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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
From selling drugs and getting arrested in his teens to becoming one of the world’s best-selling rappers, Curtis James Jackson III’s journey has been an interesting one. Better known by his stage name 50 Cent, his albums have sold in millions. However, despite being one of the richest celebrities, he filed for bankruptcy protection in 2015 due to financial troubles.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Mary J. Blige is a popular singer-songwriter and actress. Having sold 80 million records worldwide, she is one of the best-selling female artists of all time. Referred to as the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul, Mary is credited with influencing the fusion of R&B and hip hop. She often gets featured in lists like The 100 Greatest Women in Music.
2 Chainz is an American rapper, media personality, songwriter, and basketball player. One-half of the now-defunct hip hop duo Playaz Circle, 2 Chainz is credited with founding The Real University, his own independent record label. Also an entrepreneur, 2 Chainz owns Dabbing Sweaters, his own line of sweaters, and CEO Millionaires, a line of hoodies.
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.
Alesha Dixon is an English singer-songwriter, rapper, and TV personality. She initially wanted to become a teacher, but destiny had other plans for her, and she ended up entering the music world. She rose to fame as a singer in the 2000s as a member of the girl group Mis-Teeq. She later pursued a successful solo career as well.
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.
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.
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.