A rapper and singer, XXXTentacion, gained fame with the success of the song, Look at Me, and release of albums like 17 and ?. In his personal life, he faced multiple legal issues from the beginning. He was shot dead at the young age of 20. XXXTentacion had a cult following among the youth owing to his depression and alienation thematic driven music.
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.
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.
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.
Travis Scott is a highly successful rapper, singer and songwriter. In 2016, his second albun, Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight became his first number one album on the Billboard 200. It was followed by his album, Astroworld, which received widespread critical praise. His music is a fusion of fusion of traditional, hip hop, lo-fi and ambient.
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.
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.
10 Dr. Dre
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.
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.
12 Ice Cube
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.
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.
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.
15 Lil Wayne
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.
16 Lil Uzi Vert
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.
17 J. Cole
German born American rapper, singer, songwriter, and record producer J. Cole is considered one of the most respected and influential rappers of his generation. Interested in music from a young age, he decided to become a singer when he was just 12. His debut mixtape was a hit, and he went on to release many other successful mixtapes and albums.
18 Wiz Khalifa
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.
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.
21 Post Malone
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".
23 50 Cent
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.
24 Sean Combs
25 Kid Cudi
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.
27 Cardi B
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.
28 Lil Peep
Hailed as the leading figure of the emo rap scene of the mid-late 2010s, Lil Peep went on to inspire many youth subcultures. Peep achieved tremendous success in less than three years' time. In his personal life though, he struggled with mental health conditions. He died at the age of 21 due to an accidental overdose of drugs.
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.
31 Mac Miller
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.
32 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.
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.
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.
35 YNW Melly
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.
36 21 Savage
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.
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.
39 Rick Ross
40 Lil Nas X
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.
41 Idris Elba
Idris Elba is a successful actor both on the small and the big screen and is mainly known for the television series The Wire and Luther and also for films, such as Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom and Beasts of No Nation. He has also acted in blockbuster films of Marvel Comics universe like Avengers: Age of Ultron and Avengers: Infinity War.
Future is an American rapper, record producer, singer, and songwriter. He is credited with founding a record label named Freebandz. Having released many gold-certified singles and albums, Future is a popular rapper and his music is often characterized as trap music.
44 Will Smith
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.
45 NBA YoungBoy
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.