Underground hip hop, also known as alternative hip hop or independent hip hop, is rap music performed without a label. Several American and international artists do not have a "mainstream hip hop" record label, such as the underground rap record company Rhymesayers Entertainment. Several others self release through iTunes and YouTube or create their own record label like Soulja Boy Tell'em's Stacks On Deck Entertainment (2007 - present). Underground hip hop is mostly popular amongst the internet.

Style and performanceEdit

Underground hip-hop encompasses several different styles of music,[1] though it is often politically themed and socially conscious. Numerous acts in the book How to Rap are described as being both underground and politically or socially aware, these include – Amazing Poetry,[2][3] Little Brother,[4] Brother Ali,[4] Mr. Lif,[5] MURS,[5] Binary Star,[6] People Under the Stairs,[7] Lifesavas,[8][9], Esik and Zion I.[10]

Underground artists often have high levels of critical acclaim – acts who have been specifically noted as being both underground and having numerous critically acclaimed albums include Jurassic 5,[11] Aesop Rock,[11] MF Doom (AKA King Geedorah, Viktor Vaughn, Madvillain and DANGERDOOM), Tech N9ne, Ugly Duckling,[12] Little Brother,[4] Brother Ali,[4] El Da Sensei,[13] Dilated Peoples,[14] Non Phixion,[15] Freestyle Fellowship,[6] Binary Star,[6] Planet Asia,[16] The Visionaries, People Under the Stairs,[7] Cannibal Ox,[7][9] Cid Julian and Zion I.[10]

Race in the underground sceneEdit

Main article: Race in hip hop

Commonly, there are more white rappers who are underground than white rappers who are mainstream. These rappers include Pref1x, DreDay, and B. Dolan.

Underground hip hop and the internetEdit

Many artists have used the internet to become famous. This is more common now than hip hop artists in the underground from the 1990s who were commonly only known in their town or city and released CDs and cassette and audio tapes. Now YouTube is commonly used for songs and videos of the underground under specific accounts and iTunes is used to release albums and mixtapes. Reh Dogg is a rapper who has gained great success in the "internet underground".

See alsoEdit


  1. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named
  2. Akir
  3. Edwards, Paul, 2009, How to Rap: The Art & Science of the Hip-Hop MC, Chicago Review Press, p. 316.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 How to Rap, p. 317.
  5. 5.0 5.1 How to Rap, p. 325.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 How to Rap, p. 326.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 How to Rap, p. 332.
  8. How to Rap, p. 333.
  9. 9.0 9.1 How to Rap, p. 342.
  10. 10.0 10.1 How to Rap, p. 334.
  11. 11.0 11.1 How to Rap, p. 315.
  12. How to Rap, p. 316.
  13. How to Rap, p. 321.
  14. How to Rap, p. 322.
  15. How to Rap, p. 323.
  16. How to Rap, p. 327.

External linksEdit

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