The Next Generation Of SoundCloud Rappers

Take a look at the rappers buzzing on Soundcloud who are ready for their chance to become the topic of conversation.

Complex Original



The debates about SoundCloud rap have been boring for most of the past year. The discussions have begun to all sound the same: “Does SoundCloud have enough money to survive?,” “Is Lil Peep rap?,” “Should we take Lil Pump seriously?,” “Why is Kodie Shane not popping?" (OK, I might be the only asking that last one). Finally, though, the current class of rappers (Smokepurrp, XXXTentacion, Ski Mask the Slumpgod, etc.) are ready to graduate from the loose associations that make up SoundCloud Rap, and make their bids for mainstream success—some have already made that jump. Which leads us to the exciting part.

The next SoundCloud class is already here and, similar to their immediate predecessors, these rising (potential) stars have been building fan bases while they wait for the spotlight to pan in their direction. They’re talented, more polished, and less polarizing than the class that has been dominating Rap Twitter conversations for the past year, a result of the record labels digging deeper through the platform after the post-Yachty and -Uzi boom.

The scene still has its problems, but let’s hope that this new generation gets a chance to unlock their eccentricities and we don’t end up following the television and film blueprint of, “remember that thing people moderately liked? Let’s bring it back with a new face” (although I am admittedly in for Donnis 2.0).

With some artists in this generation already making waves such as Trippie Redd, Rico Nasty and Tay-K, we took a look at the buzzing rappers on the platform ready for their chance to become the next topic of conversation.

Young Nudy

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If you were to ask rap fans who is currently the premier rapper/producer duo, an undoubtedly popular answer would be Playboi Carti and Pierre Bourne. That answer, though, would be wrong.

The correct answer is Young Nudy and Pierre Bourne. Young Nudy, out of East Atlanta and an affiliate/tour opener of 21 Savage, has caught some attention with his mixtapes Slimeball and Slimeball 2. When I first encountered Young Nudy, his gruff voice, smooth flow, and ear for bouncy production instantly separated him from an overcrowded and competitive Atlanta rap scene. He has an uncanny ability to make the most vile lyrics sound pleasant, and I loved every second of it. Being able to talk over-the-top shit and still be quotable is an underappreciated talent. Method Man perfected that on the intro to “M.E.T.H.O.D Man,” and Nudy carries on tradition on the 21 Savage-featuring “EA,” when he says “Nigga talking like he a real gangster put a stick on his ass.”

The beautiful thing about Young Nudy on a Pierre Bourne beat is that he is able to take advantage of all of Pierre’s quirks, filling the frequent beat pauses with infectious sound bites or ad-libs. On his recent single “No Clue,” from his upcoming September project Nudyland, he displays a still-improving ability to carve out an effective hook, “Nigga wanna play blues the clues/Ya hoe wanna fuck and you didn’t have a clue.” Young Nudy is poised to not only be one of the faces of SoundCloud, but grow to be a player in mainstream hip-hop. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to have the hottest producer in rap at your side.


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Remember Tay Zonday? The guy that made “Chocolate Rain?” You ever think about what it would sound like if he were a xanned-out 2017 SoundCloud rapper? I think about that a lot, and the answer is Nolanberollin.

Nolanberollin, AKA Yung Life Alert, and founder of GLone (VLone) and Gapaholics (Trapaholics), is quite possibly the most absurd rapper on SoundCloud. To wit, the first couple of lines on “Stealin Swag” are: “Cheese is a Fruit/All this GAP on me when I hop out the coupe.” I have no idea where a GAP clothing-obsessed rapper fits in the 2017 SoundCloud landscape, but it’s part of what makes him standout. He's is genuinely one of the most clever on the come-up; few rappers have figured out how to incorporate their personalities and social media humor into their music. It's led to him being one of the few rappers on SoundCloud self-aware enough to look around and say, “This shit is ridiculous.”


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Staten Island is tired of being the “Forgotten Borough,” where the only things outsiders are familiar with is that it's where Wu-Tang Clan was founded. Staten Island rapper Squidnice is here to change that (he has a long way to go).

Squidnice’s increasing buzz on SoundCloud is not a fluke. He first gained attention when his lively track “Trap By My Lonely” stormed to popularity, quickly giving him a reputation for light, catchy hooks (“Sometimes I trap by my lonely/And sometimes I trap with my homies”). His sound, however, is developing as he goes, and he can often become something of a chameleon, tough to recognize from song to song. If Travis Scott can make that work, it may not be the biggest problem to face.

Before Squidnice can make that next step, though, he needs to define the direction he wants his music to go in. Regardless, he's well-positioned to join a New York rap scene in dire need of a strong middle ground in between Brooklyn’s street rap movement and the more traditional rap excelling on the other side of the spectrum. Look for Squidnice’s profile on SoundCloud and in New York to rise as he begins to collaborate more, including entering the ASAP Mob radar with a feature due on AWGE artist Smooky Margielaa’s debut.

D Savage 3900

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Playboi Carti’s influence on SoundCloud hasn't been limited to the music. He also established the irritating mindset that releasing very little music increases hype. Carti made it work, and time will tell how well it works for the teenaged Los Angeles rapper D Savage 3900, who's following that lead, and whose upcoming music may be some of the most anticipated releases on all of SoundCloud.

D Savage—aside from garnering millions of plays on anything he releases—has built a portion of his popularity through becoming what is effectively a social media teenage heartthrob. That, combined with his signing to Joey Fatts’ Cutthroat Records and the ushering in a new era of rapper where they no longer deny Chief Keef’s influence, D Savage has plenty going for him.

