Best Rap Artists - Top Ranked
Since Hip Hop / Rap became popular in the early 80's, many have debated exactly who has been the best of all time. Is the Best Rap artist the one that sells the most albums? Take a moment and rank your favorite Hip Hop artist. If you Rap artist is missing, take a moment and submit your top ranked music artist.
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Tupac Amaru Shakur (June 16, 1971 – September 13, 1996), known by his stage names 2Pac (or simply Pac) and Makaveli, was an American rapper. 2Pac has sold over 75 million albums worldwide, making him one of the best-selling music artists in the world. Rolling Stone Magazine named him the 86th Greatest Artist of All Time. In addition to his status as a top-selling rap artist, he was a promising actor and a social activist. Most of 2Pac's songs are about growing up amid violence and hardship in ghettos, racism, problems in the society and conflicts with other rappers. 2Pac's work is known by many for often advocating egalitarianism. 2Pac was initially a roadie and backup dancer for the alternative hip hop group Digital Underground.
Christopher George Latore Wallace (May 21, 1972 – March 9, 1997), popularly known as Biggie Smalls (after a fictional gangster in the 1975 film Let's Do It Again) or simply Biggie, Frank White (based on a fictional drug baron from the 1990 film King of New York), and by his primary stage name The Notorious B.I.G., was an American rapper.
Raised in the Brooklyn borough of New York City, Wallace grew up during the peak years of the 1980s crack epidemic and started dealing drugs at an early age. When Wallace released his debut album with the 1994 record Ready to Die, he was a central figure in the East Coast hip hop scene and increased New York's visibility at a time when West Coast artists were more common in the mainstream. The following year, Wallace led his childhood friends to chart success through his protégé group, Junior M.A.F.I.A.. While recording his second album, Wallace was heavily involved in the East Coast–West Coast hip hop feud, dominating the scene at the time.
Earl Simmons (born December 18, 1970), better known by his stage name DMX, is an American rapper and actor who rose to fame in the late 1990s. His stage name pays tribute to the Oberheim DMX drum machine, an instrument he used when he made his own rap beats in the 80's. To date, his best-selling album is his 1999 album ...And Then There Was X, which featured the hit single "Party Up (Up in Here)". As an actor, he also starred in the films Belly, Exit Wounds, Cradle 2 The Grave, Romeo Must Die and Last Hour, and his own reality television series Soul of a Man on the American cable television network BET. In 2002, DMX wrote an autobiographical book titled E.A.R.L.: The Autobiography of DMX. He also has an extensive arrest record.
Marshall Bruce Mathers III (born October 17, 1972), better known by his stage name Eminem is an American rapper, record producer, and actor. Eminem quickly gained popularity in 1999 with his major-label debut album The Slim Shady LP, which won a Grammy Award for Best Rap Album. The following album, The Marshall Mathers LP, became the fastest-selling solo album in history. It brought Eminem increased popularity, including his own record label, Shady Records, and brought his group project, D12, to mainstream recognition.
Cordozar Calvin Broadus (born October 20, 1971), better known by his stage name Snoop Dogg, is a Grammy Award-nominated American rapper, record producer and actor. Snoop is best known as an MC in the West Coast hip hop scene, and for being one of Dr. Dre's most notable protégés. Snoop Dogg was a Crip gang member while in high school. Shortly after graduation, he was arrested for cocaine possession and sentenced to three years in prison. His music career began in 1992 after his release when he was discovered by Dr. Dre. He collaborated on several tracks on Dre's solo debut, The Chronic and on the titular theme song to the film Deep Cover.
Snoop's debut album, Doggystyle, was released in 1993 under Death Row Records. Doggystyle went quadruple platinum and spawned several hit singles, including "What's My Name" and "Gin & Juice." In 1996, Snoop Dogg was cleared of charges over his bodyguard's 1993 murder of Philip Woldemariam. His second album, 1996's Tha Doggfather, was his last release for Death Row before he signed with No Limit Records, where he recorded three albums from 1998 to 2001. Snoop then signed with Priority/Capitol/EMI Records in 2002, which released his album Paid tha Cost to Be da Boss, and then he signed with Geffen Records in 2004 for his next three albums.
