Over time, profanity has almost become synonymous with hip-hop/rap. The relationship between rap and curse/profane words is a rather complex one that some anti-censorship claim has a lot to do with self-expression.
To a great extent, they are not very far from being right. It is always an amazing thing when creatives are allowed to express themselves to the utmost and in a manner that unbound them from so-called societal norms.
As a matter of fact, it seems like almost all the successful rappers and hip-hop artists have a 5 and 6 relationship with curse words and sexual/violent themes. Explaining how this has come to be an integral aspect of hip-hop lyricism and delivery will be beyond the scope of this article—and even if it wasn’t, it will be far from the boundaries of facts—it will be mere opinions.
That being said, finding a rapper in today’s world who doesn’t use curse words or rap music without the use of profanity and sexual/violent themes will be like finding gold. However, you do not need to worry because we are good at finding gold.
Clean rap (rap without curse words and profanity) is awesome in its own right. Although we are not trying to assume the moral upper ground by saying that it is way better than rap with some profanity, we still maintain that clean rap is beautiful in its own right.
It might not have the needed “street appeal” like the normal rap with some curse words but it has its unique audiences that it appeals to—and you might be one of those audiences! Rap is a universal style and should be consumed by all, regardless of our differences.
This is why it makes a lot of sense that we compile this list. If you are a fan of clean rap or a little disgusted by curse words and profanity in typical rap lyrics, you don’t exactly need to stay off rap music.
We have compiled a list of the 15 most popular clean rappers you should start listening to. At least, since you can’t listen to All Eyez On Me by 2pac, you can still enjoy the beauty, energy and bliss of hip-hop/rap with these rappers—you don’t really have to miss out on the fun.
15 Most Popular Clean Rappers
Here are some of the most popular hip-hop artists that are considered clean rappers;
Trip Lee is a clean rapper because he is a Christian rapper whose music is impacted by his faith and dedication to living a Christ-centered life.
Lee decided to focus on developing Christian hip-hop music that would glorify God and express a positive message after devoting his life to Christ at 14.
Other Christian rappers, such as Ambassador and Da’ T.R.U.T.H., influenced him and gave a blueprint for how he might incorporate his faith into his music. Trip Lee’s songs, as a clean rapper, represent his Christian views and morals.
Through his music, he hopes to inspire and encourage his listeners by conveying a message of hope, redemption, and the transformational power of faith.
His songs frequently deal with theological issues, reflect on life in a broken world, and highlight Jesus as the ultimate hero.
Trip Lee has several popular Christian hip-hop tracks and albums. His most successful song, however, is widely regarded as “Sweet Victory,” which was published in 2012 as part of his album “The Good Life.”
The song struck a chord with listeners and quickly became a fan favourite because of its catchy choruses, engaging lyrics, and compelling message. Trip Lee’s clean approach to rap allows him to reach a wide audience, including those who love positive and uplifting music.
His music has struck a chord with Christian and non-Christian listeners and has established a following among churches and Christian organizations.
Trip Lee is active in ministry in addition to his music career, acting as a pastor at several churches and preaching and teaching at conferences and events.
Canon, actual name Aaron McCain, is an American rapper recognized for his upbeat and clean hip-hop style.
He was born in Chicago, Illinois, on March 1, 1989. Canon’s musical adventure began when he gained the notice of prominent hip-hop artist Lecrae, who mentored him in the industry.
Lecrae hired Canon as a hype guy for his tour, giving him great experience and exposure. Canon signed with the Reflection Music Group in 2012 and released his first EP, “Loose Canon: Vol. 1.”
The EP displayed his distinct style and poetic ability, earning great feedback from critics and fans. It aided Canon’s rise to prominence in the Christian hip-hop scene. Canon’s popularity continued in 2015 when he released his second EP, which did well on the Billboard charts.
While the EP’s title was not revealed, Canon’s continuing success and recognition reflect his dedication and talent as a rapper.
Canon is well-known for his dedication to making clean and pleasant music. His lyrics frequently portray messages of optimism, faith, and endurance. His music appeals to those seeking an alternative to the sexual content present in conventional rap.
Canon’s approach combines appealing songs, dynamic flows, and thought-provoking lyrics, earning him a place in the clean rap subgenre.
Canon has worked with various artists, including Derek Minor, KB, and Social Club Misfits. His music has been featured on numerous media platforms and has travelled widely, performing for audiences worldwide.
