Amongst the most influential female rap artists of all time and one of the bestselling artists, Nicki Minaj came to limelight after her collaborations with Dirty Money Record and Young Money Entertainment. With subsequent release of her four albums, Minaj firmly established herself as a chart-topping artist. The Queen of Rap has also dabbled in acting and ventured into business.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Drake soared to fame with his performance as Jimmy Brooks in the series Degrassi: The Next Generation. He then became a rap sensation with his platinum album Thank Me Later and his Grammy-winning quadruple platinum album Take Care. His track In My Feelings went viral with the global Kiki Challenge.
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.
Lil Uzi Vert is an American rapper whose music is defined by dark subject matters, which complements his androgynous fashion, eccentric hairstyles, facial piercings, and face tattoos. Lil Uzi Vert has often courted controversy by saying phrases associated with Satanism and adding satanic imagery to his Instagram account. He has also been accused of worshipping Satan.
An influential rapper, 21 Savage's Guns Down, Paintballs Up movement, which he reportedly started to reduce gun violence, gave rise to many incidents involving paintball guns. Also a philanthropist, Savage created the 21 Savage Bank Account Campaign to help kids learn how to make and save money. In 2018, he donated $10,000 to fund an anti-bullying campaign in school.
NBA YoungBoy is an American singer, songwriter, and rapper. He garnered a cult following between 2015 and 2017, during which he released eight successful, independent mixtapes. Rated highly among America's most controversial rappers, NBA YoungBoy has been arrested on a couple of occasions for charges, including attempted first degree murder.
YNW Melly is an American rapper whose song Murder on My Mind became a huge hit, especially after Melly was charged with double-murder. In 2019, he pleaded not guilty and is currently awaiting trial. If proven guilty, he could face life imprisonment or even capital punishment. Apart from the double-murder charges, he is a suspect in the 2017 murder of a sheriff's deputy.
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.
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.
Rapper T.I., also known as TIP, is one of the pioneers of trap music. The three-time Grammy-winner owns a music label and has seven “Top 5” Billboard 200 albums. He has starred in his own reality series, has written two novels, and has appeared in films such as Ant-Man.
Kevin Gates is an American singer, rapper, and entrepreneur. He is best known for his debut studio album Islah, which peaked at number two on the Billboard 200 chart. Over the years, Kevin Gates has had many brushes with the law. He was first arrested at the age of 13 when he was found inside a stolen vehicle.
An American rapper, singer, and songwriter, Megan Thee Stallion began rapping while she was still in her teens and used digital media platforms to promote her work. Her talent was appreciated by both fans and record labels and she eventually became the first female rapper to be signed by the American record label 300 Entertainment.
NLE Choppa is one of the youngest male rappers to make a name for himself in the American rapping scene. Also a well-known Internet personality, NLE Choppa has posted several videos on his YouTube channel Awakened Choppa, inspiring many of his followers to fall back on spirituality and veganism.
Tione Jayden Merritt, better known as Lil Tjay, soared to fame with his Billboard Hot 100-charting tracks Brothers and F.N. He initially gained prominence on SoundCloud. He is also known as the Bronx Justin Bieber. Fans love his signature use of the auto-tune feature in his songs.
Keenon Jackson is an American actor and rapper whose 2013 single My Nigga, for which he collaborated with Rich Homie Quan and Young Jeezy, won the 2014 BET Hip Hop Award for Best Collabo, Duo or Group. One of the most controversial rappers of the current generation, Keenon Jackson was arrested in 2020 on robbery charges and was detained for arraignment.
Wyclef Jean is a Haitian musician, actor, and rapper. This Grammy Award-winning musician garnered national attention when his efforts to raise relief funds to aid the victims of the 2010 Haitian earthquake through his charitable organization Yéle Haiti were questioned as reports suggested that Jean retained the money for his own benefit. The organization has been the subject of controversy.
Jidenna is a Nigerian-American rapper, singer, songwriter, and record producer. Interested in music from an early age, he co-founded the rap group Black Spadez when he was in high school. As a young man, he worked full-time as a teacher before becoming a popular rapper. He is also a founding member of the social club Fear & Fancy.
Azealia Banks is an American rapper, actress, singer, and songwriter. After releasing music through the social networking service Myspace, Banks signed to XL Recordings. After a brief association with Polydor Records and Interscope, Banks founded her own label, Chaos & Glory Recordings. Over the years, her outspoken views on sensitive subjects like race have attracted criticism, controversy, and media scrutiny.
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.
Stokeley Clevon Goulbourne, popularly known by his stage name Ski Mask the Slump God, is an American rapper. He is credited with co-founding a hip hop collective called Members Only. A controversial figure, Goulbourne has been on the wrong side of the law on a couple of occasions. In 2016, he was arrested for robbery and driving without a license.
Rico Nasty is an American rapper, singer, and songwriter. Renowned for her punk aesthetic and unique delivery, Nasty achieved popularity in 2018 when she released singles, such as Poppin and Smack a Bitch. Over the years, Rico Nasty has been serving as an inspiration for contemporary artists like ppcocaine and Flo Milli.