With each passing year, new rappers have proven to be the true lifeblood of rap music. Whether their energy is referred to as “drip,” “swag” or a trendier lightning bolt in between, always count on the younger generation to influence the game’s top rappers and takes cues from the most lively creative source around.

So with much excitement, HipHopDX is proud to introduce our Rising Stars 2021. Over the past year, we have monitored these 10 new artists and determined their trajectory through their presence and style. Most importantly, their music has many qualities worth revering down the line. You may have seen many of our artists on the 2021 XXL Freshman class cover as well, but these picks were released back in February.

So what is a HipHopDX Rising Star, exactly? A Rising Star is a burgeoning talent we pinpoint within the year before or after their initial introduction and rollout of new rap music. These are the artists we feel have the ideal total package in terms of their musical sound, stage presence and genuine personalities.

Over the course of the year, we will highlight their career progression through special and exclusive features, interviews, playlist love and other indulgent surprises.

There will also be a Weekly Rising Stars column that will chronicle the exciting career turns this year will undoubtedly bring. Much like our past new rappers’ iterations of Rising Stars (our 2018 SXSW set showcased the talents of Saweetie, Jay Park, Tylah Yahweh and last year’s Hip Hop Awards highlighted the achievements of Jack Harlow, Roddy Ricch and the late Pop Smoke), the Rising Stars 2021 will undoubtedly set a standard for vibrant energy for Hip Hop this year.

Read more about each artist’s 2021 so far and check back weekly for updates on our HipHopDX Rising Stars picks!

HipHopDX’s Rising Stars

Best New Rappers 2021

  1. 42 Dugg
  2. Flo Milli
  3. DDG
  4. Sheff G
  5. Blxst
  6. Foogiano
  7. Yung Bleu
  8. Sleepy Hallow
  9. Toosii
  10. Morray

[This post has been updated. The following was originally published on February 5, 2021.] Read updates below.

42 Dugg

From aligning his goals with those of Yo Gotti and Lil Baby’s for their CMG and 4PF imprints, respectively, to casually beasting Billboard hit singles such as “We Paid” and “Grace,” 42 Dugg carries himself like a rap vet who disregards any rookie hazing. Solidifying his name as a lyrical, fashion and op killa, HipHopDX is proud to introduce 42 Dugg as a 2021 Rising Star.

Read more about Dugg’s rise to prominence here:

42 Dugg’s Slick Trap Rap + Double-Platinum Touch Snags A HipHopDX Rising Star 2021 Slot!

42 Dugg’s Accomplishments So Far

  • Teams up with Marshmello for “Baggin”
  • Rolling Loud Miami announcement
  • Dropped “4 Da Gang” with Roddy Rich currently at 3.5 million views on YouTube.
  • Dropped ‘4 Dem Boyz’ Mixtape
  • “Maybach” video trends at No. 4 on YouTube amidst viral Future line
  • Takes stage at MoneyBaggYo’s Mississippi Concert
  • Announces Summer Jam 2021 Festival performance
  • Features on Tyler The Creator’s “Lemonhead” from Call Me If You Get Lost
  • Performs Rolling Loud Miami

42 Dugg’s Set Backs So Far

  • Atlanta video shoot with Roddy Rich gets shot up
  • 42 Dugg’s “Maybach” gets attention for Future’s Lori Harvey & Michael B Jordan Diss
  • Ex-girlfriend makes diss song about 42 Dugg
  • Receives backlash after responding to comments made about a video of him kissing his son’s neck.

Flo Milli

Flo Milli’s colorfully stratified existential persona and bouncy, punchline flinging raps make her stand out greatly amongst competition and we can guarantee her trajectory is limitless!

Read more about Flo Milli’s rise to prominence here:

Flo Milli’s Fiery Lyricism & Universal Appeal Makes Her A Dynamite HipHopDX Rising Star 2021!

Flo Milli’s Accomplishments So Far

  • Performance announcement for Rolling Loud Miami 2021
  • Flo Milli covers Brick magazine.
  • Confirmed Outside Lands festival performer
  • Confirmed Firefly festival performer
  • “I Am” feature with Yung baby Tate hits 1 million Views on YouTube
  • Flo Milli is recruited to Kendrick Lamar-headline festival Day N Vegas
  • Flo Milli receives 2021 BET Awards nomination for “Best New Artist”
  • Recruited to Rolling Loud NYC, BUKU Planet B., JMBLYA and Summer Jam 2021 Festival
  • Performs Rolling Loud Miami

Flo Milli’s Set Backs So Far

  • Fans accuse BET of excluding Flo Milli from “Best Female Hip Hop Artist” because of colorism.
  • Receives social media backlash after posting photos of her and Travis $cott at Rolling Loud Miami

DDG

It’s not a strange thing to hear a new rapper say they’re going to be the next big thing in a few years. Some have succeeded in accomplishing those lofty claims, while others have missed the mark, but DDG is on pace to reach that goal. As it was made clear in his conversation with HipHopDX, DDG doesn’t keep all his eggs in one basket.

Read more about DDG’s rise to prominence here:

DDG — The Luxurious Lyricist With A Social Media Strategy — Is A HipHopDX Rising Star 2021!

