Underground hip-hop is a term for hip-hop music created outside the realm of the mainstream. Underground artists typically make music not intended for #1 singles but for the love of the music. Despite some artists cracking the Billboard charts, underground hip-hop usually stays true to lyricism and doesn't “sell out.”
To gain fans, underground artists typically perform locally or worldwide. They also distribute their music through YouTube, Bandcamp, and Soundcloud. Lastly, artists do almost everything themselves, such as creating songs, selling merch, or preparing shows.
Underground hip-hop incorporates several different styles of music. Artists like Jedi Mind Tricks and Immortal Technique are usually politically and socially aware, and other artists like Aesop Rock and MF Doom have received critical acclaim.