Famous 20th Century Rappers

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
64
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 Tupac Shakur

Tupac Shakur
156
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.

 3 Kanye West

Kanye West
61
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.

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 4 Snoop Dogg

Snoop Dogg
128
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.

 

 5 Dr. Dre

Dr. Dre
69
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.

 6 Ice Cube

Ice Cube
57
Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: June 15, 1969
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Crenshaw, California, United States

Ice Cube played an important role in contributing to gangsta rap's popularity. His lyrics for N.W.A's album Straight Outta Compton redrew boundaries and shaped West Coast rap's identity. Because of his lyrics, that explain black nationalism and black struggle, Ice Cube went on to influence a host of rappers and is considered one of the greatest rappers ever.

 7 The Notorious B.I.G.

The Notorious B.I.G.
76
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. 

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 8 Lil Wayne

Lil Wayne
45
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.

 9 Eazy-E

Eazy-E
35
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.

 10 J. Cole

J. Cole
57
Famous As: Rapper, Record Producer, Singer-Songwriter
Birthdate: January 28, 1985
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Frankfurt, Germany

German born American rapper, singer, songwriter, and record producer J. Cole is considered one of the most respected and influential rappers of his generation. Interested in music from a young age, he decided to become a singer when he was just 12. His debut mixtape was a hit, and he went on to release many other successful mixtapes and albums.

 11 Jay-Z

Jay-Z
20
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.

 12 DMX

DMX
36
Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: December 18, 1970
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Mount Vernon, New York, United States

 13 Nas

Nas
44
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.

 14 Ludacris

Ludacris
13
Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: September 11, 1977
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Champaign, Illinois, United States
Three-time Grammy-winning rapper Ludacris soared to fame with his second album, Back for the First Time. Fans also loved him as Tej Parker in The Fast and the Furious franchise. He owns a label, a line of headphones, and a restaurant. His Ludacris Foundation is associated with many youth initiatives. 

 15 LL Cool J

LL Cool J
17
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.

 16 Logic

Logic
26
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.

 17 Ice-T

Ice-T
34
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.

 18 Sean Combs

Sean Combs
44
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. 

 19 Rick Ross

Rick Ross
45
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.

 20 André 3000

André 3000
46
Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: May 27, 1975
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Atlanta, Georgia, United States

 21 Idris Elba

Idris Elba
20
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: September 6, 1972
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: London, England

Idris Elba is a successful actor both on the small and the big screen and is mainly known for the television series The Wire and Luther and also for films, such as Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom and Beasts of No Nation. He has also acted in blockbuster films of Marvel Comics universe like Avengers: Age of Ultron and Avengers: Infinity War.

 22 Method Man

Method Man
7
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.

 23 Lauryn Hill

Lauryn Hill
23
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.

 24 Busta Rhymes

Busta Rhymes
63
Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: May 20, 1972
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: East Flatbush, New York, United States

 25 Common

Common
23
Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: March 13, 1972
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: South Side, Chicago, Illinois, United States

 26 Chance the Rapper

Chance the Rapper
65
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.

 27 Will Smith

Will Smith
16
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: September 25, 1968
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States

The charismatic, versatile and bankable American artist, Will Smith, tasted early success with rapping. A successful transition into films and television soon followed and made Smith a phenomenal success. With solid earnings, he has also frequently secured himself a place in the list of highest paid actors in world.

 28 Young Thug

Young Thug
50
Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: August 16, 1991
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Atlanta, Georgia, United States

Rapper, singer, and songwriter, Young Thug, is considered to be one of the most influential rappers of his generation. Famous for his eccentric vocal style, he has inspired many others in the music industry. His debut studio album peaked at number one on the US Billboard 200 and earned him international fame.

 29 Queen Latifah

Queen Latifah
48
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.

 30 Nick Cannon

Nick Cannon
85
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: October 8, 1980
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: San Diego, California, United States

Nicholas Cannon is a comedian, rapper and television host. The Nick Cannon Show, America's Got Talent and The Masked Singer are some of his popular TV shows. He has also acted in films like Drumline, Love Don't Cost a Thing and Roll Bounce. Cannon has been accused of making racist and anti-Semitic remarks. He has called White people ‘savages’.

 31 Donnie Wahlberg

Donnie Wahlberg
6
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.

