Famous 20th Century Hip Hop Singers

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 Eminem

Eminem
25
Famous As: Rapper, Songwriter
Birthdate: October 17, 1972
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Saint Joseph, Missouri, United States

Amongst the biggest rappers of all time, Eminem gained worldwide popularity with the release of albums like The Slim Shady LP and The Marshall Mathers LP. His subsequent albums became huge successes further making him a bigger sensation and one of the bestselling music artists of all time. His fame greatly inspired other white rappers to succeed in popular music.

 2 Kanye West

Kanye West
25
Famous As: Rapper, Husband of Kim Kardashian
Birthdate: June 8, 1977
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Atlanta, Georgia, United States

Creative from a very young age, Kanye West dreamed of becoming a rapper since very early in his life. He became an award winning American rapper whose creativity in music is widely appreciated by critics. However, his outspoken views, comments and behaviour have quite often landed him controversies.

 3 Lil Wayne

Lil Wayne
17
Famous As: Hip-hop artist
Birthdate: September 27, 1982
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: New Orleans, Louisiana, United States

Rapper, singer and songwriter, Lil Wayne, is said to be an influential hip hop artists of his generation. Initially he was a flagship artist of Cash Money Records and then went solo. His albums are hugely popular and he has sold more than 120 million records worldwide. He has served an eight-month jail sentence for criminal possession of a weapon.

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 4 Jay-Z

Jay-Z
14
Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: December 4, 1969
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States

Jay-Z is an American rapper and songwriter and is one of the world's best-selling music artists. His debut album Reasonable Doubt was hugely successful in 1996 and since then he has gone on to release many more acclaimed and successful albums. He has been charged with assaulting a record executive and was given a three-year probation sentence in January 2000.

 5 Tupac Shakur

Tupac Shakur
9
Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: June 16, 1971
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States
Died: September 13, 1996

Tupac Amaru Shakur, popularly known as 2Pac or Makaveli, is considered as one of the greatest American rappers of all time. Talent and trouble went hand in hand in Shakur’s journey to fame; the higher Shakur rose in his iconic status, the deeper he became entangled in gang violence and an infamous rivalry, which sadly led to his untimely demise.

 6 Queen Latifah

Queen Latifah
17
Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: March 18, 1970
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Newark, New Jersey, USA

Queen Latifah is an American musician and actress whose song U.N.I.T.Y. played a major role in raising awareness about women's rights worldwide. Dubbed Queen of Jazz-Rap, Latifah has influenced several soul, R&B, and hip-hop artists like Remy Ma, Lil' Kim, Ivy Queen, Missy Elliott, Lauryn Hill, and Eve among other artists. As an actress, Latifah has won several prestigious awards.

 7 Dr. Dre

Dr. Dre
3
Famous As: Rapper, Record producer, and entrepreneur
Birthdate: February 18, 1965
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Compton, California, United States

Rapper, record producer, and audio engineer, Dr. Dre, is the founder and CEO of Aftermath Entertainment and Beats Electronics. He is credited with the popularization of  West Coast G-funk, a sub-genre of hip hop. After establishing himself in the music industry, he promoted the careers of many other rappers, including 2Pac and Snoop Dogg.

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 8 Lauryn Hill

Lauryn Hill
4
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: May 26, 1975
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: South Orange, New Jersey, United States

Famous rapper and singer, Lauryn Hill, is widely regarded as one of the greatest rappers of all time and a pioneer in the Neo soul genre. The artist whose album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill won five Grammy Awards, is an inspiration for numerous singers and rappers. Earlier, she gained recognition as member of Fugees, an award-winning hip hop group.

 9 The Notorious B.I.G.

The Notorious B.I.G.
7
Famous As: Rapper, Songwriter
Birthdate: May 21, 1972
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States
Died: March 9, 1997

The Notorious B.I.G. was a rapper and songwriter and is considered one of the best ever. His debut album Ready to Die in 1994 was critically acclaimed. He was murdered in a drive-by shooting in Los Angeles in September 1996. His album Life After Death was released two weeks after his death. 

