Famous American Hip-Hop & Rappers

If you have grown up listening to Tupac, Eminem and Jay Z rap about Rolexes, Maybachs, ghetto, gangsters, and guns, then you will be hugely interested in exploring the lives of these impressive rosters of slick-tongued, sharp-witted emcees who are responsible for making hip-hop a transcending force in music today. Ever since its inception in the '70s, America has been the hotbed of hip-hop and rap. And while the previous generation of rappers were not as introspective, fashionable, and inventive as the new blood like Nas, Biggie or Kanye West, nevertheless they received top billing during their times for their pure lyricism, exceptional MC skills, head-turning persona, and braggadocio quotient. Many rappers have come and gone, but there are some hip-hop artistes whose legacies will live on for generations to come. Let us explore the timeline, trivia, and interesting facts on America's famous rap-gods, who broke new grounds and made the genre so excitingly mainstream, in the biographies below.

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.
18
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.
21
Famous As: Rapper, Singer-Songwriter, Record Producer
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 Jennifer Lopez

Jennifer Lopez.
8
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.

 4 Lil Wayne

Lil Wayne.
14
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.

 5 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. 

 6 Jay-Z

Jay-Z.
10
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.

 7 Tupac Shakur

Tupac Shakur.
7
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.

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 8 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.

 

 9 Miley Cyrus

Miley Cyrus.
30
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.

 10 Post Malone

Post Malone.
12
Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: July 4, 1995
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Syracuse, New York, United States

Much appreciated for his introspective songwriting, singer-songwriter, Post Malone ,is the first-ever solo artist to top both the Billboard Rap Airplay and Adult Contemporary charts as a lead artist. His music covers a range of genres including country, grunge, rap, and R&B. He has been accused of  "appropriating" African-American culture and has been called a “culture vulture".

 11 Queen Latifah

Queen Latifah.
14
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.

 12 Dr. Dre

Dr. Dre.
0
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.

 13 Kendrick Lamar

Kendrick Lamar.
4
Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: June 17, 1987
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Compton, California, United States

Kendrick Lamar is regarded as one of the greatest lyricists and rappers of all time. He is also considered one of the most influential celebrities of his generation; such has been his impact on the music industry. In 2016, he was named in Time magazine's 100 most influential people in the world list.

 14 The Notorious B.I.G.

The Notorious B.I.G..
2
Famous As: Rapper, Songwriter
Birthdate: May 21, 1972
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: New York City, 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. 

 15 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.

 16 Machine Gun Kelly

Machine Gun Kelly.
8
Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: April 22, 1990
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Houston, Texas, United States

 17 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.

 18 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.

 19 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.

 20 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.

 21 Pharrell Williams

Pharrell Williams.
8
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: April 5, 1973
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Virginia Beach, Virginia, United States
Rapper-singer Pharrell Williams began his career with The Neptunes, the record-production duo he had formed with Chad Hugo. He was also part of the band N.E.R.D., as its lead vocalist. He is known for his Academy Award-nominated song Happy from the Despicable Me 2 soundtrack and his 13 Grammy wins.

 22 Tyler, The Creator

Tyler, The Creator.
5
Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: March 6, 1991
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Ladera Heights, California, United States

 23 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. 

 24 Gucci Mane

Gucci Mane.
9
Famous As: Hip Hop Singer
Birthdate: February 12, 1980
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Bessemer, Alabama
Hip-hop and trap sensation Gucci Mane has made waves with tracks such as Gucci Time and Wasted. The “avatar of East Atlanta,” he has had multiple brushes with the law. He owns a label and has also written an autobiography. He has also promoted the Gucci Cruise 2020 Campaign.

 25 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.

 26 ASAP Rocky

ASAP Rocky.
3
Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: October 3, 1988
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Harlem, New York, United States
Rapper ASAP Rocky gained fame with his debut mixtape, LiveLoveA$AP. He released two consecutive Billboard 200-topping albums, Long. Live. ASAP and At. Long. Last. A$AP. Fans loved his Grammy-nominated single Fuckin' Problems. He also produces using the pseudonym Lord Flacko and is part of the hip-hop collective A$AP Mob.

 27 Nate Dogg

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

 28 Method Man

Method Man.
9
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.

 29 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. 

