The best rap radio stations are amongst the most popular channels in the US when it comes to finding tunes to get you up and moving. According to reports, the hip hop genre (which includes rap) surpassed rock to become the most popular kind of music in 2018.
Approximately a third of all music streams in 2020 were related to hip-hop. Whether you love RnB, urban contemporary music, or you’re a fan of rap, you’re in good company in the states.
Unfortunately, even as demand for rap radio stations continues to grow, it can still be difficult to find the ideal places for getting your music fix. Fortunately, we’re here to help. Today, we’re going to cover some good rap radio stations for you to discover.
What radio stations play rap?
Before we jump into our list, it’s worth noting there aren’t radio stations in the US specifically classified as “rap music stations”. Rap music radio stations fall under the category of “hip-hop” for most broadcasts.
This means you can find rap music in a range of radio formats, including “urban classic”, “urban contemporary”, and even a few top 40s shows.
What music is considered rap?
Rap is a type of “hip hop” music, which can also be described as rhythmic music in the radio landscape. Though rapping isn’t a required component of all hip hop songs, it is a common presence in this style of music.
The hip hop genre often incorporates various other musical styles outside of rap, including turntablism, DJing, scratching, beatboxing, and more.
For the purpose of this article, we’ll be looking at a range of urban contemporary stations and hip hop radio stations which have been known to explore the rap genre.
1. Big FM US Rap
The rap music genre is usually bundled in with hip-hop, R&B, and other music styles under the format of” urban contemporary” in the radio world. This means you’ll often find a lot of channels playing a wide selection of rap and hip-hop tunes.
If you’re looking for a channel heavy on rap, the Big FM online station could be ideal for you. One of the things making this station so popular, is its positive approach to music. The songs played are usually the kind designed to get you into a great mood, wherever you are.
Hosted in Germany, the station is available to stream all around the world. Outside of music, you’ll find plenty of great talk shows focusing on young people’s stories, and people rising to success in the hip-hop landscape.
Available: Online and 93.1 FM (Springfield, Georgia)
WEAS-FM is a mainstream urban radio station, known for playing a range of different music types in the hip hop genre, including rap and R&B. The station, owned by Cumulus Media, is located in Savannah, and it first began operation in 1968.
Designed as an easy-listening station at first, the WEAS station format gradually evolved into progressive rock, and in the mid-1970s, it started to focus more on the urban format. The station was originally automated during the first few years of operation, but it changed to using a live DJ when R&B and other hip-hop music became the chosen style.
You might want to be careful searching for this radio station online. Though the name sounds a little unusual, it makes sense when you consider the person behind the programming – Snoop Dogg’s. With this online West Coast rap channel, hosted by Dash radio, you can enjoy a host of music chosen and streamed by the Dogg himself.
Easily considered one of the best rap radio stations broadcasting today, the channel actually evolved from the previous radio station, the “Dogghouse”, which aired in 1995. This channel covers a lot of older rap and hip hop tunes, as well as some up-and-coming artists too.
There are also a host of other artists who have their own channels with Dash, including Millbeatz, T.LEE, Clay James, and various others.
Located in Fort Collins, Colorado, the Bonnaroo radio station is owned by iHeart Media, one of the top radio companies in America. More than just a radio channel known for hip-hop, this channel offers a huge selection of different musical genres, in one easy-to-access channel.
The Bonnaroo radio station is commonly associated with hip-hop, but it can also play everything from reggae and world music to blue grass, electronic, indie rock, and pop.
The name of this radio station also links to an American music festival. The Bonnaroo music and arts festival is a pretty big deal around America. The station itself has its own app, as well as live DJs, so you can listen to a little banter too.
Available: Online or 98.3 FM (Columbus Georgia)
Part of a huge array of radio stations in the Urban Contemporary landscape with the “Beat” title, WBFA is a station located in Columbus, Georgia. Broadcasting in the urban contemporary format, the station features a range of programming experiences, designed to introduce you to new and more classic rap and hip-hop music.
WBFA changed its programming from contemporary hits to urban contemporary in 2004 and has remained consistent since the change. Current personalities on the channel include the mid-day Diva, and Jay King on the afternoon.
When WBFA was eventually purchased in 2017 after being in the Aloha Trust for a total of 8 years, it earned a selling price of $1.1 million.
If you’re a big fan of classic hip hop and rap, then you’re going to love the “GotRadio” Hip Hop Stop channel. Hosted entirely online, this is a station dedicated more to rap than most of the contemporary urban channels you’ll find in local cities around the US.
The GotRadio environment is actually an extensive selection of radio stations, playing virtually every style of music online. You can download an app to access the different channels wherever you are. The best rap music station on the channel is definitely the Hip Hop Stop.
Still, if you’re looking for something a little different, it’s definitely worth checking out some of the other streams while you’re logged in.
Available: Online or 101.3 FM (Columbus, Georgia)
Currently owned by the massive iHeart media company, WAGH is an urban contemporary radio station in Georgia. The station is licensed for the community of Smiths, Alabama, so it’s actually quite a bit smaller than some of the other rap music radio stations mentioned here.
Like many of the radio stations we’ve covered so far, the WAGH channel had a few different styles over the years. It started as a contemporary hit radio station, before moving into the hip-hop format during 2004.
The channel was temporarily branded “The Beat”, but the branding was changed in 2007, to help maintain the unique identity of the station.
