So, who are the top Asian rappers right now?
You’ve probably heard of MC Jin, Kid Trunks, and $tupid Young.
But that’s not the complete list of the biggest names in the Asian rap scene, considering its slow but steady growth since the 1980s.
Find below the 25 best Asian rappers showcasing their lyrical prowess throughout their native continent and America.
1. MC Jin
MC Jin made history as the first Asian-American rapper to sign with a major record label in the US.
Born Jin Au-Yeung, the Miami native embarked on a rapping career immediately after high school, ignoring his college aspirations to focus on music.
He started his career via New York rap battles before getting a breakthrough in 2002 via BET’s 106 & Park program.
Today, MC Jin is one of the most popular figures in the Asian rap scene.
2. $tupid Young
$tupid Young might be one of the most prolific Asian rappers, but the journey to the top hasn’t been easy.
The Cambodian-American rapper has been in and out of prison on several occasions for his involvement with Asian gangs.
$tupid Young’s life is enough proof of getting second chances after discovering his rapping talent while in jail.
His painful life experiences in the streets as a refugee predominantly feature in his songs, delivered as powerful lyrics to capture audiences.
$tupid Young started his music career in 2011 but had to wait six years for his breakthrough, which ultimately came via his “Mando” hit single in 2017.
3. China Mac
China Mac is a reformed gang member who only wants to entertain his fans with good music.
He was born to Chinese immigrants in New York in 1982 and became a Ghost Shadows street gang member at 12.
As a teenager, he participated in several rap battles, ultimately shaping his career.
Mac has been in and out of prison for years before transforming his life through a newly found passion for music.
Today, he’s a reformed rapper and a social activist.
Okasian is akin to an Asian version of 21 Savage, having made a name for himself with the “Walkin (Remix)” and “Get That Money” hit singles.
He contributed to Keith Ape’s rise to stardom after including him in The Cohort rap group.
5. Kid Trunks
Consistency is all you need to make it to the top.
And that’s precisely what Kid Trunks has done throughout a rapping career that began at only 15.
His “IDK” hit went viral, garnering over 15 million YouTube views and putting him among the best Asian rappers of 2018.
He continued with the same high energy in the subsequent years, releasing two more studio albums in 2019 and 2020.
Beenzino is one of the best South Korean rappers.
The Asian rapper first came to the limelight in June 2011 at the Hustle Real Hard Concert.
He has released 3 studio albums as of 2023 and successful collaborations with Beatbox DG and Shimmy Twice.
Beenzino thrives with a melodic rapping style that makes him an easy choice among the best South Korean rappers of the decade.
7. Lexie Liu
Lexie Liu built a solid reputation in the Asian rap scene via The Rap of China and K-Pop Star 5 television competitions before launching a solo career in 2018.
She’s the famous Asian rapper behind “Outta Time,” “Hat Trick,” and “Love and Run” hit singles.
Apart from her beautiful voice, Lexie is also notable for her songwriting prowess, which she showcased in her widely acclaimed 2030 album, released in 2019.
Jonathan Edgar Park, commonly known as Dumbfoundead, is a popular Asian-American rapper noted for his witty lyrics.
Born in Buenos Aires, Park moved to the US with his family when he was 3 years old, settling in Koreatown, California.
Park did different menial jobs before taking his rapping career seriously.
He acquired US citizenship at 19 and has since established himself among the best Asian rappers.
He has released 4 studio albums, 4 EPs, and several singles and collaborations, effectively becoming one of the best Asian-American rappers in 2023.
Awich is one of the top Asian rappers to listen to their music in 2023.
She was born in Okinawa, Japan, and looked up to Tupac Shakur as a young girl.
She started writing songs at 13 before relocating to Atlanta at 19 for greener pastures.
While in Atlanta, the Japanese rapper married an American citizen and had her first child.
Unfortunately, the American husband was imprisoned and later killed after coming out of jail, forcing Awich to return to Japan.
The Asian rapper initially worked with the Yentown hip-hop collective, releasing 2 studio albums before launching her solo career.
The next Asian rapper on the list has Filipino roots and is notable for his successful debut single, “Killamonjaro.”
Killy grew up in Toronto, Canada, before relocating to British Columbia with his family when he was 8.
He’s been one of the shining faces of the Asian rap industry, rising to fame with the “Distance,” “No Romance” and “Anti Everybody” hit singles.
11. Mountain Brothers
Mountain Brothers was among the earliest Asian-American rap groups founded in the 1990s in Pennsylvania.
The group’s lineup comprised Scott Jung (CHOPS), Christopher Wang (Peril-L), and Steve Wei (Styles), who shared an interest in music from their time at the Pennsylvania State University.
The group released 2 widely acclaimed records, Self Vol 1 and Triple Crown, besides enjoying mainstream success with “Paperchase,” “Thoroughbred,” and “Galaxies (The Next Level)” hit singles.
Lee Chae-rin, better known as CL, is one of the best female rappers from South Korea.
She lived in Japan and France before debuting in 2009 as part of the 2NE1 K-Pop girl group.
Lee kicked off her solo career in 2013 with “Hello Botches” and “Lifted” hit singles, slowly finding her way to the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
CL has experimented with several music genres throughout her career, from hip-hop to K-pop, trap, fusion, and reggae, becoming one of the most versatile female Asian rappers.
