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10 of the Best Late-Night TV Rap Performances of 2018 (So Far)

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert / Saturday Night Live / The Late Late Show with James Corden via YouTube
The Late Show with Stephen Colbert / Saturday Night Live / The Late Late Show with James Corden via YouTube

Cardi B straight-up owned this weekend in hip-hop. Her stellar debut album Invasion of Privacy dropped on Friday, one day before she took the Saturday Night Live stage, where she performed her two hit singles “Bodak Yellow” and “Bartier Cardi” along with her new record “Be Careful.” She even shocked the world by showing off her baby bump, confirming months of pregnancy rumors.

For avid hip-hop fans, there’s no experience quite like catching your favorite artists live in concert, but the next best thing may be catching them in action on late-night TV from the comfort of your own home. While names like David Letterman, Arsenio Hall and Jay Leno have helped introduce hip-hop to late-night TV back in the 1990s, Jimmy Kimmel, Jimmy Fallon, Stephen Colbert and James Corden now reign supreme. And they’re keeping their couches and stages open for today’s biggest rappers.

Cardi B is just one of quite a few hip-hop artists who’ve shined on the small screen after hours in 2018. The year may be young, but there have already been a number of rap sightings on late-night TV this year, from Migos to Travis Scott to Lil Uzi Vert all delivering live performances. A$AP Rocky even made his grand solo reentry to hip-hop by debuting two new songs (“A$AP Forever” and “Distorted Records”) on The Tonight Show earlier this month. In honor of Cardi’s latest attention-grabbing performance, XXL has compiled a list of some of the best late-night TV rap performances of 2018, thus far. Don’t sleep!

Lil Uzi Vert on ‘The Late Show’


Stephen Colbert continued his trend of showing love to hip-hop in February 2018 by inviting Lil Uzi Vert to light up The Late Show stage with a performance of the Luv Is Rage II fan-favorite, “The Way Life Goes.”


Rich Brian on ‘The Late Late Show’


Rich Brian ended 2017 with a name change and kicked off 2018 in a big way with the release of his debut album, Amen, in February. To help mark the occasion, Brian appeared on The Late Late Show with James Corden, performing a medley of album cuts like “Cold” and the title track in his late-night show debut.


Common Performs on ‘The Late Show’


Common joined Andra Day on The Late Show in January for a performance of “Stand Up For Something,” the pair’s collaboration from the soundtrack from the 2017 film, Marshall.


Travis Scott & Quavo on ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live!’


Travis Scott and Quavo are both late-night TV alums, but the pair made their debut as a duo with a performance of “Eye 2 Eye” from their collaborative project Huncho Jack, Jack Huncho during a visit to Jimmy Kimmel Live! earlier this year.


A$AP Ferg on ‘The Tonight Show’


After nabbing a platinum plaque for his 2017 hit single “Plain Jane,” A$AP Ferg stopped by The Tonight Show to kick off 2018 with an electric performance, further evidence of his ascent into superstardom.


Fetty Wap on ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live!’


Fetty Wap joined Cheat Codes and CVBZ for an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live! to perform their single “Feels Great” last month.


Stefflon Don on ‘The Late Late Show’


London export Stefflon Don made another show-stealing appearance with her performance of her breakthrough single “Hurtin’ Me” during a visit to The Late Late Show with James Corden for her late-night TV debut.


Migos on ‘Saturday Night Live’


If nothing else, Migos’ first headlining performance on SNL was memorable. While some viewers complained about audio issues, others marveled at the trio’s characteristically gaudy getups. Quavo, Offset and Takeoff performed “Stir Fry” and “Narcos,” from their long-and-strong latest album, Culture II.


A$AP Rocky on ‘The Tonight Show’


A$AP Rocky went all out for his Tonight Show performance in April. He kicked off his performance sporting a crash test dummy suit while lying in bed, as two people with lab coats and gas masks watch. Rocky performs “A$AP Forever” before getting up and running through a new track called “Distorted Records.”


Cardi B on ‘Saturday Night Live’


Cardi B made history in her first-ever performance on SNL. After initially hiding her rumored pregnancy behind a black-and-white feather ensemble while performing a medley of “Bodak Yellow” and “Bartier Cardi,” she put the gossip to rest while performing “Be Careful,” proudly showing off her baby bump.


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