After compiling ample data and research on the artists that we felt created an incredible presence in 2018 in the hip-hop underground, we compared all of the available stats to effectively rank our top 9 rappers of the year. The numbers on all of these artists are interesting as they show that there are so many different ways to get your name out there in the industry.
Social media followers, and more importantly engagements, Sound Cloud plays and interactions, Spotify streams and YouTube views are just a few of the most relevant stats that we used for this list. We created a variable that compares the streams amassed on a song when compared to the total potential that an artist has based on their followers and total songs released. To get the most unbiased answer to whose fanbase shows the most love and listens to their favorite rappers music, we broke down the stats and developed a “maximum potential” that any one rapper could theoretically attain. By comparing that to the total number of streams that are actually amassed, we can determine the percentage of listeners per “fans” on Sound Cloud.
9) PLUTO – Lil Turbo – Coming in our ninth spot is a titan from North Carolina, rapper and producer Lil Turbo. Clawing his way through the underground, his social media is what mainly drives his popularity. Laying a great foundation throughout the year as he released a fairly steady stream of music on his Sound Cloud, he was even able to put several projects and singles on streaming platforms. His solid foundation will be a key factor fir Turbo as he moves into the new year and we are excited to see what he has up his sleeve.
8) NEPTUNE – Surf – Starting out our list for the Grooverelly Planets of the Great is Atlanta-based rapper Surf. Putting out two full-length projects this year, Every Blue Moon and Bad Human, along with several singles and features, his 2018 was very successful. Averaging around 20,000 monthly listeners on Spotify, with 25,934 for this month, his total streams for Spotify came out to 540,000 for the year. Surf has a style of music that can reach a wide fanbase easily and he creates a timeless vibe. There is no doubt that he has some moves planned for the new year and I am excited to see what he is able to accomplish after an incredible 2018.
7) URANUS – Vision4k – Coming in our eighth spot is an underground rapper with a great cult following, Vision4k. While some of his stats seeming underwhelming when compared with his peers on this list, what stands out most with Vision4k is that his fan base really puts on and shows love for his music. With a “SoundClout” variable of 47%, the number show that his fans are for real. Using Sound Cloud as his main source of streams, his other social media posts are spread out but still maintain steady attention and interaction among his fans.
6) SATURN – Lil Xelly – Securing the sixth spot is the Maryland powerhouse Lil Xelly. His 2018 was characterized by incredible growth and a constant stream of new music. According to his Sound Cloud he released over 180 songs this year. Far outworking his peers in terms of music released, he has definitely got his exposure right this year. It seems as though you can’t really scroll through your timeline without seeing a new project from Xelly. His Instagram growth has come largely via comment-based posts that spread his profile immensely. No one can doubt the work that he puts in, however when you release so much music, the “total potential” becomes enormous which causes his “Sound Clout” score to be at a very low 7%. With that being said, releasing crazy content seems to be his thing; however, his streams could increase and grow towards the full potential if his yearly content was lowered.
5) JUPITER – BBYGOYARD – There are so many greats coming out of North Carolina, but it’s Charlotte-based rapper BBY GOYARD that locked his fifth spot on our list. Releasing an incredible slew of singles over the past year, his constant releases keep his fans happy and allow him to reach a larger audience as most of his releases receive underground blog coverage. His stand out single run shannon run (prod. tyson x gosuto), which racked up an impressive 348,000 plays on Sound Cloud, along with the plethora of singles that flooded our timelines, secured his spot as a major influence on the underground in 2018.
4) MARS – BigBabyGucci – Releasing an entire project with super producer Bobby Johnson, releasing several music videos over the year, and further pushing his craft and music to the underground, BigBabyGucci has certainly solidified his spot. The first instillment in his Universe series, Gucci’s Universe, is 9 tracks that all display his versatility as an artist. The 10 Minutes to Live EP, produced by Bobby Johnson, was also very well received and did numbers on Sound Cloud and streaming platforms as well. His very strong social media presence and equally strong streaming numbers landed BigBabyGucci 4th on our list for 2018, and I am very excited to see what he plans on doing in 2019 (already releasing Universe 2 a few days ago).
3) EARTH – Nick Prosper – While Nick Prosper’s social media might not reflect someone that would be in the top three on our list, his plays which are weighted more heavily in our calculations, are no joke. Racking up 102,000 monthly listeners according to Spotify, he far outperforms everyone else on this list. Fresh off the release of his latest EP, Feel Free, he had released several other singles that all got big streams on both Streaming Platforms and Sound Cloud as well. With a handful of music videos and other features that released this year, he is certainly progressing in the right direction and his New Year is sure to be a big one as he plans on releasing a music video for every song from Feel Free.
Photo via queenbobbypin
2) VENUS – Big Baby Scumbag – Coming in 2nd on our list is Big Baby Scumbag as his YouTube presence is definitely his strongest asset. Getting his brand and face out to the masses as several of his videos surpassed 200,000 views, his music is wide reaching and hard hitting. His southern heritage is put on full display in all of his visuals and he has essentially solidified that style of wearing NASCAR gear while dripped in gold. With standout track Dale Earnhardt, he racked up big views on both streaming platforms as well as YouTube where the music video earned close to 300k views and 306k streams on Spotify alone.
1) MERCURY – 10cellphones – Putting everything together across the board was underground titan 10cellphones. His social media presence and love for guns are well know to most (soon to be all) and his music already is reaching the masses. Releasing several projects this year including Every MAN for Himself and 0010, along with a steady stream of YouTube videos and singles. He utilized larger internet presences like Elevator and No Jumper to release his music videos, allowing him to reach huge audiences with his videos averaging 48,800 views per video released. Putting all the pieces together is a crucial part to success in this industry. Based on the numbers, 10cellphones has really found a great combination that is obviously working for him. We are excited to see what he has in store for us in 2019.