25 best Detroit rappers: 2024's list of top lyricists from Detroit

25 best Detroit rappers: 2024's list of top lyricists from Detroit

Detroit is recognised as one of the US cities that immensely contributes to hip-hop due to its significant number of native rappers. Over the years, it has produced top lyricists with international acclaim who have won multiple coveted hip-hop awards. The rappers capture the city's pulse in the verses that captivate hip-hop enthusiasts far beyond the borders. Who are the best Detroit rappers?

Detroit rappers Eminem, Lizzo, and Tee Grizzley
Detroit rappers Eminem, Lizzo, and Tee Grizzley. Photo: John Smolek, Lisa O'Connor (modified by author)
Source: Getty Images

TABLE OF CONTENTS

We strive to provide our readers with valuable insights and information through our various rankings and lists. This list has been compiled using information from various sources, including Trillion Little Pieces, Kulture Vulture, and Beat, Rhymes, and Lists. Note that the items in the list are not ranked in any particular order.

Best Detroit rappers

Who are the top rappers hailing from Detroit? The city is rich in hip-hop heritage and is home to some acclaimed rap artists. From old-school rappers like Eminem to new-generation rappers like Skilla Baby, Detroit is rich in rap talent. Here are rappers from Detroit worth adding to your playlist.

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1. Eminem

Eminem performs at the NFL Super Bowl LVI
Eminem performs in the Pepsi Halftime Show during the NFL Super Bowl LVI football game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Los Angeles Rams in Inglewood, California. Photo: Cooper Neill
Source: Getty Images
  • Full name: Marshall Bruce Mathers III
  • Date of birth: 17 October 1972
  • Age: 51 years old (as of May 2024)

Eminem, one of the best white rappers from Detroit, is also a record producer and actor. He is regarded as one of the greatest rappers of all time and is known for popularising hip-hop among Central Americans. The 15-time Grammy winner is known for hits such as Mockingbird, 8 Miles, Lose Yourself, and Superman.

2. Big Sean

Rapper Big Sean performs onstage at Hollywood Park Grounds
Rapper Big Sean performs onstage during day 2 of Rolling Loud 2024 at Hollywood Park Grounds in Inglewood, California. Photo: Scott Dudelson
Source: Getty Images
  • Full name: Sean Michael Leonard Anderson
  • Date of birth: 25 March 1988
  • Age: 36 years old (as of 2024)

Big Sean is among the best Detroit rappers today. His talent was discovered as a teenager, and he signed to Kanye West’s GOOD Music record label. He boasts five studio albums and is known for hits such as Bounce Back, I Know, Hate Our Love, and Precision.

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3. Royce da 5'9"

Rapper Royce da 5'9" at SiriusXM Studios
Rapper Royce da 5'9" visits SiriusXM Studios in New York City. Photo: Slaven Vlasic
Source: Getty Images
  • Full name: Ryan Daniel Montgomery
  • Date of birth: 5 July 1977
  • Age: 46 years old (as of May 2024)

Royce da 5'9" is another rap heavyweight from Detriot recognised for his intricate rhymes and storytelling rap. Alongside Eminem, they formed the rap collective Bad Meets Evil in 1997. His top songs include Caterpillar, Psychopath Killer, Black Savage, and Slaughterhouse.

4. Danny Brown

Rapper Danny Brown performs at the Capitol Hill Block Party
Rapper Danny Brown performs onstage during the Capitol Hill Block Party in Seattle, Washington. Photo: Mat Hayward
Source: Getty Images
  • Full name: Daniel Dewan Sewell
  • Date of birth: 16 March 1981
  • Age: 43 years old (as of 2024)

Danny is a Detriot rapper and singer who began his music career in 2003. He gained fame by releasing several rap mixtapes and ultimately launched his debut album, The Hybrid, in 2010. His prominent hits include Really Doe, Dirty Laundry, When It Rain, and Grown Up.

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5. Tee Grizzley

Rapper Tee Grizzley at the REVOLT World 2023
Rapper Tee Grizzley attends the REVOLT World 2023 Presented By Walmart at Pangaea Studios in Atlanta, Georgia. Photo: Paras Griffin
Source: Getty Images
  • Full name: Terry Sanchez Wallace Jr.
  • Date of birth: 23 March 1994
  • Age: 30 years old (as of 2024)

Tee Grizzley is also a notable Detroit rapper who came into the limelight in 2011. His first single, First Day Out, was well-received, and he began gaining popularity among rap enthusiasts. Tee Grizzley, currently signed to 300 Elektra Entertainment, is known for hits such as Suffer In Silence, The Sopranos, and Freak.

