Top 10 Hip-Hop Artists of the Decade By Nick Andre

Top 10 Hip-Hop Artists of the Decade
This is the Top 10 Hip-Hop Artists of the Decade ACCORDING TO Nick Andre. LOL. Nick is our go-to voice for basketball on the Writer. But he has always expressed an interest in writing about more. I am excited to host his first variety piece in Music. In case you did not know, Music Matters on the Herstun Writer.

Hip-Hop has been a huge factor in my life for the past decade.

Top 10 Hip-Hop Artists of the Decade

There’s nothing like getting in the car in the morning and starting your day off listening to your favorite artists.

Throughout this decade I have matured from being a boy into being a man. I was fortunate to discover new artists that have changed my life for the better. And I cannot thank them enough for what they have done for me. Let’s take a look at 10 rappers who’ve influenced me through the past 10 years.

Top 10 Hip-Hop Artists of the Decade According to Me

10. G Herbo

It was my sophomore year of High School when I first discovered G Herbo (then known as Lil Herb). Being a kid who grew up in poverty, Herbo always speaks on the struggles he faced in Chicago and tells his listeners how he overcame. I have always been fascinated by the pain I can hear in his voice when he speaks on the past. And I love how humble he is because he has faced those situations. G Herbo is the most popular rapper on this list, but for a kid like myself who can relate, I most definitely appreciate him for always telling us his story.

Favorite G Herbo song: Man Now
Top 10 Hip-Hop Artists of the Decade

9. Young Thug

Young Thug is of the “mumble rap” generation but honestly, his sound has really influenced many other artists popping today. In my opinion, Young Thug is a really great rapper. Once people stop critiquing his sound, one can really tell that he has a great delivery and knows how to gain the attention of his listeners. Not only that, but his fashion game is on point as well (minus the fact that he wore a dress at one point). Young Thug will easily go down as one of the most influential artists of this decade and his impact will always be remembered.

Favorite Young Thug song: Hey, I
Top 10 Hip-Hop Artists of the Decade

8. Rapsody

If y’all want to listen to a female who can go toe to toe with the likes of Kendrick Lamar and J Cole, Rapsody is that woman for you. She can rap like none other and it’s insane how many people have never heard of her. Rapsody raps about black culture and makes you feel proud to be African American. I like to call her the mix of Common and Queen Latifah all into one. Rapsody still has a lot of work under her belt and I can’t wait to see what she brings to us in the 2020s!

Top 10 Hip-Hop Artists of the Decade Rapsody
Rapsody as seen on her IG.
Favorite Rapsody song: The Pressure (Feat. Styles P)
Top 10 Hip-Hop Artists of the Decade

7. Tyler, The Creator

Tyler may be the most influential rapper in my life that is on this list. Most people believe that Tyler is a weird kid who doesn’t care about certain things in life. But I see through that. In reality, Tyler influences everyone to be themselves which is the real motivation behind his antics. Over the past decade, Tyler has evolved into a great rapper and a great musician. He’s shown his diversity and ability to make different kinds of music. People may not look at Tyler the way I do, but to me, he is an overall great person and artist.

Tyler, the Creator’s NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert is pretty epic.
Favorite Tyler, the Creator song: Answer
Top 10 Hip-Hop Artists of the Decade

6. Big KRIT

What more can you say! Big KRIT has been holding down the south for some time now. As a kid from that Alabama-Mississippi area, we looked up to Big KRIT the most and always wanted to hear what he had to say next. KRIT speaks on various life topics that I can relate to and he makes me visualize my own life and the situations that I am going through at the time. He’s a great lyricist and deserves much more recognition than what he is given today.

Another excellent NPR Music Tiny Desk performance. Mixed Messages is the first song performed.
Favorite Big KRIT song: Mixed Messages
Top 10 Hip-Hop Artists of the Decade

5. Meek Mill

I used to pray for times like this to rhyme like this, so I had to grind like that to shine like this

Dreams & Nightmares By Meek Mill

Most people are gonna know that line from his famous song that was embraced by the Philadelphia Eagles on the way to winning an NFL Superbowl. Since then, it has become a Philly sports’ anthem. Besides that, Meek Mill has been one of my favorite artists throughout this decade. His music is motivating. And he uses his past life living in the streets of Philadelphia to keep him inspired. A lot of people believed that his career was over after going to prison two years ago for a parole violation. They were wrong. After battling his situation and overcoming it, Meek dropped one of the best albums of 2018, Championships.

Top 10 Hip-Hop Artists of the Decade Meek Mill
The cover of Meek Mill’s 2018 album, written from prison.

Meek is going to continue to motivate us to be great and I cannot wait to see what he has in store next decade.

Favorite Meek Mill song: Polo and Shell Tops
Top 10 Hip-Hop Artists of the Decade

4. Wale

There is no question that Wale knows how to make music. From making a real-life song about certain situations to making a song that you can play in a club, Wale is knowledgeable on how to gain listeners’ attention and create something that everyone will love. I’ve been following Wale since his first album released in 2009 called Attention Deficit. And even though he didn’t have a lot of attention then I knew he would become recognized as a great artist. The Nigerian-American rapper has now amassed 6 studio albums alongside 11 mixtapes.

