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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The actor, rapper, writer and director, Donald Glover Jr became famous after playing the role of a college student In the sitcom, Community, from 2009 to 2013. He also stars in the FX series Atlanta. He has also acted in a number of commercially successful films. His albums have done well and he won a Grammy award for the single Redbone.
Montero Lamar Hill, better known as Lil Nas X, soared to fame with his US Billboard Hot 100 charter country rap track Old Town Road. The gay singer initially became viral for his comedy videos on Facebook and Vine and then soared to fame on Spotify.
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.
Nipsey Hussle was an American rapper who left behind quite a legacy when he was fatally shot at the age of 33. His death was met with a strong artistic response as more than 50 murals dedicated to him were painted in Los Angeles alone within a few months after his death. As a rapper and activist, Hussle influenced several youngsters.
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.
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.
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.
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’.
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.
Kodak Black is an American singer, songwriter, and rapper. He gained recognition after releasing hit albums, such as Painting Pictures and Dying to Live. A well-known philanthropist, Kodak Black announced in 2018 that he was in the process of building a school in Haiti. Over the years, he has also donated money for various charitable causes.
Regarded as one of the most acclaimed musical artists of his generation, Frank Ocean is recognized for his unconventional production techniques and wide vocal range. He is credited with revitalizing and popularizing jazz and funk-influenced R&B. He is also regarded as a representative of alternative R&B. He was named in Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world list.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.