Today we’re going to look at some of the best California rappers ever. From the legends who shaped the hip-hop industry to the modern rappers still making great hits. Read on and find your favorites.
It’s only fitting that we start this list with Snoop Dogg. He is from Long Beach, California, and is a legend in the Hip Hop industry.
Snoop Dogg has always been in the limelight since he was featured in Dr. Dre’s single, “Deep Cover,” in 1992. Since his music debut, he has won various accolades, such as Grammy and Emmy Awards, and has earned numerous other nominations.
Besides rapping, Snoop Dogg is also a record producer and actor, depicting his versatility. You cannot leave out Snoop Dogg’s name when mentioning those who shaped the Hip Hop industry.
Roddy Rich, also known as Rodrick Wayne Moore Jr., was born in Compton, California. This American rapper rose to fame after releasing “Die Young,” a hit single that ranked high on Billboard.
Rich also featured with Nipsey Hustle in “Racks in the Middle,” which won him a Grammy Award. He has also won BET awards and the American Music Award.
Dr. Dre is another legend to make it on this list. He was born in 1965 and is from Compton, California.
Before starting a solo career, Dr. Dre was part of a rap group called N.W.A. The group was famous for releasing music that depicted street violence.
In the 1990s, Dr. Dre was instrumental in creating West Coast G-Funk, a subsection of gangster rap. However, he shot to fame after releasing “The Chronic” album, which sold throughout the United States.
Today, Dr, Dre makes money in several ways, making him one of the richest rappers in the industry.
Born in Inglewood, California, Mack 10 is one of the hip-hop industry pioneers. Mack 10 has sold approximately 11 million records since his debut, depicting his glittering career.
One fantastic fact about Mack 10 is that Ice Cube gave him his first shot in the rap industry when he appeared on Ice Cube’s track “Bootlegs & B-Sides.”
Besides rapping, Mack 10 is an actor and songwriter.
YG, short for Young Gangsta, is an American rapper from Compton, California. His original single, “Toot It and Boot It,” was released in 2010 and ranked high on the Billboard 100.
This rapper and songwriter has released other mixtapes, such as “The Real 4Fingaz” and “4 Hunnid Degreez,” which you can get from several mixtape download websites.
Besides rapping, YG has a record label called 4Hunnid Records, allowing upcoming rappers to showcase their craft. He also has a clothing line under the same name.
Warren Griffin III, also known as Warren G, is an American rapper from Long Beach, California. He is known for his crucial contribution to creating West Coast Rap and is also one of G-funk’s pioneers.
Warren G’s debut album, “Regulate,” ranked number two on the Billboard chart, and he sold over 100,000 copies in the first week. The album was later certified as a platinum album, further cementing his legacy in the rap industry.
The Game is another renowned rapper from Compton, California. He is a songwriter, producer, and actor best known for his gangsta rap music.
He released several mixtapes when he first joined the rap industry but released his first album in 2004. However, The Game rose to fame in 2005 after releasing “The Documentary,” which became a hit album from the start.
One interesting fact about The Game is that he was discovered by Dr. Dre, who signed him to his record label.
Hykeem Jamaal Carter Jr., also known as Baby Keem, is an American rapper from Carson, California. He is 22 years and one of the best upcoming rappers in California.
Baby Keem rose to the rap industry when he released “Orange Soda,” a single from his mixtape Die for My Bitch. He also featured on Kanye West’s song, “Praise God,” which made him even more famous than before.
At 22 years, Baby Keem is a Grammy winner for best rap performance in his single, “Family Ties.”
Vince Staples is a rapper and singer from Compton, California. He is best known for his West Coast Hip Hop music.
Vince Staples was signed to Blacksmith Records and rose to fame when he collaborated with Mac Miller to release a mixtape. He released his debut album, “Summertime 06,” which became a fan favorite from the get-go.
Vince Staples has released other albums, such as “Big Fish Theory,” which also ranked high on the music charts.
Jay Rock is from Los Angeles and is one of the best Los Angeles rappers in the game. Born in 1983, Jay Rock was always interested in music since childhood.
Unfortunately, Jay Rock didn’t get the recognition he deserved when he joined the Hip Hop industry and only released mixtapes. However, he became famous after releasing “All My Life,” featuring Lil Wayne.