Similar to Lil Uzi Vert, D Savage has a knack for constructing music in which nearly everything he says is quotable, starting off his most recent song “Emotionless:" "I talk to Satan in my sleep I think he fuck with me/Cause I’m a demon emotionless when I’m off the lean.” His flow, which is tirelessly compared to Carti’s, includes low-pitched crooning that comes straight from the Chief Keef textbook. D Savage has also embraced SoundCloud’s snippet culture—his “I Know II” clip becoming one of the definitive snippets, and it led to the song's instant success. Now, he has a chance to be the top of this new SoundCloud class, as long as someone can get him off of Instagram Live, beefing with other burgeoning stars.

Lil Wop

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The second the Digital Nas beat begins on Lil Wop’s “Checklist,” you know you’re in for something wild. The drums feel like you’re stranded in the middle of the jungle and the vocal sample is a nagging echo. Then Lil Wop starts rapping, a grating voice that sounds like it's coming from someone who's spent the last 30 years exclusively smoking Newports. The recent Gucci Mane signee has begun to make a name for himself on SoundCloud, thanks to the success of his mixtape, Wopavelli 2. If Rico Nasty is the Disney princess, Lil Wop is the Tim Burton cartoon. In a SoundCloud scene where rappers with a strong melodic side have been primarily embraced, Lil Wop provides an alternative, and the lane is wide open.

6 Dogs

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6 Dogs has been an enigma since he burst onto the SoundCloud scene early this. At first, his voice was puzzling, as new an experience as hearing Lil Yachty for the first time, but as take the quick dive into his still-tiny catalogue, everything starts to click. His song “Faygo Dreams”—produced by Pretty Pacc—has been inescapable on SoundCloud, propelling him to plays at Travis Scott shows. 6 Dogs' voice is trance-inducing, and his lyrics can at sometimes be dark: “Did she forget that I’m ugly/This clout makes a person go crazy/Good thing I’m already crazy.”

It's no surprise that on of 6 Dogs' has stated one of his significant influences to be Lil Peep, although he exists much more in the rap world than the emo-tinged rap of the recent SoundCloud breakout. Part of 6 Dogs’ appeal lies in his disregard for what anyone thinks, starting at his close-to-nonsensical moniker. As much as SoundCloud wants to learn more about the mysterious Atlanta high school student, apparently every SoundCloud generation needs an enigmatic star.

Yung Bans

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Despite legal trouble, teenage Atlanta rapper Yung Bans has quickly become a prominent member of the next SoundCloud generation. Over the last year Yung Bans has collaborated with a laundry list of SoundCloud’s biggest names, like XXXTentacion, Smokepurrp, and Wifisfuneral, to name a few. Along the way Yung Bans has carved out a sound for himself as his relationship has grown with the producers Mexikodro and MilanMakesBeats, while his flow will uncoincidentally remind many of Playboi Carti (as his influence continues to ripple through the platform). Lately, Yung Bans’ MilanMakesBeats-produced song “Dresser” has been making the rounds on the platform, and seems poised to provide the young artist with something of a breakout hit.

Duwap Kaine

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The issue with rappers under 16-years-old is that the music usually comes second, after the hype surrounding their age. Fifteen-year-old (yes, 15 years old) Georgia rapper Duwap Kaine has gone from building buzz on SoundCloud through interpolating Spongebob samples into becoming one of the most talked-about rappers on the platform in the last year alone. Duwap (who Lil Yachty calls one of his favorite rappers) is another descendant of Chief Keef—just listen to how he enunciates on the Pierre Bourne-produced “Santa.” What has elevated Duwap from just another Keef carbon copy, though, is his ability to write a compelling hook: “Strapped up with Instagram hoes got a boatload, got a K on the side of me is what they don’t know.” Duwap is young, but he doesn’t have a hint of the youthful ignorance that could stop anyone from taking his music seriously.


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Chicago rapper Warhol.SS first started acquiring attention on SoundCloud when his gravelly voice and zombie flow began appearing over airy Brentrambo beats, like on the tracks “Moves” and “Speed Racer” (which has a great Cole Bennett directed video). Warhol heightened his profile through collaborations with Famous Dex and Ski Mask the Slump God, and his recent project Where’s Warhol has him set up for a breakout.

Warhol's had a huge year, with a recent string of singles consistently performing and the Trippie Redd-featuring “YSL” exhibiting his ability to stand out amongst large, established personalities. The main concern with Warhol is that may he have a ceiling—he relies much more on his rapping ability than infectious hooks—compared to his more pop-inflected peers. But, so far, that's been the factor that's separated him from the pack, and could prove to be something much superior. 

Jay Critch

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Aside from A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie, New York hasn’t had much success establishing a rapper able to maintain consistent popularity on SoundCloud.  Jay Critch’s inclusion on both Rich the Kid’s Rich Forever Way and Rich Forever 3 projects skyrocketed his popularity and his New York rap sensibility built on puns and lyrical content was immediately appreciated. Jay Critch reminds me of being in a New York City high school where everyone talks like him and carries themselves with a similar arrogance, earned or not. Unlike the majority of rappers on the SoundCloud touting clearly manufactured personalities, Jay Critch feels genuine. Rap is constantly in search of a star from New York and if Jay Critch maintains the level of consistency that his fans and SoundCloud have become accustomed to it won’t be long until he catches his mentor, Rich The Kid.

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