It’s a good month to be a hip-hop fan with disposable income in Seattle. The tour-routing gods have blessed us with a particularly stacked calendar of rap talents rolling through before festival season — not to mention anticipated release shows from local stalwarts Sol (April 12, Showbox) and Gifted Gab (April 28, Crocodile).
From Golden Age icons to a buzzy, body-positive star on the rise taking over the world, here are 10 of this month’s biggest rap shows.
(Note: An asterisk next to the name indicates a critic’s pick. Some videos contain explicit lyrics.)
After impressing during last year’s Upstream festival, this soulful Midwestern rapper/singer made good on his sterling sophomore album, “Noir,” teaming with Seattle’s own beat wizard Sango (a regular Smino collaborator) on “L.M.F.,” its gliding lead single with a skittering percussive undercurrent.
8:30 p.m. April 4, Showbox SoDo, $25-$30, all ages, showboxpresents.com
This Chicago emcee burst onto the scene a few years ago with lascivious raps that would make Uncle Luke blush, slinging at times cartoonish punchlines about riding Squidward’s nose (one of her cleaner quips from a recent single). But before pigeonholing the sexually empowered rapper as strictly hip-hop’s new queen of raunch — as rightful a claim to the title as she has — CupcakKe at times strays from X-rated sex jams on last fall’s “Eden” LP to shred deadbeat dads (“Cereal and Water”) and champion kids with autism (“A.U.T.I.S.M.”). With Lil Woadie and Thee Prophecy.
8 p.m. April 8; Crocodile, 2200 Second Ave., Seattle; $25-$66; all ages; thecrocodile.com
The rising trap star hasn’t been on hip-hop’s vanguard the way some of his Atlanta contemporaries — including his label boss Young Thug — have, but Gunna’s compiled a solid body of work leading up to his proper debut album, this year’s “Drip or Drown 2.” Following his talked-about mixtape with Lil Baby, Gunna maintains his drowsy delivery style over methodically throbbing bass hits that could rock a party or lull you to sleep, depending on your mood.
8 p.m. April 10; Showbox SoDo, 1700 First Ave. S., Seattle; $30-$35; all ages; showboxpresents.com
* Earl Sweatshirt
If it feels like forever ago a young Earl was the mysterious rap prodigy banished to a boarding school in Samoa, that’s because it was. Now an industry vet at only 24, the real-life Thebe Kgositsile makes his strongest push to leave the juvenile bars that made his Old Future days a lightning rod in the past on his intentionally rough-hewed statement album “Some Rap Songs.” A woker, more introspective Earl reorients his career with deadpan meditations on grief and racism over staticky, sample-heavy beats bearing the influence of the New York environs it was steeped in. Earl returns June 20 on a stellar WaMu bill with Anderson .Paak and Thundercat. With (Liv).E and MIKE, the rising NYC underground star who seems to have influenced his friend and mentor, Earl.
8 p.m. April 14; Showbox SoDo, 1700 First Ave. S., Seattle; $33; all ages; showboxpresents.com
* Eric B. and Rakim
One of, if not the greatest, rapper/producer duos of all time, Eric B. and Rakim’s influence loomed large after their relatively brief but fertile initial run together in the late ’80s and early ’90s, which ushered in a more laid-back era of New York hip-hop. In an age when hip-hop moves and morphs faster than ever, it’s worth basking in the presence of this recently reunited duo who helped shape the genre.
9 p.m. April 16; Showbox, 1426 First Ave., Seattle; $35-$40; all ages; showboxpresents.com
Immortalized on YouTube as the human Fiji bottle calling your boyfriend a dork next to a Perrier-costumed Kanye on “SNL,” Lil Pump has made the leap from SoundCloud star and Instagram “like” magnet to polarizing mainstream presence since his “Gucci Gang” smash exploded in 2017. Still puerilely feuding with educators, the 18-year-old rap star’s new album, “Harverd Dropout,” drapes festival-ready beats with the drug-glorification and forgettable money brags (“I’m richer than your mom”) now expected from the man-child on a mission “to be the most ignorant, richest rapper I could be.” “Harverd Dropout” is an excellent argument for paying high-school teachers more. With Lil Skies.
7 p.m. April 19; WaMu Theater, 800 Occidental Ave. S., Seattle; $49.50-$128; centurylinkfield.com
On her sophomore album, “Acrylic,” the masked Brooklyn rapper’s versatility shines, seamlessly drawing from dancehall, bounce, footwork and trap influences. One minute Leikeli’s shredding verses over bass-heavy club igniters, kicking soothing neo-soul-flavored jams the next. Leikeli offers up a vivid neighborhood portrait over the title track’s snappy, percussive click-clacks, while saving some of her most potent moments for the venting “Talkin’ to Myself” — “We don’t need to be shot up to be filled with lead” she spits, referencing the Flint water crisis over a feverishly jazzy beat.
7 p.m. April 21; Crocodile, 2200 Second Ave., Seattle;$18; all ages; thecrocodile.com
Lil Mosey’s Northsbest Fest
The local breakout caps the latest leg of his Northsbest tour with this hometown mini “festival” featuring a handful of other buzzy young rappers who similarly heated up on SoundCloud. Now 17, Mosey’s continued racking up streams by the millions since his debut album, “Northsbest,” dropped last fall, with synth-prancing single “Noticed” becoming the Mountlake Terrace rapper’s first song to crack Billboard’s Hot 100. Mosey’s joined by Yung Bans, Lil Tjay, Polo G, C Glizzy, Bandkids and an unnamed special guest. With an off day between a Portland date and his WaMu Theater show, one wonders if Mosey’s label and former tour mate Juice WRLD could be the mystery man.
7:30 p.m. April 27; Showbox SoDo, 1700 First Ave. S., Seattle; $35-$45; all ages; showboxpresents.com
The 20-year-old emo-rap sensation is fresh off his first No. 1 album, “Death Race for Love,” which debuted in Billboard’s top spot last month. Just another notch during the whirlwind year since the release of his brokenhearted banger “Lucid Dreams,” now certified quadruple platinum. With his Auto-Tuned wallowing from the bottom of a pill bottle, Juice WRLD’s proven equally comfortable collaborating with Panic! at the Disco’s Brendon Urie or trap king Future, with whom he issued a joint mixtape last year. With Ski Mask the Slump God.
8 p.m. April 28; WaMu Theater, 800 Occidental Ave. S., Seattle; $66; all ages; centurylinkfield.com
The buzz around this hard-twerking, self-love messenger continues to grow, with the Minneapolis rapper/singer ripping viral flute solos, earning raves at SXSW and blowing the roof off “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” studio. Last week, Lizzo dropped her future club classic “Tempo,” a body-positive wall-shaker with Missy Elliott. For all her retweetable moments of late, the warranted hype — peaking as she preps her first major-label album, “Cuz I Love You,” due April 19 — is the culmination of years spent taking her resplendent live show on the road with the likes of Sleater-Kinney, Haim and an arena run with Florence + the Machine. Lizzo returns to headline Capitol Hill Block Party this summer. Tayla Parx opens.
8 p.m. Sunday, April 28; Showbox SoDo, 1700 First Ave. S., Seattle; sold out; all ages; showboxpresents.com