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.
For anyone who has a penchant for music, Rihanna needs no introduction. Born as Robyn Rihanna Fenty, Rihanna is one of the most influential names in the music and fashion industry. Her effortless singing, catchy tunes and inimitable dance moves have won her eight Grammy Awards, eight American Music Awards, twelve Billboard Music Awards and two BRIT Awards.
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, 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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
11 Nicki Minaj
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.
12 Lauryn Hill
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.
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.
14 LL Cool J
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.
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 Bow Wow
17 Toni Braxton
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.
20 Trippie Redd
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.
22 MC Hammer
23 Faith Evans
24 Roddy Ricch
Trap sensation Roddy Ricch is best known for his mixtape Feed Tha Streets II, which featured the Billboard Hot 100-charting track Die Young. Nipsey Hussle's track Racks in the Middle, featuring Ricch, got him a Grammy Award. Fans also loved Ricch's Hot 100-topping single The Box from his debut album.
25 Tory Lanez
Rapper, singer and songwriter, Tory Lanez’s debut studio album I Told You topped the charts in 2016. His subsequent albums, Memories Don't Die, Love Me Now, Chixtape 5 and Daystar were successful too. He was arrested once for violence and possessing a weapon. He has also been accused of shooting and wounding another rap artist, a charge Tory has denied.
29 Polo G
Polo G is an American singer, songwriter, rapper, and record executive. Polo G, who became famous for his Chicago drill sound, gradually adopted a more melodic style. Renowned for his vivid storytelling, Polo G's lyrics often reflect on subjects, such as mental health and racism. In 2020, he announced the launch of ODA Records, his own record label.
30 Keri Hilson
Keri Hilson is an American singer, vocal arranger, songwriter, actress, and record producer. She is known for writing songs for popular artists like Mary J. Blige and Britney Spears. She often creates music that glorifies love, sexual intimacy, and womanhood. Also a well-known philanthropist, Hilson has contributed to various charities and relief efforts for natural disasters.
Aminé is an American rapper, songwriter, and singer. He is best known for his hit single Caroline, which took the US Billboard Hot 100 by storm by peaking at number 11 on the chart. In 2017, Aminé was nominated at the BET Hip Hop Awards under the Best New Hip Hop Artist category.
36 Chuck D
37 J Hus
38 Fleur East
39 Tinie Tempah
Nigerian singer Wizkid soared to fame with chart-busting tracks such as Holla at Your Boy. A performer who has revolutionized the Afrobeats genre, Wizkid supported Nigeria’s End SARS protests against police brutality, on social media. In 2011, he was part of a paternity scandal but denied having fathered a child.