Tech N9ne Just Right

Wake Up!: The Top Five Rappers That Too Many People Are Sleeping On!

Hip-Hop is certainly a force to be reckoned in popular culture. However, the spotlight is only so big. And as a result, many talented rappers are not recognized by the masses. So, it’s only right that credit is given to those whose time in the limelight is long overdue.

And with Hip-Hop having such a rich history now, it’s only right that underrated rappers be acknowledged in categories: Pioneers, Old School, New School, etc.

Therefore, here is’s list of the Top Five most underrated rappers since the dawn of this new millennium (there are many more…WE KNOW):

5. Lloyd Banks: The 2004 Mixtape Awards recipient for “Best Artist on a Mixtape” made a smooth transition to full-fledged albums, but at the time of doing so, it was all but impossible for anyone to get out from under the shadow 50 Cent had over Hip-Hop – and especially other members of G-Unit.  But make no mistake, Lloyd Banks is a punchline monster [“Look dog, I don’t run with the poodles/Difference is, I’m eating in Rome and you’re eating Ramen Noodles”].  In 2010, Banks released “Beamer, Benz or Bentley”, and that one single was so successful that Interscope Records attempted to resign him to label after dropping him the previous year. And just last July, he dropped a mixtape, V.6: The Gift, which received hella praise from critics and fans alike.

4. Jean Grae: After MC Lyte and Queen Latifah, solo femcees were commonly pigeon-holed as overtly sexual rappers to their male peers.  Then along came Jean Grae. Between spitting over some of Hip-Hop’s most recognizable tracks on The Bootleg of The Bootleg EP (Jay-Z’s “U Don’t Know, Eminem’s “Role Model) rapping with The Roots (The Tipping Point’s “Somebody’s Gotta Do It”), and getting very personal on Jeanius (“My Story” finds Grae discussing an abortion), there isn’t much she can’t do as a rapper.  In 2011, after a nearly four0year absence, Jean returned to the scene with a mixtape called Cookies or Comas, one she said was to tide listeners over until her next LP, Cake or Death.

3. Tech N9ne: Hailing from Kansas City, Missouri, this highly-skilled, rapid-fire rapper technically introduced himself in the late ’90s, but didn’t really catch on until the 2001 release of his album, Anghelic.  Most artists would settle for a classic horrorcore album, but not Tech.  With each album more ambitious than than the one before (his 2011 solo album was 24 tracks long and featured collaborations with rap newcomer Hopsin and Stokley Williams of ’90s R&B group, Mint Condition), he shows no signs of slowing down. At age 40, Tech has proven that rap isn’t just a young man’s game.  And with his album stealing “Interlude” appearance on Tha Carter IV, Tech N9ne may have benefited from that 2011 blockbuster release more than Lil Wayne.

2. Royce Da 5’9”: This guy is an incredible lyricist and someone who can write about a versatile range of subjects. For example, he ghostwrote Dr. Dre’s tribute to his deceased brother, “The Message”, in 1999. On his own solo debut in 2002, Royce wrote a surprise of a song about his genitals called “My Friend.” Additionally, he can rap on par with the best of them. With five solo albums under his belt and production from DJ Premier, The Neptunes, and The Hitmen in his catalog, he has ample quality material. Two other projects Royce has recently dropped bars on – 2011’s Bad Meets Evil EP with Eminem and the 2012 release of Slaughterhouse’s sophomore LP on Shady Records – didn’t hurt either.

1. Immortal Technique: He’s the heir to Chuck D, and no one is more capable of using Hip-Hop to comment on social issues than the Peruvian-born MC. Poverty, politics, racism, and capitalism are all heavy-handed subjects that Immortal Technique never shies away from. With three albums and a compilation to his credit, he puts more content in a single verse than some others do in an entire album. And as a staunch supporter of independence, he has always stayed away from the major labels. But, he’s uber-aware of the affect he has, and that just makes him that much more powerful – his overseas documentary with Woody Harrelson, Dr. Cornel West, and more is proof positive. On a track called “Reverse Pimpology,” he sums it up: “I’m not a crack rapper, I’m not a backpacker/ I’m not a wack rapper moonlighting as a bad actor.”

There are many, many more…WE KNOW ALREADY!! Sound off on some of your top underrated rappers of this millennium in the comment section below.

  • talsen

    Kydd Jones comes to mind

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  • Eli Pinilla

    I dnt see how half of this list is slept on. Banks been around and been gone plat a few times. Tech 9 is the most successful independent rap artist of all times. Royce is with slaughter house and went gold with em on that joint project… i thought yall meant really slept on artist like big krit or freddie gibbs. Phonte is slept on hard as well

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  • TruthSerum

    Nobody is sleeping on Tech N9ne, he’s sold close to 2 million records at this point, lives in a mansion and drives a ferrari. Immortal Technique probably isnt far behind, Banks has a double platinum album under his belt & Royce had a #1 album with Em last year. The only name on your list thats “underrated” is Jean

    • anemia716

      But in comparison to other artists Tech is slept on. Yes, he’s sold records. He’s the number 1 indie rapper in the world but he still rather overlooked.