13. Rich Brian
Rich Brian, born Brian Imanuel Soewarno, is best remembered for his gold-certified hit single, “Dat $tick.”
He released his first studio album, Amen, in 2018, peaking at #18 on the Billboard 200.
He followed it up with a 2nd studio album, The Sailor (2019), and two more EPs in the subsequent years; 1999 and Brightside.
Brian has worked with reputable names in the Asian entertainment industry, including Jae Park, Jackson Wang, and Keith Ape.
Yuki Chiba, popularly known by his Kohh stage name, is a Tokyo-born artist and one of the best Asian rappers in 2023.
The Japanese recording artist has had tough experiences growing up, from his father’s suicide to being raised by a single mother.
Kohh started his career making mix tapes before signing to producer 318’s GUNSMITH PRODUCTION record label.
After tasting fame with the “Young Forever” hit single, the Asian rapper released a studio album, MONOCHROME (2014), to moderate success.
He gained nationwide fame after featuring in rapper Keith Ape’s viral hit song, “It G Ma,” released in 2015.
15. Keith Ape
Keith Ape is the next South Korean rapper on this list, with an impressive decade-long career.
The Asian artist started his career with The Cohort rap crew before breaking onto the scene with his “It G Ma” hit single.
Keith’s discography is perfectly balanced, with 2 EPs, 2 studio albums, and 2 collaborative albums.
16. Spence Lee
Spence Lee is one of the hottest names to keep an eye on in the Asian rap scene.
The Asian-American rapper hails from Somerset, New Jersey, and was previously identified with the Sahota Spence stage name.
He releases good rap songs based on his personal stories and hopes to inspire the masses with his powerful lyrics.
Spence describes himself as “a multidimensional artist,” with many viewing him as a “spiritually conscious lyricist” with all the tools to dominate the Asian rap scene for decades.
Heartbreaka, born Brandon Nambounmy, is an Asian-American rapper raised in Southeast San Diego.
He got mainstream success with his High N Lows debut single.
He’s also remembered for the hit singles “Thing Called Love,” “On The Low,” and “Grow Up.”
Heartbreaka enjoys a strong online presence, with over 180,000 YouTube subscribers and over 42 million total video views on the video-sharing platform.
Milli is one of Thailand’s most popular rappers who graced the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in 2022.
She announced her arrival to the Asian rap scene with a successful debut single, “Phak Khon.”
19. Kid $wami
Kid $wami is an Asian-American rapper who uses the power of imagery to tell his stories.
He started singing at a young age before releasing his first project, 18: The EP, in 2015.
Kid’s most notable songs include “Rich As hell,” “No Days Off,” and “We Belong Together.”
Divine is one of the best Asian rappers right now.
He’s become an inspirational figure in his home country, rising from humble beginnings in the Mumbai slums to etch his name in the history books.
He sings about his tough upbringing in the slums, churning out relatable songs that never fail to grab the locals’ attention.
J-Reyez is a Korean rapper who needs no introduction to ardent hip-hop lovers.
He’s increased his online presence via YouTube, WorldStarHipHop, and MySpace to ensure everybody remembers his name when talking about the best Asian rappers.
His best-known hits include “Story Up,” “Thirsty,” and “Lames,” putting the Ontario native among the best Asian rappers in 2023.
22. Epik High
Epik High was a hip-hop trio from Seoul, South Korea that comprised Mithra Jin, DJ Tukutz, and Tablo.
The group was created in 2001 and debuted with two studio albums (Map of the Human Soul and High Society) to moderate success.
The trio got their breakthrough in the mid and late 2000s with 3 more studio albums, including Swan Songs (2005), Remapping the Human Soul (2007, and Pieces, Part One (2008).
Epik High’s best hit singles include “Paris,” “Love Love Love,” and “Fly,” putting them among the best Asian hip-hop groups of the decade.
Allan Pineda Lindo, commonly known as Apl.de.ap, founded the American musical group Black Eyed Peas.
He was born in Angeles City, Philippines, to an African American father and a Filipino mother.
He fell in love with America when he came for an eye treatment and was finally adopted by his sponsor, Joe Ben Hudgens, 3 years later.
Allan was inspired to start his music collective by several musical icons and bands, such as Stevie Wonder, De La Soul, and The Beatles.
Today, he’s regarded as a legendary Asian rapper who’s had success with hip-hop, hip-house, electro, and alternative hip-hop music.
Ramengvrl is easily one of the hottest female rappers in Asia right now.
The Jakarta-born artist developed a strong interest in hip-hop music in high school after learning of rapper Kanye West from her ex-boyfriend.
With another Asian rapper in Rich Brian already building a solid foundation, the duo might be the perfect combination to put the Indonesian map on the global stage.
Awkwafina is another prolific female rapper worth listening to her songs in 2023.
She’s recently branched out to acting after gaining mainstream success with the “My Vag” hit single in 2012.
Best Asian Rappers – Final Thoughts
The Asian rap scene has been massively underrepresented for decades.
But thanks to technology, that’s quickly changing, with the rise of prolific rappers with Asian roots.
We’ve highlighted the 25 best Asian rappers worth checking out in 2023.
And we hope you’ll have some fun listening to their songs.
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