The only thing missing from Jay Rock’s career is an individual award, but in 2019 he won a Grammy award for featuring in Kendrick Lamar’s track: King’s Dead.
03 Greedo is an American rapper and songwriter from Los Angeles, California. He released several mixtapes after joining the rap industry, which was influenced by Southern rap.
In 2018, 03 Greedo released his first studio album, “God Level,” which became a hit after its release and ranked high on the music charts.
Unfortunately, 03 Greedo was arrested in 2018 and imprisoned for 20 years for drug trafficking, but that hasn’t stopped him from releasing music. He released “Still Summer in the Projects” in 2019 and “Load It Up Vol 1” in 2020.
Remble is an upcoming rapper destined to become one of the best Los Angeles rappers. His primary name is Eunique Cooper Remble, from Los Angeles, California.
At only 22 years, Remble has altered his rapping style to stand out from other rappers in the game. One unique quality of his rapping style is his sense of humor. It makes him unique because his lyrics differ from other artists rapping about violence and guns.
Westside Boogie was born in 1989 and is from Compton, California. Many rap enthusiasts relate to him because his music is about his real-life experiences.
Westside Boogie has released two studio albums. His most notable album is “Everythings for Sale,” ranked number 18 on the U.S. music charts. He has also released several mixtapes and singles that have propelled him to become a household name in the music industry.
Dom Kennedy was born in Los Angeles, California, and grew up in the same city. In an interview, he stated that music was part of his plan B if he failed in business management, which was his college major.
Dom first released his first studio album in 2011, which ranked number 12 on the U.S. rap chart. This propelled him to release other albums, most notably “Get Home Safely,” which ranked number 3 on the chart.
Robert Lee Gill Jr, also known as Reason, is an American rapper from Carson, California. This rapper and songwriter is an upcoming rapper known for his amazing flow and cadence.
Reason released his first mixtape in 2015, but it didn’t get the recognition he expected since he was fresh in the industry. However, after signing with Top Dawg Entertainment, he became famous and is widely known in California.
Reason’s main inspiration figures are Lil Wayne, J. Cole, Lupe Fiasco, and Eminem.
We must mention Childish Gambino when discussing the best rappers in California. Also known as Donald Glover, Childish Gambino is an American rapper, actor, comedian, and producer from Los Angeles, California.
Childish Gambino released his first studio album, “Camp,” in 2011 before releasing a second album, “Awaken, My Love,” in 2013. He has won many accolades, including four Grammy awards and the Golden Globe award.
Nick Cannon is a legend and one of the best rappers in the music industry. He was born in 1980 and is from San Diego, California.
Before going solo, Nick Canon was part of the “Da G4 Dope Bomb Squad” rap group. He later released his first single album, “Nick Cannon,” in 2003.
Besides music, Nick is a businessman and an actor. He is also a TV host presenter and is famous for his Wild ‘n Out show.
MC Hammer is an American rapper, actor, and dancer from Oakland, California. He is known for his hit single “U Can’t Touch,” which ranked high on the music chart after its release.
Besides rapping, MC Hammer is a choreographer and an entrepreneur. This multi-award winner is also a celebrity spokesperson, so expect to see him on talk shows.
Kendrick Lamar Duckworth is an award-winning American rapper and songwriter. He is a native of Compton, California.
Having grown up surrounded by hip-hop culture and gang activity, Kendrick occupied his time by gradually gaining an aptitude for writing poetry, stories, and lyrics, quickly leading to rapping.
He began his career as a teenage rapper named K. Dot. At 16, his debut mixtape gained attention from Top Dawg Entertainment, who quickly signed him and propelled his career forward.
In 2019, the world lost the legendary rapper, savvy entrepreneur, and respected musical icon, Ermias Joseph Asghedom, professionally known as Nipsey Hussle.
Born and raised in Crenshaw, Los Angeles, California, Nipsey’s music was loved by many because of the wisdom embedded in his rap lyrics. Hussle taught the young generations of the streets the importance of loyalty, hard work, confidence, and independence.
His genuine character and kind nature allowed him to collaborate with other amazing rappers such as YG, Kendrick Lamar, and The Game.