      • TruthSerum

        Not by comparison to alot of folks tho. I’m a fan of tech but he was featured on the Last Wayne album and had a video on 106 & Park with B.O.B , I think its a little unfair to consider him underrated at this point. He gets his respect these last few years.

      • anemia716

        I don’t think so. I am a huge fan of Tech. The video on 106 park was a single chosen off of 6s and 7s because of the B.O.B feature. They knew that would land. But besides that video name another one that was on B.E.T or MTV and I’m not talking MT2 or anything. He is underrated. Most people, and by most people, I mean the masses (after all that’s whom this article is referring to) don’t know who Tech is or anyone else from Strange because media outlets including AHH very rarely mention him. Artists like Big Sean or Meek Mill (to name a couple) have news posted about them everyday and they have a fraction of the talent that is coming out of the Strange camp. You never hear anything about Mayday, Krizz, Kutt, Scoob or anyone because Strange, as a label is underrated and does not get the same attn from these sites, hence, why the masses pass them by, and when you’re passed by in the entertainment industry that is considered being underrated.

      • TruthSerum

        I hear what your saying. I dunno tho, I remember in 2005 buying tickets to the Tech show and seeing him perform for a venue that was like 30% full. I tried to go see him last year and couldn’t cause the show was sold out. I think he’s alot more well known these days then your implying. Flipping through channels few days back I caught this dude on that stupid “Hip Hop Squares” show, lol.

      • Tasnif Rahman

        That’s cause Tech’s a beast on the stage. He’s still not as recognized as he should be.

      • isaac

        bc strange music is a bunch of weird fucks who just do and say wierd shit and act differently for the shock value. they lack talent and substance.
        Ab-Soul should top this list

    • water_ur_seeds

      @ mean
      co-sign that, and even is recognized as a dope mc by most people

    • Pierre Elliott


    • 2 million records sold divided by 12 albums = slept on… Unless you’re from California where in the 90’s we were the only ones outside his region checking hard for him. (See: Thugged Out: The Albulation)

  • Malcolm Moody

    I was gonna say Pharoahe Monch

  • Accurate list!

  • Bruce Sykes

    Childish Gambino. Enough said.

  • Somebody fire this guy. Lloyd Banks!? Tech 9?! It’s damn near 2013… I feel you on Immortal & Jean though.

  • Macklemore most definitely needs to be on there. 70K first week independently.

    • anemia716

      He’s a monster. Love his music.


  • IDK about Banks being on this list.he had a smash debut.Shit if you gonna put Royce may aswell put every member of SH.I would say MF Doom is slept on and a couple dope cats

  • Write Jus

    Royce and Jean are 2 of my favorite rappers, so I ain’t trippin’ on the list. Put my boy Skyzoo over Banks tho…

    • BrickCityBully

      Banks spit way better than everyone on the list

      • RIVERMAN23

        sorry but tech n9ne raps circles around banks and i like banks alot,

      • FallenSoldier7501

        Banks over Tech, or Royce? lol you gotta be kidding me.

    • James Powell

      I agree skyzoo should be on there for sure

  • AK

    wtf tech 9 and technique been making more money and selling shows worldwide then most mainstream rappers they are far from slept on, they are just indie and not the garbage being pushed to you by the powers

  • EQ

    in these times (internet) i dont think the people are sleeping on these artist i think the mainstream media is.

  • WillVetterGoodin

    Jay Electronica!!

    • disqus_E7MH35IweK

      lazy ass old rapper

  • disqus_E7MH35IweK

    chinx drugz

  • mike h

    willie the kid and maffew ragazino.

  • This comes from a site, which could do more to promote slept on rappers.

    Let me make a list.

    Top 10 Celebrities promoted by AHH.

    1. Kreayshawn
    2. Kim K
    3. Chris Brown
    4. Rihanna
    5. Kat Stacks
    6. 50Cent
    7. Jay Z
    8. Lil Wayne
    9. Amber Rose
    10. Drake

    Less than half have anything to do with Hip-Hop.
    If you guys would stop reporting on irrelevant celebs,
    maybe you would see how many rappers you guys slept on.

    • water_ur_seeds

      @ asher

      • YoungGizzle

        Not true there far better than those mainstream fucks

      • water_ur_seeds

        you sure that comment is for me??? think you got it wrong starrr… i was agreeing with asher’s comemnt

    • Pierre Elliott



    • seveneightyseven

      lol i pray they read your comment

    • Snake

      Better take Jay-Z off that list son

    • BRILLIANT! love this post


    Man This Is 1 Lame Ass List, and As Expected, No Southern Rappers To Be Found. Lloyd Banks Already Went Platinum, How Is He Slept On???

