Many believe that there has never been a time where one should be so excited about the direction that rap music is heading.
But not everyone shares that feeling.
Artists like Joe Budden and Pete Rock have publicly criticized the “mumble” rappers – questioning their skills and their seat at rap’s table. Some say that they cannot “Identify” with today’s rappers.
Are they being haters… Instigators… Or do they have a point? Maybe its a little bit of all of the above.
However regardless of how the old heads feel one thing is for sure: Modern rappers are making a lot of noise and changing the rap game forever.
First off… what is “mumble” rap?
Mumble rap is a new and upcoming term for rappers that are hard to understand. Whiz Khalifa is credited with coining the phrase “mumble rap” with an interview that he did on HOT 97 in June of 2016.
It is a style of rap where some dimension of either word slurring (often times done on purpose), melodies, or singing is added. Different notes and scales, and usually some type of auto tune is used. It results in a catchier tune than that of the usual staccato rhythms some are used to. Often times the beats tend to be a little bit more EDM friendly. Sometimes the new generation of rappers are even referred to as EDM rappers.
But “mumble rap” isn’t a real term. It’s downplaying what these rappers are actually about and what they can actually do. Some would say that the phrase is actually ruining rap. So we propose that we start calling “Mumble” rap…. “Melody Rap.” or “Electronic Rap.” If you have any other ideas, please sound off in the comments below!
My only regret about this top list that follows is that I was unable to put one of my favorite new rappers on it – Vince Staples – because he’s not really a melody rapper. So be sure to check him out as well.
Best Mumble Rappers
Real Name: Miles Parks McCollum
Hometown: Atlanta, Georgia
Meet Lil Yachty. Born in 1997, he is the youngest rapper on this list. As far as music goes, he is best know for his hits “One night”, “Minnesota,” “Wanna Be Us”, and for his features on D.R.A.M.’s “Brocolli” and Kyle’s “iSpy.” But as this article from The New Yorker accurately states: “Yachty’s music is not incidental to his image, but it is only one aspect of his brand. His songs have always been an entry to his meticulously crafted persona, not the other way around.”
At age 19, he already has a deal with Nautica, and his personal brand follows a nautical and boat theme.
He is extremely level headed, especially for a nineteen year old, and seems to have a BOAT-load of promise. He is also received well by the press. To top it off, he is releasing his new album “Teenage Emotions” this week on May 26th.
Lil Uzi Vert
Real Name: Symere Woods
Hometown: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
“Lil Uzi Vert is, for better or for worse, yanking people into the future, a world in which rap is a swirling kaleidoscope of post-regional styles and post-genre sounds…Uzi is the proper arrival, pushing that sound into more colorful, gleeful territory with the help of a murderers’ row of current producers.” This quote from Noisy couldn’t be closer to the truth.
With concepts like his Metallica Inspired logo, styles like his colored dreads or this recent T-Shirt Choices, and a rap style that includes both a rapid delivery and melodic sound, Lil Uzi Vert combines what seemingly is a handful of contradicting qualities and turns them into something that miraculously works flawlessly together.
He made a name for himself with his feature on Migos’ “Bad and boujee”, but has some very popular songs of his own in “XO Tour Llif3,” “Money Longer,” “You Was Right,” and “Ps & Qs.” When it comes to the “total package,” Lil Uzi Vert makes a strong case with his resume that features a dynamic combination of rapping, singing, music videos, and branding.
Real Name: Jeffery Lamar Williams
Hometown: Atlanta, Georgia
Young Thug came from nothing and has worked really hard to get where he is. He spends most of his time working hard on his rythm in his raps and this is evident in his melodies – where his unique style comes together to give you a sound that you have never quite heard before. His uniqueness really shines in songs like “Pick Up the Phone,” “Lifestyle,” “Wyclef Jean,” and “Digits.”
Something a little bit different about Young Thug is that he prioritizes fashion over rap. He is super obssessed with what he wears and he even has more than 6 different women help him get dressed when he has to do interviews or shows. He’s not afraid to stand out, be different, and work hard to make this music thing his own.
Real Name: acques Webster, Jr.
