Music

The Best Underground Hip Hop Groups 

Ranker Music
Updated November 4, 2019 11.6k votes 3k voters 114.6k views 117 items

Unlike their mainstream counterparts, underground hip hop is exactly what it sounds like: rappers who haven't quite hit the mainstream, yet retain a strong, devoted following. The best underground rappers are generally independent rappers who are signed either to an indie label or no label at all and whose lyrical matter discusses either social issues, political issues and other types anti-excess subjects. Some of the best underground rappers are also known as conscious rappers and to some, as the forebearers of alternative hip hop. No matter what your definition of underground hip hop is, the best rappers in this genre are widely respected by their peers due to their ability to not give in to external pressures to strike it big, yet are remaining true to their underground rap roots.

So, who are the best underground rappers? When you think of underground hip hop artists, some of the big names (at least by underground rap standards) are Big L, Aesop Rock, Dead Prez, Madlib, El-P, Atmosphere and Blackalicious. These are some of the most respected names in rap music. Many of the best underground rappers are recognized for retaining the original hip hop ethos and message of change, and the top underground artists are critically acclaimed for producing original, refreshing sounds that deviates, yet doesn't encompass popular rap.

That said, it's up to you to determine who are the best underground rappers. If you think someone is missing from this list of underground hip hop artists, feel free to add them. This list answers the questions "who are the best underground hip hop bands of all time?" and "who is the greatest underground hip hop musician ever?" If you know enough about the genre, please vote based on the quality of the band's music instead of just voting for the most popular underground hip hop bands that you might've heard of. 

list ordered by
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Feloni is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Underground Hip Hop Groups
RealKnowledge added

Unlike many artists who are given the opportunity to join mainstreem, Feloni remained indie by continuing to self-release music on her independant Detroit label, TrakDiamondRecord.com.   

More Feloni 

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Big L is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Underground Hip Hop Groups
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MF Doom is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Underground Hip Hop Groups
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Dead Prez is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Underground Hip Hop Groups
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Immortal Technique is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Underground Hip Hop Groups
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Hopsin is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Underground Hip Hop Groups
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Aesop Rock is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Underground Hip Hop Groups
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Atmosphere is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Underground Hip Hop Groups
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Jedi Mind Tricks is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Underground Hip Hop Groups
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Pharoahe Monch is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Underground Hip Hop Groups
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$uicideboy$ is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Underground Hip Hop Groups
GabEJohnston added
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Earl Sweatshirt is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Underground Hip Hop Groups
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Army of the Pharaohs is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Underground Hip Hop Groups
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R.A. The Rugged Man is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Underground Hip Hop Groups
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Madlib is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Underground Hip Hop Groups
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Eyedea & Abilities ... is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Underground Hip Hop Groups
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Brother Ali is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Underground Hip Hop Groups
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El-P is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Underground Hip Hop Groups
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Onyx is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Underground Hip Hop Groups
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Blackalicious is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Underground Hip Hop Groups
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Ras Kass is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Underground Hip Hop Groups
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Action Bronson is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Underground Hip Hop Groups
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Blu is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Underground Hip Hop Groups
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Yelawolf is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Underground Hip Hop Groups
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Lords of the Underground... is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Underground Hip Hop Groups