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The internet and the many music platforms on it have streamlined how fans find and engage with their favorite rappers’ songs and albums. Whether it’s streaming platforms like Spotify, SoundCloud or Apple Music, and more video-focused sites like YouTube, the internet helped level the playing field for new music discovery.

Hip-hop has always been about the visual form, which is why many rappers find their popularity on YouTube. Plus, it’s free and easily accessible from desktop, phone or tablet. Being a big-time rapper in 2021 means their songs and videos are gaining consistent traction on YouTube, and XXL is here to give the rundown on which artists are doing just that. We take a look at the rappers who are having the most success on the YouTube charts in 2021 so far. Top Songs, Top Artists and Top Music Videos are the three charts used to determine who’s been making the most noise since the start of the year. The first three slots on each chart are the deciding factor, starting from Jan. 3 to June 3.

Future and Drake‘s “Life Is Good” was dominant for the early part of 2021, racking up 1.9 billion views total and remaining on the Top Music Video chart for a full year. Spurred by TikTok, a solid video with a hilarious storyline—two regular dudes working jobs as cooks, fast-food employees and customer service reps at a tech retail store—and the rapping abilities of two A-List hip-hop stars, this banger of song meant the video was going to the top. It’s success last year also helped it land at top of the YouTube Top Songs chart in the first week of this year, at the same time it led the Videos chart, too.

Artists like Cardi B dominated the Top Videos chart for the week of Feb. 5 after she dropped her hit song “Up.” The visual earned the No. 1 on the chart, and has now earned 17.6 million views since that time. Even with no new album announced yet, her fans tuning in to the release of “Up” and moving it up the charts and in views proves they’re anxiously awaiting her next move.

Coi Leray‘s “No More Parties (Remix)” video featuring Lil Durk, and Lil Nas X‘s “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)” also appeared on both the Top Songs and Top Music Videos charts several times this year. After dominating the Billboard Hot 100, Instagram and TikTok, Coi’s visual hit the Top Music Videos chart for the first time in early March, but was already climbing toward one of the top three spots on the Top Songs chart with the track earlier this year. By March, she snagged the No. 2 position on Top Songs. For Lil Nas X, his viral track “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)” landed at the No. 1 spot on the Top Songs chart in late March and also secured the same position on the Top Music Videos chart at the same time.

As of last week, J. Cole was the top artist on YouTube following the release of his The Off-Season last month as well as his stature in rap. The place he holds within hip-hop’s hierarchy means every one of his album tracks will stream well on YouTube, along with their accompanying videos.

Check out the Rappers Who Have the Most Success on the YouTube Charts in 2021 So Far to see who are the movers and shakers when it comes to hip-hop.

Top Songs

Future’s “Life Is Good” featuring Drake

The Weeknd’s “Save Your Tears”

Saweetie’s “Best Friend” featuring Doja Cat

Yung Bleu’s “You’re Mines Still”

Megan Thee Stallion’s “Cry Baby” featuring DaBaby

Lil Tjay and 6LACK’s “Calling My Phone”

Cardi B’s “Up”

Coi Leray’s “No More Parties (Remix)” featuring Lil Durk

Doja Cat’s “Streets”

Bruno Mars, Anderson .Paak and Silk Sonic’s “Leave The Door Open”

Rod Wave’s “Tombstone”

Pooh Shiesty’s “Back In Blood” featuring Lil Durk

Lil Nas X’s “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)”

J. Cole’s “Amari”

Polo G ‘s”Rapstar”

Mo3 and OG Bobby Billions’ “Outside (Better Days)”

Top Artists

YoungBoy Never Broke Again
Juice Wrld
Lil Baby
Lil Durk
The Weeknd
Kevin Gates
Drake
Rod Wave
Lil Nas X
DMX
J. Cole
YoungBoy Never Broke Again
Moneybagg Yo

Top Music Videos

Future’s “Life Is Good” featuring Drake

The Weeknd’s “Save Your Tears”

Pooh Shiesty’s “Back In Blood” featuring Lil Durk

Saweetie’s “Best Friend” featuring Doja Cat

Yung Bleu’s “You’re Mines Still”

CJ’s “Whoopty”

Cardi B’s “Up”

Megan Thee Stallion’s “Cry Baby” featuring DaBaby

6ix9ine’s “Zaza”

Bobby Shmurda’s “Hot N*gga”

Bruno Mars, Anderson .Paak and Silk Sonic’s “Leave The Door Open”

Doja Cat’s “Streets”

Coi Leray’s “No More Parties (Remix)” featuring Lil Durk

Rod Wave’s “Tombstone”

Lil Nas X’s “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)”

Polo G’s “Rapstar”

Doja Cat’s “Kiss Me More” featuring SZA

The Weeknd’s “Save Your Tears (Remix)” featuring Ariana Grande

DJ Khaled’s “Sorry Not Sorry” featuring Jay-Z, Nas, Harmonies by The Hive and James Fauntleroy

NLE Choppa’s “Final Warning”

DJ Khaled’s “Every Chance I Get” featuring Lil Baby and Lil Durk

Migos’ “Straightenin”

Polo G and Lil Wayne’s “Gang Gang”

Lil Baby and Lil Durk’s “Voice of the Heroes”

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This article appeared in the June 3 edition of The Film Comment Letter, our free weekly newsletter featuring original film criticism and writing. Sign up for the Letter here. Undine

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