Lupe Fiasco is a rapper, songwriter, and record producer from the United States who is noted for his thought-provoking lyrics and socially conscious approach to hip-hop.
Lupe Fiasco, born Wasalu Muhammad Jaco on February 16, 1982, in Chicago, Illinois, rose to prominence in the mid-2000s with the release of his debut album “Lupe Fiasco’s Food & Liquor” in 2006.
Lupe Fiasco developed an early interest in music and began rapping in the eighth grade. He formed the group Da Pak, which drew the notice of Jay-Z, who signed him to Atlantic Records.
With the publication of his mixtapes, Lupe earned critical recognition, which led to his debut album, “Lupe Fiasco’s Food & Liquor.” The album’s lyricism, narrative, and socially conscious concerns were praised.
Lupe Fiasco’s second studio album, “Lupe Fiasco’s The Cool,” was released in 2007 and received critical praise and commercial success.
Hit songs from the album included “Superstar” and “Hip-Hop Saved My Life.” Throughout his career, Lupe released albums such as “Lasers” (2011), “Food & Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album Pt. 1” (2012), and “Tetsuo & Youth” (2015).
While Lupe Fiasco is well-known for his politically charged lyrics, he has also recorded several clean rap tracks and albums.
He frequently avoids explicit profanity in his music and instead concentrates on conveying good and uplifting sentiments.
Chance The Rapper
Chance the Rapper, whose real name is Chancelor Johnathan Bennett, is an American rapper noted for his unique style and upbeat attitude.
He rose to prominence after releasing the “10 Day” mixtapes and “Acid Rap,” which displayed his lyrical prowess and distinct musicianship. His adherence to clean rap, eschewing excessive language and obscenity in his music, is one of his defining features.
Chance’s music frequently covers personal experiences, spirituality, and societal issues, with elements of gospel and soul incorporated into his sound.
His mixtape “Colouring Book” won three Grammys, including Best Rap Album. The project created history by being the first streaming-only album nominated for a Grammy. Chance the Rapper is well-known for philanthropy and activism.
He has given generously to Chicago’s public schools, mental health organizations, and youth empowerment programs. His efforts aim to make a good difference in his community and address socioeconomic injustices.
Chance the Rapper’s artistic integrity, distinct style, and commitment to promoting positivity have gained him a passionate fan following and critical recognition.
His efforts in music and philanthropy have cemented his status as an industry-regarded and powerful figure.
Rakim, named William Gryphon Jr., is a legendary rapper and hip-hop game-changer. In the 1980s, he revolutionized rap music with his intricate lyrical rhyme patterns, distinct flow, and brilliant wordplay.
Rakim created the combo Eric B. & Rakim with DJ Eric B. and published their first album, “Paid in Full,” which became a massive success and produced several iconic singles.
Rakim’s distinct style and lyrical prowess distinguish him from his contemporaries, bringing a fresh and innovative approach to rap music.
Rakim’s music and his amazing rhyme talents reflected his Islamic beliefs and spiritual background, emphasizing thoughtful lyricism rather than encouraging violence or drugs.
He maintained a cheerful and thought-provoking image in an industry that frequently embraced more explicit and controversial subjects.
Despite obstacles and creative conflicts with record labels, Rakim stayed committed to his artistic vision and continued to produce music that demonstrated his lyrical excellence and spiritual depth.
Unquestionably, Rakim impacted rap music since he improved it and left a lasting legacy. He was given the moniker “God MC” for his contributions to the genre, his aversion to using vulgar or abusive language, and his commitment to conscious lyrics.
His prominence as a genuine game changer in hip-hop is assured by the fact that his impact is still audible in the music of many modern musicians today.
Knowledge Reigns Supreme Over Nearly Everyone, or KRS One, is a well-known lyricist and hip-hop artist.
Since the 1980s, he has been active in the music industry. The lyrics of KRS One frequently address social issues, political activism, and personal development. He is well-known for his insightful and thought-provoking poems.
He is generally regarded as a clean rapper because his music does not rely significantly on profanity or explicit content.
KRS One’s music frequently reflects his commitment to activism and social justice. He has been outspoken on issues including police brutality, systemic prejudice, and the value of education. His compositions, including “Sound of da Police” and “Black Cop,” address these topics.
