How many European rappers do you know? From the UK's grime scene to France's rap culture, there is no shortage of talent. We'll explore some of the best artists in the industry, delving into their backgrounds, music, and impact.
Stormzy is an award-winning European rapper who's also a singer and songwriter. Stormzy grew up in Croydon, South London, first gaining attention with his mixtape Dreamers Disease in 2014. He's notable for being charismatic and putting on high-energy performances, often blending grime and gospel elements into his music.
“Shut Up,” “Big For Your Boots,” and “Vossi Bop” are popular tracks that have garnered millions of views on YouTube. In 2019, he headlined the iconic Glastonbury Festival and was the first black British male artist to headline the main stage. Stormzy has won numerous awards, including multiple Brit Awards and MOBO Awards.
2. Yung Lean
Yung Lean, born Jonatan Leandoer Håstad, is a Swedish rapper who first gained popularity in 2013 with his debut mixtape Unknown Death 2002. His music style is often described as a mix of cloud rap, trap, and electronic music.
He has since released several critically acclaimed albums, including Unknown Memory, Warlord, and Stranger. Some of his most famous songs include “Kyoto,” “Ginseng Strip 2002”, and “Yoshi City.” Yung Lean has been nominated for several awards, including a Swedish Grammy Award for Best Hip Hop/Soul in 2014.
3. Little Simz
Little Simz is amongst many talented European rappers from London, and she's known for her unique flow, powerful lyricism, and engaging stage presence. She has gained a significant following in the UK and beyond, with her most popular tracks including “Selfish,” “Offence,” and “Boss.”
Little Simz has been praised for her ability to tackle complex social issues in her music, as well as for her strong artistic vision and uncompromising style. Her work has earned her numerous accolades, including a BET Award nomination and a Mercury Prize nomination.
MHD is a French rapper known for pioneering the afro-trap subgenre. He was born in Paris and raised in the 19th arrondissement. His self-titled debut album was released in 2016 and featured popular tracks such as “Afro Trap Pt. 3 (Champions League)” and “A Kele Nta.”
MHD's music is characterized by its fusion of African rhythms with modern trap beats. He has won several awards, including the Prix Talents W9 for Best New Artist in 2016 and the Trace Urban Music Award for Best Afrobeat Video in 2017.
5. Sfera Ebbasta
Sfera Ebbasta is an Italian rapper who rose to fame in the mid-2010s with his unique blend of trap music and melodic rap. Born in Sesto San Giovanni in 1992, he grew up listening to American rap and began making his own music as a teenager.
His breakthrough came in 2016 with his album XDVR, which included popular tracks like “Figli di Papà” and “Uber.” Since then, he has become one of Italy's most popular and successful artists, collaborating with international stars like J Balvin and Diplo. His most recent album, Famo$o, was released in 2021 and features hits like “Baby.”
Bausa, born Julian Otto, is a German rapper and singer known for his unique style of blending trap beats with pop hooks. He rose to fame with his hit single “Was du Liebe nennst,” which spent multiple weeks at the top of the German charts in 2017.
Born in Saarbrücken, Bausa began his music career in 2009, releasing several mixtapes before signing with the Two Sides label in 2014. He has since released two studio albums, Dreifarbenhaus in 2014 and Fieber in 2016. Bausa has collaborated with several other German artists and has won multiple awards for his music.
Skepta is a British-Nigerian rapper and producer hailing from London. He first gained attention with the release of his mixtapes in the early 2010s, and his album Konnichiwa won the Mercury Prize for best album in 2016. Some of his most famous songs include “Shutdown,” “Man (Gang),” and “That's Not Me.”
Skepta has been recognized for his unique style and ability to blend grime, hip-hop, and other genres. He has collaborated with artists such as Drake, A$AP Rocky, and JME. Skepta has been awarded numerous accolades, including Best Album at the NME Awards and Best International Act at the BET Awards.
Booba is a French rapper of Senegalese descent, born in Boulogne-Billancourt, France, in 1976. He began his career in the group Lunatic in the late 1990s before launching his solo career in 2002. He has released multiple successful albums and has won several awards throughout his career, including Best Male Artist at the MTV Europe Music Awards.
Booba blends hip-hop, trap, and French music, and his lyrics often touch on themes of social issues and politics. Some of his popular songs include “DKR,” “Nougat,” and “Validée.” He is considered one of the most influential and successful rappers in France and across Europe.
