The Top 10 Best Memphis Rappers of All Time. Ranked

by Raheem Karim
Memphis Rappers

Memphis has played a significant role in the history of hip-hop. In the 1990s, the city began to emerge as a prominent hub for rap music, with artists like Three 6 Mafia, 8Ball & MJG, and Project Pat gaining national attention. The music coming out of Memphis at the time had a gritty, underground sound that was raw and unfiltered. It reflected the realities of life in the city, with lyrics that touched on topics like crime, poverty, and the hustle to make it out.

Memphis rap also drew inspiration from the city’s rich musical heritage, incorporating elements of blues, soul, and funk into the sound. The city’s distinctive sound, often referred to as “grit and grind,” became synonymous with Memphis rap and helped to shape the genre as a whole.

Today, Memphis continues to produce talented rappers who are pushing the boundaries of the genre. Artists like Moneybagg Yo and Key Glock have brought a fresh energy to the scene, while still paying homage to the city’s rich musical history. The future of Memphis rap looks bright, with new trends and innovations on the horizon. As the city’s music scene continues to evolve,  Music Life Social has ranked the top 10 rappers from Memphis that left an indelible mark on the hip-hop world so far.

10. Gangsta Boo

Gangsta Boo is the undisputed queen of rap in Memphis.  For over two decades, she has been dominating the rap scene with her hard-hitting rhymes and powerful beats.  Gangsta Boo’s journey to fame began in the early 90s when she joined the rap group Three 6 Mafia.  Her raw talent and unique style quickly gained attention, and she became known for her fierce delivery and fearless attitude.  She released several solo albums, including the critically acclaimed Enquiring Minds and Both Worlds *69.

9. Blac Youngsta

Blac Youngsta first gained attention with his mixtapes as part of his Fast Bricks series, which showcased his unique flow and captivating storytelling abilities.  His breakout song “Heavy” was released in 2015, and gained the attention of Yo Gotti, who appeared on the song’s remix and signed Blac Youngsta to his Collective Music Group label.  He became best known for the 2017 single “Hip Hopper” (featuring Lil Yachty) and the 2018 single “Booty”, with the latter peaking at number 73 on the Billboard Hot 100.  Both songs appear on his debut studio album 223 (2019), which peaked at number 42 on the Billboard 200.

8.  Lord Infamous

Lord Infamous, was a key member of the renowned rap group Three 6 Mafia, helping lay the foundation of Southern Hip Hop in the Memphis region in the early 90s’

After his departure of Three 6 Mafia due to legal issues that led to a breach of contract with Sony, it opened the door for a new chapter of his career.  Lord Infamous established a new record company called Black Rain Entertainment. This venture allowed Lord Infamous to continue creating music on his own terms, free from the constraints of major labels.

Under Black Rain Entertainment, Lord Infamous released several solo albums, including The Man, The Myth, The Legacy (2007), Futuristic Rowdy Bounty Hunter (2010), Scarecrow Tha Terrible (2011), Legendary Hits (2012), King Of Horrorcore (2012), and Back From Tha Dead (Deadly Proverbs) (2012).  He became one of the most influential rappers in the horrorcore subgenre before his unexpected death in 2013.

7. Moneybagg Yo

Moneybagg Yo is waving right now as one of the hottest rappers in the game right now. With his unique style and captivating lyrics, he has quickly risen to the top of the charts and gained a massive following. Moneybagg Yo’s music is a perfect blend of trap beats, catchy hooks, and honest storytelling. Whether he’s rapping about his struggles  growing up or flexing his wealth and success, Moneybagg Yo always delivers with an unmatched energy and charisma.

He has garnered attention collaborating with high-profile artists like Megan Thee Stallion, Lil Baby, Young Thug, Future, Young Dolph, Pooh Shiesty, Tyga, and more.  His career highlights thus far have been a few critically acclaimed albums and mixtapes, including Federal 3X (2017) and 2 Heartless (2018), both of which debuted in the top 20 of the Billboard 200 chart at No. 5 and No. 16 respectively.[6] His third album, Time Served, which was released in January 2020, debuted at number 3 on the Billboard 200, while his fourth album, A Gangsta’s Pain, became his first chart-topping project upon its release in April 2021.

6. Yo Gotti

Not only has Yo Gotti found success as an artist, but also as businessman through his label, Collective Music Group.  He helped launch the careers of  Blac Youngsta, GloRilla, 42 Dugg, EST Gee, Mozzy, and others.

