The Best Performers in Rap Right Now


Technical skill, originality, and style always come into question when considering the best rappers, but the increasingly important live show is sometimes left out of the discussion. A great live show, however, always helps pave the way to stardom, and with music sales down, concerts are important for securing a loyal fan-base, an invaluable means of winning new fans, and a way to make money without selling CDs or MP3s. So from the masters of well-oiled, highly-rehearsed stadium sell-out shows, to the raw, punk energy of a sweaty basement gig, here are the best live performers in rap right now.

Note: This list of best live performers is absolutely not a representation of who we consider to be the best rappers out there (though there is of course some crossover), as live performance and recorded music are two wholly different beasts.

Click to start the list

  • dubbs

    It should be noted that Danny Brown once got his dick sucked on stage and rapped the whole time.. He should be #1.

  • bizznizle

    YAll bitches is tripping but erryone knows eminem is #1

  • Jalea

    Sorry but Jay may be one of the GOAT but his performances right now <<

  • yalltrippin

    yall niggas trippin, saw him live here in Dallas and it was amazing.

    I watch his shows on youtube all the time and its like this… If the crowd is in it, then he is in it.

  • Thor

    Where’s Eminem?

  • Confusion

    Eminem would be on here if it wasn’t “right now.” Now it seems like Em only does concerts when they’re sponsored corporate events. If he does release an album this year and goes on tour I think he could definitely be one of the best again.

  • Kevin

    I remember going to see Mad Skillz live back in ’95 in a club in the ATL and by the end of the performance this cat from the audience had ended up on stage after challenging Skillz and his man(who was just as dope on the mic).
    Shortly thereafter a vicious impromptu lyrical battle had ensued between Skill’z man and some anonymous fan,both of whom were razor sharp.

    Now that’s the kind of hip hop experience that I came up on.

  • 21faces

    Busdriver and El-P need to be on here

  • Enrique DB


  • Confusion

    It’s just about that “right now” part. Lately Em hasn’t been performing much, and when he does, it’s mostly corporate events. After he drops new stuff and starts doing real shows, I’m sure he’ll be on top again.

  • DesignatedH8R

    No Nas or Eminem, but Macklemore (which was the lamest shit I’ve ever seen live) and Mac Miller? GTFOH with this stupid list.

  • DesignatedH8R

    Yelawolf is way better live than Mac Miller

  • DesignatedH8R

    He’s aight. Good records definitely. Live performances aren’t bad.

  • DesignatedH8R

    Game guzzled a whole bottle of grey goose at the show I went to. One of the best, no doubt.

  • DesignatedH8R

    The Roots is in Rolling Stone’s top ten bands to see before you die.

  • DesignatedH8R

    El-P is pretty cool. Was just going to pass on it, but he got my attention at a festival.

  • DesignatedH8R

    doesn’t make him #1

  • My Nigga D

    I saw Chance twice…I’ve never been so alive. I’ve seen Kendrick also, songs like Maad city pump you up. but other than that it’s shit you can vibe too. not get turnt up. I recommend any Chance performance, doe

  • Ela

    In response to my last post, I saw him again in LA and it was definitely way better than my first time. I guess he got more performance experience

  • MGK

    MACHINE GUN KELLY nuff said

  • Ahmed Khogali

    Where’s J.Cole? he’s good

  • hjk

    Bro eminem

  • Oneel

    I know why Mr.Rager hasn’t made it to the list. He takes his shows to the outer space where these Sucka Hatin Niggas Can’t Follow. He should be No1 on this list followed by Kendirck, Hov, Snoop, Wiz and then Pro Era & the whole Beast Coast!
    Thats My Opinion !

  • 412loyal

    Saw MGK live, he’s no where near my favorite artist. Saw him cuz he came to my college. Kid killed it and blew me and everyone in the place away. MGK life fan after i saw him live. Def the best live hiphop performance I’ve ever seen and I’ve seen a lot.

  • sergio

    y’all should put Captain Murphy (FlyLo rapping) on the next list. saw him at SXSW this week and maaaaaaaaan. creative as hell, he was the best one at the showcase, and it was all rappers.

  • Free

    Drake should definitely be on here at the very least for the same reason Jay is on here, he got HITS and people know every word to a damn near everyone, plus he has good energy, great sequencing, has developed great stage presence, and has a good, clear performing voice (which i cant say for guys like Wayne and Kendrick)

  • Talo

    where the fuck is RAP GOD ?

  • no_one_from_chicago

    Did Kanye West prepare this list?

  • Paulo

    kanye definetly earned to be number one. i saw the yeezus tour and it gives you a whole new perspective of the new album. the concert was filled with lights explosions. it gives me goose bumps to this day.

  • jus

    Eminem shud definitely be on the list his live concerts r fucking crazy

  • Smirnoff

    Where the fuck is Eminem???

  • Neek_TheFreek

    Disappointed MGK and Travi$ Scott arent on this list.