It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement around teenage rappers who pop up with viral songs, and there’s been a lot of discussion about how artists in their 30s and 40s are proving that rap is no longer just a young man’s game. That being said, rappers in their 20s still control the narrative in any given year. These are the artists who have the youthful exuberance to take big swings and push the genre forward, while also possessing enough experience to pull it all off.
Every year, we take an extra close look at this age bracket, taking stock of the rappers in their 20s who are currently making the best music and resonating the most with fans. Intended to serve as a snapshot of the best hip-hop artists in their 20s over the past year, this list focuses on overall skill, quality, impact, and influence in the time since we published our previous rankings on Nov. 24, 2020. Artists who haven’t released much music in the past 12 months will have a harder time rising to the top of this list than others, but if the quality and impact of their carefully chosen releases has remained high, they’ll still be rewarded. As the genre has evolved, the traditional idea of a rapper has expanded as well, which is also taken into consideration. These are the hip-hop artists who are making the best songs and leaving the biggest mark at this moment in time.
As 2021 draws to a close, we took another look at the artists who currently qualify in this age bracket. These are the 20 best rappers in their 20s right now.
Previously: The 20 Best Rappers in Their 20s (2020)