Top Ten Most Influential Rap Artists

rapaddict97
For this list, we're looking at the rap groups and individual rappers who've had the greatest influence on the genre. These rappers and groups may not be the best or the most popular, but they've changed the genre for better or worse.

The Top Ten

1 N.W.A. N.W.A. N.W.A was an American hip hop group from Compton, CA. They were among the earliest and most significant popularizers and controversial figures of the gangsta rap subgenre, and are widely considered one of the seminal groups in the history of hip hop music.
2 Tupac Tupac Tupac Amaru Shakur, also known as 2Pac, was an American rapper and actor born on June 16, 1971 in East Harlem, New York. Tupac sold over 75 million records worldwide and has been referred to in multiple major publications such as Rolling Stone as one of the greatest music artists of all time. 2Pac was ...read more.
3 Notorious B.I.G. Notorious B.I.G. Christopher George Latore Wallace, born May 21, 1972, better known by his stage name The Notorious B.I.G (sometimes Biggie Smalls or just simply Biggie), is an American rapper from Brooklyn, New York. On March 9, 1997, he was murdered in a drive by shooting in Los Angeles, California at the age of only ...read more.
4 Rakim Rakim William Michael Griffin, Jr., better known by his stage name Rakim, is an American rapper. He was born on January 28, 1968.

He pretty much pioneered putting meaningful lyrics into his raps. Before Rakim came on the scene, hip hop was mainly just viewed as party music like disco. - phillysports

5 Nas Nas Nasir bin Olu Dara Jones, better known by his stage name Nas, is an American rapper and entrepreneur born on September 14, 1973 in New York City. His album, Illmatic, is considered to be one of the best rap albums of all time. He is also considered to be one of the best rappers of all time.
6 Public Enemy Public Enemy Public Enemy is an American hip hop group consisting of Chuck D, Flavor Flav, Professor Griff, Khari Wynn, DJ Lord, and the S1W group.
7 Eminem Eminem Eminem, born Marshall Bruce Mathers III, is an American rapper, actor and music producer born on October 17, 1972 in St. Joseph, Missouri. Eminem has sold over 300 million records making him the bestselling hip-hop artist of all time. In addition to his solo career, he is a member of D12 and (with Royce ...read more.
8 Kanye West Kanye West Kanye Omari West is an American rapper, songwriter, and fashion designer. He was born on June 8, 1977 in Atlanta, Georgia. After West's parents divorced, him and his single mother moved to Chicago, Illinois. At the age of 10, West temporarily moved to Nanjing, China, because his mother was teaching ...read more.
9 Salt-N-Pepa Salt-N-Pepa Salt-N-Pepa is an American hip hop trio from Queens, New York. The group, consisting of Cheryl James, Sandra Denton and originally Latoya Hanson, who was replaced by Deidra Roper, was formed in 1985 and was one of the first all-female rap groups.
10 J. Cole J. Cole Jermaine Lamarr Cole, better known by his stage name J. Cole, is an American hip hop recording artist and record producer.

