Hip-Hop and Rap music has a long, exciting and enormous history. With its roots going back to West Africa and its griot tradition, the history, propagation and evolution of Hip-Hop have always been an interesting case study.
Although this article is not about the history of Hip-Hop in America, it is important to remark that, often when analysts and Hip-Hop historians talk about the history of Hip-Hop/Rap, there is always a case of not giving enough appreciation and recognition to certain places.
One of these places is [undoubtedly] Boston, Massachusetts. We often forget, that in the earliest days of Hip-Hop/Rap, the first places that the Hip-Hop culture spread its wings to were New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and Massachusetts.
Boston contributed greatly to Hip-Hop by giving “the culture” some of its finest and earliest MCs and beatmakers.
Among the first major Rap music producers as far back as 1979 were Bostonians Arthur Baker, and his fellow “Boston Funk All Stars,” Maurice Starr and Michael Jonzun of Jonzun Crew. These were not just ordinary beatmakers, but in-demand beatmakers.
Also, the Boston area housed one of the first radio programs in the United States that was dedicated to Rap Music. This was a show called “The Ghetto” which began broadcasting in the summer of 1979 on MIT’s WTBS.
This article is not about the history of Hip-Hop/Rap and how Boston contributes to its growth. However, it is about some of the best Rappers to ever come out of the city of Boston, Massachusetts.
The Boston Rap Scene; Some Historical Perspectives
Boston, Massachusetts has a rich history of hip-hop and rap music, dating back to the early 1980s.
The city has produced some of the most talented and influential rappers in the industry, and its impact on the genre cannot be overstated.
Rap music originated in the South Bronx, New York City, in the 1970s. We widely considered DJ Kool Herc to be the father of hip-hop music and culture, as we credit him with throwing the first hip-hop party in the South Bronx in 1973.
Rap music quickly spread throughout the New York City metropolitan area and beyond, becoming a globally recognized and influential genre of music.
In the early days of rap, Boston was home to several influential hip-hop DJs and MCs, including DJ Premier and KRS-One.
In the 1990s, the Boston hip-hop scene exploded, with artists like Ed O.G. and Da Bulldogs, Gang Starr, and Special Ed gaining national recognition and helping to put Boston hip-hop on the map.
Today, Boston continues to be an important centre for hip-hop music and culture, with a thriving rap scene that is home to many talented and innovative artists.
The city’s rich musical heritage and its connection to hip-hop make it an important centre for rap music and a hub for artists looking to establish themselves in the industry.
This article will examine the top 20 rappers to come out of Boston, highlighting their contributions to the city’s hip-hop scene and the industry as a whole.
20 Boston Rappers You Should Know
Boston is home to a massive variety of rappers. Some of those are no longer with us, but they will remain icons in the rap world forever. Some of the most important names you should know about include the following.
1. Professor Lyrical
Professor Lyrical is a Boston-based rapper known for his conscious lyrics and smooth flow. He stands out among other Boston-based rappers with his thought-provoking lyrics and unique perspective.
Throughout his career, he has released several albums and mixtapes, gaining recognition and a dedicated following in the underground hip-hop scene. Professor Lyrical is respected for his skills on the mic, delivering socially conscious lyrics over tight beats.
M-Dot is well known in the underground hip-hop community in Boston. However, just because he isn’t a mainstream artist doesn’t mean he isn’t popular.
He is known for his intense rhymes and gritty style, focusing on lyricism and hard-hitting beats. Even as an underground artist, he has released several albums and mixtapes that showcase his skills on the mic.
M-Dot’s music appeals to fans of raw and unapologetic hip-hop, and he is respected for his authenticity and willingness to speak his mind.
Slaine first gained recognition as a member of the hip-hop group “Special Teamz” and later launched a successful solo career. Slaine’s music reflects his experiences growing up in Boston.
He is known for tackling themes such as poverty, crime, and the struggle of urban life. Slaine has also acted in several films and television shows, bringing his talent to a wider audience.
4. Cousin Stizz
Cousin Stizz burst onto the scene in 2015 with the release of his debut mixtape and has since established himself as one of the most promising young rappers in the game.