He considers himself an educator and has authored works on rap, spirituality, and self-empowerment. He established the Temple of Hip Hop, an organization devoted to preserving and promoting hip-hop culture.
KRS One has released numerous albums, demonstrating his versatility as an artist. “Criminal Minded” (1987), “Return of the Boom Bap” (1993), and “The Sneak Attack” (2001) are some of his notable albums. Each album examines distinct musical themes and styles.
Nathan John Feuerstein, known professionally as N.F., is a well-known rapper, singer, and composer. Born in Gladwin, Michigan, on March 30, 1991, he had a tough childhood defined by his parent’s divorce and the cruelty of his mother’s lover.
His father eventually saved him from the circumstances. His mother sadly died from a heroin overdose in 2009, motivating him to dedicate the song “How Could You Leave Us” to her. In the same year, he finished high school at Gladwin High School.
Feuerstein’s musical adventure began at Connection Church’s Fine Arts Festival in Canton, Michigan. He took to rap as a way to express himself and escape. Initially, he used a karaoke machine to record tunes.
Feuerstein piqued the interest of Xist Music in 2012, resulting in the release of his EP “I’m Free,” which had nine songs, including a unique version of “Alone” featuring Sean Simmonds. In 2014, he released another self-titled EP.
“Mansion,” his second studio album, was released in 2015. N.F. had a lot of success with his track “Let You Down,” which went platinum six times in the US and charted overseas.
Will Smith, popularly referred to as The Fresh Prince, was a renowned rapper before moving into acting. In the 1980s, he formed the hip-hop group DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince, who released their debut album “Rock the House” in 1987.
Will Smith’s solo album “Homebase,” released in 1991, includes the legendary single “Summertime.” He continued to make music with albums such as “Code Red” in 1993, which included singles such as “Boom! Shake the Room.”
After taking a sabbatical from music to focus on acting, he returned in 1997 with the album “Big Willie Style,” which sold over 9 million copies worldwide and contained hit singles like “Gettin’ Jiggy wit It” and “Miami.”
Will Smith’s latter musical career featured albums like “Millennium” in 1999, which produced singles like “Wild Wild West” and “Will 2K.” While he only released songs occasionally over the years, his clean and good image endeared him to a wide audience.
Will Smith’s raps were generally renowned for being clean and family-friendly. Throughout his musical career, he maintained a pleasant and wholesome image that drew a large audience, including younger listeners and families.
His songs were frequently centred on storytelling, humour, and uplifting sentiments, with no sexual or contentious matter. Smith chose a clean approach to rap to contrast the genre’s sometimes explicit and nasty material.
He is regarded as a pioneer for popularizing hip-hop and rap in the mainstream, demonstrating its adaptability and appeal to a wide range of people.
Lecrae is a Christian rapper known for his open and frank rhymes about his challenges, faith, and redemptive journey.
He was raised in a difficult atmosphere where he experienced abuse, drug usage, and engagement in unlawful activities. Things began to change when he met Christianity and decided to live a life devoted to God.
At the University of North Texas, where he was majoring in theatre, Lecrae’s musical career started to take form. He went to a Christian convention where The Cross Movement’s inspirational music moved him, and underwent a significant conversion.
This prompted him to accept his faith and seek a musical career consistent with his newly discovered convictions. Reach Records, which Lecrae co-founded in 2004, was a venue for releasing his songs.
Early works by him, including “Real Talk” (2004) and “After the Music Stops” (2006), demonstrated his distinctive method of fusing hip-hop with a Christian message.
He had a devoted fan base in the Christian music community, but his impact soon spread beyond that. Lecrae made a significant sensation with the publication of his album “Rebel” in 2008, solidifying his status as a brilliant musician.
His career was boosted by subsequent albums such as “Rehab” (2010), “Gravity” (2012), and “Anomaly” (2014). When “Anomaly” debuted at the top of the Billboard 200 chart, he became the first Christian Rapper to do so.
His songs frequently touch on social themes, individual struggles, and the conflict between one’s faith and everyday circumstances.
Listeners of many backgrounds connected with Lecrae’s music because of his skilled delivery and sincere, accessible lyrics.
Lecrae, a rapper who identifies as Christian, is frequently referred to as a “clean” rapper because of his dedication to making music that maintains biblical ideals and stays away from explicit material.
