Rap is one of those genres that, like it or not, packs a powerful punch in every syllable, from the pounding beat to the lyrical flow. Below, you’ll find 10 of the best rappers of this generation, each of whom fits one of three profiles: lyrical prowess, signed to powerful labels, or activism where it really matters.

Kendrick Lamar

Best Rapper of this Generation for: Lyrical genius, signed to Top Dawg Entertainment

Kendrick Lamar is the first person to win a Pulitzer prize for a hip-hop album. He has been branded “the new king of hip hop” on numerous occasions and holds a net worth of $75 million.

Major Debut Album: good kid, m.A.A.d City

Recent work: Damn, released and certified platinum in 2017; as well as co-produced Black Panther’s soundtrack

J.I.D.

Best Rapper of this Generation for: Signed to Interscope Records and Dreamville Records

J.I.D. started gaining recognition after his early independent projects in 2012 and 2013. He is a member of hip-hop supergroup Zoink Gang and signed to Spillage Village, among other labels. J.I.D.’s net worth is estimated at $500 thousand.

Debut Album: Sound Event

Recent work: DiCaprio 2 in 2018 and Catch Me If You Can tour in 2019

J. Cole

Best Rapper of this Generation for: Developer of Dreamville Records and the Dreamville Foundation

J. Cole first received recognition in 2007 for his mixtape The Come Up. His first debut studio album topped the U.S. Billboard 200 list at #1 in 2011. His net worth is estimated at $35 million.

Debut Album: The Judgement

Recent work: Revenge of the Dreamers III in 2019

Jay Rock

Best Rapper of this Generation for: Black Hippy member, signed to Top Dawg Entertainment

Jay Rock has seen his name on labels such as Interscope Records, Warner Bros, and even Tech N9ne’s Strange Music in a joint-record deal. His net worth falls around $500 thousand.

Debut Album: Young Hustle Vol. 2

Recent work: Redemption in 2018, featuring Kendrick Lamar and Future, which received nominations for Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song at the 2019 Grammy Awards.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by AFF-USA/Shutterstock (10464364bz) Donald Glover LACMA Art and Film Gala, Arrivals, Los Angeles, USA – 02 Nov 2019

Childish Gambino

Best Rapper of this Generation for: This Is America, black rights activism

Childish Gambino, better known now as Donald Glover, is an actor and rapper who has worked to tear down barriers of all kinds with his music and film work. He has a net worth of over $12 million.

Debut Album: Illin-Noise!

Recent work: Voice of Simba in The Lion King in 2019, 3.15.20, which debuted at #`3 on the Billboard 200

ScHoolboy Q

Best Rapper of this Generation for: Black Hippy member, signed to Top Dawg Entertainment

ScHoolboy Q has been signed to major companies such as TDE and Interscope Records. His 2020 net worth is estimated at $5 million.

Debut Album: ScHoolboy Turned Hustla

Recent work: Crash Talk in 2019, which debuted at #3 on top of the U.S. Billboard 200

Cardi B

Best Rapper of this Generation for: Women’s rights activism, multiple Billboard 100 hits

Cardi B is a female rapper who has broken records, taken awards, and shone a light on women in rap, hip-hop, and the media in general. She’s been signed to both Atlantic Records and Quality Control Records and won a Grammy for Best Rap Album. Her net worth is valued at $24 million.

Debut Album: Gangsta Bitch Music, Vol. 1

Recent work: “Where to With You,” a single released in 2017

Omen

Best Rapper of this Generation for: Signed to Dreamville Records and Interscope Records

Omen has received critical acclaim on his 2015 debut album Elephant Eyes in addition to his work on Revenge of the Dreamers. Omen’s net worth is valued between $1 million to $5 million.

Debut Album: Elephant Eyes

Recent work: Elephant Eyes tour in fall of 2015

Meek Mill

Best Rapper of this Generation for: Album success, using influence to inspire criminal justice reform

Meek Mill announced the launch his own record label, Dream Chaser Records, in 2012, but the official launch was not until 2019. He holds a net worth of $25 million.

Debut Album: Dreams and Nightmares

Recent work: Championships in 2018, which debuted at the top of the U.S. Billboard 200

 Offset

Best Rapper of this Generation for: Member of Migos, multiple Billboard 200 debuts

Offset is famously Cardi B’s husband and father to Kulture. He has released multiple albums and singles that hit top 75 or higher on the Billboard 200 list. Offset’s net worth is valued at $30 million.

Debut Album: Without Warning

Recent work: Father of 4, featuring wife Cardi B

Rap brings out the rhythm in all of us – and dances circles around most of us with the fast-paced, hard-hitting lyrics that take several listens to digest and several more after that to fully understand. These artists have all proved their mettle – or tried to – with their own lyrical prowess and sick beats.

Did we leave off your favorite rapper? Is there someone else more deserving to be on this list? Let us know!