20 Under 20: Teenage Rappers You Should Know

From Jaden Smith to Kodak Black, these rappers are the future of hip-hop. Here are 20 rappers you should know, all under 20 years old.

By Confusion, Constant Gardner, Graham, Alex Siber, Adrienne Black, and Joe Price

These days, it's never too early to start a career in music. What used to cost thousands of additional dollars in recording equipment is now built in to most laptops—the barrier to entry has never been lower.

Unfortunately, that just makes for a lot more hay between the needles. Luckily for us, the upper echelon of up-and-coming talent seems to be up to the task. The teenage rappers on the pages that follow haven't been satisfied with a hot single. You'll see concept albums, festivals, and entire philosophies springing up around these youths—and they sound hungry for more.

From Sweden to Milwaukee, here are 20 teenage rappers you should know.


2. Kodak Black

Age: 18

Kodak Black is 18 years old from Pompano Beach, FL and his favorite rapper is Lil Boosie. That fact alone tells you a lot about this young rapper. His throwback style stands out in a soundscape littered with modern trap sound-alikes, and while the similarities to Boosie and early Cash Money are plenty, Kodak Black's versatility keeps things interesting.

"Skrilla" is ominous and troublesome, but "Ran Up A Check" is proof that he can make a fun, summery hit. Kodak hes been in and out of juvenile detention centers for committing robberies, but he's got the potential to be a star and if he stays out of trouble, he could be the next to break out of Florida.

4. Doja Cat

Age: 19

Doja Cat sings as much as she raps, but rapping is a central part of what the Los Angeles artist does, and she does it well. For Doja, it's style over technicality. When she's talking about "bars," it's Xanax, and she's best over dreamy, hypnotic production that hovers miles above dance floor beats and aggressive trap drums. Her song "So High" is around two years old now, but it's still criminally un-hyped, and while Doja hasn't been very prolific over the last couple of years, it wouldn't be surprising if she came out of nowhere with a string of hits and a whole lot of buzz whenever she does decide to really go in.

Hear Doja Cat's Burrr! EP here.

5. Baro


Age: 18

Australian rapper Baro is hard to pin down. On his new 17/18 EP, he jumps from organic old school flavor ("Hi") to jazzy Earl Sweatshirt vibes ("See Less"), but standout song "Bears" highlights his knack for fantastic choruses and pop accessibility. One of youth's greatest qualities is unpredictability, and there's already plenty of that in Baro's catalog.

6. Novelist

Age: 18

Novelist is one of the most visible MCs in the grime scene right now. With cosigns from legends like Wiley and Skepta and an EP for XL Recordings before he was even 18, Novelist celebrated his birthday earlier this year with yet more musically related activities: he put on a rave.

The London MC has an incredibly high work rate, appearing on radio to MC pretty much weekly, and to cap it all off he's a talented producer too. With an album likely coming this year, and an ever growing profile both at home and abroad, Novelist is set to achieve an incredible amount before he's 20.

8. Kevin Abstract

Kevin Abstract

Age: 19

Generally recognized as Brockhampton's lead vocalist, Kevin Abstract is already a veteran at 19. The Cudi-inspired kid has shared his futuristic tunes with the world for many years and today, Abstract and Brockhampton are way ahead of the curve.

2015's first three quarters saw the emergence of his group as a creative powerhouse that fancies itself a would-be Pixar, more boy band than posse. Perhaps the biggest source of excitement stems from the awaited release of Abstract's Death of a Supermodel, which will follow last summer's mtv1987.

As the frontman of the group, Kevin offers a sharper take on millennial tropes than just about anyone active in rap. Part-tormented, partially awed by all that's around him (digital or otherwise), Abstract is a vital new voice in music.

10. Kweku Collins

Kweku Collins

Age: 18

Kweku Collins' tropically-tinged deliveries and free-spirited rhymes lace his latest project, the impressive and largely self-produced Say It Here, While It's Safe. It marked the realization of an already promising artist, a huge step for anyone, let alone a teenager.

With melodic raps (like the Daughter-sampling "Lonely Lullabies"), the Illinois-based artist comes in with armfuls of energy and flavor, and his lyrics are steeped in substance—Collins is thoughtful and poetic with his word choice. He possesses the raw skills to flip a palpable but nascent buzz into something major.