Yo Gotti’s rise to fame can be traced back to the early 2000s when he released his first major-label album, “Life.” This album showcased his raw talent and storytelling abilities, earning him critical acclaim and a loyal fan base. His subsequent albums, such as “Back 2 da Basics” and “I Am,” further solidified his status as a rap superstar. In June 2017, Gotti released a collaborative mixtape with record producer Mike Will Made It, titled Gotti Made-It. The mixtape’s lead single, “Rake It Up” featuring Nicki Minaj, peaked at number 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 and became his highest charting single in the country.[24] “Rake It Up” was later included on his ninth album I Still Am (2017). Gotti’s tenth album, Untrapped, was released in January 2020 and became his fourth consecutive top-ten debut on the Billboard 200.

5. Young Dolph

Hard worker, determined, hustler are all words to describe Young Dolph before his tragic murder in 2021.  Dolph march to the beat of his own drum as one of the top Memphis rappers in the game as independent artist.  He launched  Paper Route Empire in 2010.  He released his debut studio album, King of Memphis, which peaked at number 49 on the Billboard 200 chart. He was featured on O.T. Genasis’s hit single “Cut It”, which peaked at number 35 on the Billboard Hot 100. Young Dolph’s fifth album, Rich Slave, was released in 2020 and became his highest-charting project, debuting at number four on the Billboard 200. Dolph was known in the Memphis area for his philanthropy, donating $25,000 to his alma mater, Hamilton High School, and providing motivational speeches to students.  During the holidays he handed out Thanksgiving dinners.

4. 8Ball

As one half of the iconic rap duo 8Ball & MJG he has left an indelible mark on the world of hip-hop. He is one of the most iconic pioneers of Memphis Hip Hop and Southern rap.  With his unique style and captivating lyrics, he has gained a massive following and continues to inspire generations of music lovers. Rapper 8Ball is renowned for his Southern drawl and distinctive voice that effortlessly glides over the beats. His ability to tell stories and paint vivid pictures with his words is truly unmatched.  The Duo’s classic album On Top of the World peaked at #8 on the Billboard 200 and being certified gold. It also contained the timeless track “Space Age Pimpin.” Their other masterpiece, Living Legends, came out in 2004 under the Bad Boy imprint and was certified gold.

3. Juicy J

Juicy J is the definition of Memphis hip hop.  His influence on the region and southern hip hop overall is enormous.    As a member of the iconic group Three 6 Mafia, he helped bring the gritty sounds of Memphis to the mainstream. Their dark and aggressive style not only paved the way for future Southern rap acts, but also challenged the conventions of what hip hop could be.  The group won an Academy Award for Best Original Song for their single “It’s Hard out Here for a Pimp”. Juicy has also appealed to a new generation with notable singles as a soloist are his features on the Top 40 singles: Mike Will Made It’s “23”, Usher’s “I Don’t Mind” and his own single “Bandz a Make Her Dance” (featuring Lil Wayne and 2 Chainz). Juicy J’s lyrical prowess and larger-than-life persona made him a force to be reckoned with, and his impact can still be felt today.

2. Project Pat

Project Pat is the Memphis underground king of hip hop. His songs often depict the harsh realities of life in the streets, offering a raw and authentic perspective that resonates with listeners.  Additionally, Project Pat’s unique Southern sound has played a crucial role in shaping the hip hop landscape. His use of heavy basslines, catchy hooks, and distinct vocal delivery has become a signature style within the genre.  He became an affiliated member of Juicy and Paul’s group Three 6 Mafia, and first gained mainstream attention when he provided the hook for the group’s hit single “Sippin’ on Some Syrup” in 2000.   Project Pat’s second studio album Mista Don’t Play: Everythangs Workin contained the singles “Chickenhead” and “Don’t Save Her” gained national radio airplay.  He was mostly recently featured on the single “Knife Talk” on Drake’s album Certified Lover Boy.

1. MJG

As one half of the renowned rap duo 8Ball & MJG, he has contributed to some of the most iconic tracks in Memphis Hip Hop history. The duo’s collaborations have become anthems for the genre, showcasing their chemistry and lyrical prowess. MJG’s distinct flow and delivery have set him apart from his peers, solidifying his status as one of the most respected artists in the industry. MJG’s impact on Memphis Hip Hop extends beyond his music. He has played a significant role in mentoring and supporting aspiring artists in the local community. Through his entrepreneurial ventures and dedication to giving back, he has helped pave the way for future generations of Memphis hip hop artists.

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