O’Shea Jackson Sr., popularly known as Ice Cube, is a known rapper, actor, and film producer in the entertainment industry.
Hailing from Los Angeles, California, along with Eazy-E and Dr. Dre, they founded the rap group N.W.A, where Ice Cube wrote most of the group’s lyrics, including the famous “Straight Outta Compton,” which contributed to his widespread popularity.
Ice Cube launched his solo rap career and released many albums, including Death certificate, in 1991. The rapper went ahead to launch his film career, where he co-wrote and starred in the comedy film Friday, released in 1995.
He has starred in other films, like barbershop movies, and was the executive producer of the 2015 film “Straight Outta Compton,” which was based on the NWA’s lives and rise to fame.
Doja Cat is a rapper and singer from Los Angeles, California. She began her career at the age of 17 after signing a record deal with RCA records and Kemosabe. However, she did not gain much success until releasing her single “Mooo!” in 2018, becoming a viral meme.
Her career began soaring after releasing her second studio album, “Hot Pink,” with singles such as “Say So,” topping the Billboard charts in 2019.
Today she is a global musical sensation, having released more brilliant music and getting featured for the Elvis soundtrack, “Vegas.”
Michael Ray Nguyen-Stevenson, known as Tyga, was born and raised in Compton, California.
He is a well-known American rapper who started releasing studio albums in 2008. His rap career started after signing with Lil Wayne’s record deal label, Young Money Entertainment. He was featured in songs such as “Bedrock” by Young Money and Deuces with Chris Brown, which got nominated for Best Rap/ Sung Collaboration at the Grammy Awards in 2010.
Tyga has continued to do well in his music career and got featured in several films, including “Barbershop: The Next Cut” in 2016 and the 2019 series Scream: Resurrection.
Saweetie is an American rapper from Santa Clara but grew up in Sacramento, California. She started her rap career by posting freestyle rap videos on Instagram in 2012.
After she released her first single, “Icy Girl,” in 2017 on Soundcloud, she caught the attention of several music producers and managers.
Upon her release of “My Type,” Saweetie garnered much attention and became a top 40 hit on the Billboard Hot 100. She has since then collaborated with other major musical icons, including Doja Car, Little Mix, and Jhene Aiko.
Big Sean is known for his hit singles “Blessings” and “I Don’t Fuck with You” and is originally from Santa Monica, California.
He is a known American rapper who began his career in 2007. Big Sean only gained fame in 2010 after releasing his mixtape “Finally Famous.”
Big Sean has collaborated with other famous singers and rappers, including Kanye West, Jhene Aiko, Ty Dolla Sign, Drake, and Travis Scott, which have helped shape his career.
This list is not complete without mentioning Daniel Anthony Farris, also known as D Smoke.
He is an American rapper, lyricist, and songwriter from Inglewood, California. D Smoke gained popularity after appearing and winning on the popular 2019 Netflix show, “Rhythm + Flow.”
D Smoke is known to deliver brilliant rap songs as he incorporates reflective storytelling and can rap perfectly in Spanish. An example is his single, “Let migo.”
Blue Face is an American rapper from Los Angeles, California.
After releasing “Respect My Cryppin” in 2018, Blue Face gained popularity as the song portrayed a different offbeat rap style.
Soon after, he signed with Cash Money West, an affiliate of Cash Money Records, and released his viral tracks, including “Thotiana,” featuring YG and Cardi B in 2019.
Blue Face has since made other singles such as “Obama,” “Daddy,” and others with lyrical lemonade on YouTube, garnering millions of views.
William James Adams Jr., professionally known as Will.i.am, is a popular rapper, music director, singer, and songwriter from Los Angeles, California.
He is one of the leading members of the popular musical group Black Eyed Peas. Will.i.am and his fellow bandmates gained much popularity after releasing their third album Elephunk, with its lead song, “Where is the love?”
As a solo artist, he released four albums, including “Lost Change” through Atlantic records in 2001 and #willpower in 2013.
Today, Will.i.am is a recipient of seven Grammy awards and Daytime Emmy Awards. He has worked with top artists, including Michael Jackson, Eva Simmons, Justin Bieber, Fergie, and Justin Timberlake.
