The Italian hip-hop scene, once overlooked on an international level, has been gaining traction and recognition, producing a diverse range of artists and styles. Packed with undeniable talent and creativity, these musicians have successfully blended multiple elements of hip-hop, trap, and even classical music, to create a unique platform that showcases Italy’s vibrant and youthful culture.
Among the prominent figures in the Italian hip-hop scene is Sfera Ebbasta, who rose to fame with the release of his debut studio album, XDVR, in 2016. Additional well-known artists include Lazza, known for hits such as “Cenere” and “Porto Cervo,” and Laïoung, a producer and rapper who has collaborated with artists like Tedua and Izi. These musicians, among others, have made significant strides in the industry, carving out their niche and expanding the reach of Italian hip-hop on a global scale.
As the Italian hip-hop landscape continues to evolve, it fosters a rich environment for upcoming artists and those interested in the genre. Representing a new and expressive facet of Italy’s music scene, this dynamic movement is set to leave a lasting impact on audiences domestically and internationally, solidifying its place in modern music.
Origins and Early Influencers
The Italian hip-hop scene began in the early 1990s, with different cities like Milan, Naples, and Rome contributing to its growth. The music was primarily influenced by East Coast rap and had a strong political orientation. Some of the early influencers in the Italian hip-hop scene were Radical Stuff, Neffa, DJ Gruff, and Deda.
Radical Stuff was an influential hip-hop group from Milan that formed in 1989. They were one of the first Italian groups to perform in their native language and were a groundbreaking act in establishing the Italian hip-hop scene. Their music addressed social and political issues, setting the tone for future Italian hip-hop artists.
Neffa, born Giovanni Pellino, is an Italian singer and rapper who started his career in the early 1990s as a member of the hip-hop collective called Sangue Misto. Hailing from Naples, Neffa later embarked on a successful solo career with multiple hits, including the popular track “L’erba cattiva”. He is considered an important figure in the Italian hip-hop scene for both his group and solo work.
DJ Gruff, born Sandro Orrù, is a pioneer of Italian hip-hop from Rome. He began DJing in the late 1980s and became a prominent figure in the Italian rap scene in the 1990s as a member of Porzione Massiccia Crew. Gruff’s music was characterized by its socially conscious lyrics and innovative sampling techniques, which set a standard for other Italian rappers.
Deda, also known as Deda The Original Baby Pa, is an Italian rapper and producer from Milan. He was a member of the iconic Italian hip-hop group Articolo 31 along with J-Ax and DJ Jad. Articolo 31 played a significant role in popularizing Italian hip-hop in the early 1990s by blending American rap influences with Italian lyrics and culture. Deda’s skills as a rapper and producer were instrumental in the group’s success and helped lay the groundwork for the flourishing of Italian hip-hop.
Significant Italian Rappers and Producers
Fabri Fibra is a well-established Italian rapper, known for his controversial lyrics and energetic performances. His albums often deal with social issues and have contributed to shaping the Italian rap scene. Some of his hit songs include “Tranne Te,” “Fenomeno,” and “Pamplona.”
Turi, an influential Italian rapper, has contributed greatly to the Italian hip-hop scene. His unique style and poignant lyrics have earned him admiration among fans and fellow artists. Some of his notable works include “Monaco M,” “Questo Sono Io,” and “Nella Mia Città.”
Marracash is a prominent figure in the Italian rap scene and has delivered significant hits. Known for his impactful storytelling, his music often reflects on personal experiences and societal issues. Among his most popular songs are “Estate Non Estate,” “Neon-Le Ali,” and “G.O.O.D. Morning.”
Ghali is among the new generation of Italian rappers making waves in the industry. His blend of hip-hop, trap, and R&B elements bring a fresh sound to Italian rap. He has notable hits like “Cara Italia,” “Happy Days,” and “Good Times.”
Salmo is a multi-talented Italian rapper and producer, known for his eclectic musical style and powerful voice. His fusion of hip-hop and rock has created a unique sound in the Italian rap scene. Key tracks include “Cannibali,” “Russell Crowe,” and “Lunedì.”
IZI is a rising star in the Italian rap community, demonstrating versatility in both music production and rapping. With a mix of hip-hop, trap, and R&B, he has gained a loyal following. His popular hits include “Balla,” “Dormire Sognando,” and “Pensavo Che Fosse Facile.”
Clementino is an acclaimed Italian rapper recognized for his storytelling skills and intricate wordplay. Often touching on personal and societal themes, his music stands out in the Italian rap scene. Some of his memorable tracks are “Fratello,” “Luna Piena,” and “In Salita.”