 30 Trippie Redd

Trippie Redd.
8
Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: June 18, 1999
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Canton, Ohio

Rapper, singer, and songwriter, Trippie Redd, became an overnight sensation in 2017 with the release of his debut mixtape, A Love Letter to You. Many of his singles reached the Billboard Hot 100, further cementing his popularity. He has a troubled personal life and has been involved in numerous feuds and legal issues.

 31 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.

 32 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.

 33 Common

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

 34 Mary J. Blige

Mary J. Blige.
7
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: January 11, 1971
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: The Bronx, New York City, New York

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.

 35 Bow Wow

Bow Wow.
7
Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: March 9, 1987
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Columbus, Ohio, U.S.
Rapper Bow Wow, earlier known as "Lil Bow Wow,” was discovered by Snoop Dogg. He is best known for songs such as Bow Wow (That's My Name). He has also appeared in movies such as Like Mike and All About the Benjamins, and in series such as Entourage.

 36 NF (Nathan John Feuerstein)

NF (Nathan John Feuerstein).
5
Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: March 30, 1991
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Gladwin, Michigan
Rapper Nathan John Feuerstein, or NF (stylized as ИF), gained fame in the niche genre of Christian hip-hop. His albums Perception and The Search both charted on the Billboard 200. His single Let You Down was certified triple-platinum. His style has been influenced by the music of Eminem.

 37 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.

 38 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.

 39 Cardi B

Cardi B.
4
Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: October 11, 1992
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Bronx, New York, United States

Rap legend Cardi B rose from being an exotic dancer and internet celebrity to being featured on Forbes and Time 100. Her triple-platinum-certified debut album, Invasion of Privacy, topped the Billboard 200. She was the only female solo artist to win the Grammy for the Best Rap Album.

 40 Teyana Taylor

Teyana Taylor.
3
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: December 10, 1990
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Harlem, New York

R&B and hip-hop singer Teyana Taylor gained fame with MTV's My Super Sweet 16. She signed with Kanye West’s label and also appeared on the reality show Teyana and Iman, with her husband, NBA player Iman Shumpert. In December 2020, she announced her retirement from music through Instagram.

 41 DaBaby

DaBaby.
7
Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: December 22, 1991
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Cleveland, Ohio

American rapper and songwriter DaBaby gained critical acclaim and commercial success with his debut album Baby on Baby. Later, his two other albums Kirk and Blame It on Baby became huge successes and made him one of the biggest rappers in the US. Earlier his single Light Show and Baby Talk series of mixtape attracted quite a lot of attention.

 42 Lizzo

Lizzo.
18
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: April 27, 1988
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Detroit, Michigan
Three-time Grammy-winning rap and hip-hop sensation Lizzo is also a queer and body-positivity icon. She began singing with groups such as The Chalice and Grrrl Prty, and graced the Billboard 200 with the album Cuz I Love You. Time’s 2019 Entertainer of the Year, Lizzo is also a talented flute-player.

 43 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. 

 44 Nora Lum

Nora Lum.
8
Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: December 14, 1988
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: New York City, New York
Nora Lum, or Awkwafina, soared to fame with the song My Vag, which became a YouTube hit. She then delivered her album Yellow Ranger and appeared in the series Girl Code. With The Farewell, she became the first Asian woman to win a Golden Globe for the lead female.

 45 will.i.am

will.i.am.
5
Famous As: Rapper, Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: March 15, 1975
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Rapper and music producer William James Adams Jr., better known as “will.i.am,” is a founding member of the Black Eyed Peas. He went solo later and released tracks such as the NBA Live theme Go! The seven-time Grammy-winning artist also wrote Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign theme Yes We Can.

 46 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.

 47 Kirshnik Ball

Kirshnik Ball.
5
Famous As: Rapper/Singer
Birthdate: June 18, 1994
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Lawrenceville, Georgia, USA

Kirshnik Ball, better known by his stage name Takeoff, is an American singer-songwriter and rapper. He is known for forming the hip hop trio Migos along with Offset and Quavo. Over the years, Kirshnik Ball has achieved success as part of the Migos. He stirred controversy in 2017 when he refused to use an overhead storage bin in an airplane.

 48 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.

 49 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.

 50 Mac Miller

Mac Miller.
13
Famous As: American Rapper, Singer
Birthdate: January 19, 1992
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: September 7, 2018

Before his death at the age of 26, Mac Miller had a major impact as a rapper and songwriter. Blue Slide Park, his studio album, became the first independently distributed maiden album since 1995 to top the US Billboard 200. His personal life was marred by depression, substance abuse, and legal issues. He died of drug overdose.