1. Eminem

Eminem may seem like the obvious top choice to a lot of people. Eminem can be described as the best underground rapper to ever make it mainstream. His lyrics and multi-syllable rhymes cannot be touched by any rapper. What makes him even more exciting is that he made a name for himself while battling in the Rap Olympics and other various rap freestyle competitions. Eminem became a fan-favorite because he came into the game with an attitude—saying whatever he wanted whenever he wanted. His flow and rhyming technique are so original that there could never be another Eminem.

Recommended Songs: “Till I Collapse“, “Stan“, “Lose Yourself“, “The Way I Am“, “Role Model“, “Almost Famous“, “25 to Life“, “Run Rabbit Run“, and “Drug Ballad“.

Notable lyrics from “Run Rabbit Run

Fuck the clock, I’ma make ’em eat this watch,
Don’t believe me, Watch, I’ma win this race,
And I’ma come back and rub my shit in your face, b*tch
I found my nitch, you gon’ hear my voice,
‘Til you sick of it, you aint gonna have a choice.

2. Immortal Technique

Known by many as the king of the underground, his lyrics break the monotonous topics of drugs, cars, and bling that are featured in most rap songs. Considered a political rapper, his rhymes often address current problems with the government and the people. His voice is unique and goes great with his punch-line flow. Immortal Technique is years ahead of most mainstream rappers.

Recommended songs:Dominant Species“, “Positive Balance“, “The Prophecy“, “The Cause of Death“, and “Dance With The Devil

Notable Lyrics from “The Cause of Death

And you can’t fathom the truth, so you don’t hear me
You think illuminati’s just a f*cking conspiracy theory?
That’s why Conservative racists are all runnin’ sh*t
And your phone is tapped by the Federal Government

3. Notorious B.I.G.

Shout out to the B.I.G. who makes it at number three on this list. His flow and lyrics are one-of-a-kind with clever rhyme schemes that have not been mimicked to this day. His unique view of the world and life on the streets, combined with the joy of making it big, makes this New York king truly one of the best. Showing he was multi-dimensional, he had an array of both radio hits and underground grimy raps. B.I.G. was the original Don of hip-hop. Add in the greatest hip-hop feud of all time with Tupac and you have a true rap legend.

Recommended Songs:Who Shot Ya“, “Get Money“, “Hypnotize“, “Kick in the Door“, “Notorious Thugs“, “Ten Crack Commandments“, “Ready to Die“, “The What“, “Dead Wrong“, “Juicy“.

Notable Lyrics from “Unbelievable

Also known as the bon appetit
Rappers can’t sleep need sleepin Big keep creepin
Bullets heat seekin, casualties need treatin
Dumb rappers need teachin

4. NaS

Ever since he released his debut album, Illmatic, at 17 years old, NaS has been acclaimed as one of the best rappers from New York. His mix of intelligent lyrics with awesome production creates a great mix for any hip-hop fan. His lyrics tell of life on the streets from the eyes of a drug-dealer. Known for his compound rhymes, he is truly one of the best artists to touch a mic.

Recommended Songs:Last Real Nigga Alive“, “I Know I Can“, “The G.O.D.“, “Nas Is Like“, “New York State of Mind“, “The World is Yours“, “One Love“, and “The Message“.

Notable Lyrics from “The World is Yours

My strength, my son, the star, will be my resurrection
Born in correction all the wrong sh*t I did, he’ll lead a right direction
How ya livin’ large, a broker charge, cards are mediocre
You flippin’ coke or playin’ spit spades in strip poker

5. Earl Sweatshirt

The youngest and yet unproven on this list is Earl Sweatshirt. Being sent away to discipline school by his mother after only having released one album just adds to his mystique. His super group, Odd Future, can be heard yelling “Free Earl!” in some of their recorded songs as well as all of their live performances. Regarded by many to be the best rapper ever by the age of 17, Earl has a reputation for hardcore lyrics with amazing flow.

Recommended Songs:Earl“, “Kill“, “Luper“, “epaR“, “Couch“, “Stapleton“, and “Pidgeons“.

