Within hip-hop, there are definitive eras in which new styles are introduced along with new artists to carry on this expression. One of the more recent waves in hip-hop is SoundCloud rap, defined by artists packing on ad-libs, mixing in other genres, raw energy, fast flows that blend into each other, lo-fi recording and more. When SoundCloud rappers start making a name for themselves and building a cult fan base, their fans started to embrace everything about them—stye, cadence and even down to their ad-libs.
Here, XXL highlights some of the best ad-libs from the SoundCloud rap era. The mid-2010s changing of the guard had young acts uploading new songs and blowing up, nearly overnight. While the production and lyrics resonated with fans so did the inimitable ad-libs. Some of which have been copied by other artists, but the most popular always get the shine.
As SoundCloud rap grew even more popular in 2015, the "Aye" ad-lib was everywhere thanks to one of its most proficient users, the late XXXTentacion. The Florida rapper used it often on one of his biggest songs ever, the boisterous "Look At Me." While he wasn't the first, X was one of the artists who definitely stood out with it and made "Aye" his own as a result of his off-kilter flows and huge popularity.
There are also plenty of ad-libs that are unique to a rapper. No one says "On God!" like 21 Savage does; it's become a part of his style and punctuates his lines well. Lil Uzi Vert's "Let's go!" is funny, as he comes off as impressed by how well he's rhyming when he uses it. Lil Yachty's "Lil Boat!" and Famous Dex's "Dexter!" are their calling cards, using their ad-libs to announce their presence every time.
Check out the greatest hip-hop ad-libs of the SoundCloud era. From Lil Uzi Vert to Playboi Carti and more, your favorites are all here.