Luciano is a rising German rapper of Mozambican origin with a melodic style and introspective lyrics. He often combines trap, drill, and hip-hop, and he has quickly established himself as one of the most exciting rappers in Germany.
His debut album Eiskalt was released in 2017 and gained critical acclaim, featuring hit tracks like “MoneyGram” and “La Haine.” Luciano's sophomore album Exot was released in 2021 and was an immediate success. In addition to his music, Luciano has a distinctive fashion sense and a love of luxury brands.
10. Dizzee Rascal
Dizzee Rascal is a British rapper, songwriter, and record producer who became famous in the early 2000s with his debut album, Boy in da Corner. He is widely regarded as a pioneer of grime music, a genre that originated in East London in the early 2000s. Some of his most famous songs include “Fix Up, Look Sharp,” “Bonkers,” and “Dance Wiv Me.”
Dizzee has won numerous awards, including the Mercury Prize, BET Award, and three MOBO Awards. He has collaborated with various artists, including Calvin Harris, Armand Van Helden, and Shakka. Dizzee Rascal's style and contribution to the grime scene have solidified his position as one of the most influential British rappers ever.
Ninho is a French rapper of Congolese descent who has gained a massive following in the French hip-hop scene. Born William Nzobazola, Ninho began his music career in 2015 with a unique sound and powerful lyrics. Some of his most popular songs include “Maman ne le sait pas,” “Paris c'est magique,” and “La vie qu'on mène.”
Ninho's style is a mix of trap and traditional French rap, and his lyrics often touch on personal struggles, street life, and the realities of growing up in the banlieues, or suburbs, of France. He has won several awards for his music, including the French Music Awards for Best French-speaking Album and Best Urban Music Album in 2020.
Ghali is an Italian rapper, singer, and songwriter of Tunisian descent. Born in Milan in 1993, he rose to fame with his hit single “Ninna Nanna,” which became a viral sensation on YouTube. Ghali's music is known for its fusion of various genres, including rap, trap, reggae, and pop, and his use of multilingual lyrics that draw from his diverse cultural background.
Some of Ghali's other popular songs include “Cara Italia,” “Wily Wily,” and “I Love You,” all of which showcase his unique style and creative lyricism. Ghali has won several awards for his music, including the MTV Europe Music Award for Best Italian Act in 2017.
Kane Robinson, also known as Kano when he makes music, is an English rapper and actor from East Ham, London. He has been active in the music industry since the early 2000s and has released several successful albums, including Home Sweet Home, London Town, and Hoodies All Summer. Kano mixes grime, hip-hop, and UK garage into his music.
His powerful lyrics often address critical social issues such as urban life, violence, and racism. Some of his most famous songs include “P's and Q's,” “3 Wheel-Ups,” and “T-Shirt Weather in the Manor.”
14. AJ Tracey
AJ Tracey is a British rapper from West London who rose to fame with his unique blend of grime and hip-hop. He began making music in his teenage years and gained a loyal following on Soundcloud before being signed to a major label. Some of his best-liked songs include “Ladbroke Grove,” “Butterflies,” and “Psych Out!”
AJ Tracey has won critical acclaim for his creative approach to music and has been nominated for multiple awards, including the Mercury Prize and BRIT Awards. He is known for his high-energy live performances and charismatic stage presence and has collaborated with several other notable artists, including Skepta, Stormzy, and Dave.
15. Capo Plaza
Capo Plaza is an Italian rapper and singer known for his unique sound that blends rap and trap with catchy melodies. Born in 1998 in Salerno, Italy, Capo Plaza began making music in 2016, gaining popularity through collaborations with other Italian artists such as Sfera Ebbasta and Ghali.
His debut single, “Allenamento #1,” was released in 2017 and received widespread recognition, followed by his debut album, 20, in the same year. Capo Plaza's music often explores street life, love, and success. Some of his most popular songs include “Tesla” and “Giovane Fuoriclasse.” He continues to be a prominent figure in the Italian music scene.
16. Capital Bra
Capital Bra, born Vladislav Balovatsky, is a German rapper of Ukrainian and Russian descent. He gained popularity in the German hip-hop scene with his viral hit “Nur noch Gucci” in 2017. Since then, he has had over a dozen number-one hits and multiple chart-topping albums.
Capital Bra's music is characterized by his melodic flow and autobiographical lyrics, often touching on topics such as his upbringing in poverty, his family, and his rise to fame. Some of his most popular songs include “Benzema,” “Prinzessa,” “Berlin lebt,” and “Cherry Lady.” Capital Bra has also won several awards in Germany, including the 1LIVE Krone Award for Best Hip-Hop Act in 2018 and 2019.
