Rap stars from small towns often bring a distinctive voice and unique narratives to the music industry. These artists, unlike their counterparts from bustling urban centers, often draw from experiences rooted in tight-knit communities, local struggles, and the nuances of small-town life. Their music frequently reflects a blend of personal stories, regional culture, and a sense of authenticity that resonates with a broad audience.

For instance, Bubba Sparxxx, hailing from near LaGrange, Georgia, broke into the mainstream with his hit "Ugly," which vividly depicted rural Southern life. His music often highlights the contrasts between rustic and urban experiences and provides a fresh perspective in a genre predominantly dominated by big metropolis narratives. Similarly, Big K.R.I.T., from Meridian, Mississippi, infuses his tracks with elements of his country heritage, personal reflections, and social commentary. In a similar vein, Gadsden, Alabama's Yelawolf incorporates his unique upbringing into his music – a blend of country, rock, and Hip Hop that makes for a distinct sound.

Small-town rap stars have often faced unique challenges, such as limited access to industry connections and resources compared to their big-city counterparts. However, their determination and distinctive perspectives can also serve as powerful assets. As a result, rap stars from small towns not only diversify the genre but also remind us of the varied and multifaceted nature of the human experience -- especially in regard to the United States of America.

REVOLT put together a list of 15 artists who represent everything from middle-of-nowhere towns to small cities that fought – or are continuing to fight – to earn a position as a Hip Hop hub. Check them out below.

1. Missy Elliott

A true example of resilience and determination, Melissa Arnette Elliott – known by the masses as Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliott – was born in Portsmouth, Virginia, and experienced a difficult upbringing. Her father was a former Marine and her mother worked for a power company. Elliott's family moved around a lot due to her father's military service, and her parents went through a rough divorce when she was only a teenager. As REVOLT reported, Elliott credited her mother's strength for helping her get through this difficult time in her life.

2. Rapsody

[UPDATE: In response to this list and as a correction, Rapsody tweeted how she’d been in love with Hip Hop since “way before college.” “I just didn’t have access to participate in the art form... as deeply as I wanted,” she added.]

Marlanna “Rapsody” Evans grew up in Snow Hill, North Carolina, and wasn't surrounded by Hip Hop in her youth. She discovered her love for the genre in college – she attended North Carolina State University – and joined a rap collective during her time there. Her talent eventually caught the attention of producer 9th Wonder, who gave her a chance to rap on his album. The rest is history.

3. Rae Sremmurd

Aaquil Iben Shamon Brown (Slim Jxmmi) and Khalif Malik Ibn Shaman Brown (Swae Lee) are brothers who grew up moving around a lot with their mom in the military. They were into music from a young age and started rapping together as teenagers in Tupelo, Mississippi. They faced challenges like homelessness and dead-end jobs, but kept pursuing music. Eventually, a producer connected them with Mike WiLL Made-It's EarDrummers label, which helped them launch their career.

4. Isaiah Rashad

Isaiah Rashad Joel McClain hails from Chattanooga, Tennessee. He started rapping seriously in high school and continued after dropping out of college to focus on music. He built connections with industry heads and gained popularity through free singles online. Following growing buzz around the relationship, Top Dawg Entertainment made a highly publicized announcement of his signing to the label.

5. Freddie Gibbs

Fredrick Jamel Tipton, better known as rapper Freddie Gibbs, grew up in Gary, Indiana. He had a rough start, getting kicked out of college and the army for a myriad of offenses. Back home, he met producer Finger Roll and began rapping as part of the No Tamin Entertainment collective. Fun fact: According to Gibbs in an “ALL THE SMOKE” interview, his father, Warren Tipton, is an active member of the Chicago, Illinois group Chi-Lites.

6. Big K.R.I.T.

Rapper Justin Lewis Scott, originally known as Kritikal, started out in his hometown of Meridian, Mississippi, releasing mixtapes and collaborating with other artists. Known as both a talented producer and rapper, he earned widespread acclaim with K.R.I.T. Wuz Here, which caught the attention of Sha Money XL. Big K.R.I.T. (which stands for King Remembered In Time) soon scored a deal with Def Jam.