His lyrics mostly address social conscience, personal development, and hope. With this pure and upbeat style, he has connected with a large audience, including listeners who value his inspirational themes without sacrificing the calibre of his music.
Lecrae’s success as a rapper results from his capacity to engage listeners by being open and vulnerable.
His records have found a following among listeners worldwide, and his songs cover a variety of subjects, from social justice to personal problems.
Lecrae continues to impact the Christian music industry and the larger hip-hop world with his distinctive blend of faith, self-reflection, and excellent talent.
Swoope, a native of Akron, Ohio, started in music as a member of the hip-hop group Collision Records member. His songs have deep and thought-provoking lyrics about social issues, personal struggles, and spirituality.
His smooth and melodic rapping style typically mixes atmospheric and soulful music, giving him a unique sound that sets him apart. His poems delve deeply into his inner experiences and emotions, revealing his self-awareness and personal development journey.
Swoope gained popularity after the release of his debut album, “Wake Up,” in 2012. The CD showed off his versatility as a performer by expertly fusing rap and singing. Since then, he has released other albums, such as “Sinema” (2014) and “Sonshine” (2018).
His music has resonated with listeners who appreciate his smart narration and lovely melodies.
Swoope has collaborated with several well-known figures in the Christian hip-hop scene, such as Lecrae and Trip Lee.
Social Club Misfits
Social Club Misfits consists of Christian hip-hop performers Fern and Marty. The message of the duo’s music is based on their personal experiences of overcoming adversity, with God as its foundation.
Fern, the pastor’s son, surmounted a three-year prison sentence for drug trafficking and developed a profound relationship with God. 18-year-old Marty was dismissed from his congregation for whistleblowing.
Social Club Misfits was formed after their paths crossed at a local radio station. The mix of trap-heavy bangers and choruses on their 2014 album “Misfits 2” brought them commercial success.
While maintaining a lighthearted tone, the duo explored the theme of outcasts by delving into love, family, and religion. The album debuted at No. 59 on the Billboard Hot 200 chart, further enhancing their influence.
After signing with Capitol Christian Music Group, their single “War Cry” earned them a Dove Award.
Their most recent EP, “MOOD,” demonstrates their versatility with tracks that range from Spanglish dancefloor fillers to hype compositions.
They have accumulated millions of broadcasts and views across multiple platforms due to their devoted fanbase.
The duo has released multiple albums and extended plays, including “Misfits” and “Mood // Doom,” which won the 2020 Dove Award for Rap/Hip-hop Album of the Year. “Everyone Loves a comeback story,” their most recent release, has also received positive reviews.
The music of Social Club Misfits resonates with all “misfits” around the globe, encouraging them to embrace their unique path and faith. They continue to captivate audiences and show no indication of abandoning their mission to connect through music.
Andy Mineo is a Christian hip-hop artist, and producer, from the United States. He was born on April 17, 1988. Mineo is signed with Reach Records and is the originator of his creative initiative, Miner League.
He is well-known for his solo work and membership in the hip-hop116 the Clique, affiliated with Reach Records. In New York City, he underwent a spiritual reevaluation, got born again and resumed his career. In 2009, he released his mixtape, “Sin is Wack.”
One of Mineo’s earliest notable collaborations was with producer Medina on the song “Background,” which appeared on Lecrae’s album “Rehab” and introduced Mineo to Reach Records. On April 16, 2013, he contracted with the label.
In addition to his solitary work, Mineo founded Miner League, a creative initiative through which he signed artists such as Wordsplayed and Willow Stephens. Additionally, he collaborated with Wordsplayed on the 2017 mixtape “Magic & Bird.”
Mineo is also active in the television industry. He has both directed and co-directed his sic videos. Mineo has been recognized and praised for his musical contributions throughout his career.
His work has been well-received within and beyond the Christian music industry. Notably, the album “Gravity,” on which he served as a producer, won the 2013 Grammy Award for Best Gospel Album.
Kevin Burgess, popularly known as KB, is a Christian rapper and hip-hop musician from the United States.
He is known for his positive and uplifting songs, and he is frequently referred to as a “clean rapper” since he is committed to creating music compatible with his Christian religion.
On July 21, 1988, KB was born in St. Petersburg, Florida. KB rose to notoriety as a Christian hip-hop group with 116 Clique members, including Lecrae, Andy Mineo, and Trip Lee.
