Emo rap sounds like a blend of Soulja Boy and Taking Back Sunday, and that auditory fusion has resulted in a burgeoning rap subgenre that is dominating the charts and proving it’s more than just a niche for people who like to cry in the club.
The style—which merges the melodies and guitars of emo music with trap production and rap tropes—has had some huge successes: Lil Uzi Vert’s “XO Tour Llif3” and Juice WRLD’s “Lucid Dreams” both landed in the top ten of the all-genre Billboard Hot 100 in 2018, with “Lucid Dreams” peaking at an impressive No. 2. But it’s also had its share of trials: The deaths of Juice, XXXTentacion and Lil Peep between 2017 and 2019 meant the loss of a few of emo rap’s greatest talents and most promising superstars.
Spotify's fastest growing genre in 2018 perfectly targets young adults who grew up on early 2000s pop-punk and emo music and who now listen to rap tracks that regularly top the charts. And with the unprecedented rise of artists like Juice WRLD, there’s no reason to believe the sound won’t become even more mainstream. Below, we’ve collected the emo artists to look out for, from bona fide superstars like Lil Uzi Vert to up-and-coming talent.