Lofi hip hop has been exploding on the internet over the past decade—but what does lofi hip hop mean? Lofi rap, or lo-fi, is a downtempo genre of hip hop that mixes house, jazz, and hip hop influences together, often using samples, made for easy listening. The lofi genre is often associated with a DIY aesthetic and imperfect mixing. Masterclass breaks down the Genre in more detail in this article.
While Nujabes and J Dilla have been referred to as the godfathers of lo-fi hip hop by Genius the genre really became mainstream in the late 2010’s thanks to YouTube Channels such as Promoting Sounds and Spotify Playlists such as Chill Hits. Some of our favorite rappers of all time who might be considered lofi are Mick Jenkins, Foggier, Cicero, and Talib Kweli. But there are so many great lofi rappers.
Rxseboy, whose real name is Anthony Tubbs, is a 22 year old New York rapper. He was born on December 19, 1999, and originally released music under his real name, before changing it to Rxseboy to better fit his aesthetic. In his senior year of high school he released his first lofi rap album, Balance. Since then, his career has skyrocketed, amassing over 88,000 followers and 2,400,000 monthly listeners on Spotify.
Powfu, whose real name is Isaiah Faber, is a 21 year old recording artist who went viral in 2020 with his single Death Bed. He has been heralded as the pioneer of lo-fi rap by publications like The Guardian. He was born in Mission, B.C. on March 31, 1999. His talent has helped him break over 1,000,000 followers and 9,000,000 monthly listeners on Spotify alone.
Ras is an emerging artist from Los Angeles, California. His real name is Paul Ras Levine and he is a producer, songwriter, and engineer—with most of his work being entirely self created. His 2021 single Blooming, which was a collaboration with Lifted LoFi Records, has already been streamed more than 200,000 times. Without a full length project under his belt yet, Ras has already built a strong fanbase that will surely follow him into 2022 and beyond.
Ben Beal is a 24 year old rapper from New York who has been creating music for more than 5 years. He has collaborated with some major artists in the industry such as Mick Jenkins, sophie meiers, and atlas, and has performed with artists including A Boogie Wit da Hoodie, MadeinTYO, 24hrs, PnB Rock, and more in the DMV area. His 2016 single Smile is a timeless record. The track features both Nohidea and sophie meiers and has been streamed more than 60,000,000 times on Spotify alone.
Jay Squared, whose real name is John Johnson Jr., is a Detroit, Michigan-born musician. He is currently 27 years old and was born on September 30, 1994. Jay Squared has been featured on media outlets including Lyrical Lemonade, ELEVATOR, and many more. He is also the founder of the Detroit group Forever Golden which also includes the artists Whyandotte, Curtis Roach, Santana Davinci, and B Free. We’re excited to see what Jay Squared does in 2022.
The lo fi genre of hip hop is one of the most exciting because it feels so authentic. These artists are crafting their own lanes while staying true to themselves. Their lyrics are crafty and meaningful, and are great for studying or long car rides. If you like these lofi rappers, you may also like these emo rappers we wrote about in this article.