Somalia is a creative hotbed of talent, producing musicians, actors, models and more.
Many talented Somali rappers in the country and around the world produce chart-topping hits in genres like drill, hip-hop, electronic, and folk fusion. Today, we'll look at the best Somali rappers.
Yahye Guled Hassan, better known by his stage name, GeeYou, is a British hip-hop artist.
Although GeeYou is native to Northwest London, he's of Somali descent and is a crucial part of the current Somali rap scene.
His first song, “Slide Thru,” was an instant hit that went viral in the summer of 2019. GeeYou also produced a music video for “Slide Thru” with GRM Daily, a prominent British media company.
K'naan is a Somali-Canadian rapper, singer, songwriter, and activist. He was born in Mogadishu, Somalia, on April 16th, 1978, as Keinan Abdi Warsame.
The future rapper fled the country with his family in 1990 due to the Somali Civil War, and they settled in Toronto, Canada, where K'naan began his music career.
K'naan's music is a fusion of hip-hop, reggae, and Somali folk music, and he's been releasing studio albums since 2004.
He has won numerous awards for his music, including three Juno Awards and an MTV Award.
3. Baby Mane
Baby Mane is a rising star in the UK rap scene. He's of Somali descent and was born in Tottenham, London, England, entering the rap game around 2009.
Mane's music is a mix of drill, grime, and trap, and his lyrics are often personal and introspective. The rapper tackles a wide range of topics, from his upbringing in Tottenham to his struggles with mental health.
4. Cabdalla Rasaas
Cabdalla Rasaas is a rapper from Mogadishu, Somalia. He was born in 2008 and is one of the youngest Somali rappers leading a new generation of artistry.
The rapper gives a voice to teens in Somalia, connecting with locals and the diaspora worldwide.
He started rapping at age 11 and is one of the most promising voices in Somali rap today.
Richi is a Somali rapper currently based in East London. He's a newer rapper and crucial figurehead in London's up-and-coming Somali rap scene.
The rapper is involved in the East London rap collective Malistrip, which produces UK fusion music like trap and drill.
A frequent collaborator of other Malistrip artists like Ridla, Baby Mane, and AK, Richi is an influential and prolific artist sure to make waves in the future.
6. Layla Hendryx
Layla Hendryx is a rapper of Somali and Djibouti descent. She grew up in Ottawa in Eastern Ontario and now works in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
The rapper started releasing music in 2015 and quickly became known for her witty humor, clever lyrics, and trap beats.
In 2018, she gained attention when she made it on the list of NOW Toronto's Toronto musicians to watch in 2018: hip-hop edition.
HMD (pronounced: ‘Hamdi') is a Somali rapper from Manchester, England. He was born in Mogadishu, Somalia, and lived in Denmark briefly before settling in the West Midlands with his family.
HMD began rapping at a young age, and he quickly developed a following in the Somali community in Manchester.
He released his debut mixtape, “W16NTER,” in 2017, and the rapper followed it up with several successful singles. “DEEN” is his biggest hit to date, and the track gained over a million streams on Spotify.
8. Robin Banks
Robin Banks is a Toronto-based rapper who's been active on the scene since 2015. He's famous for his trap sound and intense lyrics, dealing with themes of gun violence, mental health, and loyalty.
Banks launched his debut album, The Entertainment, in October 2015, and he followed it up with four more successful records. His most influential track is “Come Thru,” an upbeat song about looking for love.
Freek, real name Mustafa Mohamed Ismail, is a rapper of Somali heritage. He was born on July 23rd, 1990, in Abu Dhabi, UAE, to Somali parents, who immigrated in the 1970s.
The rapper entered the music industry in 2015 with his single, “Aslan 3Adi,” and released his first album, 150, in 2022. He gained attention for his unique style, blending trap, hip-hop, and underground, and collaborating with big names like Don Fuego and Eyez.
10. Mo Muse
Mo Muse is a rapper and part of the Somali diaspora. He's from Auckland, New Zealand, and started rapping to give a voice to minority communities in the area.
The rapper is the child of immigrants and writes about his experiences being a first-generation kid. His lyrics are socially conscious, and he's unafraid to tackle challenging topics like religion, politics, and violence.
11. Sharma Boy
Sharmarke Abdinasir Mohamed, better known by his stage name Sharma Boy, is a rapper from Burtinle, Puntland, in the northeast part of Somalia. Born in 1999, he grew up in Mogadishu, where his single-parent family struggled financially, and he had to leave school in year 10.
The future rapper worked some odd jobs before venturing into political rap. Today, he tours worldwide and writes lyrics about social justice, unemployment, and poverty in Somalia.
12. Dree Low
Dree Low is a Swedish rapper and songwriter with Somali ancestry. He was born Salah Abdi Abdulle in Husby, a suburb of Stockholm, on September 17th, 1994, and began rapping in his teens.
Low started producing music in 2016, launching his first album, “No Cap,” in 2018, and it was a hit in Sweden. However, he chose to retire from music in 2022 and pursue other things.
Chino'o is a Somali rapper born in Mogadishu, Somalia, in 1988, now based in Seattle, Washington.
In 2010, Chino'o formed Militia MaliMob with other Somali rappers. The group quickly gained a following in the Seattle hip-hop scene and is part of a movement to produce more African music in the US.
Chino'o uses his music to raise awareness of Somali issues and create a positive perspective of Somali people from outsiders.
Mastermind is a Somali-British rapper based in Manchester. He was born in Mogadishu, Somalia, in 1996 and moved to the UK with his family during his childhood. His father is Somali, and his mother has Welsh and Yemeni heritage.
In 2019, Mastermind released his first hit single, “Wave Time.” The track was a critical and commercial success, and it cemented Mastermind's status as one of the top Somali rappers of his generation.
15. 38 x Alz
38 x Alz is a Somali rap duo and one of the biggest names in Somali hip-hop today. They are of Somali ancestry and live in Peckham, a district in Southeast London.
The duo is a standby in London drill and has appeared in Fumez The Engineer's studio sessions, gaining them more national acclaim.
They've also landed features on PACMAN TV and GRM Daily, a British grime rap channel.
16. Born Trappy
Born Trappy is a West London rapper famous for his gritty lyrics, sharing the reality of living in poverty and growing up in a rough area.
The rapper was born to Muslim Somali parents and grew up in Acton, in the London borough of Ealing. He released a freestyle single in 2019 and followed it up with a 2020 collaboration with Kenny Allstar, a British DJ.
Today, Born Trappy is famous for his recent hit, “After Hours.”
17. Puffy L'z
Puffy L'z was born Habib Mohamed on August 2nd, 1995, in Toronto, Ontario. He grew up in a social housing community called Regent's Park and started rapping when he was 20.
The rapper, who is of Somali descent, started releasing freestyle tapes soon after he learned to rap. He gained international attention in 2017 when he toured with fellow Canadian rapper Drake, opening for the artist in fifteen locations across Europe.
He launched his first project, Take No L'z, in 2019 and collaborated with UK rapper Giggs the same year.
Top Somali Rappers, Final Thoughts
The best Somali rappers use their music to tell stories, express themselves, and connect with their communities. They are a force for social change, and the musicians help celebrate community and Somali joy.
We hope you enjoyed this article and consider adding these Somali rappers to your playlists!