17. J Hus
J Hus is a British rapper, singer, and songwriter of Gambian descent. He became famous in 2015 with his debut single “Dem Boy Paigon” and gained critical acclaim for his 2017 album Common Sense. J Hus's music is a fusion of genres such as Afrobeat, grime, dancehall, and R&B. He has been praised for incorporating elements of his Gambian heritage into his music.
Some of J Hus's most popular songs include “Did You See,” “Bouff Daddy,” and “Friendly.” He has been nominated for numerous awards, including the Brit Awards, Mercury Prize, and MOBO Awards. J Hus has also been recognized for his philanthropic work, donating to various charities and supporting young people in his hometown of Stratford, East London.
Wiley, also known as the “Godfather of Grime,” is a pioneering rapper and producer from the UK. With a career spanning over two decades, Wiley has been instrumental in developing the grime genre, known for its raw, fast-paced beats and confrontational lyrics.
Born in London in 1979, Wiley began producing music in the early 2000s. He has released numerous albums and singles, including the iconic “Wearing My Rolex,” which reached number two on the UK charts in 2008.
He has been recognized for his contributions via numerous awards, including an MBE in 2018.
Kaaris is a French rapper born in the Ivory Coast. He gained popularity in the French rap scene with his distinctive deep voice and aggressive flow. His debut album, Or Noir, released in 2013, was well-received and helped establish him as a significant player in the genre. Some of his most famous songs include “Charge,” “Zoo,” and “Tchoin.”
Kaaris' music is known for its gritty, street-oriented lyrics and trap beats. He has collaborated with other prominent French rappers, such as Booba and Niska. In addition to his music career, Kaaris has also appeared in films such as Overdrive and Braqueurs.
Octavian is a rising star in the UK rap scene, known for his distinct style. Born in France but raised in the UK, Octavian began his music career by releasing a series of mixtapes in 2017. His music draws influence from a wide range of styles, including grime, trap, and UK garage, and features a mix of hard-hitting beats and catchy hooks.
Some of his most popular songs include “Party Here,” “Hands,” and “Bet.” Octavian has a growing fanbase, with many music critics praising his ability to blend different genres and styles in a fresh and innovative way. He has also been recognized with several awards and nominations, including the prestigious BBC Sound of 2019 award.
Gzuz is a German rapper born in 1988 in Hamburg. He rose to fame as a member of the hip-hop group 187 Strassenbande. He has also released solo albums, including Ebbe & Flut and Wolke 7, which have been popular in the German hip-hop scene.
Gzuz's music is known for its raw and gritty style, with hard-hitting lyrics and beats. He has collaborated with many well-known German rappers, including Bonez MC, RAF Camora, and Maxwell. Some of his best songs include “Was hast du gedacht,” “Optimal,” and “Warum.”
Giggs, whose real name is Nathaniel Thompson, is a rapper and songwriter from London, England. He began his music career in the early 2000s, releasing a series of mixtapes and gaining a following in the UK grime scene. He is known for his deep, distinctive voice and reflective lyrics that often touch on his personal struggles.
In 2008, Giggs released his debut album Walk in da Park, which received much attention and helped establish him as a major figure in UK rap. He has since released several successful albums, including Landlord in 2016 and Big Bad… in 2019. Some of his most popular tracks include “Talkin the Hardest,” “Whippin' Excursion,” and “KMT” with Drake.
Veysel Gelin, better known simply as Veysel, is a German rapper of Turkish descent. He was born in 1984 in Frankfurt and started making music in the early 2000s. He attained mainstream success with his mixtapes 43 Therapie and Audiovisuell in 2017. Veysel often combines rap and R&B, switching between singing and rapping within a song.
His lyrics frequently touch on challenges like dealing with anxiety and depression. He has also addressed political and social issues like racism and police brutality. Some of Veysel's most popular songs include “Kleiner Cabrón,” “Gringo”, and “Bargeld.” In addition to his music, he has also acted in several films and TV shows.
Top European Rappers, Final Thoughts
The European rap scene continues to evolve and produce some of the most innovative and exciting music in the genre. These artists are creating a diverse range of sounds and styles that are catchy and fun to listen to.
Whether you're a long-time rap enthusiast or a newcomer to the scene, there's no shortage of talent to discover and explore among the best European rappers in the game.