Memphis, Tennessee, has a rich history in the music industry, particularly in the rap genre.
With its distinct sound and style, Memphis rap has gained a significant following and has produced many talented and influential rappers.
From genre pioneers like Three 6 Mafia to rising stars like NLE Choppa, Memphis has continuously produced artists who have left their mark on the rap scene.
This article explores the 30 best Memphis rappers of all time, showcasing the artists who helped put the city on the map and left a lasting impact on the genre.
So, whether you’re a die-hard fan of Memphis rap or simply looking to expand your knowledge of the genre, this list will provide an insightful read.
1. Three 6 Mafia
Three 6 Mafia is a hip-hop group that has been a pioneering force in the Southern rap scene since its formation in 1991.
The group’s original members were DJ Paul, Juicy J, and Lord Infamous, and they were known for their dark, menacing beats, explicit lyrics, and horrorcore themes.
They quickly gained a cult following in Memphis, but it wasn’t until their fourth studio album, When the Smoke Clears: Sixty 6, Sixty 1, that they achieved mainstream success with hits like “Sippin’ on Some Syrup” and “Who Run It.”
In 2006, Three 6 Mafia won an Academy Award for Best Original Song for “It’s Hard out Here for a Pimp” from the film “Hustle & Flow,” becoming the first rap group to win the prestigious award.
2. Moneybagg Yo
Moneybagg Yo is a rapper and songwriter known for his gritty street tales and catchy hooks.
Born Demario DeWayne White Jr., Moneybagg Yo began his music career in 2012, releasing a series of mixtapes that gained him a local following.
In 2016, he signed with Yo Gotti’s record label, CMG, and released his breakthrough mixtape, Federal 3X, which debuted at number 5 on the Billboard 200 chart.
Moneybagg Yo has since become one of the most popular and successful rappers from Memphis, releasing a string of successful albums, including Time Served and A Gangsta’s Pain, debuting at number 1 on the Billboard 200 chart.
His music often touches on themes of survival and struggle in the streets, and he has collaborated with several other prominent rappers, including Lil Durk, Polo G, and J. Cole.
3. Young Dolph
Young Dolph is a rapper and entrepreneur known for his hard-hitting trap beats and streetwise lyrics.
Born Adolph Thornton Jr., he began his music career in the early 2000s, releasing a series of mixtapes and collaborating with other Memphis-based rappers like Juicy J and Project Pat.
It wasn’t until 2016, however, that Young Dolph achieved mainstream success with his album King of Memphis, which included the hit single “Get Paid.”
He has since released several successful albums, including Bulletproof, Role Model, and Rich Slave, which all debuted in the top 5 of the Billboard 200 chart.
Young Dolph’s music often explores themes of street life, hustling, and the pursuit of wealth, but he has also been known to address social and political issues affecting the Black community.
4. Juicy J
Juicy J, born Jordan Michael Houston, began his music career as a founding member of the group Three 6 Mafia in the early 1990s.
He produces their signature dark, bass-heavy beats, delivering raw, explicit lyrics often centered around drugs, violence, and street life.
In addition to his work with Three 6 Mafia, Juicy J has also released several solo albums, including Chronicles of the Juice Man, Hustle Till I Die, and Stay Trippy, which featured collaborations with artists like Lil Wayne, Wiz Khalifa, and Justin Timberlake.
He has also been involved in producing and songwriting for other artists, including Katy Perry, Nicki Minaj, and A$AP Rocky.
5. Key Glock
Key Glock gained popularity for his hard-hitting trap style and collaborations with fellow Memphis rapper Young Dolph.
Key Glock’s music career began in 2017 with the release of his debut mixtape, “Glock Season.”
He followed this up with a string of successful mixtapes, including “Glock Bond,” “Glockoma,” and “Yellow Tape.”
His 2020 album Son of a Gun peaked at number 37 on the US Billboard 200 chart and featured guest appearances from Lil Baby, Young Dolph, and fellow Memphis rapper Tay Keith.