Cousin Stizz’s music is characterized by his unique blend of braggadocio and introspection, as he tackles both personal and universal themes in his lyrics. He has collaborated with a number of prominent mainstream hip-hop artists.
Esoteric is a rapper and member of the hip-hop group 7L & Esoteric. Esoteric’s music is characterized by his focus on social and political issues, and he is respected for his ability to address complex topics in a straightforward and insightful manner.
He is regarded as one of the most talented rappers to come out of Boston and continues to be a driving force in the underground hip-hop scene.
6. Big Shugg
Big Shugg is known for his energetic and high-energy performances, as well as his charismatic personality.
Throughout his career, Big Shugg has released several albums and mixtapes, collaborating with a number of prominent artists in the hip-hop community.
He has become a well-known figure in the Boston hip-hop scene, known for his dynamic presence and captivating live shows.
Akrobatik is known for his clever wordplay and socially conscious lyrics. He has released several albums and mixtapes that showcase his innovative style and his thought-provoking lyrics, touching on themes of politics, race, and culture.
Akrobatik’s flow is characterized by his intricate rhymes and clever wordplay, and his beats often feature soulful samples and jazz-inspired melodies.
8. Mr. Lif
Mr. Lif is a well-known rapper, producer, and singer from Boston. He is known for his socially conscious lyrics and politically charged themes, as well as his unique delivery and style.
Throughout his career, Mr. Lif has released several albums and mixtapes, collaborating with a number of prominent artists and producers in the hip-hop community.
He is widely regarded as one of the most important and influential hip-hop artists to emerge from the Boston scene.
9. Joyner Lucas
Joyner Lucas is a rapper, singer, and songwriter, originally from Worcester, Massachusetts.
However, after spending numerous years in Boston and acquiring recognition as a rapper in Boston, various people think this is his hometown.
He gained recognition for his unique blend of rap, singing, and storytelling. He has released several popular singles, including “I Love” and “Ross Capicchioni,” and has been praised for his humorous and introspective lyrics.
Lucas is also known for his creative music videos, which often feature intricate storylines and social commentary.
He has collaborated with several well-known artists, including Chris Brown and Eminem, and has been recognized as one of the most talented rising stars in hip-hop.
10. Ed OG
Ed OG is a rapper and producer from Boston who is a member of the legendary hip-hop group “Beantown Mafia” and has released several solo albums throughout his career.
Ed OG is known for his smooth flow and introspective lyrics, which often touch on themes of personal struggles and growth. He is considered one of the pioneers of Boston’s hip-hop scene and continues to be a respected figure in the local community.
Benzino is one of those rappers that really fits into the persona of a rapper as presented by mainstream media. Violence, fights, enemies, and problems have all been part of his career and personal life.
These factors are often visible in his lyrics. He is best known for his work as a member of the hip-hop group “Made Men,” and for his appearance on the reality television show “Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta.”
Benzino has released several solo albums and mixtapes and is known for his confrontational lyrics and controversial public persona.
He has been involved in several high-profile feuds with other artists and has been a controversial figure in the hip-hop community for several years.
12. Oryn The Rebel
Oryn the Rebel, whose real name is Mahmood Abdul Ghafur, is from a Muslim family and is among some of the highly regarded Muslim rappers.
He first gained recognition for his mixtapes, including “The Boston Takeover” and “The Boston Takeover 2.”
Oryn the Rebel has worked with several popular artists, including Jay Electronica and Snoop Dogg. He has a distinctive style that incorporates elements of hip-hop, punk, and metal into his music.
Oryn the Rebel has been praised for his raw, honest lyrics and his ability to fuse different genres into his unique sound.
13. Gio Dee
Gio Dee’s music is characterized by its smooth, melodic flow and introspective lyrics. He has collaborated with artists such as Boston-based rapper Michael Christmas and Atlanta-based producer Zaytoven.
Gio Dee has been praised for his versatility and his ability to create music that appeals to a wide range of audiences.
He first gained recognition with the release of his debut mixtape “No Flex Zone”. Since then he has gone on to create many hit singles and also had some wildly successful collaborations.