Notable Lyrics from “Earl

Yo I’m a hot and bothered astronaut crashin’ while
Jacking off to bufferin’ vids of Asher Roth eating applesauce
Sent to Earth to poke Catholics in the ass with saws
And knock blunt ashes into their caskets and laugh it off

6. Hodgy Beats

The second rapper from the super group, Odd Future, Hodgy Beats is largely unknown, but is one of the sickest artists to ever grace the mic. His laidback style, exhibited through his sub-group, Mellow Hype, is perfect for any age. His rap skill is still pretty raw, but considering that he is only 20 years old and just coming up in the game, he has plenty of time to improve. His rap lyrics pay homage to drugs, skill, and his Odd Future lifestyle.

Recommended Songs:Mystery“, “64“, “Gun Sounds“, “Fuck the Police“, “Brain“, “Claustroflowbic“, “Rolex“, and “CocainKeys“.

Notable Lyrics from “Black Magic

Yeah, you make me feel like I’m trash
Like I’m failing and staying in the back of the class
I thought school was whack being cool was whack
And n*ggas thought I was cool, how cool is that?

7. Wiz Khalifa

Wiz Khalifa is the definition of cool. Making himself famous by only rapping about drugs, he has quickly turned into a college favorite. In the past, he proved that he could also rap as fast and as hard as anyone, with flows more violent and less radio-friendly than the Wiz Khalifa of today. Overall, he has mastered the ever-so-popular chill rap and the real touch rap, which takes immense skill.

Recommended Songs:The Thrill“, “Black & Yellow“, “Name on a Cloud“, “Superstar“, “B.A.R.“, “Say Yeah“, “No Sleep“, “On my Level

Notable Lyrics from “No Sleep

Last night I let the party get the best of me
Wakin’ up in the mornin’, two ho’s layin’ next to me
Plus I heard an officer arrested me
Good weed and cold drinks, that’s the mothaf*ckin’ recipe

8. Diabolic

Another underground rapper on this list, Diabolic is the label mate of Immortal Technique. He has a flow of his own, with lyrics that are second-to-none using metaphors and similes. He also is known to use some political lyrics in his songs. Considered an intelligent rapper, his songs are full of more than the generic rap song.

Recommended Songs:Frontlines“, “In Common“, “Not Again“, “Riot“, “Order and Chaos“, “The Truth“, “I Don’t Wanna Rhyme“, “Payback”, “The God That Failed“, and “Truth Part 2“.

Notable Lyrics from “All Evils Inside

You can perceive what you need
But be rigorous of greed
It’s dangerous, unwilling
Some find it fulfilling

9. The Game

The Game’s album, The Documentary, is one of the greatest albums of all time, with every song being a hit. Hailed as the West Coast King, The Game is a crazy rapper from Compton who is often associated with the Bloods street gang. He is the king of beef, known for rapping about gang violence and activities. His production has gone along with his flow and lyrics in an enticing way. When The Game collaborated with 50 Cent, he was untouchable in rap.

Recommended Songs:My Life“, “Westside Story“, “How We Do“, “Hate It or Love It“, “Dreams“, “Let me put you on the Game“, “Higher“, “Start from Scratch“, and “We Ain’t“.

Notable lyrics from “My Life

Walk through the gates of hell, see my Impala parked in front
With the high beams on, me and the devil sharin chronic blunts
Listenin to the Chronic album, play it backwards
Shootin at pictures of Don Imus for target practice

10. Tech N9ne

Tech N9ne, the newest king of the underground, who claims to have sold over 1 million records as an independent artist, is undoubtedly the most mainstream underground rapper at the moment. His record label Strange Music is a perfect self description. Having a weird voice, flow, and rhyme scheme in general, Tech N9ne is either a hit or miss for most people. Even if you aren’t feeling him as an artist, you can’t deny his success and rap-ability.

Recommended Songs:Midwest Choppers“, “The Beast“, “Einstein“, “Worldwide Choppers“, “Dysfunctional“, and “Be Warned“.

Notable Lyrics from “The Ring

Who think of having figures, they get to grapping triggas
They can’t imagine villains, when they come back and get us
We get to whacking n*ggas, I ain’t never wanted no part of this

Mentions: Snoop Dogg, 50 Cent, Kid Cudi, Tupac, DMX, Dr. Dre, and Ludacris