Key Glock’s lyrics often focus on his experiences growing up in Memphis, and his rhymes are known for their gritty, streetwise realism.
He has become known for his distinctive drawl and punchy delivery, and his music has gained a dedicated following among fans of Southern hip-hop.
6. Gangsta Blac
Gangsta Blac (born Cedric Coleman) was a member of the Three 6 Mafia’s Hypnotize Camp Posse and released several solo albums throughout the 1990s and 2000s.
Gangsta Blac started his music career in the early 1990s, releasing his debut album Breakin Da Law in 1993.
He gained recognition in the Memphis rap scene for his gritty and street-oriented lyrics, often depicting the realities of gang life and violence.
Throughout his career, Gangsta Blac released several albums, including Can It Be? (1995), 74 Minutes of Bump (1998), and I Am Da Gangsta (2001).
He collaborated with other Memphis rappers like DJ Paul, Juicy J, and Project Pat.
7. Koopsta Knicca
Koopsta Knicca was a rapper and songwriter member of the Memphis-based hip-hop group Three 6 Mafia.
Koopsta Knicca joined Three 6 Mafia in the mid-1990s and appeared on many of the group’s early albums, including Mystic Stylez and Chapter 1: The End.
He was known for his distinctively deep voice and horrorcore-influenced lyrics.
In addition to his work with Three 6 Mafia, Koopsta Knicca also released several solo albums, including Da Devil’s Playground: Underground Solo and Da K Project.
He continued to make music throughout the 2000s and 2010s, both as a solo artist and as a member of Three 6 Mafia.
8. Gangsta Boo
Gangsta Boo is best known as the first female Memphis-based hip-hop group Three 6 Mafia member.
Gangsta Boo was a part of Three 6 Mafia from 1991 until 2000 when the group released several successful albums and gained national recognition.
In addition to her work with Three 6 Mafia, Gangsta Boo has released several solo albums and collaborated with other artists in the hip-hop and rap genres.
She is known for her aggressive and confrontational style, and her lyrics often address issues related to gender, race, and social inequality.
9. Gangsta Pat
Gangsta Pat, born Patrick Hall, is considered one of the pioneers of the Memphis rap scene, which emerged in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
Gangsta Pat released his debut album, All About Comin’ Up, in 1991, which featured the hit single “I’m tha Gangsta.”
He released several more albums throughout the 1990s, including Deadly Verses and Homicidal Lifestyle, which helped establish him as a significant figure in Southern rap.
Gangsta Pat’s music often addresses themes of violence, crime, and street life, and he is known for his aggressive and confrontational style.
He has influenced many Southern rappers, including Three 6 Mafia and Eightball & MJG.
10. Kingpin Skinny Pimp
Kingpin Skinny Pimp is known for his contributions to the southern rap scene in the 1990s and early 2000s, mainly through his work with fellow Memphis rapper, Three 6 Mafia.
Kingpin Skinny Pimp began his career in the early 1990s, releasing his debut album, King of Da Playaz Ball, in 1996.
He released several more albums, including Skinny But Dangerous, Still Pimpin’, and Back to Tha Playaz Ball, featuring collaborations with other southern rap artists such as Juicy J and Project Pat.
In addition to his work as a rapper, Kingpin Skinny Pimp has also been involved in music production, with production credits on albums by other artists such as Gangsta Blac and Lil Gin.
He continues to perform and release music to this day and is recognized as an essential figure in the history of Southern rap.
11. Project Pat
Project Pat is the older brother of fellow rapper Juicy J, and they both founded the rap group Three 6 Mafia together.
Project Pat first gained national recognition with his appearance on Three 6 Mafia’s hit single “Sippin’ on Some Syrup” in 2000.
He released his solo debut album Ghetty Green the same year, which was well-received by critics and helped establish him as a prominent figure in Southern hip-hop.
Over the years, Project Pat has released several successful albums and collaborated with various artists, including Nelly, Young Jeezy, and Akon.
He is known for his gritty, street-oriented lyrics and ability to infuse humor and personality into his music.
Some of Project Pat’s most popular songs include “Chickenhead,” “Don’t Save Her,” and “Raised in the Projects.”
12. Yo Gotti
Yo Gotti founded the record label Collective Music Group (CMG) and has released several successful albums throughout his career.
Yo Gotti first gained national attention with his hit single “5 Star” in 2009 and has since released several successful albums and mixtapes, including Live from the Kitchen, I Am, and The Art of Hustle.
He is known for his gritty, street-oriented lyrics and his ability to capture the realities of life in Memphis and other urban areas.
In addition to his music career, Yo Gotti is an entrepreneur and has invested in various businesses, including real estate, fashion, and tech startups.
Some of Yo Gotti’s most popular songs include “Rake It Up,” “Down in the DM,” and “Act Right.”
13. Pooh Shiesty
Pooh Shiesty’s real name is Lontrell Denell Williams Jr., born November 8, 1999.
He gained popularity in 2020 with his hit single “Back In Blood” featuring Lil Durk.
Pooh Shiesty began making music young and was influenced by Memphis rappers like Three 6 Mafia and Yo Gotti.
He signed with Gucci Mane’s 1017 Records in 2020 and released his debut mixtape, Shiesty Season, in February 2021.
The mixtape features collaborations with rappers such as Lil Durk, 21 Savage, and BIG30.
Pooh Shiesty’s music often features lyrics about his experiences growing up in Memphis and the struggles he faced in his life.
He is known for his aggressive flow and hard-hitting beats.
14. NLE Choppa
NLE Choppa gained popularity in 2019 with his breakout single “Shotta Flow,” which went viral on social media.
He started posting his music on social media and gained a following on platforms like Instagram and YouTube.
In 2018, he signed a record deal with Warner Records.
In addition to “Shotta Flow,” NLE Choppa has released other successful singles like “Camelot” and “Walk Em Down” featuring Roddy Ricch.
His music often features aggressive lyrics and high-energy beats.
He has cited his experiences growing up in Memphis as a significant influence on his music.
MJG (born Marlon Jermaine Goodwin) is an American rapper and record producer, best known as one-half of the hip-hop duo 8Ball & MJG.
He is also known for his laid-back flow and streetwise lyrics.
He has released several solo albums, including Pimp Tight and This Might Be the Day.
MJG is widely regarded as one of the most influential rappers from the southern United States and has been credited with helping to popularize the “Dirty South” sound in hip-hop.
16. Young Buck
Young Buck, whose real name is David Darnell Brown, is an American rapper, actor, and entrepreneur.
Young Buck first gained national attention as a member of the hip-hop group G-Unit, founded by 50 Cent in 2003.
He released his debut album, Straight Outta Cashville, in 2004, which was a commercial success, reaching number 3 on the Billboard 200 chart.
Over the years, Young Buck has released several other albums, including Buck the World (2007), The Rehab (2010), and 10 Toes Down (2017).
He has also collaborated with notable artists, such as T.I., Ludacris, and Snoop Dogg.
17. Chris Travis
Chris Travis was born in 1994 in Memphis, Tennessee, and died in 2020 at 25.
Chris Travis was known for his unique rap style, which combined trap music and horrorcore music elements.
He gained a significant following on social media platforms, particularly SoundCloud, where he uploaded his music.
Chris Travis released several mixtapes and albums throughout his career, including The Class of 2013 (2013), Art of Destruction (2014), and WaterSZN (2017).
He also collaborated with other notable artists like Xavier Wulf and Bones.
Despite his relatively short career, Chris Travis left a lasting impact on the underground rap scene and inspired many young artists with his innovative sound and work ethic.
18. Tommy Wright III
Tommy Wright III, also known as “The 1 Man Gang” or “T-Dub”, is an American rapper and producer.
He was active in the underground rap scene during the 1990s and is considered one of the pioneers of the Memphis rap style.
Tommy Wright III’s music is characterized by his gritty, aggressive flow, heavy use of samples and drum machines, and dark, often violent lyrics that reflect the harsh realities of life in Memphis’s inner city.
He has released numerous albums and mixtapes, including Runnin-N-Gunnin, On the Run, Ashes 2 Ashes, and Dust 2 Dust.
Despite his relatively low profile in the mainstream music industry, Tommy Wright III has had a significant impact on the development of Southern rap and has influenced many artists who have followed in his footsteps.
19. Don Trip
Don Trip first gained attention in the rap world with his debut mixtape, “Guerrilla,” released in 2010.
Since then, he has released several successful projects, including “Help Is On The Way” and “Godspeed.”
Don Trip’s music often deals with personal struggles and the harsh realities of life in inner-city Memphis.
He is known for his introspective lyrics and ability to convey raw emotions through his music.
His style is characterized by his gritty delivery, honest storytelling, and intricate wordplay.
In addition to his solo work, Don Trip has collaborated with notable rappers such as Yo Gotti, Juicy J, and Starlito.
He has also been recognized for his songwriting abilities, having written for artists such as Wale, Snoop Dogg, and Meek Mill.
20. Xavier Wulf
Xavier Wulf, also known as Ethelwulf, started his music career as a hip-hop collective Raider Klan member.
He later gained popularity as a solo artist with his unique blending of horrorcore, trap, and punk rock elements.
Wulf’s music often revolves around themes of individuality, perseverance, and the struggles of growing up in a harsh environment.
He has released several mixtapes and albums, including Blood Shore Season One, Tundra Boy Season One, and East Memphis Maniac.
Eightball, whose real name is Premro Vonzellaire Smith, is best known for being one-half of the hip-hop duo Eightball & MJG, which was formed in 1984.
Eightball & MJG rose to fame in the 1990s with their unique Southern hip-hop style and have been recognized as genre pioneers.
Eightball has also released solo albums, including Lost (1998), Almost Famous (2001), and Life’s Quest (2012).
Eightball has been praised for his storytelling ability and honest and introspective lyrics.
He has also been noted for his distinctive voice and smooth flow.
22. BlocBoy JB
BlocBoy JB first gained widespread recognition with his hit single “Look Alive” featuring Drake, which peaked at number five on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart in 2018.
He has released several mixtapes, including “Who Am I” (2016), “The Purple M&M” (2017), and “Simi” (2018).
BlocBoy JB has faced legal troubles throughout his career, including drug possession and weapons charges.
Despite these setbacks, he has continued to release music and remain active in the hip-hop community.
He has collaborated with many other artists, such as Lil Pump, 21 Savage, and YG.
23. DJ Paul
DJ Paul is the stage name of Paul Duane Beauregard, an American rapper, record producer, and DJ from Memphis, Tennessee.
He is best known for being a founding member of the hip-hop group Three 6 Mafia.
DJ Paul started his career in the mid-1990s with the formation of Three 6 Mafia along with Juicy J and Lord Infamous.
As a solo artist, DJ Paul has released several albums, including Scale-A-Ton and A Person of Interest.
He has also produced music for other artists, including Young Buck, Lil Wyte, and Crunchy Black.
24. 8Ball & MJG
8Ball & MJG is a hip-hop duo consisting of rappers 8Ball and MJG.
The duo is known for its smooth, laid-back flow and blend of Southern hip-hop and soulful R&B.
8Ball & MJG first gained attention in the early 1990s with their debut album Comin’ Out Hard on the Suave House label.
The album featured the hit single “Space Age Pimpin'” and helped establish the duo as a force in Southern hip-hop.
They released several more albums throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, including On Top of the World and Living Legends, which featured collaborations with artists like Outkast, T.I., and Ludacris.
