Celebrate the 50th anniversary of hip-hop with these artists repping Boston

From Coi Leray to Cousin Stizz, meet the Boston-born rappers shaping the genre’s trajectory.

The Boston hip-hop group STL GLD stands in a row on the sandy shore of a beach

Boston veterans STL GLD are among the city’s most prominent hip-hop artists in recent years.

Photo by The Arcitype

If you picture Boston as strictly a rock city, it’s time to update your playlists. As music fans celebrate the 50th anniversary of hip-hop this month, we’re recognizing Beantown as Beat-town, honoring contributions to the genre that range from Bell Biv DeVoe (a bit of “Poison,” anyone?) to solo gold from rappers like Akrobatik, Guru, Mr. Lif, and Ed O.G.

Fast forward to the 2020s, and there’s still no shortage of local sounds shaping hip-hop’s trajectory. Before August comes to an end, dive into our quick breakdown of influential rappers who call Boston their hometown. Make sure you’ve got headphones on — these bars hold nothing back.


  • Key album: “For Certain” (2020)
  • Spin this: “WHOLE LOTTA MONEY” featuring Nicki Minaj
  • Quick trivia: Rihanna called “Best on Earth,” BIA’s collaboration with Russ, her “new favorite song” in 2019

Cousin Stizz

  • Key album: “One Night Only” (2017)
  • Spin this: “Perfect” featuring City Girls
  • Quick trivia: Cousin Stizz was the first hip-hop musician to win “Artist of the Year” at the Boston Music Awards; he’s nabbed the title in 2018, 2019, and 2022

Coi Leray

  • Key album: “Trendsetter” (2022)
  • Spin this: “Players” with David Guetta
  • Quick trivia: Coi collaborated with Metro Boomin for “Self Love,” a song on this year’s Spider-man: Across the Spider-Verse soundtrack

Bonus: Longtime local movers and shakers STL GLD

  • Key album: “The New Normal” (2019)
  • Spin this: “Donut Shop” featuring Too Many Zooz
  • Quick trivia: This month the group coordinated GLD FSTVL with the Mayor’s Office of Arts & Culture, which featured rising local rappers Oompa, Van Buren Records, Latrell James, Billy Dean Thomas, and kei
More from BOStoday