The Contenders

11 Jay-Z Jay-Z Shawn Corey Carter, known by his stage name JAY-Z, is an American rapper, record producer, entrepreneur and investor born on December 4, 1969 in Brooklyn, New York. He is best known for his albums Reasonable Doubt, The Blueprint, and The Black Album. He is considered to be one of the best rappers of ...read more.
12 Will Smith Will Smith Willard Carroll "Will" Smith, Jr. is an American actor, comedian, producer, rapper, and songwriter. He is best known for his acting career overall. He has been in many popular movies, These include, but are not limited to, the Men in Black franchise, The Pursuit of Happyness, and After Earth. He is ...read more.
13 Big Daddy Kane Big Daddy Kane Antonio Hardy, better known by his stage name Big Daddy Kane, is a Grammy Award-winning American rapper and actor who started his career in 1986 as a member of the rap collective the Juice Crew.
14 Slick Rick Slick Rick
15 Run-D.M.C. Run-D.M.C. Run-DMC was an American pioneering hip hop group consisting of Run, DMC, and Jam Master Jay. They were formed in 1981 and disbanded in 2002 after Jam Master Jay was murdered.
16 Afrika Bambaataa
17 DJ Kool Herc
18 KRS-One KRS-One Lawrence "Kris" Parker, better known by his stage names KRS-One, and Teacha, is an American rapper and occasional producer from The Bronx, New York City, New York.
19 A Tribe Called Quest A Tribe Called Quest A Tribe Called Quest were an American hip-hop trio that was formed in 1985, and was composed of MC and producer Q-Tip, MC Phife Dawg and DJ and producer Ali Shaheed Muhammad.
20 The Beastie Boys The Beastie Boys The Beastie Boys are an American Rap/Rock group that was formed in 1981 by its three original members, Michael "Mike D" Diamond, Adam "Ad-Rock" Horovitz, and Adam "MCA" Yauch.
21 Wu-Tang Clan Wu-Tang Clan The Wu-Tang Clan is an American hip hop group from New York City, originally composed of East Coast rappers RZA, GZA, Method Man, Raekwon, Ghostface Killah, Inspectah Deck, U-God, Masta Killa, Ol' Dirty Bastard and Cappadonna.
22 Lil Jon Lil Jon Jonathan Smith, better known by his stage name Lil Jon, is an American rapper, songwriter, record producer, entrepreneur, DJ and actor.
23 2 Live Crew 2 Live Crew The 2 Live Crew was an American hip-hop group from Miami, Florida. They caused considerable controversy with the sexual themes in their work, particularly on their 1989 album As Nasty As They Wanna Be.
24 Cypress Hill Cypress Hill Cypress Hill is an American hip hop group from South Gate, California. Cypress Hill was the first Latino American hip hop recording group to have platinum and multi-platinum albums, selling over 18 million albums worldwide.
25 Snoop Dogg Snoop Dogg Cordozar Calvin Broadus Jr., (born, October 20, 1971) known professionally as Snoop Dogg, is an American rapper, actor, record producer, and television personality from Long Beach, California.
26 Andre 3000 Andre 3000 André Lauren Benjamin, known by his stage name André 3000 is an American rapper and one half of the hip-hop duo OutKast. He is widely considered to be the better half of the duo, and he is also considered to be one of the greatest lyricists in hip hop. Despite never actually releasing an official ...read more.
27 LL Cool J LL Cool J James Todd Smith, known professionally as LL Cool J, Is an American rapper, actor, author and entrepreneur from Queens, New York.
28 Scarface Scarface Brad Terrence Jordan, better known by his stage name Scarface, is an American rapper, music producer, and author.
29 Lil Kim Lil Kim
30 Lauryn Hill Lauryn Hill Lauryn Noelle Hill is an American singer, rapper and songwriter. She is known for being a member of Fugees and for her solo album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, which won many awards and broke several sales records.
31 50 Cent 50 Cent Curtis James Jackson III, better known by his stage name 50 Cent, is an American rapper, actor, entrepreneur, investor, record, film, and television producer.
32 Lil Wayne Lil Wayne Dwayne Michael Carter, Jr. is an American hip hop artist and is often referred to as one of the worst rappers of all time. He was signed to Cash Money Records by Birdman at a young age. Before he became a household name and the artist he is today, he was 1 quarter of the southern rap group The Hot Boys, ...read more.
33 Kendrick Lamar Kendrick Lamar Kendrick Lamar Duckworth (born June 17, 1987) is an American rapper and songwriter. Raised in Compton, California, Lamar embarked on his musical career as a teenager under the stage name K-Dot, releasing a mixtape that garnered local attention and led to his signing with indie record label Top Dawg ...read more.
34 Big Pun Big Pun Christopher Lee Rios, better known by his stage name Big Pun, was an American rapper. Emerging from the underground hip hop scene in The Bronx borough of New York City, in the early 1990s, he was the first Latino rapper to have an album certified platinum as a solo act. ...read more.
35 MC Lyte
36 Grandmaster Flash Grandmaster Flash Joseph Saddler, better known as Grandmaster Flash, is a Bajan-American hip hop recording artist and DJ.
37 Busta Rhymes Busta Rhymes Trevor George Smith, Jr., better known by his stage name Busta Rhymes, is an American hip hop recording artist, actor, record producer and record executive.
38 MC Hammer MC Hammer Stanley Kirk Burrell, better known by his stage name MC Hammer, is an American hip hop recording artist, dancer, record producer and entrepreneur.
39 Nicki Minaj Nicki Minaj Onika Tanya Maraj, known professionally as Nicki Minaj (born December 8, 1982) is a Trinidadian/American rapper / pop music artist. Minaj is most known for her songs such as "Anaconda", "Only", "Truffle Butter", "Super Bass" and "Stupid Hoe". ...read more.
40 Cardi B Cardi B Belcalis Marlenis Almánzar, known professionally as Cardi B, is an American rapper, songwriter, television personality and more.
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