With the interest in exclusive genres seemingly waning, both musicians and listeners have leveled the playing field. The most fertile of genre collisions has definitely been in the realm of emo rappers. The slow-moving hip-hop grooves of hip-hop vibe perfectly against emo’s heart-on-sleeve angst and sadness.

Our video focuses on the emo rappers who have blended the genres in the most compelling ways. In these artists’ work, anything goes. From the distillation of multiple punk subgenres to blatantly unapologetic pop sensibilities, these emo rappers have created their own intrinsic universes. It’s the apex of their own personal emotions that make them vulnerable and yet kinda bulletproof at the same time. Because really, you can’t step to other people’s raw, unvarnished truth that often. These emo rappers lived it, so of course they’d be repping it.

Read more: Create a playlist and we’ll give you your emo rapper name


Of course, like any other musical scene born out of experimentation, possibility and zeal, the genre was beset with shade-throwers. Despite the sales accolades and acceptance of this scene, a lot of respect is still begrudging. Which is both inevitable and appropriate, when you think about it. There’s always somebody who’s going to tell you that their definition of “emo” is the holiest, most anointed one. And it’s up to the next wave of emo rappers to follow their heads—and most definitely their hearts. Not only to forge their own voices, but to keep everything evolving. We all might have 99 problems, but in 2020, being emo sure as hell ain’t one of them.

All of the artists in our video have made significant contributions to the ongoing continuum of emo rap. Sadly, some of them are no longer with us. And that’s a tragedy, because their early works made all us wonder what kind of legacy they’d create on their fourth and fifth records. The fact that these inspired artists are out there doing their best to tear down conventional thinking is a win for us all.