  • Jamarcus Hussell


  • Jamarcus Hussell

    Brotha Lynch Hung

  • Jamarcus Hussell

    Master P and the whole No Limit Forever camp…them niggaz be spittin fire…

  • breed500

    2.Ab Liva
    4.Face Vega
    5.Willie the Kid

    • Jamarcus Hussell

      add Mistah FAB to that…

  • anemia716

    Love how they have this article talking about slept on rappers, when AHH hasnt posted a single read regarding Tech’s latest EP, E.B.A.H or his upcoming EP Boiling Point.

    Sites like AHH only contribute to these artists being slept on. Everyone on this list I listen to. The only one I really don’t listen to is Immortal but he’s got mad talent.


  • water_ur_seeds

    immortal Tech is the GOAT… But Vinnie Paz should Be in this… How the fck people sleeping on Royce and Banks? lol Royce is dope, Banks bores Me even though He is talented… AHH should of told people that Vinnie dropped an album this week!

  • Irvin Findlay

    Lloyd Banks is slept on nowadays he doesn’t even get nominated at awards or get to perform smfh he doesnt get the credit he deserves after coming out with a nice debut too many ppl underrate him

  • David Cobb

    Need to slide Masta Ace in that list somewhere…..nough said

    • johnblacksad

      Disposable Arts… one perfect azz album!

    • churchboy2

      The truth dot com

  • johnblacksad

    Sean Price
    San Quinn
    Rich Boy
    Mac Boney

    Lil Keke

    Maybe ya’ll aint sleepin on these dudes -no homo- but i feel they deserve so much more recognition… there’s plenty of other ninjas that keep that hip hop sh!t flamin and that deserve way more as well… props to all of them!

    Banks don’t belong there tho… he got the plat plaques

    • johnblacksad

      The way Mac Boney spat that verse on Trap Muzik’s intro is one of the best spit i ever heard in my life!

  • Tril Beats

    Hopsin should replace Lloyd Banks on this list!

    • Hector G

      article is about slept on rappers not up and coming rappers

    • Richie_Ochoa


  • churchboy2

    Glad to see Jean Grae but I am disappointed that Phonte, Skillz and Joell Ortiz are not mentioned.

    Co-sign the cat below who said Masta Ace.

    Perhaps this article should be called “Top 5 Rappers that AHH Ignores”

  • Dointer

    GRAFH!!! Before he started rapping over souther shit beats,

  • chicago maverick is deff an artist that is under rated. this hip hop artist is so talented and diverse, with his raspy voice and his storytelling style. he is bringing a fresh new flavor to the hip hop industry.

  • andrewdavis1415

    u can add Jon Connor & Los to this lost.Lyrically, they cud go bar-for-bar w/any MC alive right now Indie/Mainstream

    • johnblacksad

      Jon Connor… just checked… dude can rap and is actually sayin sh!t… props

      aight let’s check Los out… peace



  • ladynamor

    Says who?

  • Hector G

    move banks to the number 1 spot….article dosen’t mention that he’s sold like 3 million albums or more world wide…has a mean mixtape contribution with like 10 or more dope mixtapes let alone all the stuff from g-unit albums and mixtapes……list should also have juelz santana on there…they both made the beamer, benz or bentley record and seems like they disappeared kinda on purpose……if no one in the game is hearing from them, they’re probably chillin somewhere writing some next material

  • daveofthematthews

    Can’t be too mad at this list as they are all good at what they do, I would have Included Crooked I tho, Because lyrically Crook is ahead of most people in the game and has been for the past 10 years, I mean The dude was writing for Kurupt when everyone was saying he was a great and underrated lyricist, not to mention his Hip Hop Weekly series.

  • Joenathan

    I dont know that dude Eshon Burgandy , Trip Lee , S.O. , Bizzle , & Jonathan Cayol them dudes hands down top 5 yall aint even heard of ’em thats how slept on they are !

  • hoeyuno

    Immortal tech is the best hip hop artist there is. Him and diabolic are a fuckin beast.

  • JudgeMethos

    No mention of Krayzie Bone…?

  • Cody

    Inspectah Deck from Wu is way underrated!!!

  • crawla

    Young Buck
    Mikkey Halsted
    J.R. Writer
    Shaquille O’Neal lol!!!

