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The Rap Game's Storytellers of Today

King Von, Speaker Knockerz, J. Cole, Kendrick Lamar, Freddie Gibbs, and Nipsey Hussle are just some of the artists of today that have the ability to use their music to paint vivid pictures and tell in-depth stories.

Storytelling is one of the basic fundamentals of hip hop and has been used since its beginnings to tell the audience about the rapper's experience or put the audience's own experiences into songs they can relate to. Sometimes they're violent, sometimes they're melancholy, sometimes it's a story that we can't necessarily relate to. No matter the case, we can use their intentional rhyming skills, flows, and even added sound effects to visualize the stories they are trying to tell us. Within hip hop culture, it is without a doubt that artists such as The Notorious BIG, Tupac, Slick Rick, and others are the ones we give immense credit to. However, a handful of artists today have taken that foundation and used it to tell their own stories.

Here are a few rappers in hip hop today who utilize their music to detail various stories for us to see and hold on to.


King Von

The late Chicago rapper King Von solidified his rise to notoriety with many of his songs describing situations and painting an entire story for us to follow. Songs like Crazy Story (including parts two and three), Where I'm From and F*ck Yo Man tell stories of shootouts, gang-related beef and even romantic relationships that allow Von's fan-base to understand him as both a gangster rapper and a lover.

Speaker Knockerz

When discussing storytellers of hip hop today, Speaker Knockerz is an automatic go-to. Throughout the hip-hop community, those who know of him always mention the fact that he plays a huge role in the artistry of rappers today. His most notable series of storytelling rap is his "Rico's Story" trilogy. Every line, every bar, from beginning to end was meticulous and intentional.

J. Cole

The music that comes from North Carolina artist J. Cole is incredibly versatile, as he maintains a music catalog that contains music for every listener. In regards to storytelling, he has told stories of high school crushes (Wet Dreamz), feeling like an outsider and doing what you have to do to make it ('03 Adolescence & A Tale of Two Citiez) and even telling the stories of others' struggles (4 Your Eyez Only).

Kendrick Lamar

There isn't much that I can tell you about California-bred artist Kendrick Lamar that would give him the credit he deserves. His craft is one of the best that this generation has ever seen and he never fails or shies away from telling stories ranging from police brutality and being a Black man and woman in America, to dark deep secrets like that one time his dad and future mentor met in an unexpected and almost life-changing situation (see below).

Freddie Gibbs

Coming from Gary, Indiana, Freddie Gibbs is an undeniable name worth mentioning on this list. Deemed a gangster rapper by much of his audience, he has many songs that tell stories that we couldn't imagine, but can easily visualize.

Nipsey Hussle

Last but certainly not least on the list is Crenshaw-born rapper Nipsey Hussle. Nipsey was known as more than a rapper, but a humanitarian in his city and made sure to talk about life in Los Angeles in his music.

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