Gemitaiz, an Italian rapper and producer, has left an indelible mark on the Italian hip-hop scene with his innovative sounds and memorable lyrics. His hit songs include “Non Se Ne Parla,” “Fortunato,” and “L’unico Compromesso.”
Noyz Narcos is a well-respected figure in the Italian rap community, known for his raw lyrics and gritty delivery. His music often covers dark themes, leading to a distinct sound in the Italian rap scene. Some of his popular songs are “Drive Bye,” “Non Ho Tempo” and “Verano Zombie.”
Popular Artists and Groups
Italian hip-hop has seen the rise of many talented artists and groups in recent years. This section highlights some of the most notable figures in the Italian hip-hop scene, focusing on their impact and contributions.
Club Dogo is a popular Italian hip-hop group formed in 2002. The group is composed of Gué Pequeno, Jake La Furia, and producer Don Joe. They gained widespread recognition with their album “Pennarelli roventi” in 2003. Club Dogo has collaborated with other Italian hip-hop artists like Fabri Fibra, Turi, and Salmo, and they are known for their hard-hitting lyrics and energetic performances.
Sfera Ebbasta, born Gionata Boschetti, is a rising star in the Italian hip-hop scene. He released his debut studio album, “XDVR,” in 2016 which quickly skyrocketed his career. With his distinct trap-influenced sound, Sfera Ebbasta has worked with well-known Italian hip-hop producers like Charlie Charles and featured collaborations with other artists like Ghali.
Colle Der Fomento
Colle Der Fomento is an influential Italian hip-hop group formed in 1994. Composed of MCs Danno and Masito, and DJ Baro, they are known for their thought-provoking lyrics and social commentary. The group has released several albums that have contributed significantly to the development and evolution of the Italian hip-hop scene.
Gué Pequeno, also a founding member of Club Dogo, has made a name for himself as a solo artist as well. His deep understanding of the music industry and ability to innovate in the hip-hop scene have placed him among Italy’s top MCs. As both a performer and a producer, Gué Pequeno has collaborated with various artists from the Italian and international music scenes.
Fedez, born Federico Leonardo Lucia, is an Italian rapper and singer known for mixing hip-hop with pop elements. With his catchy tunes and engaging social media presence, Fedez has gained a massive following and has become an influential figure in the Italian music industry. His collaborations with other artists, such as rapper J-Ax, have further expanded his musical reach.
Rocco Hunt is an up-and-coming rapper hailing from the southern Italian city of Salerno. He made his debut in 2010 and has since attracted attention for his youthful energy and unique lyricism. Rocco Hunt has worked with other prominent Italian hip-hop artists and is known for integrating traditional Neapolitan music elements into his hip-hop tracks.
Emerging Artists and Recent Successes
Achille Lauro is an Italian rapper who gained significant attention after his participation in Sanremo Music Festival in 2019. His unique style combines elements of glam rock and hip-hop. In 2020, he released his album “1990,” which featured collaborations with Italian hip-hop figures such as Marracash and Tedua. Lauro’s artwork and immersive live shows bring a much-needed creative edge to the Italian rap scene.
Hailing from Rome, Ketama126 is known for experimenting with different genres, from Italian trap to old-school rap. He is a prominent member of the popular Italian hip-hop collective, Narcos. His hit songs “OH MADONNA” and “MARYLENA” showcase his ability to fuse catchy hooks and powerful storytelling with his unique rap style.
Capo Plaza is an Italian rapper who first gained notoriety with his hit single “Giovane Fuoriclasse” in 2017. He solidified his presence in the Italian hip-hop scene with the release of his highly-anticipated debut album “20” in 2018, featuring collaborations with artists such as Emis Killa and Rkomi. Capo Plaza brings raw talent and hard-hitting lyrics to Italian trap music.
Lazza, born in Milan, is a versatile rapper and producer known for his work with the Italian rap group Club Dogo. He released his debut album, “Zzala,” in 2018, which was praised for its introspective and thought-provoking lyrics, accompanied by immaculate production. Lazza’s growth as an artist is emblematic of the development and maturation of the Italian hip-hop scene.
One of the most promising female rappers in Italy, Madame has quickly made a name for herself in the Italian music scene. With her powerful voice and poetic lyrics, she is helping to pave the way for more women in the Italian rap industry. Her debut album, “Madame,” showcases her diverse skills and unique approach to storytelling through music.
