drank epidemic.

In my opinion, H-Town also has the best talent when it comes to rap. Not to mention the best hip-hop groups, such as Screwed Up Click, Swishahouse, Boss Hogg Outlawz, Color Changing Click, Chamillitary, and Wreckin' Yard, just to name a few. No other city matches the talent H-Town has put out.

7 Compton

How is Compton not higher on the list? Eazy-E, the father of gangsta rap, is from here. That's better than 99% of mainstream rap on its own.

1. New York
2. Compton
3. Chicago
4. Detroit
5. Atlanta

The best rappers of the 80s and half the top ten best of the 90s, and most of the few good new rappers of the 2010s are from Compton. New York should be 1, but Compton should be 2.

Hello? You people know nothing about rap. This is where all the real rappers come from on the west coast.

8 Cleveland

MGK is the best rapper right now, and he's not going up alone. Second is NYC, third would be Detroit.

From the population proportion, Cleveland has produced more talent than NYC.

9 New Orleans

Boosie, Kevin Gates, Lil Wayne, Drake, NBA YoungBoy? Give me a city with 5 rappers who could currently beat these 5. New York has good rappers, but they are all old, with the exception of a small few. The same for L.A. I cannot believe y'all put ATL up that high either.

This list is a mess without New Orleans being in the top 2-3, if not number 1. Maybe these cities have better legends, but New Orleans has history as well as the present. I am not even from Louisiana, but I know it has fire music.

NOLA - in the words of T.I., "Point Blank Period." You have to look at this per capita. How can you compare NOLA with NYC and LA? These are my reasons:

1. ALL of No Limit, not to mention Master P paved the way for Jay Z and Diddy by branching out into other investment opportunities. From the projects to now being worth 500 million dollars. Soulja Slim would still be on the scene had he not been shot. C Murder if not in jail, Mac if not in jail, Mystikal.

2. ALL of Cash Money - Lil Wayne (number 2 rapper in the world behind Shady), BG, Manny Fresh, Birdman.

Also, these were independent labels. Ten years ago, rappers were owned by the industry.

10 Philadelphia Philadelphia is the largest city in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the sixth-most populous city in the United States, with an estimated population of 1,567,872 and more than 6 million in the seventh-largest metropolitan statistical area, as of 2016. Philadelphia is the economic and cultural anchor... read more

Man, I'm from Philly, and everybody I know can rap well, so Philly deserves at least top three.

Don't know how updated this list is, but PnB Rock, Lil Uzi Vert, and Lil Dicky are three of the hottest rappers right now.

Philly has the best rappers, hands down.

The Contenders
11 Miami Miami, officially the City of Miami, is the cultural, economic and financial center of South Florida. Miami is the seat of Miami-Dade County, the most populous county in Florida.

Flo Rida and Pitbull alone pretty much defeat the entire list (other than Usher who, by the way, is from Chattanooga). Period.

12 Memphis Memphis is a city located along the Mississippi River in southwestern Shelby County, Tennessee, United States.

A lot of rappers from Memphis are raw and original. They aren't really the type that have copy-and-paste lyrics like in Atlanta.

You have a lot of the old school greats such as Project Pat, Skinny Pimp, Three 6 Mafia, Playa Fly, 8Ball and MJG, and Young Buck. Then you have a lot of up-and-coming rap stars such as Yo Gotti, Lil Wyte, Zed Zilla, Don Trip, and Young Dolph.

Juicy J has begun an amazing solo career. And you also can't forget Memphis was the birthplace of crunk music and horrorcore rap. This city should be higher on this list!

13 Harlem
14 Oakland Oakland is the largest city and the county seat of Alameda County, California, United States. A major West Coast port city, Oakland is the largest city in the East Bay region of the San Francisco Bay Area, the third largest city overall in the San Francisco Bay Area, the eighth most populated city in... read more
15 Brooklyn

Brooklyn should, and I think people would agree, be top 3 along with Compton and Harlem if they were considered cities. So, I'm just going to say places of extreme hip-hop influence.

The three places I just mentioned have, and still will, make a big part of hip-hop forever.

16 Dallas / Fort Worth
17 Long Beach

Warren G, Snoop Dogg, and Nate Dogg. Not as good as NYC but definitely worth mentioning.

18 Baltimore / Washington D.C.

No one mentioned Wordsmith or Caddy Da Don. I was at the African American festival and saw them live. They could bury any other city alone. I also actually got a chance to meet Hurricane The King while I was there. He was passing out flyers.

I didn't even know he was a rapper from Baltimore and still lived here until I Googled him. He is so underrated and humble. He wasn't even performing, though. Laugh out loud. If Baltimore got behind people like him, Caddy, and Wordsmith, they will get on!

Some casual fans of rap don't realize 2Pac actually started his career here. He first got publicity shortly after moving to Oakland.

19 Toronto Toronto is the most populous city in Canada, the provincial capital of Ontario, and the centre of the Greater Toronto Area, the most populous metropolitan area in Canada. Toronto is an international centre of business, finance, arts, and culture, and is recognized as one of the most multicultural and... read more

The 6 God himself, Drake, started a hip hop revolution in Toronto. Drake, PartyNextDoor, Majid Jordan, 40 the producer, The Weeknd, P Reign, and then the pioneers of Toronto rap: Kardinal Offishall, Shad, and K'naan.

Toronto is up-and-coming. It also has the most popular rapper in the game right now.

Canada, especially Toronto, is up-and-coming. PND, Tory Lanez, Weeknd, and Majid Jordan are a pretty impressive list of new rappers making a huge impact.

20 San Francisco / Bay Area San Francisco, officially the City and County of San Francisco, is the cultural, commercial, and financial center of Northern California.
21 Nashville

Young Buck, Starlito, Kool Daddy Fresh, Jelly Roll, Yung Coca, Quanie Cash, Pistol, Haystak, Dee Goodz, Blow Pop Crew, and Stix Izza. We have the best rappers ever. They just aren't popular yet. Plus, we started crunk music.

Don't believe me? Look up "Blow Pop Crew - Drop the Bass." It's a crunk music song that came out in 1986, way before Memphis stole it from us. Stix Izza is the best rapper alive, and Starlito and Young Buck are also in the top ten best rappers alive. Cashville (Nashville) is the new best rap city!

22 Seattle Seattle is a seaport city on the west coast of the United States. It is the seat of King County, Washington.

Sir Mix-A-Lot, Macklemore, Blue Scholars, Grynch, Sam Lachow. So underrated that it kills me to see us this low.

Macklemore is mainstream now, and Sir Mix-A-Lot was a one-hit wonder. But everyone else is raw and straight hip hop.

Seattle is the top! Rising-up rappers with real messages. Peep Jamil Suleman - he's coming up and about to blow in the game. Don't forget Sol and Sam Lachow.

23 Baton Rouge
24 Boston Boston is Massachusetts’ capital and largest city. Founded in 1630, it’s one of the oldest cities in the U.S.
25 Pittsburgh Pittsburgh is a city in the western part of the U.S. state of Pennsylvania and the second most populated city in the state.

Yeah, Pittsburgh should be in the top 15 at least, knocking Minnesota out of there. Wiz Khalifa is big, so is Mac Miller. Huey Mack is getting big, as are a lot of other underground rappers getting out there, going to some of the same studios Wiz and Mac got their start.

Oakland should be in the top 10. That is gangster rap paradise along with Compton. Show respect for Tupac, E-40, etc.

Wiz Khalifa and Taylor Gang, up-and-coming Mac Miller (Most Dope), and RZA of Wu-Tang Clan give Pittsburgh a group that can go up against even New York, Chi-town, and L.A.

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