While hip-hop has expanded all over the country, there are some states with notable rappers that may shock you — including Ohio, home of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
So, here is a look at five rappers you may not know are from Ohio.
Trippie Redd rose to fame in 2017 after the release of his debut mixtape, "A Love Letter to You," and lead single “Love Scars.” He went on to enter the Billboard Hot 100 with singles, “Dark Knight Dummo” and “Topanga.” His career has continued to find success as his latest album, “Mansion Musik” was released at the beginning of 2023.
Before finding fame, the rapper was born in Canton, Ohio and he lived there during the majority of his childhood. In 2018, Trippie started a feud with fellow Ohio rapper Bow Wow on Instagram, writing, "You don't run this motherf--ker over here. You're not from Ohio."
Bow Wow quickly responded on Twitter, tweeting, "He's a f--king kid. What I look like going to war with a kid. Real s--t. No respect giving to me for that. I'll let it slide."
Machine Gun Kelly
Known for his combination of hip-hop and alternative rock, Machine Gun Kelly brought a different sound to the hip-hop scene. Before signing with Bad Boy Records in 2011, MGK was becoming a local Cleveland celebrity. He released four mixtapes beginning in 2009 while also being featured in several talent competitions.
MGK was the first rapper to win at the Apollo Theatre, which led him to also be featured on MTV2’s Sucker Free Freestyle Countdown.
Since his entrance to the hip-hop scene, Machine Gun Kelly has peaked on the Billboard Hot 100 and Billboard 200 several times. “Wild Boy” (featuring Waka Flocka Flame) and “Bad Things” (featuring Camila Cabello) are both notable singles by the rapper. He has since abandoned the hip-hop genre and immersed himself in the alternative rock sound, a common practice of Caucasian rappers.
Machine Gun Kelly was born in Houston but spent the early years of his life living in several different countries with his parents. He spent the later portion of his childhood in Cleveland, Ohio where lived until signing to Bad Boy Records.
Shad Moss aka Bow Bow
We first knew him as Lil’ Bow Wow when he debuted in the '90s but eventually evolved into the multi-talented artist he is today. Bow Wow began his music journey at the young age of six and was eventually discovered by Snoop Dogg.
He was later signed to So So Def Records and began working with Jermaine Dupri. The rapper has had many hits over his three-decade career. Some of the most recognizable are, “Let Me Hold You” (featuring Omarion), “Like You” (featuring Ciara), and “Shortie Like Mine” (featuring Chris Brown and Johntá Austin).
Bow Wow has also found success on screen. He has starred in movies, Like Mike, Johnson Family Vacation, and Roll Bounce. He was also the host for 106 & Park from 2013 until its cancellation in 2014. Bow Wow was born in Columbus, Ohio, and lived there until he moved to Atlanta to continue working on his rap career.
Back when MySpace was the social media platform of choice, Kid Cudi released his first song “Day ‘n Nite” and immediately found success. After being discovered, the song went on to be a global favorite catapulting him to fame.
The song caught the attention of rapper, Kanye West and he subsequently signed Cudi to his label, G.O.O.D. Music, in 2008.
After releasing his chart-topping debut album, Man on the Moon: The End of Day, Cudi went on to release several albums and projects during his career. Kid Cudi was born in Cleveland, Ohio, and spent his childhood there with his parents and siblings. He later moved to New York City in pursuit of a music career, but always felt embraced by his hometown.
"My mom lives in Cleveland and I’ve been going there on holidays and summer breaks for years. When I’m in Cleveland, it’s family time," he tweeted. "I will say the city of Cleveland has embraced me over the years."
The early '90s saw an emergence of hip-hop artists, including the hip-hop group, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony. The group consists of rappers: Bizzy Bone, Wish Bone, Layzie Bone, Krayzie Bone, and Flesh-n-Bone.
The group was formed in 1991 and soon signed to rapper Eazy E’s record label, Ruthless Records. The group saw commercial success with singles, “Thuggish Ruggish Bone” and “Tha Crossroads.”
The hip-hop group was formed in Cleveland, Ohio where all of the group members were living at the time. In August 2023, the group received a street named after them in their hometown.
Other famous rappers from Ohio include DaBaby, Illogic, and Latto.
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