He signed with Reach Records in 2010 and released his debut album, “Who is KB?” in 2011. The album showcased his style and included collaborations with 116 other Clique members.
In addition to his solo career, KB has collaborated with some significant performers in the Christian music business and beyond. As new tunes are released, KB’s positive attitude and artistic originality delight people.
Jason Emmanuel Petty, popularly known as Propaganda, is a Christian American rapper, poet, and spoken word artist from Los Angeles, California.
As an independent musician, he has seven albums and worked with artists, including Odd Thomas and Derek Minor. The underground hip-hop ensemble Tunnel Rats and Footsoldiers has been linked to Propaganda.
Propaganda experienced racial taunting and financial hardships as a child growing up in several Los Angeles communities. Rap, dance, graffiti, and visual arts were his passions.
His career took off with his 2002 record debut on Sev Statik’s “Speak Life” album and his inclusion in the Tunnel Rats collective.
Propaganda put out albums as a solo performer, including “Listen to Watch Focus” and “The Sketchbook: A Small Collection of Unreleased Material” in 2008. After that, he joined Humble Beast Records, where his albums “Art Ambidextrous” (2011), “Excellent” (2012), and “Crimson Cord” (2014) found popularity.
Propaganda has performed on numerous tours and participated in multiple artistic and charitable activities. He has headed the poetry group Selah, served as a youth pastor, and helped his sister’s dance ministry.
Additionally, he has participated in social justice campaigns and co-hosted podcasts like “The Red Couch Podcast” and “Hood Politics with Prop.”
Propaganda explores political and social issues relating to justice, race, faith, and personal experiences in his thought-provoking songs and spoken word performances. His fascinating style combines hip-hop with poetry.
Formerly known as Mos Def, Yasiin Bey has positively influenced millions of individuals worldwide through poetry and thoughtful lyrics. Yasiin is a versatile rapper who has experimented with various genres and subjects throughout his career.
He is renowned for his socially conscious lyrics, easy flow, and aptitude for fusing many musical styles.
Early works by Mos Def, like his solo debut “Black on Both Sides” (1999), included politically and socially conscious lyrics that touched on issues like police brutality and the hardship of the working class.
Additionally, he frequently worked with other politically active musicians like Talib Kweli and Common.
As a well-known rapper with clean lyrics, Mos Def has also dabbled in various musical genres and styles throughout his career.
He has collaborated with jazz performers like Roy Ayers and Robert Glasper, infusing soul, reggae, and rock into his music. In addition, he has performed in films and television productions, demonstrating his broad variety of abilities.
How Did We Arrive at This Selection?
Categorizing the above artists as clean rappers typically refers to their lyrical content, free from explicit language, sexual references, excessive violence, and other explicit or offensive themes.
Clean rappers often aim to create music that can be enjoyed by a wide range of audiences, including children and individuals who prefer content without explicit language or mature subject matter.
Here are some common features and characteristics often associated with clean rappers:
- Non-explicit language
Clean rappers avoid using explicit language, profanity, or offensive slurs in their lyrics. They focus on delivering their message without resorting to explicit content.
- Positive and uplifting themes
Clean rappers emphasize positive messages, focusing on personal growth, resilience, hope, inspiration, and overcoming challenges. They aim to motivate and uplift their listeners.
- Conscious and socially conscious lyrics
Many clean rappers address social issues, such as inequality, discrimination, poverty, and community empowerment. They often use their platform to raise awareness and promote positive change.
- Emphasis on storytelling and wordplay
Clean rappers often excel in storytelling, using vivid imagery and creative wordplay to engage their audience. They prioritize clever and thought-provoking lyrics that resonate with listeners.
- Versatility and diverse subject matter
While clean rappers may prioritize positive and socially conscious themes, they are not limited to them. They can cover many topics, including personal experiences, relationships, introspection, etc.
- Mainstream appeal and crossover potential
Clean rappers often strive for mainstream success and appeal to a broader audience beyond the traditional hip-hop fanbase. They may collaborate with artists from different genres and explore a variety of musical styles.
As discussed in the article, it is evident that clean rap aims to provide uplifting, upbeat, and family-friendly music without using sexually explicit language, violent content, or other offensive stuff.
Clean rap artists such as Andy, K.B, NF and Will Smith prioritize preserving a positive message while still exhibiting their talent and originality within the constraints of offensive content.