Like every other genre of music over the past couple of decades, rap has been homogenized by the big record companies, which are most concerned about producing music that'll be accepted by a mass audience. While artists have become less creative and more concerned with creating an image, some young — in some cases, very young — aspiring rappers have honed their skills, outdoing their older counterparts. Here are 10 who have received tens of thousands and even millions of hits on YouTube, as they've taken advantage of people's affinity for young performers.
P-Nut, seven years old
The typical daily activities of a four-year-old may include watching Bubble Guppies or throwing an uproarious temper tantrum in the grocery store because mom refused to buy him or her a toy. But P-Nut was different. While his dad was teaching him to add and subtract by rhyming, he became a student of hip hop. By the age of seven, he was being featured in local news programs and popular YouTube videos. It's a worthwhile hobby for Nut, who says he's "letting all of the steam he has come out — that rappin' steam."
CJ Dippa, 11 years old
No contestant on 2010's version of America's Got Talent had more swag than CJ Dippa, an 11-year-old with eight years of rapping experience. In addition to spitting rhymes, he writes music, dances, and breaks girls' hearts — before his first performance he told Howie Mandel that he had just ditched his last girlfriend for a new one the previous week. With his newfound fame after his national television debut, there's little doubt that he broke several more young girls' hearts in the DFW area.
Bobby J, five years old
Perhaps the most talented guest to appear on Steve Harvey's short lived and forgettable Steve Harvey's Big Time Challenge was five-year-old Bobby J. After apparently rolling up to the studio in style in a lime green Kia, a pint-sized car for the pint-size performer, he proceeded to deliver his version of Lil' Bow Wow's Bow Wow (That's My Name). Not many rappers have the stage presence of this kid, who was born to be the center of attention. These days, you can find him on 30 Rock as Tracy Jr.
Lil' Bow Wow, six years old
Here's the real Bow Wow at six years old, discussing a situation in which a gentleman tried to do him in. His rhymes are a bit less filtered than some of the other young rappers on this list, but you can certainly see why he was able to go double platinum in his early teens. Interesting fact about young Bow Wow: he appeared in the "Gin and Juice" Video as Snoop Dogg's little brother, jumping on the couch in the intro. Of course, Snoop Dogg was Bow Wow's mentor.
MattyBRaps, eight years old
More like Justin Bieber than Eminem, MattyBRaps is probably the least threatening person to ever spit rhymes. Nevertheless, it's cute that he tells all the haters to "sick back," and promises to "stack stats that intimidate Shaq." It's also cute that he plays with a rocket in another video in which he's parodying Lil' Wayne's "How to Love Me", showing that rap music hasn't stolen his youth.
Lil' Young Fresh, eight years old
He's only eight years old, and he makes a lot of noise. But he's no troublemaker, as, according to him, he gets good grades and listens to his mom. Lil' Young Fresh's — yeah, his name is slightly redundant — video declares him the "the future of hip hop," which is certainly a good thing given how he's setting a positive example for his peers. Hopefully he won't be corrupted by fame and fortune like so many promising young rappers who've come before him.
Cypress, 10 years old
The speed at which Cypress raps makes Layzie Bone, Flesh-n-Bone, Bizzy Bone, Krayzie Bone, and Wish Bone sound like they've been chopped and screwed. Even more impressive is the mere fact that, at 10 years old, he can reel off four consecutive minutes of lyrics. Most kids his age are incapable of doing anything for four consecutive minutes, let alone something that requires memorization. That might explain why he has hype around him "like when Dre got signed," which occurred around a decade before Cypress was born — yes, Dre is old enough to be his grandpa.
Lil' Niqo, 10 years old
"Doing it big like Gucci Mane’s stomach," Lil' Niqo is a big budget lil' rapper. Known as the youngest hip-hop artist to be signed to WorldWide/BuVision/Def Jam, his videos have fancy cars, pretty girls, and big chains, and he has his very own sidekick who's got his back. He's living the dream of every rap-loving little kid in America. If you've got a problem with that, then you're just a hater.
Priscilla "P-Star" Diaz, 12 years old
Barely in puberty, P-Star already has her own album, own workout video, own documentary, P-Star Rising, and a big acting role on PBS's The Electric Company. Such success has been several years in the making for the Bronx native, who has had the complete support of her father since she first spit rhymes to him at the age of seven. Her difficult upbringing only inspired her to work hard to pursue her dream, a lesson all young women should appreciate — though not all young women should become rappers.
Lil' Yani, six years old
Political rap emerged in the 1980s when groups such as Public Enemy were hell bent on fighting the power. Although the subgenre has declined in popularity over the years, that hasn't stopped six-year-old Lil' Yani from singing the praises of President Obama. Say what you want about Ol' Barry, but you've got to be encouraged by this youngster's appreciation for democracy and political.