G-Eazy was born in Oakland, California. He is considered one of the best caucasian rappers in the game and has garnered millions of fans and followers worldwide.
Although he made music while at the University and gained recognition for being in the hip-hop scene, G-Eazy first gained popularity with his first major album, “These Things Happen,” released in 2014. It became an instant success with the lead single, “I Mean It,” reaching number 98 on the Billboard Hot 100.
In 2016, he released “Me, Myself, and I” in collaboration with Bebe Rexha and was featured by Britney Spears in “Make Me.”
O’Shea Jackson jr.
O’Shea Jackson Jr., Ice Cube’s son, is popularly known as an American actor and rapper from Los Angeles, California.
Jackson first appeared in the music scene after getting featured on his father’s album I Am the West on the single “Y’all Known How I Am” in 2010. In march 2012, under the stage name OMG, he released his first mixtape, “Jackin for Beats,” putting himself on the hip hop map.
He is also a talented actor, appearing in major movie flicks such as Straight Outta Compton, where he portrayed Ice Cube, Long shot, Godzilla: King of Monsters, and Den of thieves.
Hopsin, officially known as Marcus Jamal Hopson, is an American songwriter, record producer, and rapper from Panorama, Los Angeles, California.
Hopsin began his rapping career in 2002 but got signed with Ruthless Records in 2007.
After a few years of releasing without much success, Hopsin founded his record label Funk Volume in 2009. From the label, the single “Sag My Pants” became an instant hit on YouTube.
He went on to release his video installment series, the “Ill Mind of Hopsin,” garnering him millions of views on YouTube. Hopsin is a sensational rapper against the mainstream personification of drug and alcohol usage.
Daveed Daniel Diggs is an exceptional American rapper, singer-songwriter, and actor from Oakland, California.
He is a member of the True Neutral Crew that released #MONSATO in 2013 and #POPPUNK in 2014. He is also a member of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Freestyle Love Supreme group.
He is also famously known for his role as Thomas Jefferson and Marquis de Lafayette in the popular broadway musical Hamilton. These roles garnered him several accolades, including the 2016 Tony Award for Best Actor and a Grammy Award for Best Musical Theatre.
Omarion is another rapper from Inglewood, California. He is an American singer and songwriter and doubles with rapping on different occasions.
He first gained popularity as the lead single of the boy band B2K and after it dispersed, his solo career kicked off. In 2005, he released his album “O,” which received a Grammy Award nomination for Best Contemporary R&B album.
With his hit single “Ice Box,” Omarion’s success is set in stone. He is also a talented actor and appeared in films such as You Got Served.
Earl Tywone Stevens Sr. is popularly recognized by his stage name, E-40. He is a successful rapper from Vallejo, California, and known for his hardcore rapping style.
To date, E-40 has released 26 studio albums and has stayed relevant, helping many upcoming artists rise to fame.
From Ventura, California, Kyle Harvey is best known for his hit single, “iSpy,” featuring Lil Yachty.
He has collaborated with other artists, including G-Eazy, Ty Dolla Sign, and Miguel. In addition to “iSpy,” he released another single, “Playinwitme,” in 2018, garnering him a lot of popularity.
Rolling stone named Kyle “One of the Top Ten Artists You Need to Know” in 2015.
Born in Los Angeles, California, Brian Todd Collins, known as Kid Ink, is a rapper, songwriter, and producer.
He is famously known for his hit singles “Show Me” and “Main Chic” featuring Chris Brown in 2015.
Though not in the public eye today, Kid Ink has made a name for himself in the hip-hop industry.
Sage the Gemini
Dominic Wynn Woods, popularly known as Sage the Gemini, is a rapper from San Francisco, California.
He first became an internet sensation after releasing his first song, “You Should Know,” on MySpace.
The rapper finally entered the charts with his smash song, “Gas Pedal,” which had a huge commercial success and received a lot of airplay. Sage later got featured on the track “2 AM” by Adrian Marcel, which garnered more than 90 million views on YouTube.
Top California Rappers, Final Thoughts
California is home to some of the best rappers in the music industry. Most of these rappers have won many awards, and their songs still top the U.S. Billboard charts. Moreover, besides rapping, these artists have ventured into other things, such as acting and entrepreneurship, depicting their willingness to dominate in several fields.