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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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".
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.
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.
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.
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.
Young M.A is an American rapper who achieved popularity after the release of her single Ooouuu, which was certified quadruple-platinum. Also a well-known philanthropist, Young M.A launched the KWEENZ Foundation in 2018; the foundation aims at helping those trying to cope with the loss of loved ones. The same year, she was named in the Forbes 30 Under 30 list.
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.
Big Pun was an American songwriter and rapper. Well-known for his heavy use of alliteration and exceptional breath control, Pun was also widely regarded as one of the best MCs ever. He struggled with weight issues and obesity throughout his life, which eventually led to his death caused by respiratory failure and a heart attack at the age of 28.
Rapper, singer, and songwriter, Julius Dubose, better known as “A Boogie wit da Hoodie,” gained massive fame for his studio album, Hoodie SZN, which topped the Billboard 200 chart. He releases most of his music under his own imprint label Highbridge. He often collaborates with fellow rapper Don Q. He is the winner of two ASCAP awards.
A man whose music has been marked by an aggressive style of rapping, 6ix9ine is a figure who is as controversial as he is popular. Making waves in the music scene with his debut album in 2018, the upcoming rapper became involved in a string of sexual offenses and other felonies. Despite his legal issues, he continues to be popular.
Rapper Waka Flocka Flame rose to fame with the release of his single O Let's Do It in 2009. His debut album released the following year, peaked at number six on the US Billboard 200. He is a member of the group 1017 Brick Squad. He is involved in mental health advocacy and charitable endeavors.
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.
Ol' Dirty Bastard was an American rapper. He is credited with co-founding a hip hop group named Wu-Tang Clan, which rose to prominence in 1993 after the release of the group's maiden album Enter the Wu-Tang. Remembered for his outrageously profane lyrics, Ol' Dirty Bastard's legal troubles hampered his professional success. He died of a drug overdose at age 35.
Rapper Albert Johnson, better known by his pseudonym, Prodigy, gained fame as the lead vocalist of the hip-hop band Mindless Behavior, which released the chartbusting single My Girl. He was also part of the hip-hop duo Mobb Deep, with Havoc. He has also co-written a crime novel and a cookbook.