Indiana is home to thousands of talented musicians looking to make a name for themselves and their state. Many established rappers hail from Indiana, and up-and-comers from Naptown and surrounding cities are breaking through to the mainstream.
Read on to learn more about the best Indiana rappers in the industry.
1. Freddie Gibbs
Grammy-nominated rapper Freddie Gibbs was born in Gary, Indiana–A town known for its poverty and crime. He didn't let the town's propensity for violence stop him from pursuing his dreams. He dropped out of college and enlisted in the army but later faced discharge, knowing in his heart there was one thing he truly wanted to do.
Gibbs came home to Gary to get back on his feet and ran into Finger Roll, a local record producer, in the town's mall. Finger roll took him under his wing, allowing Gibbs to start his internationally-acclaimed rap career.
2. Drayco McCoy
Indiana-based rapper Drayco McCoy intentionally references the Harry Potter character Draco Malfoy with his rap name. He started rapping in high school while living in Fort Wayne with his parents.
He embraces the connection to the wizarding world with his most famous song, “Mudblood.” His aggressive rap style makes him one of the rawest Indy rappers, which midwest listeners appreciate.
Rapper and basketball coach Dorian comes from the heart of Indianapolis. He was born in Texas, but his military family moved around often and eventually settled in Indiana, allowing Dorian to spend all four years of high school at North Central High School.
He stayed in Indiana for college, playing basketball at Indiana University-Bloomington. After graduation, he began coaching in North Carolina while teaching himself to make beats. His self-started career proved successful, and he later released albums like True Support and The D.U.C.K. Tape.
4. Ugly God
Fort Wayne native Ugly God started his rap career on Soundcloud in 2015 with the viral rap song “I Beat My Meat.” Listeners thought the tune was entertaining, but fans took his music more seriously in 2017 when he released “Water.”
“Water” peaked at number 80 on the Billboard Hot 100. 2017 proved even more fruitful for his career when he joined XXL‘s “2017 Freshman Class,” allowing him to perform with XXXTentacion and Playboi Carti.
5. Jaron Marquis
Record producer Jaron Marquis Garrett is known for bringing his entrepreneurial skills into the Indianapolis music scene. In addition to releasing his music, he founded Dreamopolis, a start-up accelerator for creatives like himself in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Jaron Marquis's most famous singles are “Debt,” “Baby Yeah,” and “That's My N***a.” He also uses his creative mind to dabble in film, acting in productions like Antihero and Girl Crazy.
6. Lil Aaron
Fans of Liam Payne, Lizzo, Blackbear, and Hailee Steinfeld may recognize Lil Aaron as one of the songwriters for these artists. However, he has a successful solo career, as well. The Goshen native is known for fusing emo music with pop-punk and hip-hop to create a unique sound.
Some of his most well-known works include “Dark Matter,” “Quit,” and “Vans United.” He features on several artists' tracks, including Goody Grace and Kim Petras.
Most Indianapolis rappers dream of being the first Naptown artist to break through to the mainstream, and Trajik is among the most motivated of the bunch. The rapper started his career in high school, selling CDs to other students in the hallway.
His aspirations as an aspiring worldwide talent run parallel to his acting pursuits. He played an aspiring musician on the show “Empire,” which hit close to home for the IN talent.
8. Mark Battles
Rap artist Mark Battles is among the best Naptown rappers. He released his first mixtape, Walking Distance, in 2012, and his work instantly went viral online. “Last Night” is one of his well-known early songs.
In addition to entertaining listeners, his songs have had a great impact. The Huffington Post named Mark Battles one of the “5 Influential Rappers on Mental Health Stigma,” alongside legends like Kendrick Lamar.
9. Mike Epps
The multitalented Mike Epps is known for his comedy career and acting stints. His roles in The Hangover franchise and Next Friday are among his most recognizable characters. However, not many fans know that he also dabbles in the music industry, particularly in the rap scene.
His rap opus magnum is Funny Bidness: Da Album which includes features from Flo Rida, Snoop Dogg, Slim Thug, Young Dro, Too Short, DJ Quik, and Young Jeezy.
10. Chucky Workclothes
Naptown Native Chucky Workclothes decided to dive headfirst into the hip-hop industry in 2010. He started a label to release his music, Express Life Entertainment.
The artist has become well-known in the close-knit community of Indianapolis rappers, and many great local talents respect and admire him. Country Boy Livin' and Tax Season are two of his most well-known albums. Fans also love his EPs Professory Works Laboratory Vol. 1-4.
11. Lil Scooty
The east side of Indianapolis hosted the upbringing of one of Indiana's most talented up-and-comers. Lil Scooty started rapping at 11 as a hobby that would grow into a passion. He dedicated time to his solo career while being an integral part of his rap group, the Meat Roll Clique.
His most well-known works are “Stuntin Is a Habit” and “B****h Please.”
Marion, Indiana native “Supernatural” is best known for his freestyle rap. He has a curated skill for battle rap, which has taken him to the top of Indiana's hip-hop scene. Supernatural has also released recorded music, including his albums Natural Disasters and S.P.I.T.
He has collaborated with dozens of iconic rap artists like Public Enemy and will.i.am, bringing clever lyrics to the table.
13. Michael Barber
Indy rapper Michael Barber got his start in Evansville, where he went to Catholic school his whole life. He always had a creative mind, but it wasn't until he left home to attend Full Sail University in Florida that he began to embrace his potential as a rapper.