DDG’s Accomplishments So Far

  • Rolling Loud Miami 2021 performance announced
  • Dropped “Impatient” video featuring Coi Leray trending at No. 4 on YouTube [May]
  • “No Favors” single featured on EPIX original series Godfather of Harlem soundtrack
  • “Moonwalking in Calabasas” gets certified Platinum status!
  • DDG is recruited to Kendrick Lamar-headline festival Day N Vegas
  • Wins Social Gloves boxing match against Nate Wyatt
  • Drops The Last Dragon inspired music video for “No Kizzy”
  • Performs Rolling Loud Miami

DDG’s Set Backs So Far

  • Feuds with fellow 2021 HipHopDX Rising Star Toosii over girlfriend Rubi Rose
  • DDG accused famous TikToker Taylor Holder of racist comments made during a press conference.
  • Calls it quits on YouTube again, this time deletes all vlog videos.

Sheff G

Most of Hip Hop’s brightest stars commonly exist at an apex of originality, authenticity and influence. 22-year-old MC Sheff G is one such artist, credited with refocusing the sound of Brooklyn street music. He is considered one of the crucial voices that gave life to the borough’s drill scene: capturing his city’s energy without compromise.

Read more about Sheff G’s rise to prominence here:

Read how Brooklyn drill boss Sheff G’s melodic bars have earned him a HipHopDX Rising Star 2021 slot.

Sheff G’s Accomplishments So Far

  • “Lights On” music video hits 5 million views
  • Dropped “No Negotiations” music video
  • “Mistakes” music video surpasses 4 million views
  • Performs “Lights On” live session for VEVO
  • Performs “Eeny, Meany, Miney, Moe” live session for VEVO
  • “Proud Of Me Now” music video hits 1 million views
  • Sheff G is recruited to Kendrick Lamar-headline festival Day N Vegas
  • Announces Summer Jam Festival 2021 performance
  • Drops  1st 2021 single “Start Some Shyt” music video

Sheff G’s Set Backs So Far

  • Was arrested for driving with a loaded handgun, but released on $35,000 bail [January 19]
  • Misses another Rolling Loud performance because of arrest.

Blxst

Influenced by the likes Kanye West, Pharrell Williams, the late great Nate Dogg and more, Los Angeles multi-talent Blxst has made a name for himself patenting his sonically layered Hip Hop bops and as of today, he is forever a HipHopDX Rising Star 2021!

Read more about Blxst’s rise to prominence here:

Blxst, L.A.’s New Hip Hop Voice With An R&B Edge, Is A HipHopDX Rising Star 2021!

Blxst’s Accomplishments So Far

  • Considered for 2021 XXL Freshman Class list
  • Blxst breaks down “Overrated” in Genius interview
  • Releases Amazon Original “Forever Humble” animated music video
  • Dropped anticipated music video for “Don’t Forget” with Drakeo The Ruler
  • ‘No Love Lost’ album gains over 200 Million streams
  • Sells out first-ever headlined tour in first week
  • Drops hilarious music video for “Movie” featuring Bino Rideaux
  • Performs Rolling Loud Miami

Foogiano

Atlanta has been the Hip Hop capital for over 20 years and continues to produce talent daily. For a new rapper trying to make it out of the neighboring regions, it’s an even more difficult task trying to stand out in such a crowded scene. But Gucci’s latest signee, Foogiano, has managed to figure it out by being himself and has all the makings of a real Hip Hop star, and because of that, he is one of HipHopDX’s 2021 Rising Stars!

Read more about Foogiano’s rise to prominence here:

Foogiano’s Slick Wordplay & Infectious Energy Makes Him A HipHopDX Rising Star 2021!

Foogiano’s Accomplishments So Far

  • “First Day Out” music video hits 1 million views on YouTube
  • Dropped “Gutta Baby” Documentary Pt.2 with over 500k views on YouTube
  • Considered for 2021 XXL Freshman Class list
  • Dropped “Free Foo” music video along with march, following arrest
  • Releases ‘Backwood Boyz’ mixtape with Geezy Escobar
  • Dropped “The Plan Pt. 2” music video on YouTube now at 700k+ views on YouTube

Foogiano’s Set Backs So Far

  • Arrested for burning off an ankle monitor following a previous arrest back in 2015
  • Sentenced to 5-years incarceration [March]

Yung Bleu

Alabama had a lot to offer the wide world of Hip Hop in 2020 from Grammy-nominated MC Chika To HipHopDX Rising Star 2021 Flo Milli’s impressive campaign.

With major co-signs from Louisiana legend Boosie Badazz and OVO monolith Drake, Yung Bleu is without a doubt one of the most hyped upcoming artists hailing from Alabama to don the crowning title of HipHopDX’s Rising Star 2021.

Read more about Yung Bleu’s rise to prominence here:

Yung Bleu’s Intoxicating Melodic Flows & Mogul-In-The-Making Hustle Make Him A HipHopDX Rising Star 21!