14. Qveen Herby
Qveen Herby is a rapper and singer from Boston, Massachusetts. She first gained recognition for her unique blend of hip-hop, R&B, and pop music.
Qveen Herby has been praised for her confident, empowered lyrics and her ability to create music that is both entertaining and socially conscious.
She has collaborated with artists such as Soulja Boy and Cardi B and has been featured on several popular websites and blogs. Qveen Herby has a strong online presence and continues to release new music regularly.
15. Brandon Tory
Brandon Tory is a rising rapper hailing from Boston, Massachusetts. He first gained recognition with his hit single “Run This” in 2016.
Since then, he has released a string of successful songs and mixtapes, showcasing his smooth flow and catchy melodies.
His music often explores themes of love, success, and personal struggles. He has collaborated with many well-known artists in the industry, further elevating his profile and solidifying his place as a top rapper in Boston.
With his unique style and captivating performances, Brandon Tory continues to impress fans and music lovers alike and is poised for a bright future in the rap game.
16. Donnie Wahlberg
Donnie Wahlberg is an American actor, film producer, and musician. He was a member of the popular boy band New Kids on the Block, which rose to fame in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
After the group disbanded, he pursued a successful solo career and later transitioned into acting. Wahlberg has had several notable roles in films such as “The Sixth Sense” and “Dreamcatcher”.
He is also known for his role as Detective Danny Reagan in the television series “Blue Bloods,” which has been on the air for over a decade.
In addition to his acting and music career, Wahlberg is also a philanthropist and is actively involved in various charitable causes.
He is married to actress and reality television personality Jenny McCarthy and has two sons.
Overall, Donnie Wahlberg has had a multifaceted and successful career in the entertainment industry and continues to be a respected figure in the world of film, music, and television.
Born Bianca Landrau, she first gained recognition in 2015 with her mixtape “For Certain.” She signed with RCA Records in 2016 and released her debut single “Whip It” featuring rapper Missy Elliott.
BIA has been praised for her unique sound and style, blending elements of trap and Latin music in her songs. She has collaborated with several prominent artists in the music industry, including Cardi B, Lil Nas X, and Pharrell Williams.
BIA has received critical acclaim for her powerful and confident delivery, as well as her ability to tackle serious and personal subjects in her music.
She continues to be an up-and-coming force in the rap industry and is regarded as a rising star by many in the music community.
18. Coi Leray
Coi Leray is an up-and-coming rapper hailing from Paterson, New Jersey. She has quickly gained recognition for her confident and bold delivery, often rapping about her experiences growing up and her struggles as a young woman in the rap industry.
Her music combines elements of hip-hop, trap, and drill, making for a unique sound that sets her apart from other artists.
With a strong online presence and a growing fanbase, Coi Leray is one of the most exciting new talents in rap right now.
19. Sammy Adams
Sammy Adams is a rapper and producer from Boston, Massachusetts. He rose to prominence in the mid-2010s with his catchy and energetic party anthems.
His songs often feature catchy hooks and upbeat, danceable beats, making him a popular choice for college parties and other events.
Despite facing criticism from some purists who feel he lacks artistic depth, Sammy Adams has continued to put out music that resonates with his fans, making him a staple of the Boston rap scene.
20. Nosson Zand
There are few rappers that can discuss day-to-day issues in their rap as casually as Nosson Zand does.
He has an uncanny ability to put together extremely rhythmic raps, which are loaded with introspective questions and many of his own thoughts.
He has been praised for his smooth flow and clever wordplay and is known for his introspective lyrics that explore personal experiences and social issues.
With his unique style and creative vision, Nosson Zand has become one of the most respected rappers in the Boston area and continues to gain recognition for his thought-provoking music.
The Boston rap scene has been blessed with a number of talented rappers over the years, and the talent continues to pour in.
Here you will find people of all races, religions, genders, and styles bringing their unique flavour to the mix.
Given the social and economic dynamics of the Boston region, the rap game has developed into an extremely complex and enjoyable culture.
Have a listen to some of the artists mentioned above to get an idea of what the tappers of Boston have to offer.