 10 Beyonce Knowles

Beyonce Knowles
10
Famous As: Singer-Songwriter
Birthdate: September 4, 1981
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Houston, Texas, United States

Beyonce Knowles is a singer, songwriter, and actress. She developed an interest in music as a child. As a teenager, she became the lead singer of Destiny's Child, one of the best-selling girl groups of all time. As of today, she is one of the world's best-selling recording artists. 

 11 Jennifer Lopez

Jennifer Lopez
10
Famous As: Singer, Actress, Dancer
Birthdate: July 24, 1969
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States

Jennifer Lopez established herself as the highest-paid Latin actress in Hollywood after starring in films such as Out of Sight, The Wedding Planner, Maid in Manhattan and Shall We Dance’. She is also an accomplished dancer and commercially very successful singer. She helped propel the Latin pop movement in American music. She is also a fashion designer and a businesswoman.

 12 LL Cool J

LL Cool J
9
Famous As: Rapper, Actor
Birthdate: January 14, 1968
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Bay Shore, New York, United States

LL Cool J is an American rapper, entrepreneur, and record producer. Such is his popularity that LL Cool J was named on VH1's list of 100 Greatest Artists Of All Time in 2010. In 2017, he became the first rapper to be awarded the prestigious Kennedy Center Honors. Over the years, Cool J has had a profound influence on hip-hop.

 13 Eazy-E

Eazy-E
4
Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: September 7, 1964
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Compton, California
Died: March 26, 1995

Widely regarded as the godfather of gangsta rap, Eazy-E was a rapper and record producer. He played a major role in popularizing gangsta rap and West Coast rap by forming N.W.A, which is considered one of the most influential and greatest hip hop groups of all time. Eazy-E died at the age of 30 after being diagnosed with AIDS.

 14 Snoop Dogg

Snoop Dogg
4
Famous As: Rapper, Songwriter
Birthdate: October 20, 1971
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Long Beach, California, United States

Snoop Dogg is a famous American rapper whose life is a perfect example of rags-to-riches story. As a child, he did various odd jobs to help his family make ends meet. He started rapping as a young boy to distract himself from his unstable family life. He ran into trouble with the law as a teenager. However, once he released his debut album, there was no looking back.

 

 15 Miley Cyrus

Miley Cyrus
31
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: November 23, 1992
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Franklin, Tennessee, United States

Miley Cyrus, the American singer-songwriter and actress, is known for her wide range in music, spanning from pop and country pop to hip hop. The portrayal of the title character of television series, Hannah Montana, made her a teen idol. Her personal life has often sparked controversy, especially when she came out as pansexual and talked about use of cannabis.

 16 Mariah Carey

Mariah Carey
5
Famous As: Singer-Songwriter
Birthdate: March 27, 1970
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Huntington, New York, United States

Known for her five-octave vocal range and melismatic singing style, singer-songwriter Mariah Carey is one of the best-selling music artists of all time. She holds the record for the most number-one singles by a solo artist and a female songwriter. She was ranked second on VH1's list of the 100 Greatest Women in Music in 2012. 

 17 Aaliyah

Aaliyah
8
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: January 16, 1979
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States
Died: August 25, 2001

Aaliyah was an American singer, actress and model, who became famous when her debut album, Age Ain't Nothing but a Number sold three million copies in the US. Her subsequent albums also sold in millions and won her numerous accolades. She also acted in some films. She tragically died in an airplane crash in the Bahamas, at the age of 22.

 18 Method Man

Method Man
10
Famous As: Hip Hop Artist, Rapper
Birthdate: March 2, 1971
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Hempstead, New York, United States

Method Man is part of the hip-hop duo Method Man & Redman and Wu-Tang Clan. His collaborative single with Mary J. Blige, I'll Be There for You, won a Grammy. He has also appeared on the show Method & Red, in HBO series such as Oz, and in several films.