Yung Bleu’s Accomplishments So Far

  • “You’re Mines Still” featuring Drake hits 100 million on YouTube
  • Purchases new estate after success of music career pays off
  • Reveals he has one of the last features with the late DMX
  • Links in studio with Chloe Bailey to “put together a masterpiece project”
  • Joins Chris Brown, A-Boogie, and Mooskii on official “Trackstar” remix.
  • Announces Summer Jam 2021 Festival performance
  • Drops “Baddest” featuring Chris Brown and 2 Chainz
  • Has pop-up nail salons to pay for his fans to get their feet and nails done.
  • Drops debut album ‘Moon Boy’

Yung Bleu’s Set Backs So Far

  • Feuds with Trippie Redd over Drake feature on “You’re Mines Still”
  • Falls on stage during Houston concert but is able to laugh about it
  • Yung Bleu isn’t nominated for a single award at the 2021 BET Awards
  • Yung Bleu’s rant over 2021 BET Awards nomination caused friction with Coi Leray
  • Gets sued by music producer Ice Starr for 1st single “Miss It”
  • Get ridiculed for buying his sister a Chrysler car amidst Chris Brown and Drake features.

Sleepy Hallow

With all eyes on the Brooklyn drill scene as the en vogue sound dominating Hip Hop that everyone wants a piece of, it’s time for Sleepy Hallow to make the quantum leap and snatch a seat at the table in 2021, making him a prime candidate for the HipHopDX Rising Stars 2021 class!

Read more about Sleepy Hallow’s rise to prominence here:

Brooklyn Drill Sergeant Sleepy Hallow’s Sharp Rhymes & Keen Ear Make Him A HipHopDX Rising Star 2021!

Sleepy Hallow’s Accomplishments So Far

  • Drops “2 Sauce” music video on YouTube
  • Drops official “2055” music video on Youtube currently at 3.7 million views
  • Dropped ‘Still Sleep?’ [June 2]
  • Drops 2-in-1 music video for “Chicken” and “Mi No Sabe”
  • Rap caviar adds “2055” to “Just Added” playlist
  • Sleepy Hallow is recruited to Kendrick Lamar-headline festival Day N Vegas
  • Announced Summer Jam 2021 Festival performance
  • “Deep End (Freestyle)” goes platinum!
  • Performs Rolling Loud Miami

Sleepy Hallow’s Set Backs So Far

  • Promising album release and then delaying album release

Toosii

Armed with his first RIAA gold certification for “Love Cycle” featuring Summer Walker and a monster co-sign from his South Coast Music Group labelmate DaBaby, the 21-year-old Toosii is ready to fully embrace his new role as one of HipHopDX’s 2021 Rising Stars!

Read more about Toosii’s rise to prominence here:

Toosii’s Uncanny Hip Hop & R&B Versatility Makes Him A HipHopDX Rising Star 2021!

Toosii’s Accomplishments So Far

  • Dropped “Shop” music video with DaBaby
  • ‘Thank You 4 Believing’ trends No. 1 on Twitter  it’s first week
  • ‘Thank You 4 Believing’ trends at No. 3 on iTunes Top Albums chart
  • Announces first headlining tour for  ‘Thank You 4 Believing’ quickly selling out in each city
  • Releases exclusive BTS documentary of “Shop” featuring DaBaby on Apple Music
  • Toosii is recruited to Kendrick Lamar-headline festival Day N Vegas
  • Drops “Heart Cold” single and music video
  • Performs Rolling Loud Miami
  • Drops deluxe album ‘Thank You For Believing: The Manifestation’

Toosii’s Set Backs So Far

  • Feuds with DDG over Rubi Rose Instagram DM conversation
  • Teases boxing mach against DDG after DDG beats Nate Wyatt in Social Gloves event.
  • Makes questionable tweets about his generation being “soft” after DaBaby’s LGBTQ+ comments’ backlash

Morray

Imagine being an earnest, hardworking — yet relatively unknown Hip Hop artist from a relatively unknown region. 

You decide to put out your most focused single to date, go about your day and all of a sudden, the game’s hottest rappers — legends even — are showering you with praise?

Such is life for Morae Ruffin a.k.a. Morray, our 10th and final HipHopDX Rising Star 2021!

Read more about Morray’s rise to prominence here:

Morray’s Excellent ’Quicksand’ Raps Has Snagged The Final HipHopDX Rising Star 2021 Spot!

Morray’s Accomplishments So Far

  • Inks deal with Interscope Records
  • Visits “The Breakfast Club” for interview with Charlamagne Tha God, Angela Yee, and DJ Envy
  • ‘Street Sermons’ lands No. 7 spot on iTunes Top Albums chart
  • Performs sold out North Carolina home-state concert
  • Morray has Up Next interview with Apple Music’s Ebro
  • Has first live television performance on Jimmy Kimmel Live
  • Features on J. Cole’s “my.life” single from album ‘The Off Season’ hitting No. 1 on iTunes Chart
  • “Quicksand” gets certified gold status!
  • Purchases first home [June 10]
  • Announces Summer Jam 2021 Festival performance
  • Quicksand hits 100 million streams
  • Performs Rolling Loud Miami

Rising Stars Weekly Updates

Check out our weekly Updates to find out what our Rising Stars have been up to: