Atlanta is known for being home to countless famous rappers. Whether it’s the city’s vibrant energy that inspires them to make music or something else, here are the best Atlanta rappers that have left their mark on the music industry.
The rapper 21 Savage moved from London to Atlanta at seven years old and has been based in the city since. The artist did not grow up with an easy life in the ATL, resorting to dealing drugs at a young age. He faced arrest multiple times and later lost his best friend to gunfire in a violent gang fight.
The rapper overcame his obstacles by using his pain as an inspiration to release his first mixtapes in 2015. In 2020, he won the “Best Rap Song” Grammy for his hit single “A Lot.”
Future is an American rapper known for his unique style of mumble rapping. He is known for implementing auto-tune and fluid melodies in trap music. The artist received his first Grammy for “Best Rap Performance” in 2019, but before performing on the biggest stages in the world, he had humble beginnings in Atlanta.
The notorious Atlanta-based producer Rico Wade encouraged Future to become a professional rapper. Future sharpened his writing skills, and his career took off within a few years of Wade’s encouragement, taking him to the top of the modern rap scene.
Gucci Mane is not only a rapper and record producer, but he is also a pioneer of modern trap music. He comes from a military family, so he spent much time moving around to different cities as a child. He finally settled with his single mother in Atlanta at nine and began pursuing music at age 14.
His career started to take off in 2001, and he won his first Grammy award in 2020 for “Best R&B Performance.” He works as a record executive on top of releasing his music.
Quavo, Takeoff, and Offset are the three rappers that make up the rap group Migos. Offset is Quavo’s cousin, and Takeoff is his nephew. The three relatives grew up together in the suburbs of North Atlanta, and their career has taken them to international heights.
They have come a long way since their 2013 breakout single “Versace,” winning Grammys for “Best Rap Album” and “Best Rap Performance” in 2018. Unfortunately, Takeoff passed away in November 2022 when a man shot him in a Houston Bowling Alley.
Kanye West, one of the most well-known voices in modern rap music and, oddly enough, politics, was born in Atlanta. He has received nominations and wins for several music awards, becoming one of the top Grammy winners in history, with 24 wins.
He has a tie with Jay-Z as the most highly-decorated hip-hop artist in history. Some of his biggest hit singles include “Black Skinhead,” “Gold Digger,” “Love Lockdown,” and “Stronger.” His most famous album is My Beautiful Dark Twisted Family from 2010.
Lil Yachty is an Atlanta-born hip-hop artist known for his breakthrough singles “One Night” and “Minnesota.” He has released four studio albums, each demonstrating his signature style, “bubblegum trap.” He enjoys sampling fun and widely-known tunes like the start-up sound of his GameCube, the Rugrats theme song, and noises from the Mario Bros games.
His success in the entertainment industry extends to film, as well. He voices Green Lantern in Teen Titans Go! To The Movies and plays Roger Silas in How High 2.
Lil Baby was born in Oakland City, a neighborhood in the ATL. He attended Booker T. Washington, a high school in the area, but dropped out to begin dealing drugs. He escaped life as a drug dealer by pursuing music in Silicon Peach.
Young Thug and Gunna served as the artist’s mentors as he made his come-up, working with his natural talent to earn respect from music lovers around the city. The hard work paid off, as he has now received Grammy nominations and wins.
The American rapper Playboi Carti grew up in the suburbs of the “Hollywood of the South.” He struggled to graduate from North Springs Charter High School, but he pulled himself together and submitted key assignments in the last months of his senior year that led to his success. Shortly after, he began pursuing music full-time.
He moved to New York City with his drug dealer and dedicated all his time to pursuing music. Some of his most well-known songs are “Miss the Rage” and “Vamp Anthem.”
Lil Jon is known for his solo career and his stint as the frontman of the rap group Lil Jon & the East Side Boyz. He was born the oldest of five children in Southwest Atlanta to a military aerospace engineer and medical technician. His parents were not involved in the music industry, but he found inspiration in Atlanta to step foot into entertainment by learning to DJ.
His famous songs include “Get Low” and “Outta Your Mind,” and he notoriously features in LMFAO’s hit single “Shots.”
The artist Ludacris moved to Atlanta at nine, when he first started his rap career by writing a rap song. He joined his first rap group three years after his early start. His parents supported his come-up in the entertainment industry, allowing him to attend Georgia State University for music management.
His education has paid off. He has released hit tunes like “Diamond in the Back” and Southern Hospitality,” but he also works as a record executive for his label.
The Atlanta-based rapper Baby D released his first album at 16. He made his come-up on the city’s underground music scene, earning popularity and signing with Big Oomp Records. Two years later, it was time for another smash hit–He released his second album, and labels inundated him with offers to sign. He settled on a deal with Epic, earning millions in the process.
His song “ATL Hoe” speaks to his Atlanta roots and is still one of his most revered releases.
Latto’s parents raised her on the southside of Atlanta, where she first dipped her toes into the music industry as soon as she turned double digits. She won season one of The Rap Game in 2020 and signed with RCA Records to produce more of her music.
She has since worked with some of this generation’s biggest pop stars, including Doja Cat. Her popular songs include “B*tch From Da Souf” and “Big Energy.”
Gunna is a rapper, singer, songwriter, and Atlanta native. Young Thug, another Atlanta rapper, signed Gunna to his label, under which the rapper currently releases his well-liked music. He has been making music since he was 15, living in the suburbs of the ATL.
His most influential songs include “Drip Too Hard” and “DOLLAZ ON MY HEAD.” He received two Grammy nominations, including one as a feature on Doja Cat’s Planet Her as “Album of the Year.”
J.I.D. is the youngest of seven children from an Atlanta-based family. He was close with his family while growing up, even attributing his stage name to his grandma’s comments about his “jittery” disposition.
He has received nominations for Grammys, American Music Awards, Video Music Awards, and Hollywood Music in Media Awards. “Enemy,” “Surround Sound,” “Kody Blue 31,” and “Off Deez” are among his most popular songs, and he even features on Doja Cat’s “Options.”
Destroy Lonely was born in Atlanta to a rapper father, I-20. He recorded his first songs in a studio at his high school, where he met Texaco and Nezzus, two artists who would help him produce music through his school years.
Playboi Carti, another Atlanta talent, noticed Destroy Lonely and took on a mentor role for the young rapper after hearing his 2019 single “Bane.” His career took off with his 2022 album No Stylist, which peaked at number 91 on Billboard’s Top 200.
Money Man is a rapper and songwriter from Atlanta. The artist rose to widespread fame in 2020 after releasing his acclaimed jam “24.” The single reached 49 on the Billboard charts, cementing Money Man’s spot in the game. He released a remix of the song a year later, now featuring Lil Baby.
Several popular rappers have featured them on his tracks, including Da Baby, Lil Pete, and Spacejam Bo.
Young Nudy is 21 Savage’s cousin, so it makes sense that the two rappers come from the same city. The artist’s real name is Quantavious Tavario Thomas, and he is best known for the song he and 21 Savage released together in 2018, “Since When.”
His mixtapes Slimeball, Slimeball 2, and Slimeball 3 all received enough acclaim to get his career off the ground, allowing him to release more hits like “Ready” and “Child’s Play.”
Young Thug’s fans love him for his ability to merge hip-hop and trap music into one enjoyable tune. He signed with another iconic Atlanta rapper’s record label, Gucci Mane, and the world now knows him for his unique sound and sense of style.
Rap lovers will recognize his hit singles “Bad Bad Bad,” “Halftime,” and “Floyd Mayweather.” He has stayed true to his Atlanta roots, even mentoring young rappers from the city to help them reach the charts.
“T.I.” is not Clifford Joseph Harris Jr.’s only stage name. The artist also goes by “Tip.” The Atlanta-born talent is one of the highest-selling hip-hop artists in history, and his successful music career has allowed him to segue into the acting world.
“Whatever You Like” is his most well-known solo song, but he features on many hit singles by iconic artists, such as Justin Timberlake’s “My Love” and Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines.”
Rapper Young Dro comes from a neighborhood in West Atlanta called Bankhead. Atlanta talents like Goodie Mob and Kriss Kross inspired him to become a rapper when he was young. He signed with the label Tight 4 Life in 1999 and released his breakthrough single “Yes Sir” shortly after.
“Shoulder Lean” and “FDB” are some of the best songs from his later discography.
Before Megan thee Stallion released her song “Freak Nasty,” an Atlanta-born rapper claimed the phrase as his stage name. The artist began as a hip-hop DJ in Atlanta, finding a way to create his music with the rhythmic city’s inspiration. His claim to fame was his 1996 single “Da Dip,” which reached the top 40 on the Billboard charts.
Pill was born and raised in Atlanta, and the city is a source of inspiration for his music. He stepped onto the rap scene in 2009 with the single “Trap Goin’ Ham.” He steadily released music for three years but went on a six-year hiatus in 2012 for personal reasons. He made a comeback with another single, “Back Right,” in 2018.
The rapper and songwriter Lil Gnar was born in Oakland, California, but he moved to Atlanta to pursue his rapping career and continues making music from the ATL. He has collaborated with many famous rappers and released impressive solo music.
“Death Note,” “Not the Same,” “Diamond Choker,” and “Almighty Gnar” are some hit singles from his later works that fans and critics love.
Lil Keed comes from a big musical family since his little brother is Lil Gotit. The Atlanta-born rapper signed with Young Thug’s record label, an interesting choice since the older rapper is also from Atlanta.
His hit song “Nameless” has seen the most success, reaching 42 on the Billboard charts for hip-hop/R&B.
Manchild, otherwise known as Gregory Scott Owens, is a rapper from Atlanta. However, his style differs from most famous rappers to come out of the ATL. Manchild is a Christian rapper and frontman of Mars ILL.
His career started in 2008 with the proposition of a fascinating subscription service. For $5 a month, fans would receive new songs every month. “Power of Rap” and “Jus the Two of Us” are some of his best hits.
The hip-hop group Rich Kidz formed in the ATL in 2008. They signed with Columbia Records until Jose Guapo, the band’s frontman, left to pursue his solo career due to issues with Grand Hustle Records. The other members, “Shad da God” and “Skooly,” also decided to pursue their solo careers.
“Nobody” and “I See You” are two of their most well-known songs.
Yung Bans was born in St. Louis, but he moved to Atlanta in the seventh grade, just in time for his full-fledged pursuit of rap music. He draws inspiration from Lil Wayne to create music fans and critics alike love.
Some of his best work includes “Lonely,” “Dresser,” and “Right Through You.” In 2015, he collaborated with Playboi Carti to release “4T Spoon.”
The rapper Lil James was born in Detroit, but he and his family moved to Atlanta at a young age. He suffered through the death of his mother as a boy, leaving him in foster care for most of his childhood. He turned to music for solace.
His debut mixtape, 21 Years Later, came out in 2018 and received widespread adoration from fans and artists.
Lil Gotit was born one of seven children in Atlanta, Georgia, and he is not the only member of his family to have a talent for rap. His older brother is Lil Keed, another notorious Atlanta rapper.
His well-known songs include “DeathRow,” “360 Boy,” and “Drip Day N Night,” a track that he collaborated on with his brother, Lil Keed. Hood Baby is one of his most popular albums, as it peaked at 200 on the Billboard charts in 2020. After earning a large fanbase with his music, he capitalized by using his platform as a social media influencer.
Lil Nas X
Most music lovers are privy to Lil Nas X’s claim to fame, the 2019 hit song “Old Town Road” featuring Billy Ray Cyrus. The tune swept across the world, becoming Billboard’s song of the summer.
Lil Nas X was born just outside of Atlanta, where he turned to the internet and popular culture to get his start. His online literacy is a part of his charm for younger audiences, earning him listeners who may not have listened to rap in the first place.
Lil Scrappy is an Atlanta-born rapper who started his music career by performing in the ATL. He caught Lil Jon’s attention while performing in one of the city’s bars, and the seasoned rapper decided to help Scrappy get off the ground.
“Some Cut,” “No Problem,” and “Money in the Bank” are among his most recognizable songs. His successful career as a rap artist allowed him to raise two children, who have become his pride and joy.
The members of the rap duo YoungBloodZ are both from Atlanta. J-Bo and Sean P, the two artists, met at Decatur’s Miller Grove Middle School, where they began their lifelong partnership. They released their debut album Against Da Grain in 1999, which received a fair amount of recognition. They featured another Atlanta rapper, Big Boi, in their 2000 single “85.”
Their 2003 work Cadillac Pimpin’ received more attention, including a Grammy nomination for the single “Damn!”
The Atlanta-born rapper Yung Wun escaped a life of criminality by rapping his way out. He found comfort in lyrical engineering while in one of the city’s juvenile detention centers. After his grandmother’s death, he followed through on her dying wish by fixing his life and devoting his time to his craft.
He has multiple popular songs, with “Tear it Up” at the top of the list.
The West Atlanta artist Kenny Mason is renowned for his unique genre fusions. Video games impacted his music taste growing up, leading him to combine different tunes when he began making his music.
He combines classic hip-hop elements with grunge rock, trap, and shoegaze to create his signature sound.
His career has been on an upward trend since the release of his breakout single “Hit” in 2019. The album to follow, Angelic Hoodrat: Supercut, received critical acclaim.
Dun Deal is known for being a hip-hop record producer, but he also dabbles in rapping. He features on many tracks and has music of his own, including “Central Cee.” The Atlanta-based rapper has personal and professional relationships with other rappers from the city, including Migos.
The Atlanta-born rapper Digital Nas has already received Grammy nominations so early in his career. He pours his soul into his music, a passion he has pursued since he was in high school. He made his breakthrough on the audio streaming service SoundCloud and was a contender for Album of the Year at the 64th annual Grammys.
Big Boi and Andre 3000 are the power duo that makes up the rap group Outkast. Their origins are very Atlantian, as the two met in the Lenox Square Shopping Mall. They soon started making music together, climbing to the top of the charts by the time the new millennium rolled in.
The founding members released some iconic early 2000s hits, like “Ms. Jackson,” “So Fresh/So Clean,” “Roses,” and “Hey Ya!”
Top Atlanta Rappers, Final Thoughts
Rap fans can thank Atlanta for some of the most iconic songs of the genre’s history. From Kanye West to Lil Yachty, there must be something about the city that inspires wordsmiths to pursue their passion. Not every rapper had the easiest upbringing in Atlanta, but thankfully, many of them were able to rap their way out.