Wale’s first single release, Chillin, featured Lady Gaga and dropped in 2009.

Wale is the one artist that inspires me to write just based on how much effort he puts into his craft. It seems like every rhyme he makes is flawless. And he always makes everything the best version that it can be. Safe to say that Wale is one of the best artists of the decade.

Ambition is the title track from Wale’s 2012 album.
Favorite Wale song: Ambition (Feat. Meek Mill and Rick Ross)
Top 10 Hip-Hop Artists of the Decade

3. J. Cole

It’s safe to say that J. Cole is one of the best artists of our generation. This man can flow like none other and his work ethic is insane. He is another guy that I can relate to wholeheartedly due to his circumstances growing up. And how he was able to manage not having a father in his life.

Cole is a guy that I could listen to that could get me through a tough day throughout the years. My favorite album is his 2014 Forest Hills Drive project.

Top 10 Hip-Hop Artists of the Decade J. Cole
The cover of J. Cole’s 2014 Forest Hills Drive album

He really paints a picture on that album describing his childhood and the situations he had to face that eventually made him a star. Cole really knows how to help people get through situations and I am happy to have listened to every second of the music he released this decade.

J. Cole went double platinum with no features. Ha. Enjoy this live performance.
Favorite J. Cole song: Nobody’s Perfect (Feat. Missy Elliott)
Top 10 Hip-Hop Artists of the Decade

2. Joey Bada$$

Joey Bada$$ is an underrated lyrical beast. He is easily one of the best artists to come out of New York. And according to his hardcore fans, he’s the only thing keeping real hip-hop alive. Rapping alongside his fellow mate Capital Steez at the time, Joey was able to release one of the best mixtapes of the decade with his debut project, 1999.

It is obvious by this track from 1999 that Joey Bada$$ is not normal. He is gifted. Clearly.

Despite the name, the album dropped in 2012. That mixtape made me fall in love with his music because at the time I was transitioning to High School and he was a 17-year-old kid already established in High School. His music was very relatable to me and it honestly got me through my freshmen year. Since that point, Joey has been proving to the world that he is not the one to mess with lyrically.

He has many rhymes that have blown my mind and made me think about how he was able to pull off such a great line. I can’t wait till Joey’s next album officially drops at the beginning of 2020.

Favorite Joey Bada$$ song: Waves
Top 10 Hip-Hop Artists of the Decade

1. Kendrick Lamar

In my opinion, Kendrick Lamar is the King of Hip Hop. He has evolved throughout the years as an artist and it’s great to see all of his success. I’ve followed Kendrick since the early 2000’s when his name was K Dot.

A Young Kendrick dropped this mixtape under the name K-Dot at 16 years old.

Even when he was just a hype man right behind his TDE partner Jay Rock, everyone knew Kendrick was destined to become a star and it was only a matter of time before he finally got his opportunity.

Top 10 Hip-Hop Artists of the Decade J. Cole & Kendrick Lamar
J. Cole in black & Kendrick Lamar in gold as seen on Kendrick’s IG page.

Kendrick speaks on the ups and downs of Compton and what he experienced just looking among others who were involved in the street life. He makes it clear that he is not one of those rappers who speak on violence and drugs in his music but one who can be “conscious” and give out real-life lessons through his raps. Kendrick has become a megastar through this decade and it’s only a matter of time before he is in the same conversation as Tupac and Biggie. The week after releasing the album DAMN, every song was charted on the Billboard Hot 100 list. In 2020, I hope to hear another Kendrick Lamar project.

Sing About Me/I’m Dying of Thirst from Good Kid, m.A.A.d City.
Top 10 Hip-Hop Artists of the Decade
Favorite Kendrick Lamar song: Sing About Me, I’m Dying of Thirst

Top 10 Hip-Hop Artists of the Decade Honorable Mentions


Dave East

Travis Scott

It has been great to see these artists take Hip-Hop to another level for the culture. There are many guys who have paved their own way in the rap game and have helped it evolve over the decade. I cannot wait to see what the 2020s have to offer us in my favorite genre of music. There’s going to be that one person or group that is waiting to blow up. How will they change the world?

I’m not sure. But I’ll be listening. (And possibly writing some album reviews for Herstun! So, stay tuned.)



Written By Nick Andre. Edit & Research By W.D. Herstun.


Still working on pulling together beefy, informative pieces and this one is one of them! I had to edit it in parts around the holiday festivities.
I love it though. Because in addition to Nick Andre’s top ten artists of the decade, I learned about his life. I got to meet the men and woman who helped him through stress. Encouraged him in sadness, and help him believe that he has a future with words. I love that. Music is incredibly powerful.
Can’t get enough of Nick Andre? Check out his sports content! It’s lit!

Sources: is great for lyrics and lyrical histories. Most of the knowledge researched here is a conglomeration of genius articles.

YouTube is the source for all videos.

Artists’ Instagrams for most still photos.

Published by Nick Andre

Sports Writer/ Creative Writer. Passion for sports (mostly basketball) and other categories. Love to keep readers entertained with what is going on in today’s world.

3 thoughts on “Top 10 Hip-Hop Artists of the Decade By Nick Andre

    1. Personally feel like Joey is lyrically better than Cole. But that doesn’t take anything away from what Cole has done as far as his impact on hip hop.

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