 32 Pitbull

Pitbull
29
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.

 33 Fetty Wap

Fetty Wap
24
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.

 34 Bobby Shmurda

Bobby Shmurda
47
Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: August 4, 1994
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Miami, Florida, United States

Bobby Shmurda is one of the most popular American rappers to serve a prison sentence. After releasing his debut EP, he was arrested on charges of conspiracy to murder, reckless endangerment, and weapons possession. Initially sentenced to seven years in prison, his term was later reduced to five years. In 2017, he claimed that he was writing music in prison.

 35 RZA

RZA
9
Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: July 5, 1969
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Brownsville, New York, United States
Rapper RZA leads the hip-hop group Wu-Tang Clan and previously performed with Gravediggaz, under the name “The RZArector.” He is also known for his directorial debut, The Man with the Iron Fists; his appearance in films such as American Gangster; and his BAFTA-nominated music in Kill Bill: Volume 1.

 36 The Kid Laroi

The Kid Laroi
25
Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: August 17, 2003
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Waterloo, Australia
Australian rapper and hip-hop artist The Kid Laroi was mentored by the late rapper Juice Wrld. He shot to fame with the tracks Let Her Go, Diva, the Billboard-charting Go, and Addison Rae. He is immensely popular on Instagram and YouTube, where he has millions of followers.

 37 Mos Def

Mos Def
14
Famous As: Rapper, Actor
Birthdate: December 11, 1973
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States

 38 Machine Gun Kelly

Machine Gun Kelly
43
Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: April 22, 1990
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Houston, Texas, United States

 39 Lil Dicky

Lil Dicky
45
Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: March 15, 1988
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Cheltenham Township, Pennsylvania, United States

Lil Dicky is an American comedian and rapper. Apart from releasing internationally renowned songs like Ex-Boyfriend and Freaky Friday, Lil Dicky has also released charity singles, such as Earth, which featured celebrities like Leonardo DiCaprio, Wiz Khalifa, Justin Bieber, Katy Perry, Ed Sheeran, Ariana Grande, and Kevin Hart. He is also credited with co-creating a television comedy series titled Dave.

 40 Lisa Lopes

Lisa Lopes
33
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.

 41 Jack Harlow

Jack Harlow
75
Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: March 13, 1998
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Louisville, Kentucky, United States

 42 Nelly

Nelly
52
Famous As: Rapper, Singer, Songwriter
Birthdate: November 2, 1974
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Austin, Texas, United States

Grammy-winning hip-hop/rap artist Nelly began his career with St. Lunatics. He became a household name after the release of his debut solo album, Country Grammar, in 2000. He ranked third on Billboard’s list of the Top Artist of the Decade and has sold 21 million albums in the U.S.

 43 Big Pun

Big Pun
14
Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: November 10, 1971
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States
Died: February 7, 2000

Big Pun was an American songwriter and rapper. Well-known for his heavy use of alliteration and exceptional breath control, Pun was also widely regarded as one of the best MCs ever. He struggled with weight issues and obesity throughout his life, which eventually led to his death caused by respiratory failure and a heart attack at the age of 28.

 44 Soulja Boy

Soulja Boy
32
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.

 45 Missy Elliott

Missy Elliott
35
Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: July 1, 1971
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Portsmouth
Four-time Grammy-winning rapper Missy Elliott, known for her chartbusting tracks such as Get Ur Freak On, was ranked fifth on Billboard’s 100 Greatest Music Video Artists of All Time list. She was initially part of the R&B group Sista and then collaborated with Timbaland in the collective Swing Mob

 46 GZA

GZA
14
Famous As: Rapper, Musician, Singer
Birthdate: August 22, 1966
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States

 47 Raekwon

Raekwon
9
Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: January 12, 1970
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Staten Island, New York, U.S.

 48 Redman

Redman
8
Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: April 17, 1970
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Newark, New Jersey, United States

 49 Mel B

Mel B
22
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: May 29, 1975
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Harehills, West Yorkshire, England

Mel B is an English television personality and singer-songwriter. She gained international recognition as part of the popular pop girl group Spice Girls, which has sold more than 85 million records. Over the years, Mel B has been an important TV personality, appearing in several reality series as a participant as well as a judge.

 50 Big Boi

Big Boi
23
Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: February 1, 1975
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Savannah, Georgia, United States