You may have just begun to see the 2021 HipHopDX Rising Stars on some of your favorite platforms (outside of DX of course), through magazine covers, freestyles, ranking systems and A-list collaborations, however, DX has been telling you about these 10 stars since the top of the year and why they should be paid close attention to.
Are you still asking yourself, “what is a HipHopDX Rising Star?” Well, if we take a trip down memory lane to the first time we introduced you to the bunch back in February, a Rising Star is defined as: A burgeoning talent we pinpoint within the year before or after their initial introduction and rollout of new rap music.
Now eight months into this journey, DX has been able to document the weekly accomplishments and setbacks of these rappers who have continued to prove why they are “next up.”
You can read about the Rising Stars’ milestone through our overview of why DX was right about this bunch before everyone else hopped on their waves.
HIPHOPDX’S RISING STARS
BEST NEW RAPPERS 2021
Fans fell in love with 2021 HipHopDX Rising Star 42 Dugg late 2020 when his viral single “We Paid” hit the airwaves. His signature whistle ad-lib that starts any track of his has continued to be a well-recepted gesture even throughout 2021.
Since DX announced 42 as a Rising Star, the Detroit native has continued to garner accolades such as dropping his debut project Free Dem Boyz, which peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard Top Hip Hop/R&B Albums chart, along with popular singles “Maybach” and “4 Da Gang.” 42 also scored another charting single with his feature on Tyler The Creator’s “Lemonhead,” which peaked at No. 19 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip Hop Songs chart.
All that said, signing to Lil Baby and Yo Gotti’s respective labels 4 Pockets Full (4PF) and Collective Music Group (CMG) in conjunction with Interscope Record looks to be his biggest moment for the progression of his career!
Although 42 has had a few setbacks like having his Roddy Rich-infused video shoot shot up, his ex-girlfriend making a diss song about him or the controversy behind showing his son some unusual love, 42 has continued to weather the storm.
42 Dugg recently performed at Hot 97’s Summer Jam show in New Jersey and has a music video out for his latest single “Best Friends.”
Engage in that video above.
In 2020, DX wondered what else Blxst was capable of. However, in 2021 the HipHopDX Rising Star has proven himself to not only be one helluva producer, but that he too, could be in the spotlight and shine bright.
DX first introduced Blxst through his tape Just For Clarity, which hosted the West-Coast banger “Don’t Forget,” featuring Russ. Since then, Blxst has pretty much blasted off in his career creating a name for himself that goes beyond “producer.”
Since his DX Rising Star status, Blxst has went on to be nominated for a few accolades from a plethora of media sources, but of course HipHopDX was one of the first to publicly acknowledge his star power potential. Following his Evgle imprint joining forces with Red Bull Records, over the last eight months Blxst has pivoted in his career by breaking the ceiling when it comes to streams and also when it comes to touring. Blxst’s No Love Lost EP, which peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard Top Heatseekers Albums chart, garnered over 200 Million streams on multiple streaming platforms collectively.
In expected Rising Star Fashion, he sold out his debut headlining tour in the first week of its announcement.
Besides performing at one of the biggest music festivals in the world, Rolling Loud, Blxst was also recruited to feature on your favorite rapper’s favorite rapper Nas’ album for the track King’s Disease track “Brunch On Sundays.”
Watch his latest music video “Pop Out” off of his latest collab-album with Bino Rideaux above.
If we’re talking, “the most versatile” of the DX Rising Stars, then hats-off to 2021 HipHopDX Rising Star DDG. Since February DDG has remained consistent with his music as well as his antics to keep us all entertained.
Although DX had always heard of the multi-faceted sensation, it was when the YouTuber-turned-artist released his 2020 remix to his single “Moonwalking in Calabasas” featuring Blueface, that put the laser-focus on him. It became DDG’s first song to enter the Billboard Hot 100 at No. 82, while signed to Epic Records. The smash went on to gain certified platinum status in 2021.
Of the talented bunch, DDG has had the most gossip-worthy news surrounding him, whether it stems from his on-and-off relationship with Rubi Rose, threatening to delete his popular YouTube channel, or “beef” with other rappers and social media stars. However, DDG proved how versatile he could be when he agreed to fight TikToker Nate Wyatt in a Social Gloves boxing match, in which DDG put his money where his mouth is, and won — convincingly.
Over a course of eight months, DDG has already performed at Rolling Loud Miami, went platinum, and managed to succeed in the viral social media “crate challenge.” His ability to be successful in any industry he enters has shown time and time again that he’s definitely a DX Rising Star.
Peep his latest music video for “If I Go Broke” above.