 19 Machine Gun Kelly

Machine Gun Kelly
9
Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: April 22, 1990
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Houston, Texas, United States

 20 Nate Dogg

Nate Dogg
5
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: August 19, 1969
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Long Beach, California, USA
Died: March 15, 2011

Nicknamed King of Hooks, American singer and rapper Nate Dogg is best known for his collaborations with other celebrated rappers like Snoop Dogg, Warren G and Dr. Dre.  Equally successful as a solo artist, he had recorded three solo albums as well as a string of singles, concurrently charting 16 times on the Billboard Hot 100 as a featured artist.

 21 Chance the Rapper

Chance the Rapper
6
Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: April 16, 1993
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States
Chance the Rapper is best known for his Billboard-charting mixtape Coloring Book, which was the first streaming-only album to earn a Grammy. An avid social activist in Chicago, he owns the non-profit SocialWorks. He is known for his signature style of wearing a cap with the number "3" on it.

 22 Sean Combs

Sean Combs
6
Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: November 4, 1969
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Harlem, New York, United States
Three-time Grammy-winning hip-hop legend Sean Combs, known to fans as Puffy, Puff Daddy, or Diddy, started off as a talent director with Uptown and then launched his own record label. His debut album, No Way Out, was certified 7Xplatinum, and his song I'll Be Missing You topped the Billboard charts. 

 23 Ice-T

Ice-T
6
Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: February 16, 1958
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Newark, New Jersey, United States

Rapper, singer, songwriter, musician, and actor, Ice-T is known for his fusion music that combines elements of rock and hip hop. Beginning his career as an underground rapper in the 1980s, he went on to release many albums that were commercially and critically successful. He is also an actor and voice actor.

 24 Pitbull

Pitbull
3
Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: January 15, 1981
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Miami, Florida, United States
Rapper Pitbull is best known for his chartbusting songs I Know You Want Me and Timber. He also sang the 2014 FIFA World Cup theme, We Are One (Ole Ola). The winner of 35 Billboard Latin Music Awards, he has also collaborated with artists such as Jennifer Lopez.

 25 Bobby Brown

Bobby Brown
8
Famous As: Singer-Songwriter
Birthdate: February 5, 1969
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Grammy-winning singer and New Edition member Bobby Brown was a pioneer of the new jack swing, a combination of R&B and hip-hop, and shot to fame with the album Don't Be Cruel and the hit My Prerogative. His marriage to Whitney Houston was plagued with domestic strife and drug issues. 

 26 Nas

Nas
4
Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: September 14, 1973
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Crown Heights, New York, United States

Widely considered one of the greatest rappers ever, Nas has seven platinum and multi-platinum albums under his belt in the US. In 2006, he was ranked fifth on MTV's The Greatest MCs of All Time list. In 2012, he was ranked second on the Top 50 Lyricists of All Time list published by The Source. He is also an entrepreneur.

 27 Akon

Akon
3
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: April 16, 1973
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: St. Louis, Missouri, United States

Akon is one of the most successful R&B, hip hop and rap singers in the world. His albums Trouble, Konvicted, Freedom, El Negreeto and Akonda have many chartbusters songs. He has also founded record labels Akonik Label Group, KonLive Distribution and Konvict Mizik. He courted controversy in 2007 for an onstage act involving simulated sex with a 15-year-old girl.

 28 Lisa Lopes

Lisa Lopes
3
Famous As: Rapper, Singer
Birthdate: May 27, 1971
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: April 25, 2002

Lisa Lopes, popularly known as “Left Eye,” was a member of the Grammy-winning hip-hop/R&B girl band TLC. Apart from rapping and singing, she also co-wrote songs and managed the band’s outfits, album titles, and artworks. Lopes died in a car accident in Honduras, leaving behind her incomplete second solo album.