Hometown: Houston, Texas
Travis Scott is an Artist’s artist. Out of all the rappers on this list, Travis Scott might be the one that has the most polished skill set. On top of singing and rapping, Travis Scott also makes beats, picks out the drums, and he does so for big name artists like Kanye, Usher, and many others. His albums are the most complete in terms of portraying a message – in fact he originally wanted to make “Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight” a play.
And this album lives up to the hype by delivering hit after hit. Along with Fetty Wap’s self titled album, it is probably the only album on this list that you would want to listen the whole way through without skipping any songs. Some of the more well known/circulated ones include “goosebumps,” “pick up the phone,” “sweet sweet,” and “through the late night.” You may also have heard his first big hit “Antidote” as well as his many features like his verse on “Uber Everywhere.”
Rich Homie Quan
Real Name: Dequantes Devontay Lamar
Hometown: Atlanta, Georgia
Currently signed to independent label T.I.G. Entertainment and Motown Records, Rich Homie Quan made some noise with his hits “Flex (Oooh, Ooh, Ooh),” and “Type of Way.” Along with Young Thug, Quan was once part of “Rich Gang” which was part of Birdman’s Cash Money, but that project is currently on pause as Rich Home Quan is working on his solo career.
Quan explained his recent signing with Motown Records, a deal that surprised a lot of people, as a “Boss deal and not an Artist deal.” He recently released “Back To The Basics” which has seemingly recieved a lot of positive reviews.
Real Name: Willie Maxwell II
Hometown: Patterson, New Jersey
It was amazing what Fetty Wap was able to do with his self titled album in 2015. It was the album of the summer and it was full of bangers. You can listen to it from top to bottom. His rhythms, and meoldies really are on another level. Out of all the rappers on this list, it may be safe to say that he has the best voice. Hits from jsut this one album included “Trap Queen,” “679,” “My Way,” and “Again.” Aside from these, he was also featured on Lil Dicky’s “Save Dat Money,” and Fifth Harmoney’s “All in My Head.”
Another song that was more recently released, titled “Make You Feel Good” did not get the recognition that these songs got, but is still very good. If Fetty and the Remy Boyz can repeat the model that made him a breakout star and got him a grammy nomination for best rap album (which he should have won), then there’s a good chance he can stay on top of the charts.
Real Name: Sidney Royel Selby III
Hometown: Brooklyn, New York
Desiigner had the best basketball warm up song since Eminem and Nate Dogg’s ‘Til I Collapse’ in his debut “Panda.” Everyone either loved or had an opinion on this song. Even young children seemed to love it. It has an impressive half a billion plays on Spotify – the most of any song by any rapper on this list.
The only problem is none of his other songs are even close to this level of greatness. His next best song is either “Up” or “Timmy Turner” – neither of which got a lot of radio play. To his defense, the way Panda blew up overnight was a unique event, and since he blew up so fast, he’s now playing a lot of catch up. He finanly has time to do a lot of interviews where the main thing he is talking about doesn’t involve explainging what the lyrics to his song “Panda” are.
(Quavo, Offset, & Takeoff)
Real Names: Quavious Marshall, Kiari Kendrell Cephus, Kirshnik Khari Ball
Hometown: Lawrenceville, Georgia
Migos can be compared to a modern day Outkast. They are not as mainstream as the duo, but they are all from Georgia, and Migos is making new and unique rap music just like Outkast did. In fact, Migos might be the only rap name on this list that not only fits in with Melody rap, but transcends into a new genre of rap on it’s own. Yea, dat way.
Migos had one of the most viral rap songs this world has ever heard in “Bad And Boujie.” If one person say’s “Raindrops” in 2017, there’s no doubt that someone else is going to say “DropTops.” It seems as though they are only going to get bigger, as Quavo does more and more features, and Offset keeps delivering some of the most unique bars and hooks rap has ever seen.
Real Name: Nayvadius DeMun Wilburn
Hometown: Atlanta, Georgia
A man that needs no introduction. This list wouldn’t be complete without the Pioneer and lead front man of the melody rappers.
Future has the most combined plays on Spotify of any rapper on this list. And with 4 songs that top 150 million plays, it’s safe to say that Future is doing something right.
There’s something about Future’s music that just gives you energy. Future’s music get’s you to where you’re going – which might be why he gave himself that name in the first place. Or maybe because he knew that he was going to spawn this whole new generation of rappers?
If you think I left someone off the list that needs to be here, or have any other thoughts or feedback, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.