As the only woman holding down the 2021 HipHopDX Rising Stars list, Flo Milli doesn’t need anyone else to make her feel comfortable – she holds her own.
DX has watched the Alabama Rising Star closely over the last eight months as she continues to grow in different elements of her career. From her consistent BET nominations to being a cover-girl for magazines like Brick and Clash – the prior predictions for Flo has superseded her.
Crediting social media to the broadening of her audiences, Flo Milli’s stardom stems from her certified gold singles “Beef FloMix” and “In The Party” going viral on TikTok, she then signed her record deal with RCA Records in late 2019. DX really laser-focused in on the bubbly-voiced rapstress when her debut mixtape, Ho, Why Is You Here? dropped in 2020, leading her to be nominated for Best New Artist at the 2020 BET Hip Hop Awards and 2021 BET Awards.
Since then, Flo’s unique voice has been sought out time and time again to create bangers, like her feature on Yung Baby Tate’s “I Am” track, which surpassed one million views on YouTube. Flo is stacking her own views now with her biggest song of 2021, “Roaring 20’s.” Flo Milli’s colorfully stratified existential persona and bouncy, punchline flinging raps has caused her to be recruited to perform at festivals like Rolling Loud Miami, Rolling Loud NYC, BUKU Planet B., JMBLYA, Outside Lands, Firefly and Day N Vegas.
Flo Milli has clearly proven to be a DX Rising Star that keeps leveling up.
Relive her latest music video for “Back Pack (Flora The Explorer)” above.
Although 2021 HipHopDX Rising Star Foogiano’s trajectory to stardom came to a halt when he became incarcerated back in March, he still was on fire before then.
DX chose Big Foo as a Rising Star because of his stellar 2020 breakout year. Foo had snagged eight different features on Gucci’s So Icy Summer compilation album, which was the most out of anyone on The New 1017 label that Gucci has created. Foogiano even saw his numbers go up with over 40 million plays on streaming services and 140 million views combined on YouTube – he was on a roll!
Although his year was cut short, within the two months that DX did get to cover his journey, he was able to gain over one million views on YouTube for his single “First Day Out,” and also drop his joint mixtape Backwood Boyz with Geezy Escobar.
The world hasn’t had the full opportunity to see Foogiano’s reach within rap, however, the spotlight was put on him early and in a short span of time, he proved himself.
Check out Foogiano’s latest music video for “Dead in Miami” up top.
Since receiving notable co-signs from J.Cole, DaBaby and JAY-Z himself, Morray has gone on to live up to his hype.
2021 HipHopDX Rising Star Morray came out the gate swinging with his 2020 certified gold single “Quicksand” which peaked at No. 65 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The single really catapulted his career into the eyes of major platforms like The Breakfast Club, Jimmy Kimmel Live, and even Apple Music’s Beats1. Morray’s humble beginnings, which can be heard throughout his music, have led so many people to feel connected to his story of coming from nothing.
Morray has cemented his name even more into the game every week thus far. DX has covered every move of Morray from inking a deal with Interscope Records, holding a top 10 spot on the Apple Top Albums chart for Street Sermons featuring on J. Cole’s “my.life” from The Off-Season (which literally broke Spotify), to hit 100 million streams with “Quicksand,” performing at Rolling Loud and buying his family their first home.
His story truly continues to get better and better.
Morray currently has a “dream collab” music video out for “In My Blood” with the late Mo3. Watch above.
Its been a long time since 2021 HipHopDX Rising Star Sheff G rose to fame with his single “No Suburban” in 2017, which was a response to the song “Suburban” by 22Gz.
However, Sheff G proved himself to be a promising rapper when his 2019 The Unlucky Kid mixtape’s success set him up for all eyes to be on him in 2020. After deeming himself to be hungry and a trendsetter in the New York-drill sound, he released his May 2020 album One and Only, which put him on a whole new plane. DX made sure to share with readers when his album landed at No. 13 on the Billboard 200 chart, positioning him in his Winners Circle label with fellow Rising Star Sleepy Hallow.
2021 started off rather slow for Sheff G as he was musically quiet from February to May. However, by June, he made some noise when he dropped “Start Some Shyt,” creating the video’s No. 17 ranking on the trending charts of YouTube. Just as Sheff’s mid-year was off to a great start with performances lined up for Hot 97’s Summer Jam and Rolling Loud NYC, he was arrested on July 17 for gun possession and has not yet been released.
Although his trajectory to stardom is being interrupted by this setback, DX still believes that we were right about Sheff G’s Rising Star power.