11. Frank Leone

Frank Leone

Age: 19

Out of the woods comes Frank Leone, a rapper/producer with fully formed visions flowing from his fingertips. The artist, originally from downstate Illinois, started picking up speed after the release of the fantastic enterWILD album, and things have continued to accelerate with "River Beat" and a Donnie Trumpet feature on "Rapture."

Part of the reason for his popularity is because Frank knows how to set the mood. enterWILD is a concept album, complete with motifs, atmospheric samples, and narrative themes. This kid isn't just spitting bars—he's telling stories.

12. Max Wonders

Max Wonders

Age: 18

Young Max Wonders is another Chicago rapper who is killing it right now. His last two tracks showed different sides to his personality—introspective and pensive on "88 Changes" and more upbeat on "TV Off." It's clear from the hooks and snatches of half-singing that Wonders blends into his rapping that he has a great ear for melody, and his choice in lush, mesmerizing beats (the last two were both by Sowle) has been on point so far.

Look out for an EP from Max Wonders before the year is out, and get to know him better with a short interview here.

14. Jaden Smith

Jaden Smith

Age: 17

To borrow from an unofficial Jay Electronica mixtape title, what the f*ck is a Jaden Smith? Will's son has cloaked himself in a metaphysical mystique, embracing a role as a teenage philosopher amongst his peers through a combination of quizzical Twitter truths and raw musical talent.

The self-professed sage was initially mocked as much as he was praised, but as Jaden has grown older, the world has started realizing the method to his madness. Jaden offers conversation-starting soundbites that manage to avoid the eye-rolling platitudes spewed by most teens.

His music is a byproduct of that impassioned thought. Sound and melodies are yet another chance to share his gestalt and philosophy. It's a stoner-wisdom he first practiced with Childish Gambino, and now Jaden is putting it to the masses via his MSFTS crew.

15. Merlyn Wood

Merlyn Wood

Age: 19

The whole Brockhampton crew is fucking electric. The Texas-based collective of outsider creatives is explosive and unhinged, and Merlyn Wood's debut song is a perfect example of why that's such an exciting thing to hear. "Fye" is abrasive in the best way—Merlyn goes from 0 to 150 in a flash, giving a raw, rockstar delivery over the post-Yeezus production from Joba and Frank Lucas. It's a grimy house party of a song, and it's got us convinced that Merlyn Wood is the truth.

Read more about his debut song "Fye" here.

16. Yung Lean

Age: 19

Whatever you think of Yung Lean, it's hard to deny how far he's come since the bizarrely mesmerizing video for "Ginseng Strip." Gaining viral attention at the age of 16, Lean was thrust into the limelight super young, provoking think-pieces and twisting the knickers of hip-hop heads still praying to Nas every night. The Swedish rapper is one of post-internet hip-hop's most polarizing figures.

Blending his alien approach to rap with outsider pop and futuristic beats (courtesy of fellow sadboys Yung Gud & Yung Sherm), his songs have a knack for finding their way into your head whether you like it or not. Through his unapologetic meme-ability and DIY aesthetic, Lean has managed to make himself a cult-like figure, and judging from his continued success, he's here to stay. He's the unlikeliest rap-star in recent memory, and that's what makes him so goddamn interesting.

18. Trapo

Age: 17

Trapo's raspy, weathered voice is gripping. The 17-year-old Wisconsin rapper has a reckless quality to his raps, and the few songs we've heard thus far have been completely enthralling. He's capable of a huge vocal range, too: there's the bassy-slurry Trapo, the bared-teeth snarl-raps Trapo, and the wry melodic Trapo armed with a singing voice that's better than good.

Two early favorites: "Merica" and “Cards & Conversation.” The latter is about a serious car accident that he escaped unscathed, evidence that the young rapper has a lot more on his mind than getting his driver's license. It's as jarring as it is entertaining.

20. Tkay Maidza

Age: 19

No disrespect to Iggy, but when it comes to Australian rappers, Tkay Maidza is at the top of our list. She's got all the pop crossover potential, but she also avoids the obvious by balancing out big hooks with nimble rapping and eclectic production choices. Crossing over into the U.S. mainstream as an Australian rapper is not an easy task, but Tkay has all the skills necessary.

21. Daye Jack

Daye Jack

Age: 19

He may still be contemplating a computer science major at New York University, but Daye Jack is already sounding like a professional. Look no further than Soul Glitch, his full-length album released at the beginning of the summer.

It's a patient, melodic album from front to back, blending the rapper's introspective flow with futuristic production that makes every song pop.

When we interviewed him last year, Daye Jack told us that in the music industry, "it seems like lines are blurring, and more kids are listening to what they like instead of what genre they like. It opens up that freedom where I feel like I can make whatever music that I like." With one genre-challenging album in the can and a new video burning up YouTube, here's hoping he keeps doing just that.

23. Lucki Eck$

Lucki Eck$

Age: 19

An old head once said you can judge a man by the company he keeps. Lucki Eck$ comes out ahead on that count—the Chicago rapper has surrounded himself with incredible producers (Plu2o Nash, Metro Boomin) and collaborators (Chance the Rapper, FKA Twigs) alike.

But Lucki might work best on his own. He's fully capable of self-producing (as the recent X mixtape proved), and he confidently occupies such a unique lane (that lane being sedated rap music bordering somewhere between a high and a coma). His grind may operate at a slower pace, but over the last couple of years, he's proved to be one of the most consistent young artists making music, and he's still on the way up.

24. IshDARR


Age: 18

Milwaukee's recent narrative bears resemblance to that of 2012-2013 Chicago. A widening stream of MCs has snaked beyond the limits of Wisconsin's largest metropolis, and standing at its epicenter is IshDARR.

The title of his free album, Old Soul, Young Spirit, neatly encapsulates the rapper's skills: effortless, agile raps placed atop jazzy backdrops. Since March, he's sharpened his live performance and released one of his best songs to date with last month's "Sugar," and while rapping seems to come naturally to him, he's still working at getting better.


Age: 17

Humans tend to learn one of two ways: we either emulate those we admire, or mimic those around us. Even though he's just 17, BANKX already seems to know the difference between the two. Listening to his music is like hearing a beehive of multiple musical influences.

However, BANKX doesn't sound like a carbon copy of any one. Instead, he sounds as like what you would get if you were to put Travi$ Scott, a dash of Chief Keef, and a pinch of PartyNextDoor together in a sonic blender. In the few short months that we've had a chance to get familiar with BANKX, you can already hear the growth in his music. As he continues to perfect his sound, the crowds will continue to swell.

27. Raury


Age: 19

Raury is a polarizing newcomer. The so-called plant has little reason to change course, though, no matter whose side you're on. The fandom he's cultivated in just over a year from his Indigos is impressive no matter where you're standing.

Numbers don't lie, what with millions of streams and views, but they don't paint a complete picture. Perhaps nothing exemplifies the young Atlanta artist's power quite like RaurFest. Enlisting grassroots tactics, big-name guests, and a peace-loving vibe reminiscent of '60s ideals, the event's eponymous Freshman founder worked to revitalize a positive strain of youth culture.

And the rise of Raury is still very much in progress. If the savvy teen tops breakout singles "God's Whisper" and "Cigarette Song" with his forthcoming material, doors will continue to open.

29. Bishop Nehru

Bishop Nehru

Age: 18 (19 tomorrow!)

Not many people deserve the label, but Bishop Nehru has been considered a prodigy for a minute. He was hand-picked to co-pilot an album with the elusive DOOM, and the resulting NehruvianDOOM found Nehru in his comfort zone, despite the fact he was spitting over beats from a seasoned pro.

Since then, he's toured like crazy, and recently released a highly combustible collection of songs, #TheNehruvianEP. The release proved to be another example of the rapper's innate ability to unfurl confident flows over a variety of beats: instead of DOOM's hiccuping, cartoony production, Nehru stunts over wavy production on #TheNehruvianEP, taking him in a decidedly more modern direction.

But what really sets the young rapper apart is his delivery—every word is delivered with purposeful enunciation, and the messages therein resonate that much louder.

Read our interview with Bishop Nehru here.

30. Night Lovell

Age: 17

Night Lovell made an impressive splash last year at the age of 17 with his Concept Vague mixtape, and he's only been improving ever since. Making himself known as a double-threat producer-rapper combo, as well as working with P&P favorites Dylan Brady and Blank Body, Lovell has already cultivated a stellar catalogue in the past year thanks to some impeccable production accompanying his formidable rapping talents.

But he also possesses the rare and invaluable quality of restraint. His SoundCloud is anything but oversaturated, and as such, Lovell has yet to release a bad track. Taking his time without leaving us too hungry, he's gunning for the title of Canada's most exciting young rapper.