In the world of hip hop, a new sub-genre has emerged in recent years that can be identified as emo rap. While the roots of this genre lie in melancholy lyrics and somber beats with heavy bass, the artists propelling this forlorn genre possess immense talent in the exploration of life’s most painful moments. Often pulling from elements of rock, RnB, rap, and metal, emo rappers have cultivated a unique musical style that is only growing in popularity amongst their listeners. Linking these rappers to the equivalent of punk rockers in the rap world, the woebegone resonance present within their music appeals to both the dejected and the musically diverse.
If new to the world of emo rappers, here are a few of some of the foremost artists to follow and further dive into this genre.
No emo rapper list is complete without the addition of the legendary Juice WRLD. One of the first, if not the first rapper to really bring this genre to mainstream fame, his music is well worth a deep dive. Through poetic and painful lyrics, at a young age Juice created a cultural response to his sound that paved the way to the rise of many of the other artists on this list. Despite his untimely and disheartening death at only 22, Juice left behind innumerable musical masterpieces and an edifying mark on the world of rap.
Iann Dior is second on this list of influential emo rappers to explore. Following much in the footsteps of Juice with songs of heartbreak, Iann Dior rarely (if ever) puts out a bad song and consistently stays true to his unmatched rocker rap style. He has achieved immense success this past year with his melodic beats, and many of his tracks have featured other major artists such as Machine Gun Kelly, Lil Baby, and fellow breakout star 24k Goldn, who happens to be next on this list.
Even if you are not actively aware of this other talented young rapper, you probably know his song “Mood”. Brought to immense fame last summer with fellow rapper Iann Dior, the summer smash hit “Mood” put these two artists on the map to become a couple of the most prolific emerging hip hop artists. While 24K Goldn’s songs don’t always lend themselves to being driven by downcast vibes like some of the others on the list, his music never fails to leave an impact on the listener. Often opting for a more upbeat sound, 24K Goldn has a contagious energy to every beat he spits on.
The Kid Laroi
Captivating listeners with his raw lyrics and soul-bearing sound, The Kid Laroi has become one of the most prominent and quickly accomplished rappers to enter the space. Truly multifaceted in his capabilities, The Kid Laroi has both a rhythmic rapping aptitude and a powerful singing voice that lures listeners in with his intrepid ability to tell a relatable and heartfelt story. Often using a variety of instruments in his music like guitar and piano, the artist never fails to create a scream sing in the car alone song.
Last on this list, but most certainly not least, is another massively influential, genre-shaping artist, XXXTentacion. Like Juice, X too met an untimely demise at the age of 20. However, as an incredibly diverse artist, what he left behind massively helped to shape the future of the rocker rap subgenre. X could go from screamo rock/rap like in his song “Look At Me!”, to smooth, melodic rapping like in his song “Sad!”, to even delicate dreamy singing tunes like in his song “whoa (mind in awe)”. His complexity as an artist has not only left an everlasting effect on other rappers, but audiences everywhere.
To hear songs from these artists as well as other amazing artists in the space of emo-rap, check out this playlist “i’m fine” from the Beyond The Stage Spotify to get you started!
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