6. DeJ Loaf

DeJ Loaf at the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards
DeJ Loaf attends the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. Photo: Jeff Kravitz
Source: Getty Images
  • Full name: Deja Monét Trimble
  • Date of birth: 8 April 1991
  • Age: 33 years old (as of 2024)

DeJ Loaf is one of Detroit's best female rap artists making waves in modern hip-hop. She has been in the industry since 2011 and is known for tracks such as Try Me, No Fear, Hey There, and Been On My Mind.

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7. Icewear Vezzo

Icewear Vezzo visits SiriusXM Studios
Icewear Vezzo visits SiriusXM Studios in New York City. Photo: Dia Dipasupil
Source: Getty Images
  • Full name: Tanuk Smith
  • Gender: Male
  • Date of birth: 31 October 1989
  • Age: 34 years old (as of May 2024)

The Detroit-native rapper gained attention in hip-hop after releasing his The Clarity mixtape series. He is the founder and owner of Iced Up Records and is signed to the Quality Control record label. The rapper is famous for hits such as The Sit Down, I’m the One, Chamber Brothers, and Mudd Baby.

8. Boldy James

Boldy James performs at the Oyafestivalen 2023
Boldy James performs on stage on day 2 of Oyafestivalen 2023 in Oslo, Norway. Photo: Per Ole Hagen
Source: Getty Images
  • Full name: James Clay Jones III
  • Date of birth: 9 August 1982
  • Age: 41 years old (as of May 2024)

Boldy James is an American rapper and songwriter whose musical journey started in 2009. He has collaborated with notable artists, such as Futurewave, Nicholas Craven, and 2100 Bagz. Grey October, Flight Rick, Steel Wool, and Open Door are his top songs.

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9. Payroll Giovanni

Rapper Payroll Giovanni performs at The Aretha Franklin Amphitheatre
Rapper Payroll Giovanni performs onstage at The Aretha Franklin Amphitheatre in Detroit, Michigan. Photo: Aaron J. Thornton
Source: Getty Images
  • Full name: Dior Giovanni Petty
  • Date of birth: 30 January 1988
  • Age: 36 years old (as of 2024)

Payroll Giovanni began his music career as a rap group Doughboyz Cashout member. He later signed to the CTE World label. The rapper is known for songs such as Mob Life, Previously, Da Mob, and Ghetto Gold.

10. Black Milk

  • Full name: Curtis Eugene Cross
  • Date of birth: 14 August 1983
  • Age: 40 years old (as of May 2024)

Black Milk is a renowned Detroit-based rapper, songwriter, and record producer. He is among the famous Detroit rappers who have gained worldwide recognition due to their music. He has released about eight studio albums and multiple EPs with several notable hits, including Losing Out, Popular Demand, Deadly Medley, and Black and Brown.

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11. Obie Trice

Recording artist Obie Trice at TJ's DJ's Tastemakers Annual Music Conference
Recording artist Obie Trice attends TJ's DJ's Tastemakers Annual Music Conference - Day 2 at the Ivanhoe Plaza Hotel in Orlando, Florida. Photo: Ray Tamarra
Source: Getty Images
  • Full name: Obie Trice III
  • Date of birth: 14 November 1977
  • Age: 46 years old (as of May 2024)

Obie Trice began his musical journey in 1998 and was signed to Eminem’s Shady Records in 2000. He has gradually gained prominence in hip-hop, releasing five studio albums and multiple mixtapes. The rapper’s notable hits include Go To Sleep, The Setup, Cry Now, and Hey Lady.

12. Elzhi

Elzhi of Slum Village performs at Grande Halle de La Villette
Elzhi of Slum Village performs onstage during the 'Rue Hip Hop' Festival at Grande Halle de La Villette in Paris, France. Photo: Richard Bord
Source: Getty Images
  • Full name: Jason Powers
  • Date of birth: 12 May 1978
  • Age: 46 years old (as of 2024)

Elzhi was formerly a member of Slum Village before commencing his solo career. He released his debut single, The Big F.U, in 1998 and has since released three solo albums with several hits. His top hits include Fall in Love, Transitional Joint, Get Dis Money, and Detroit State of Mind.