 29 Rick Ross

Rick Ross
5
Famous As: Rapper, Songwriter
Birthdate: January 28, 1976
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Coahoma County, Mississippi
Named the "Hottest MC in the Game" in 2012 by MTV, Rick Ross soared to fame with his first single, Hustlin. He launched the label Maybach Music Group and once owned several Wingstop restaurant outlets. He is also known for his feuds and legal issues with other artists.

 30 Common

Common
3
Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: March 13, 1972
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: South Side, Chicago, Illinois, United States

 31 Toni Braxton

Toni Braxton
5
Famous As: American R&B Singer-songwriter & Musician
Birthdate: October 7, 1967
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Severn
Soul and R&B sensation Toni Braxton initially performed with her sisters in The Braxtons. She won three of her seven Grammys with her debut album. Known for her Billboard-charters such as Un-break My Heart, she also collaborated with Babyface, competed in Dancing with the Stars, and produced Braxton Family Values.

 32 Logic

Logic
3
Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: January 22, 1990
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Gaithersburg, Maryland, United States
Rapper and hip-hop artist Logic, earlier known as “Psychological,” initially gained fame with his Young Sinatra mixtapes, which helped him secure a deal with Def Jam Recordings. After delivering gold and platinum albums, he quit music and became a Twitch and YouTube star. He has written a bestselling novel, too.

 33 Jack Harlow

Jack Harlow
8
Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: March 13, 1998
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Louisville, Kentucky, United States

 34 Faith Evans

Faith Evans
5
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: June 10, 1973
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Lakeland, Florida, United States
R&B and hip-hop artist Faith Evans is the first female artist to sign with Sean Combs’s label. She was married to rapper The Notorious B.I.G., who was killed in a shooting. Evans later won a Grammy for the song I'll Be Missing You, released in memory of her late husband.

 35 Fetty Wap

Fetty Wap
2
Famous As: Rapper, Singer
Birthdate: June 7, 1991
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Paterson, New Jersey, U.S.
Rapper Willie Junior Maxwell II, better known as Fetty Wap, rose to fame with his Billboard-charting and two-time Grammy-nominated debut track Trap Queen. He often wears the Haitian flag. He has often found himself in the midst of lawsuits for offenses ranging from copyright infringement to assault.

 36 Ja Rule

Ja Rule
7
Birthdate: February 29, 1976
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: New York City
Rapper/hip-hop artist Ja Rule is best known for his collaborative tracks with artists such as Jennifer Lopez and Ashanti. He has delivered a platinum-selling debut album and released two Billboard-topping albums. He has launched a clothing line and a liquor brand, too, and has had multiple brushes with the law. 

 37 Solange Knowles

Solange Knowles
3
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: June 24, 1986
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Houston, Texas, United States
Solange Knowles, younger sister of pop star Beyoncé Knowles, initially performed as a back-up dancer and wrote songs for Beyoncé’s band Destiny's Child. She has delivered Grammy-winning tracks such as Cranes in the Sky and has also won an Impact Award. She also owns a hip-hop-themed children’s merchandise brand.

 38 Brian Austin Green

Brian Austin Green
15
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: July 15, 1973
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States

Actor, rapper, and producer Brian Austin Green began his career as a young boy in the mid-1980s. He started by taking up small roles in TV shows before establishing himself with the success of the TV series Beverly Hills, 90210. He then ventured into films as well. He supports many charitable endeavours, including the Omaze "Fight4theAmazon" campaign.

 39 Soulja Boy

Soulja Boy
3
Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: July 28, 1990
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Chicago
Soulja Boy is best known for his Billboard Hot 100-topping track Crank That. Named to the 2010 Forbes list of Hip-Hop Cash Kings, he revolutionized the art of promoting music through social media, especially through YouTube. He is part of a deal with the World Poker Fund.