Notable Collaborations and Albums
Rockstar is a chart-topping album by Italian rapper Sfera Ebbasta, released in 2018. Produced by notable Italian producer Charlie Charles, the album features collaborations with several Italian rappers such as Quavo and DrefGold. The album received widespread success and helped solidify Sfera Ebbasta’s place in the Italian hip-hop scene.
Il Ragazzo d’Oro
Il Ragazzo d’Oro is a successful album by Italian rapper Gue Pequeno, released in 2011. The album includes collaborations with other Italian rappers, such as Marracash and Club Dogo. The album’s popular tracks, like “Brivido” and “Rose Nere,” contributed to Gue Pequeno’s rise in the Italian hip-hop scene.
Auto Blu is a hit single by Shiva and Eiffel 65 released in 2020. The song quickly gained popularity in Italy and received widespread attention on various music platforms. Its catchy melody and unique blend of Italian rap and dance music made it an instant hit among fans.
Mahmood is an Italian singer and songwriter who gained international recognition with his song “Soldi,” representing Italy in the Eurovision Song Contest 2019. Mahmood has collaborated with various Italian artists, including Madman and Ghali, showcasing his versatility in the Italian hip-hop scene.
Soldi is a successful track by Mahmood, representing Italy in the Eurovision Song Contest 2019. The song quickly gained popularity and became a staple in the Italian hip-hop scene. It features a captivating mix of modern pop sounds, rap, and traditional Arabic influences.
Some collaborations present in Soldi include:
- Noyz Narcos
- Tha Supreme
Impact on the Italian Music Industry
Sanremo Music Festival
The Italian hip-hop scene has been steadily growing in popularity and has left a mark on mainstream music events, such as the Sanremo Music Festival. This festival, held annually since 1951, showcases a wide range of Italian music genres, providing a platform for both established and emerging artists to present their work. Hip-hop has begun to compete alongside other popular Italian music genres, reflecting its influence on the overall musical landscape.
Hip Hop and Mainstream Popularity
Italian hip-hop artists have made their presence felt in the mainstream music scene, with songs like “Cara Italia” and “Habibi” from acclaimed rapper Ghali achieving immense commercial success. Other notable artists in the Italian hip-hop scene, such as Coez with his hit song “Faccio un casino,” have made significant strides in the industry, highlighting the growing impact of hip-hop on popular Italian music.
Bold, innovative collaborations between Italian hip-hop artists and renowned personalities from other genres have also contributed to the genre’s rise. For instance, Chris Nolan, an established film director, collaborated with Italian rapper Marracash for the music video of his song “Sport.” This collaboration not only showcases the increasing importance of Italian hip-hop but also demonstrates how the genre has caught the attention of figures from different creative fields.
The rise of Italian hip-hop has led to a surge in local talent, contributing to the overall growth of Italy’s music industry. With an expenditure of around 854 million euros in 2018, the Italian music market has significantly benefited from the increasing popularity of hip-hop in the country.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who are the top Italian rappers?
Some of the top Italian rappers in 2023 include Achille Lauro from Rome, who dubs himself the “anti-rapper,” and Sfera Ebbasta from Bologna, who gained prominence with his debut album, XDVR, released in 2016.
What are the best Italian rap songs?
The best Italian rap songs vary depending on personal preference. However, some popular tracks include those by artists such as Achille Lauro, Sfera Ebbasta, and other prominent names in the Italian hip-hop scene.
How did the Italian hip-hop scene begin?
The Italian hip-hop scene began to take shape in the late 1980s and early 1990s, with the formation of various “posses” like the Isola Posse All Stars, featuring Papa Ricky. The influence of American hip-hop played a significant role in the development of the Italian scene.
What is the influence of Italian-American artists?
Italian-American artists have had an impact on the Italian hip-hop scene through increased exposure to American hip-hop culture and the integration of Italian elements into their music, bridging the gap between the two countries’ music scenes.
Are there prominent underground rappers in Italy?
Yes, there are prominent underground rappers in Italy. Creep Giuliano is an example of an artist who has become an important figure in the Italian underground hip-hop scene, thanks to his quality work and unique personality.
How does Italian trap music differ from traditional hip-hop?
Italian trap music incorporates elements of traditional hip-hop, such as beats and lyrical focus, while also integrating Italian musical influences. This creates a unique sound that sets Italian trap apart from its American counterpart. Additionally, Italian trap often addresses topics and issues specific to Italian culture and society.