Check out his recent music video for “Run It Up” featuring A Boogie Wit Da Homie and Sleepy Hallow below.
DX introduced readers to Sleepy Hallow in February as a DX Rising Star candidate, and since then Sleepy has done his part to live up to that.
2021 HipHopDX Rising Star Sleepy Hallow found his way on DX‘s radar when his certified platinum single “Deep End Freestyle” peaked on the Hot 100 at No. 8 and became certified gold in August of 2020. With over 4.4 million monthly Spotify listeners, the RCA signee definitely continues to prove why he is a pivotal piece to the New York-drill sound, and DX definitely made sure to showcase that every time.
Like his WCE right-hand-man Sheff G, Sleepy too started off the Rising Star year slow; kicking things off in April when he dropped his certified gold single “2055” off of his debut album Still Sleep? which peaked at No. 38 on the Billboard 200 chart. Sleepy’s traction picked up when he was recruited to Day N Vegas, Rolling Loud Miami, Rolling Loud NYC, and Hot 97’s Summer Jam.
Apart from joining Sheff G on his latest single “Run It Up,” Sleepy Hallow recently dropped the music video to his TLC sampled single, “Scrub.” Revisit above.
Its only been eight months and 2021 HipHopDX Rising Star Toosii has already superseded year-end expectations.
DX bigged up Toosii early-on as he was having a productive 2020. After releasing his mixtape Platinum Heart, it reached No. 1 on the Billboard Heatseekers Album chart immediately. Charting at such a high position must have been all the ammo Toosii needed because after that, he didn’t let up. Toosii followed up with his debut album Poetic Pain which peaked at number 17 on the Billboard 200 and as Toosii’s traction began, he went on to collaborate with Summer Walker for his 2020 certified platinum single “Love Cycle” and with Lil Durk for “Nightmares.” After signing to Capitol Records in late 2020, Toosii definitely put the right eyes on him for 2021, which made him a HipHopDX Rising Star.
Amidst feuding with fellow rapper DDG this year, which we covered a lot, Toosii has been able to focus on the music. Back in May Toosii released his Thank You For Believing mixtape, with featured Latto (formerly known as Mulatto), DaBaby and Key Glock. The project peaked No. 25 on the Billboard 200 chart thanks to Toosii’s rollout – he even went on to sell out multiple cities on his first headlined tour, which is still in motion for 2021.
Toosii’s Rising Star power has earned him spots on the Rolling Loud Miami, Hot 97 Summer Jam and Day N Vegas line-ups.
Check out Toosii’s latest music video for “Stay (Dearra)” above.
Last but certainly not least, DX is definitely right about 2021 HipHopDX Rising Star Yung Bleu if not right about anyone else, which we know we are.
Yung Bleu has become a powerhouse in 2021 as he has collaborated with some of the biggest names in Hip Hop, as well as had some of the biggest songs out of the bunch – despite him not receiving all of the flowers he deserves.
Last year DX knew Alabama had a lot to offer the wide world of Hip Hop from Grammy-nominated MC Chika to fellow DX Rising Star 2021 Flo Milli, and Yung Bleu became another validation of that. With major co-signs from Louisiana legend Boosie Badazz and “Certified Lover Boy” Drake, Yung Bleu has lived up to the hype of his Rising Star power. Although Bleu is no stranger to the industry, as he’s been on the scene since 2013 when he signed a deal with Columbia Records via Boosie’s Badazz Music Syndicate, he has crept more into the spotlight in 2021 as a Rising Star.
Yung Bleu truly used 2020 to set up his 2021 vision for his career. After already honing a couple of certified gold singles prior to his prime, now eight months into 2021 and he has already gone platinum for his 2020 smash, “You’re Mines Still” featuring Drake – which also hit more than 100 million views on YouTube. Yung Bleu’s uncanny ability to sing and rap has had heavy-hitters like Chris Brown, the late DMX, A Boogie, 2 Chainz and more, want to collaborate with him.
Prior to releasing his debut 2021 album Moon Boy, which peaked at N0. 12 on the Billboard 200 chart, Bleu dropped an infectious single “Baddest” with Chris Brown and 2 Chainz. The single landed the No. 80 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
Yung Bleu recently announced his first headlined tour for Moon Boy, which is happening for the rest of the year, and also just dropped the music video for his single “Way More Close (Stuck In A Box)” featuring Big Sean.
Revisit the visual above.
As DX continues to document the major and minor moves of the 2021 HipHopDX Rising Stars, the talented bunch continues to prove why we were right about them from the very beginning. Stay tuned for the remainder of the year updates, where we’ll crown our 2021 Best New Rapper!