    • Mickey Fincher Kelz

      listen to
      jr writers new ish nd say this

  • timwest1000

    Seriously I cant stand this list. No hate. Immortal technique on some spoken word conspiracy bullsh*t and Jean Grae cant write a hook to save her life. Royce is cool, Tech Nine is all out corney as hell and Lloyd is probably the only one on this list that isnt on some wierdo sh*t. WHO MADE THIS STUPID ASS LIST ANYWAY? The most slept on rappers wouldnt even be on this site!!!!!!!!Thats what makes you “slept on”. All of these rappers on this list have been promoted by AHH for years man. What it should say is rappers we have tried to push down your throats and no one gives a f*ck.

    • Snake

      I disliked this once I seen your stupid azz said that “Tech N9ne”, is(clears throat)…corny as hell…?….?

  • OnlyFaDaReal

    My dog Dee-1 shoulda made that list.

  • seveneightyseven

    i think wax should go here instead of lloyd, and well tech, probably royce too….unfortunately nobody knows who i’m talking about 🙁

  • MiiUziWeighsATon

    I’m bout to get on some bullshyt and say my lil nigga AR AB…

  • johnblacksad

    i’m getting a lot of artists names to check for… cool article

  • Art Of War

    This list, hands down! should have Cormega , my favorite under rated rapper oh yeah cant forget AZ

    • KingsCountyCrooklyn

      nah AZ had his share of the spot light back in the day….

      • Art Of War

        Actually Nas practically took all the spotlight , which is also the same person who pulled a straight bitch move in messing up Mega montana’s career. How you gonna replace Cormega with Nature. Funny thing is most people only heard of Nas vs Jay z Battle yet barely anyone heard of Cormega eating up Nas.

  • Could of used a better punchline for banks lol, and i wouldn’t say royce is slept on or tech.

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  • $11625525

    I would agree with an artist being slept on if they were grinding and didn’t have a money machine behind them or weren’t affiliated with a superstar rapper but Banks and Royce? Really? If no one is buying their records it;s because they’re not making pop music, that’s no crime is it? This post should be on a non-hip hop site unless you’re gonna tell us about people we’ve most likely never heard of.

  • I agree wit the list…..i would put kurupt on there. Hes known but hes not mentioned much when a discussion of real mc’s come up. Redman too…..royce da 5’9 rock city is classic!!!

  • are these the rappers AHH sleeps on ? bcz every1 know already— have been bangn all these well known rappers for YEARS
    too bad the editor was too late & missed tech9 on ‘questions’. qdIII did the beat

  • Recordpusher

    Check female spitter “Dynasty aka Ya Girl DY” “Epic Dynasty” (Produced by DJ Premier)

  • Southcidal

    The Top 5 Unknown East Coast Rappers right?

  • Southcidal

    I can’t lie, I love pure lyrist, but Masta Ace is shiity. A lot of yall NY niggaz look for saviors, but yall biitches just rock with shit that is relatable.

  • Lost Reader

    Was this written in 2005? Royce Da 5’9″ is one of the most celebrated rappers out right now (rightfully so). This website needs some sort of re-boot. The name of the article should be “Rappers we don’t talk about on AHH because we’re too busy focusing on Kanye West rumors”

    • isaac

      you’re an idiot. no disrespect. he is not celebrated at all. seriously. walk down any street anywhere (other than detroit) and ask people who he is, or even if they’ve heard of him. i GUARANTEE you that less than 1/4 of the people you ask will know who he is. and also, his brother is better than he is.

  • Jean Grae & Immortal Tech… 😉 righteous…

  • John

    1. Anto’Neyo [ The Artist ]
    2. Tech Nine
    3. Problem
    4. Rocko

  • chris

    Eyedea, Kristoff Krane, Bahamadia,

  • Ben_Ovabich

    Elzhi of Slum Village..

    • Mickey Fincher Kelz

      baby nas

  • Phlame

    To many people are sleepin on “Propain” (Houston) “Sk4mc” (Vegas) as far as rappers from the 90’s early 2000’s there’s plenty of slept on cats but they’ve made it to their max fan base so they’ve had the success they deserve already. Its a new generation time for a NEW awakening

  • Anders Holms

    Joe Budden…..

    • Mickey Fincher Kelz

      u probably are emotional

  • And didn’t you guys write a piece on how Jean Grae HATES being referred to as a “femcee”? Smh. Danny Brown needs to be on there.

  • Slaughtr

    The list was correct and yea allhiphop can get real whack most times when pumpin mc’s who aint shyt so this is true this time like it or not.We are not comparing today’s trash rap.

  • HOPSIN. that is all.

  • hoeyuno

    I think tech was slept on in 98. in 2012 dude gets his bread. Immortal tech is the best well rounded mc ever

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  • reppington reppingtons

    As usual the people that comment on Banks havent listened to him since 2005. Banks is the best lyricist on this list, far from a punchline rapper and has been for over 5 years now. Like Kanye said on twitter, “Banks is top 5”