8. The Rap MIXX
When it comes to good rap radio stations, there’s really no shortage of excellent options available online. It seems as though the hip hop genre is really heating up in the digital landscape – perhaps to give music fans more of the streaming simplicity they love.
The Rap MIXX is a dedicated online radio station with its own app for your smartphone. The music on this channel is usually a strong mixture of old-school rap and hip hop music.
The MIXX is specially designed to get you up and moving – so it might be the ideal channel to visit if you’re looking to get hyped up for a gym session.
If you decide you want something beyond the best rap radio stations, the MIXX also has a range of other channels available to explore too.
9. WGCI FM
Available: Online or 107.5 FM (Chicago Illinois)
WGCI FM is an urban contemporary radio station licensed to the Chicago Illinois region. One of the older rap music radio stations on our list, WGCI actually started out during 1958. For a while, it held the call sign of WFMQ, and played light classical, and show-tune music.
Obviously, WGCI changed significantly over the years, exploring various talk shows and different music genres. In 2006, the WGCI group won the Marconi Award for the best radio station for Hip-Hop and R&B.
Aside from a fantastic selection of rap and hip-hop music, WGCI is also home to a range of fantastic talk shows and programming to keep you entertained all throughout the day.
Another laid-back and reliable choice for rap music online, Dilemaradio specializes in rap, trap, and hip-hop music. Often, you’ll get a comprehensive playlist, featuring some classic songs from years of rap history, as well as more modern tunes.
This radio station is available all over the world, and it even posts its most popular songs online. This means you can immediately listen to them if you’re not too happy with what’s playing on the channel at any given moment.
If you’re looking for a way to find and listen to a whole range of rap music radio channels in one place, you can check out the Online Radio Box app for your smartphone, which includes access to Dilemaradio.
Available: Online or 88.1 FM (Las Vegas, Nevada)
KCEP is a non-commercial radio station located within Las Vegas, Nevada. The channel plays “urban contemporary music” branded as “Power 88”, and has studios located within Las Vegas.
For years, this channel has gained significant popularity throughout Las Vegas. According to research, the channel is particularly popular with the African American community and has gained a strong following since its launch in 1972.
The station doesn’t just focus on rap, of course, it also plays classic soul music, hip-hop, R&B, and even Jazz, so you can find a wide range of different sounds to enjoy if you’re looking for something a little more varied.
Aside from music, KCEP is home to a range of popular programs and talk shows.
Available: Online or 97.9 FM (Detroit)
An iHeartMedia radio station in Detroit, WJLM broadcasts in the urban contemporary format, and is located in Farmington Hills. The station was initially launched in 1941, making it one of the older radio stations transitioning to the urban format.
In the early 90s, WJLB focused mainly on the top 40 music format, but it eventually flipped to the rhythmic contemporary format. During the 80s, WJLB also became famous for its Friday mix shows, which included “The Rap Blast”, and the “Sunday Night Segue”.
In the past few years, WJLB has deliberately shifted its focus to a much younger audience, emphasizing its playlist with more modern hip-hop, and less old-school music. Aside from rap, you’ll also hear a lot of house, and R&B music here.
Available: Online or 101.1 FM (Memphis, Tennessee)
Another fantastic rap radio station widely identified as “urban contemporary,” the KJMS station is located within Memphis Tennessee, and serves the Mid-South area. The station’s studios are located within Southeast Memphis.
Like many of the top rap stations available in the US today, KJMS has gone through a multitude of changes. The station started with the call sign of KWAM, then evolved to KRNB, before eventually becoming KJMS – K Jams.
Aside from plenty of rap and hip-hop music, the KJMS station is also home to a wide range of talk shows and similar fun programming. If you’re looking for a combination of music and education, this channel has you covered.
14. Hip Hop Dugout
Ideal if you want to make sure you’ll have access to the right rap music radio stations anywhere, Hip Hop Dugout is an entirely digital channel, streaming through the web. The channel has its own YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook channels, as well as a website where you can check on upcoming streams and playlists.
Known for playing a wide variety of music styles, Hip Hop Dugout offers playlists featuring everything from pop and R&B, to hip-hop and general rap. You’ll also get updates on the latest news in the hip-hop industry here, as well as insights into breaking new artists.
Hip Hop Dugout also has its own music reviews, viral entertainment shows, and interviews with artists too, so you’ll never run out of.
Available: Online or 93.3 FM (New Orleans, Louisiana)
WQUE-FM is a mainstream urban radio within New Orleans. Owned by iHeartMedia, this lesser-known station claims to be number one for Hip Hop in the region, and it’s very popular among local listeners. The station follows the urban programming style pretty closely.
WQUE-FM offers a decent selection of programs to enjoy, including plenty of access to modern hip-hop artists, rap professionals, and classic rap too. According to studies conducted into radio popularity in the New Orleans area, WQUE is one of the most popular stations among the African American youths in the region.
This channel is also home to the “Breakfast Club” radio show, where local people can catch up on the latest news and insights into the hip-hop world.
Which radio station has the best rap songs?
Ultimately, the best rap radio station for you will depend on your preferences. Many of the stations above offer a wide range of different musical styles, including rap. You might even find yourself discovering new styles of music while you’re searching for your favorite rap tunes.
If you’ve enjoyed this article and you’re looking for a little more inspiration, you can always check out our lists of hip-hop and R&B radio stations too.
Radio Fidelity: For the love of radio.