8 Most Influential Rappers In The Last Decade

Here is a list of the most influential rappers of the 21st century.
Pictures of most influential rappers in the past 5 to 10 years
Image Source: Twitter

8. Yung Lean

Yung lean is the sad boy's influence on hip hop. No matter what people thought about young lean's music you could not deny lean's style & aesthetic were totally unique.

Yung lean was into 90s pop-culture references like pokemon, the bucket hats, the Arizona ice tea, and how lean's videos were edited with video games, anime, and more pop culture imagery from back in 2013 and they weren't as widespread as they are today. Yung lean is the one who is responsible for initiating these trends.

Yung Lean
image source: instagram

His aesthetic and videos were part of why he was so interesting as an artist. His video Oreo Milkshake's editing style made a huge influence on today's rappers. We still see rappers editing videos with anime, gaming, or similar imagery from Yung lean earlier videos. His group sad boys entertainment was a movement and title that the internet would identify with and idolize.

Using sadness as an aesthetic and artistic expression at that time was much less common than fake depressed rappers we have today. There was an emotional undertone and sad vibe to a lot of lean's music. Sadness was driven through his merch and imagery as well.

It led to kids all over the internet labeling themselves as sad boys and comparing the use of sadness and depression as music and image aesthetics from 2013 to right now. It's so many artists and groups right now with this depressed emotional aesthetic.

The sad boy's movement was the first of its kind in the internet era in the sense that the whole group's aesthetic was built on sadness. This resulted in lean's music and aesthetic being seen throughout various underground artists today.


image source: instagram

XXXTENTACION accomplished one of his life goals which was to inspire millions of people. One year later after his death, you can see his influence all over the world.

The explosion of the emo-rap trend has a lot to do with how big xxxtentacion was able to become because what he was able to do was take emo sound & aesthetic that was already a thing in the underground and open it up to a whole new audience and take it to that next level.

XXXtentacion helped to kickstart this emo wave back in 2017 with his album 17. This shocked everyone with the direction he decided to go in because what was expected from the album was his more aggressive bangers.

The depressive sound connected very well with younger audiences everywhere and spawned multiple hit songs. Music streams climb to over 500% since his death and received four billion streams in 2019 alone.

6. Migos

image source: instagram

The Migos flow or the Versace flow come to define mainstream artists in recent years. In 2013 Migos released Versace & drake freestyle over it. After drake featured on the song it blew up. Triplet flow has always been in rap since the 1980s but the song like Versace made the sound and rhythmic feel of triplets super catchy.

Today we can see why triplets flow is Migos bread and butter. Credits say Migos has star power and will never fall off. Migos have been featured on tracks by some of the biggest artists of today like Drake, 2 Chainz, Gucci Mane, Calvin Harris, Juicy J, & DJ Khaled.

5. Lil Wayne

Lil Wayne
image source: instagram

No rappers before Lil Wayne and Birdman had face tattoos. Now several rappers today have face tattoos. Also, Nobody had face piercings that Lil Wayne had. Now rappers like the young thug and Lil uzi vert have piercings on their face too. Lil Wayne was a huge mixtape hustler with a large amount of work ethic.

He didn't start out as the greatest rapper but with all the mixtapes and free music he released in the early 2000s was so uncommon whenever he dropped an album his fans were quick to buy it and support him for all the free music. Wayne was notorious for hopping on beats from hip-hop hit songs and making it a better song.

The song he would remix would also get more popular. Lil Wayne would erase the memory of an original song in history. Lil Wayne's sky is the limit is a remix of Mike Jone's Mr.Jones song.

4. Young Thug

Image source: instagram

Young Thug had heavy Wayne influence when he first came out. He caught Gucci mane's attention and was signed to 1017 in 2013. Young thug gained popularity in the mainstream in 2014. Signs to 300 label that year. 2015 was one of Young Thug's biggest years.

In 2019 Young thug became his own genre. Lil Uzi Vert, Sahbabii, & Lil Keed are clearly influenced heavily by Young Thug. Young thug also brings the punk rapper image back to style. 

3. LIL B

image source: instagram

Lil B started on the pack with his hit song vans. Soon after Lil b went solo and started releasing music on myspace and videos on Youtube. We never saw something like ever before. Home-made music videos with minimal editing and very low-quality songs with poor mixing and mastering but his work ethic was unmatched and has his own alter ego "The BasedGod".

The term "Based" turned into a movement. Bitch Mob Task Force is Lil B's fans that protect Lil at all times from fake-based or Lil B Haters who try to insult him or undermine his successes because they don't understand it.

Lil B started swag rap with Soulja Boy and was the pioneer of this movement. Wonton Soup was the biggest representation of swag rap. Lil B was really the first rapper to rep and push being independent or unsigned. He never released an official album or official mixtape. Lil B was one only rapper at his time pushing positive messages and avoiding couraging people to use drugs or violence.

He released all of the music for free & a mixtape with over 800 songs. Lil B really pushed fan interaction and internet marketing for artists to the forefront. He was the youngest rapper to write his own book at age 19. On Youtube between 2011 - 2012, he would drop three music videos a week.

He made based memes all over the internet and was even followed by 1 million fans on Twitter. He started girl time in the USA and other internet influencers started copying him afterward. Lil B Cursed NBA  players and made it to mainstream sports.

Lil B created the cooking dance which went viral and is still used today even in the NBA. No other rapper had this much influence in sports. He also lectures at universities across the united states where he talks about his philosophy and self-love. Almost All rappers today show respect and pay homage to him.

2. Chief Keef

chief keef
image source: instagram

Whenever a lot of younger rappers below the age of 25 are interviewed and are asked who was their biggest influence, they most likely name - Chief Keef. When Chief keef first came out that changed a lot of things. That's when everyone wanted to go deeper into Chicago rappers. He definitely started a whole generation of culture.

He had an impact on the whole rap game; everyone wanted to be like keef. Chief Keef is a living legend because of inspiration for his whole new wave of rap. A lot of chief keef clones came after chief keef. A lot of rappers rapping like chief keef had dirty looks & guns in videos.

Most rappers would say they had a pretty innocent childhood and then all of a sudden chief keef came out and then the culture changed. The music went from dancing and having fun to guns and shooting each other.

1. Soulja Boy

Soulja Boy
image source: instagram

Soulja Boy would post his music on Limewire and myspace which led to a massive online fan base that eventually made Crank That go viral on youtube. By the time he signed to Interscope, he took off.

He was the first rapper of this generation to come up off the internet. This is the digital disturbance that Soulja boy created that started a light bulb moment in the music industry by building a fan-based virtual world. This movement also created new metrics to access an artist's popularity through their social media presence.

He was the first artist to transition from the internet to huge mainstream success. His journey is a blueprint for rappers to blow up the internet and he is the one who is responsible for what hip hop is today. Labels don't care about the person passing out mixtapes on the streets anymore they want to see your Instagram, SoundCloud, or internet presence.

He was never about recording a demo and showing it to the labels. He started with recording his songs at home and uploading them straight to the internet. He always believed that if your work had power it will automatically gravitate the audience towards your music.

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