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13. Kash Doll

Kash Doll performs at The Kennedy Center
Kash Doll performs at "I Am Woman: A Celebration of Women in Hip Hop" at The Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. Photo: Shannon Finney
Source: Getty Images
  • Full name: Arkeisha Antoinette Knight
  • Date of birth: 14 March 1992
  • Age: 32 years old (as of 2024)

Kash Doll is an American actress and rapper. She is signed to Republic Records and has released several hit songs, such as For Everybody and Ice Me Out. In her acting career, she has appeared in BMF, Empire, and I Got the Hook Up 2.

14. Sada Baby

Sada Baby 'AKA' Skuba Steve performs during the WJBL Big Show at Little Caesars Arena
Sada Baby performs during the WJBL Big Show at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Michigan. Photo: Scott Legato
Source: Getty Images
  • Full name: Casada Aaron Sorrell
  • Date of birth: 17 November 1992
  • Age: 31 years old (as of May 2024)

Sada Baby is a rapper and singer who began his career in 2013 but did not have a breakthrough until 2018 when his music video Block Party went viral. The rapper, signed to Asylum Records, released his first album, Skuba Sada, in 2020. His notable hits include Pressin, Activated, and November 35th.

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15. Veeze

Rapper Veeze performs at Hollywood Park Grounds in Inglewood
Rapper Veeze performs onstage during day 2 of Rolling Loud 2024 at Hollywood Park Grounds in Inglewood, California. Photo: Scott Dudelson
Source: Getty Images
  • Full name: Karon Vantrees
  • Date of birth: 28 February 1995
  • Age: 29 years old (as of 2024)

Veeze first dreamt of being an NBA player but later pursued a music career. He began his professional rap career in 2017 after releasing the song Itself. The rapper is known for Unreleased Leak, Get Lucki, and Law & Order.

16. 42 Dugg

42 Dugg performs at Little Caesars Arena
42 Dugg performs at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Michigan. Photo: Scott Legato
Source: Getty Images
  • Full name: Dion Marquise Hayes
  • Date of birth: 25 November 1994
  • Age: 29 years old (as of May 2024)

42 Dugg gained initial recognition in the industry with his single The Streets. He gained prominence after working with Lil Baby and Yo Gotti on several projects. The rapper and singer is best known for hits like We Paid, Maybach, and Free Woo. He has two compilation albums.

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17. Babyface Ray

  • Full name: Marcellus Rayvon Register
  • Date of birth: 7 February 1991
  • Age: 33 years old (as of 2024)

Babyface Ray made his breakthrough in 2019 but entered the rap scene in 2015. He is currently signed to Empire. His hit tracks include Understand, My Thoughts, and Money On My Mind.

18. Skilla Baby

Rapper Skilla Baby performs during Offset Set It Off Tour at Coca-Cola Roxy
Rapper Skilla Baby performs during the Offset Set It Off Tour at Coca-Cola Roxy in Atlanta, Georgia. Photo: Prince Williams
Source: Getty Images
  • Full name: Trevon Gardner
  • Date of birth: 2 October 1998
  • Age: 25 years old (as of May 2024)

Skilla Baby is one of the new rappers from Detroit, seemingly set for a prosperous career. He began releasing music as a teenager but picked up pace in 2019 when he launched his first album. His top hits are Free Big Meech, Heavy Fraud, and Bae.

19. Angel Haze

Angel Haze backstage at S.O.B.'s
Recording artist Angel Haze backstage at S.O.B.'s in New York City. Photo: Johnny Nunez
Source: Getty Images
  • Full name: Raykeea Raeen-Roes Wilson
  • Date of birth: 10 July 1991
  • Age: 32 years old (as of May 2024)

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Angel Haze entered mainstream hip-hop in 2012 after she released her hit mixtape Reservation. She has two studio albums: Dirty Gold and Back to the Woods. Her popular songs include A Tribe Called Red, 22 Jump Street, Babe Ruthless, and Deep Sea Diver. She is signed to Republic Records.

20. Rocky Badd

  • Full name: September Briyonna-Michelle
  • Date of birth: 16 May 1994
  • Age: 30 years old (as of 2024)

Rocky Badd is one of the top female lyricists in Detroit, making waves in the hip-hop industry. Before becoming a mainstream rap star, she released her songs on SoundCloud in 2016. Her greatest hits include Old Rocky, Life’s Great, The Truth, and Talking Crazy.