 40 Slick Rick

Slick Rick
2
Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: January 14, 1965
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: London, England

Slick Rick is an English-American record producer and rapper. He gained national recognition in the mid-1980s when he joined Doug E. Fresh & the Get Fresh Crew. One of the most-sampled artists of all time, Rick’s songs have been interpolated by artists like Eminem. Rick was ranked 15th in the Top 50 Lyricists of All Time list by The Source.

 41 Kelly Rowland

Kelly Rowland
7
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: February 11, 1981
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Atlanta, Georgia, United States

Four-time Grammy-winning artist Kelly Rowland was part of the R&B group Destiny’s Child, along with Beyoncé. Kelly has also had a successful solo career and has starred in films such as Freddy vs. Jason. She has been a judge on The X Factor and a coach on The Voice

 42 Aaron Carter

Aaron Carter
8
Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: December 7, 1987
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Tampa, Florida, United States

Aaron Carter is an American singer, songwriter, rapper, dancer, actor, and record producer. Carter became popular among pre-teen and teenage audiences after having released his debut studio album at the age of nine. An openly bisexual musician, Aaron Carter serves as an inspiration to the LGBTQ community.

 43 Donnie Wahlberg

Donnie Wahlberg
11
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: August 17, 1969
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Dorchester, Boston, Massachusetts, United States

Donnie Wahlberg is a singer, songwriter, record producer, and actor. Popularly known as the bad boy of New Kids on the Block band, Wahlberg faced up to 20 years in prison after he was charged with arson for setting The Seelbach Hilton on fire. The charge was later reduced and eventually dropped after he agreed to appear in public-service videos.

 44 Yungblud

Yungblud
8
Famous As: Singer Songwriter
Birthdate: August 5, 1997
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Doncaster, Yorkshire, England

Yungblud is an English singer, actor, and songwriter. His single 11 Minutes peaked at number one on the Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles chart in 2019. Yungblud is also renowned for his activism; in 2018 he participated in March for Our Lives rally to protest against gun violence. He has also won many prestigious awards like MTV Europe Music Awards.

 45 Fat Joe

Fat Joe
3
Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: August 19, 1970
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: South Bronx, New York, United States
Fat Joe is best known for his hit tracks such as Lean Back and his collaborations with stars such as Jennifer Lopez and Ashanti. He began his career as part of Diggin' in the Crates Crew and then went solo. He later launched his own label and hosted a podcast.

 46 Sean Paul

Sean Paul
3
Famous As: Jamaican hip-hop artist
Birthdate: January 9, 1973
Sun Sign: Capricorn

Sean Paul is a Jamaican recording artist and producer, widely considered one of dancehall's most prolific artists. He is best known for his singles, Temperature and Get Busy. Most of his albums have received Grammy nominations under the Best Reggae Album category.

 47 Mos Def

Mos Def
3
Famous As: Rapper, Actor
Birthdate: December 11, 1973
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States

 48 Nelly Furtado

Nelly Furtado
5
Birthdate: December 2, 1978
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Victoria

Nelly Furtado is a Portuguese-Canadian record producer and singer-songwriter. Known for her constant reinvention and musical versatility, Furtado is one of the most successful musical artists from Canada, having sold more than 40 million records. Her work has also inspired fellow musicians like Dua Lipa and Bridgit Mendler. Also a philanthropist, Furtado is a member of Artists Against Racism charity.

 49 Big L

Big L
7
Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: May 30, 1974
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States
Died: February 15, 1999

 50 August Alsina

August Alsina
5
Famous As: Singer, Songwriter
Birthdate: September 3, 1992
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: New Orleans, Louisiana, United States

A singer-songwriter whose music generally falls into the Alternative R&B category, August Alsina is a young man who is applauded not just for his musical talents but also for his zest for life. He suffers from an autoimmune disease that attacks his liver, and he is constantly fighting to live a normal life.