25. Blac Youngsta
Blac Youngsta’s real name is Sammie Marquez Benson.
He first gained popularity with his mixtapes and singles, including “Heavy,” “Beat It,” and “CMG.” He was signed to Yo Gotti’s record label, Collective Music Group (CMG), in 2015.
Blac Youngsta released his debut studio album, 223, in 2018.
The album features collaborations with Travis Scott, Lil Yachty, and French Montana, among others.
His second album, Church on Sunday, was released in 2019 and featured collaborations with DaBaby, Tory Lanez, and Moneybagg Yo, among others.
Blac Youngsta is known for his energetic and charismatic performances, and his music often features themes of street life, struggle, and triumph.
26. Lord Infamous
Lord Infamous, whose real name is Ricky Dunigan, was a rapper and a founding member of the hip-hop group Three 6 Mafia.
Lord Infamous was known for his dark and often violent lyrics, and he played a significant role in shaping the horrorcore subgenre of hip-hop.
Lord Infamous began his music career in the early 1990s alongside his half-brother DJ Paul and their friend Juicy J.
Together, they formed Three 6 Mafia and released their debut album Mystic Stylez in 1995.
In addition to his work with Three 6 Mafia, Lord Infamous also released several solo albums and collaborated with other artists, including Bone Thugs-n-Harmony and Insane Clown Posse.
27. Playa Fly
Playa Fly started rapping at a young age and gained popularity in the mid-1990s with his album Movin’ On, released in 1996.
His style is known for its gritty, street-oriented lyrics that often touch on violence, drugs, and poverty themes.
Playa Fly has released several albums throughout his career, including Just Gettin’ It On (1997), Fly2K (1999), Da Game Owe Me (2000), and Family Business (2003).
He has collaborated with other Memphis rappers, such as Three 6 Mafia, Gangsta Blac, and Tommy Wright III.
28. Al Kapone
Al Kapone is the stage name of American rapper and songwriter, born Alphonzo Bailey.
He is best known for his contributions to the Memphis rap scene and his appearances on the soundtrack of the movie “Hustle & Flow.”
Al Kapone began his career in the early 1990s, releasing his first album, Sinista Funk, in 1994.
He gained national attention in 1995 with his appearance on the Three 6 Mafia album Mystic Stylez.
Since then, he has released several solo albums and has collaborated with various artists.
29. Drumma Boy
Drumma Boy, whose real name is Christopher James Gholson, is a rapper, songwriter, and record producer.
Drumma Boy’s production style is characterized by his use of live instrumentation and heavy bass, often incorporating elements of southern hip-hop and R&B.
Drumma Boy has produced for artists, including T.I., Kanye West, Lil Wayne, Young Jeezy, and Gucci Mane.
He also released several solo projects, including his debut album, The Birth of D-Boy Fresh, in 2009 and My Brother’s Keeper in 2020.
30. Jucee Froot
Jucee Froot’s music is characterized by her gritty lyrics and high-energy delivery, often drawing on her experiences growing up in Memphis.
Jucee Froot gained popularity with her mixtape “Black Sheep” in 2018 and has since released several other projects, including 1997 and Black Sheep 2.
She is known for her distinctive style and often incorporates bold, colorful looks into her music videos and performances.
She has collaborated with artists such as Rico Nasty, G Herbo, and Yung Baby Tate.
Best Memphis Rappers of All Time – Final Thoughts
Memphis is a pool of talent in rap music, and the list of the 30 best Memphis rappers of all time reflects the city’s rich musical heritage.
Each of the artists on this list has contributed uniquely to the development of Memphis rap, whether through their lyrical prowess, distinctive sound, or innovative style.
They have represented Memphis and helped put the city on the map as a hip-hop powerhouse.
As the rap scene in Memphis continues to evolve, it’s exciting to think about the new artists who will emerge and carry on the legacy of the city’s rap pioneers.
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