21. Lizzo

Lizzo attends the 2024 Met Gala Celebrating "Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion"
Lizzo attends the 2024 Met Gala Celebrating "Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion" at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Photo: Jeff Kravitz
Source: Getty Images
  • Full name: Melissa Viviane Jefferson
  • Date of birth: 27 April 1988
  • Age: 36 years old (as of 2024)

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Lizzo is among the most famous female entertainment icons from Detroit. Early in her music career, she was part of the bands Lizzo & Larva Ink, The Chalice, Grrrl Party, and Ellypseas. Her most-known hits are Truth Hurts, Good as Hell, and Boys. She is also into acting and has been featured in Wonderland and Mandalorian

22. Cash Kidd

  • Full name: Cash Kidd
  • Date of birth: 24 Dember 1991
  • Age: 32 years old (as of May 2024)

Cash Kidd introduced himself to the hip-hop world in 2013 by releasing the mixtape Bebe Kidd. Before beginning his solo career, he was part of the hip-hop group M-Block. The rapper’s top songs are Privileges, Unappreciated, Oh My Mama, and See You.

23. Baby Smoove

Rapper Baby Smoove at different retail stores
Rapper Baby Smoove at different retail stores. Photo: @babysmoove22 on Instagram (modified by author)
Source: UGC
  • Full name: Jaelin Parker
  • Date of birth: 3 December 1996
  • Age: 27 years old (as of May 2024)

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The Detroit singer and rapper started singing and recording at 15. He started attracting attention in 2019 after releasing his single CardoGotWings on SoundCloud. He has released multiple albums, including Baby and I’m Still Serious 2.

24. Peezy

Rapper Peezy performs during the WJLB Big Holiday Show
Rapper Peezy performs during the WJLB Big Holiday Show at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Michigan. Photo: Scott Legato
Source: Getty Images
  • Full name: Phillip Glen-Earl Peaks
  • Date of birth: 5 November 1991
  • Age: 32 years old (as of May 2024)

Inspired by hip-hop legends such as Jay-Z and DMX, Peezy started rapping in high school. He recorded his first song in 2010 and gradually became noticed in the industry. The rapper is known for songs such as Back End, Eastside, and 2 Quick.

25. Bandgang Lonnie Bands

Rapper Bandgang Lonnie Bands sitting on a chair
Rapper Bandgang Lonnie Bands enjoying a calm moment on a seat. Photo: @bglonniekod on Instagram (modified by author)
Source: UGC
  • Full name: Bandgang Lonnie Bands
  • Date of birth: 25 July 1995
  • Age: 28 years old (as of May 2024)

Bandgang Lonnie Bands is considered one of the best Detroit underground rappers. He is a master of captivating storytelling lyrics and unrelenting flows. His popular songs are Homicide, Shred, H2K, and Paid.

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Who is the biggest rapper in Detroit?

Top Detroit rappers, including J Dilla and Slum Village, have made a mark in hip-hop. However, Eminem is considered the biggest among them, having made significant achievements, including winning the Grammy Awards 15 times.

What is Detroit rap called?

Detroit rap, sometimes known as Detroit drill, is a unique style and sound characterised by gritty lyricism, raw storytelling, and diverse influences from different musical heritages.

Why were the 3 rappers killed in Detroit?

State police reportedly revealed that rappers Armani Kelly, Montoya Givens, and Dante Wicker were killed in a gang-related incident after they went missing in January 2023.

What is the Michigan style of rap?

Michigan rap comprises Flint rap and Detroit rap. The rap styles are characterised by driving drum beats, brooding low piano chords, and narratives in their lyrics.

The Detroit rap scene is a force to be reckoned with. Its iconic pioneer rappers continue to pave the way for new talents who have redefined hip-hop and given rise to new sub-genres. Detroit rappers continue to emerge, pushing their abilities beyond their borders to captivate hip-hop enthusiasts worldwide.

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Legit.ng recently published a list of the 90s rappers who ruled the hip-hop scene. The decade significantly contributed to the development of hip-hop as it saw the emergence of notable artists whose hits are still a vibe today.

Old-school hip-hop defines the music genre's heritage. It was a period when many sub-genres had not emerged, so many artists stood out. Here are the 90s rappers who made a mark in the industry.

Source: Legit.ng

Authors:
Mercy Mbuthia avatar

Mercy Mbuthia (Lifestyle writer) Mercy Mbuthia is a content writer with five years of experience writing on various topics, including biographies, entertainment, and lifestyle. She joined the Legit team in 2019. Mercy earned a Master of Science (Food, Nutrition & Dietetics) from Dedan Kimathi University in 2022. Her articles have appeared on several media sites such as The Health Channel, The Nation, Tekrati, ValiantCEO and Celebrity Leader. In 2023, Mercy finished the AFP course on Digital Investigation Techniques. Email: mercymmbuthia18@gmail.com

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