7. Yelawolf

Yelawolf, born Michael Wayne Atha, is a rapper who grew up moving around the southern United States, including Gadsden, Alabama and Antioch, Tennessee. His stage name combines "Yela" (supposedly Cherokee for sun) and "Wolf" to symbolize his intellectual and aggressive sides. After some early independent releases and a failed major label deal, he gained fame with the mixtape Trunk Muzik. This led to a deal with Eminem's Shady Records and a placement as part of XXL’s highly coveted Freshman class.

8. Flo Milli

Born and raised in Mobile, Alabama, Tamia Monique Carter – known by the world as Flo Milli – started rapping at a young age. Inspired by the likes of Nicki Minaj and Lil Wayne, she began making waves as part of Real & Beautiful, a rap collective that later became known as Pink Mafia. After the group disbanded, she continued solo and released her first song, “No Hook.”

9. Rio Da Yung OG

Da'mario Donshay Horne-McCullough, known professionally as Rio Da Yung OG, was born and raised in Flint, Michigan. Despite facing the city's economic struggles and violence, Rio found solace in music, which he began exploring as a teenager with his friend RMC Mike. Using a karaoke machine, they recorded songs for their friends, but it wasn't until Rio met his idol, Peezy, that he began to take rap seriously. Inspired by Peezy's success and encouragement, Rio realized the financial potential of a rap career.

10. J. Cole

J. Cole’s success as arguably one of the greatest in Hip Hop – not just in his generation – makes his small-town upbringing much more surreal. The rapper and producer was born in Fayetteville, North Carolina, where he grew up in a multicultural household and showed an interest in music and basketball from a young age. Jermaine Lamarr Cole started rapping as a pre-teen and continued to create while attending New York City’s St. John's University on a scholarship. He eventually caught the attention of JAY-Z, who signed him to Roc Nation.

11. Kodak Black

Kodak Black, born Dieuson Octave, grew up in a rough environment in Pompano Beach, Florida. He started rapping young and faced legal trouble for fighting and stealing. Despite this, he actively improved his vocabulary and found an outlet for his experiences through rap. His stage name, Kodak Black, combines a reference to photography – specifically, his use of Instagram before it expanded to video – with his childhood nickname.

12. Bubba Sparxxx

Bubba Sparxxx, whose real name is Warren Anderson Mathis, was born in the very rural Troup County, Georgia, an area near LaGrange, Georgia. He grew up listening to rap music, and, after playing football in high school, he connected with different industry figures who helped launch his career. His debut album, Dark Days, Bright Nights, gained traction and eventually led to a major record deal with Interscope and Timbaland’s Beat Club Records.

13. BabyTron

BabyTron (real name James Edward Johnson IV) is a rapper from Ypsilanti, Michigan. He started rapping with friends in high school as a teen and releasing music online. His BIN Reaper project and the song "Jesus Shuttlesworth" went viral and helped launch his career. Since then, he's released several mixtapes and albums, including MegaTron, and collaborated with artists like Lil Yachty. He received additional exposure as a member of XXL’s Freshman class.

14. David Banner

David Banner, born Lavell William Crump, is a rapper, record producer, and actor who was born in Brookhaven, Mississippi before relocating to Jackson, Mississippi. He was initially one-half of the rap duo Crooked Lettaz before going solo, and is largely known for his debut LP, Mississippi: The Album. He has a college degree in business and started rapping while attending a program for a master's in education.

15. Logic

Logic (real name Sir Robert Bryson Hall II) is a rapper from the Washington, D.C. suburb of Gaithersburg, Maryland. He had a difficult childhood with parents struggling with addiction. Despite not graduating high school, he found passion for rap at a young age and started performing under the name Psychological. He later shortened it to Logic and released mixtapes that led him to open for established rappers.