From Kris Kross to Bow Wow, throughout history, hip-hop has experienced its fair share of rappers 19 and under. Over 20 years after those artists, this era of rap is no stranger to shorties that can flow. With platforms like SoundCloud making it possible for new artists to break every day, some of the rappers popping off on the Billboard charts are in the height of puberty. Here at XXL, we’re highlighting some of hip-hop’s favorite young rappers balancing the school of hard knocks and busy tour schedules.
Lil Tecca has seen big success in rap before he’s even hit 18. Last year, when he was 16, the Queens native’s first major single “Ransom” received more than 123 million streams on SoundCloud alone. The emerging rapper also beat out Post Malone for the longest-charting No. 1 single on the streaming platform with “Ransom.” Aside from scoring a record deal with Republic Records in 2019, he also released his debut mixtape, We Love You Tecca, which earned a No. 4 position on the Billboard 200 chart. Tecca, who was born in 2002, and is now 17, has distinguished himself as a worthy competitor with the continual stream of hits he’s produced since achieving mainstream success.
A year older and a New York borough away, 18-year-old Bronx rapper Lil Tjay is one of the artists who are ushering in the next wave of hip-hop. His melodic rhymes and self-described “harmonized pain” has already earned him four gold-certified records, one gold-selling album and three platinum-selling songs. Tjay‘s tracks “Brothers” and “Leaked” became fixtures on the SoundCloud charts and led to him signing a deal with Columbia Records last year. Though he’s young, his lyrical content and his visual messaging have never been anything to play with.
Memphis native NLE Choppa is another shining example of a rapper in his teens with immense talent who’s making a lasting impression with his music. The 17-year-old rapper’s single “Shotta Flow” made him a breakout start after the song was certified platinum by the RIAA last year. He’s since delivered not one, not two, but three versions of “Shotta Flow” with each subsequent track, including “Shotta Flow (Remix)” with Blueface, hitting gold certification. Choppa‘s southern drawl and youthful energy is apparent in his music, but he disregards the lighter, melodic presence in hip-hop and opts for a more in-your-face delivery.
These three rappers aren’t the only artists in their teens making a name for themselves in hip-hop. Take a look at more of the teen rappers out here killing it below.
See the Teen Rappers Out Here Killing It