His mixtape Motion Picture Mayhem received a decent amount of success, allowing him to sign with Universal Music Group and release “Take Your Time” with Josh Tifer.
14. Pope Adrian Bless
Artist Pope Adrian Bless makes music a spiritual experience for his listeners. The Indianapolis local has a strong command over the stage when he emcees, and his music is powerful in lyrics and rhythm.
His alternative hip-hop style indicates a unique flair that fans can hear in his hits “Birdcage” and “Exodus.”
15. Ye Ali
Rapper Ye Ali, born and raised in Indiana, brings something special to the hip-hop table. He has an aggressive and sharp rap style, but his beats maintain all the smoothness of the R&B genre.
Ye Ali started his rap career after college and became a quick hit with songs like “Permission/What It Is.”
The rap duo of Fatty StillKountin and Stikks StillKountin comes out of a rough neighborhood in Indiana, which they are transparent about in their music. After a brief stint in jail, they released “Back to the Streets” and have since excited local fans with tapes like Stikky Situations.
The duo releases music together, but they each have successful solo careers.
Most fans of the Indiana hip-hop world have heard of the rapper Mooder, an Indy native. He has an interesting approach to making rap music, choosing to sample famous pop artists.
For example, his album SpaceTime features a song called “Ocean Vibez” that heavily samples Billie Eilish's “Ocean Eyes.”
18. PBT Ace
Indy Rapper PBT Ace is a rapper that has been making waves on the Indianapolis rap scene since his earliest EPs. His albums, Underdawg and Streetfeeder, are well-loved by local rap listeners and have even received some acclaim in the global hip-hop community.
“Button Babies” and “Trench Babies” are some of his most popular releases.
19. Mula Kkhan
Rapper Mula Kkhan grew up on the west side of Indianapolis, where he quickly fell into the city's hip-hop scene. He joined a local rap group, the “See the World Collective,” with the mission of rapping on a global scale.
His album Inferno received widespread acclaim in 2018, with songs like “Cutthroat” and “House of Pain.”
20. Lil Ugly Toes
Rapper Lil Ugly Toes grew up in Indiana, where he first fell in love with hip-hop music. He later decided to move to Los Angeles, where he knew he could make quick work of a more fruitful and widely-recognized entertainment career.
He released his song “F**k the Ops” in 2018, and it has since become his most well-known single.
21. Kid Quill
“Weatherman” singer Kid Quill hails from Shelbyville, a suburb of Indianapolis. Before his rap career got off the ground, the artist had a successful run as a collegiate soccer player. When it was time to hang up his cleats, he decided to release his debut album, The Name Above the Title.
His album immediately charted on Billboard Heatseekers, kickstarting a career that would allow him to open for acts like Quinn XCII.
22. Sonny Paradise
Hip-hop artist Sonny Paradise holds an abundance of respect in the Indiana hip-hop community for his work as a songwriter, producer, and rapper. He works for internationally acclaimed artists but has an unshakable pride in his home city.
He hosted a live show called “Hip Hop Nite at Square Cat Vinyl” to draw attention to the rap talent in Naptown with a line-up that includes Drayco McCoy and Micky Young.
23. Jeremiah Stokes
Indiana locals have loved watching Jeremiah Stokes make a name for himself on the rap scene. His 2017 single “Corona” was his claim to fame, and he has been steadily climbing the ladder to the mainstream since.
Fans praise his ability to seamlessly drop wisdom on listeners without sounding too forced or rehearsed. His lyrics are powerful yet effortless, and his beats have a compelling midwest hook.
24. Double A
Rapper Double A grew up in Broad Ripple, a neighborhood of Indianapolis. His love for music started in grade school when he began listening to hip-hop to connect with his peers.
The artist had a midwest upbringing, but the east coast's signature hip-hop sound largely influenced his musical style. “Luka Freestyle” is one of his most acclaimed works, and many have compared elements of the hip-hop beat to the iconic WuTang Clan.
25. Oreo Jones
Indiana native Oreo Jones is well-versed in the music industry. Not only is he a professional rapper, but he also works as a record producer and radio station manager. His most well-known works include “Cash for Gold”and “Through The Depths of Hell I Picked Up The Phone.”
Oreo Jones has received praise for his solo productions and collaborations with other Indiana natives, Sirius Blvck and David Moose Adamson.
26. Lil E
Lil E is an up-and-coming rapper with tons of support from the Indiana music scene. The Indianapolis native has a knack for freestyle, earning experience on underground rap scenes in the city. His intense, clever rapping style has landed him the nickname “the Punisher.”
He served time at the Indiana Department of Corrections but has since gotten back on his feet and produced more music. “Ghetto Ties” is a fan-favorite song in his discography.
The rapper DBo is one of the most relevant talents in the midwest, making his way through months of sold-out performances and releasing cult-favorite singles. The Indianapolis native began writing music at 18, right before starting his collegiate basketball career at Indiana University.
Some of the rapper's most famous singles include “Know Nun,” “Hot N***a,” and “Ready and Willing.” Like many other successful rappers, he has earned a rival–Lil Poodie dropped a diss track after DBo slighted him in a single.
Top Indiana Rappers, Final Thoughts
Rap lovers everywhere can thank the midwest for producing artists with some clever rhyme schemes and propensities for awesome beats.
Naptown hosts some incredible rappers, and many of these best Indiana rappers are finally starting to make their way out of the midwest and into the mainstream.