OutKast is an American hip hop duo based in East Point, Georgia, consisting of Atlanta native André "André 3000" Benjamin (formerly known as Dré) and Savannah, Georgia-born Antwan "Big Boi" Patton. They were originally known as The OKB (The OutKast Brothers) but later changed the group's name to OutKast. The group's original musical style was a mixture of Dirty South and G-Funk. Since then, however, funk, soul, electronic music,spoken word poetry, jazz, and blues elements have been added to the group's musical palette.
Shawn Corey Carter (born December 4, 1969), better known by his stage name Jay-Z, is an American rapper and businessman. He is one of the most financially successful hip hop artists and entrepreneurs in America having had a net worth of over $150 million in 2009. He has sold 40 million albums worldwide while receiving ten Grammy Awards for his musical work.
Jay-Z co-owns The 40/40 Club, is part-owner of the NBA's New Jersey Nets and is also the creator of the clothing line Rocawear. He is the former CEO of Def Jam Recordings, one of the three founders of Roc-A-Fella Records and recently, the founder of his new venture Roc Nation. As an artist, he holds the record for most number one albums by a solo artist on the Billboard 200. Jay-Z also has had 4 number ones on the Billboard Hot 100, one as lead artist; they are: "Heartbreaker" with Mariah Carey, "Crazy in Love" with Beyoncé, "Umbrella" with Rihanna and "Empire State of Mind" featuring Alicia Keys.
Nasir bin Olu Dara Jones born September 14, 1973), who performs under the mononym Nas, formerly Nasty Nas, is an American rapper and actor. The son of jazz musician Olu Dara, he was born and raised in the Queensbridge housing projects in New York City. Although he dropped out of middle school, he managed to attain a high degree of literacy which is prominent in his lyrics. His debut album Illmatic, was released in 1994 on Columbia Records. Illmatic was critically acclaimed and would go on to be widely hailed a classic in the genre. Nas was part of hip-hop supergroup The Firm, which released one album.
Run-D.M.C. (sometimes written Run D.M.C., Run–DMC, or Run DMC) was a hip hop group from Hollis, in the Queens borough of New York City. Founded by Joseph "Run" Simmons, Darryl "D.M.C." McDaniels, and Jason "Jam-Master Jay" Mizell, the group is widely acknowledged as one of the most influential acts in the history of hip hop. They were the biggest act in hip-hop throughout the 1980s and are credited with breaking hip hop into mainstream music. In 2004, Rolling Stone ranked them number 48 in their list of the greatest musical artists of all time. In 2007, the trio was named Greatest Hip Hop Group of All Time by MTV.com They were also named Greatest Hip Hop Artist of All Time by VH1. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on April 4, 2009, the second hip-hop group to be inducted, after Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five.
Curtis James Jackson III (born July 6, 1975), better known by his stage name 50 Cent, is an American Grammy Award winning rapper and actor. He rose to fame with the release of his albums Get Rich or Die Tryin' (2003) and The Massacre (2005). Get Rich or Die Tryin' has been certified 8 times platinum by the RIAA and has sold over 15 million copies worldwide. His album The Massacre has been certified 5 times platinum by the RIAA and has sold 11 million copies worldwide. Both albums sold more than twenty-six million copies combined
Trevor Tahiem Smith, Jr., better known as Busta Rhymes (born May 20, 1972), is a Jamaican-American rapper, songwriter, and actor. Chuck D of Public Enemy gave him the name Busta Rhymes (from former NFL wide receiver George "Buster" Rhymes). Smith was born in Brooklyn, New York, to Jamaican parents Geraldine Green and Trevor Smith. Smith's musical career began at the age of 16 as a member of the hip hop crew Leaders of the New School along with fellow Long Island natives Charlie Brown, Dinco D, and Cut Monitor Milo. They began recording in 1989 and released their debut album A Future Without a Past in 1991 on Elektra Records. In 1993, they released T.I.M.E. (The Inner Mind's Eye). Busta Rhymes' standout performance in A Tribe Called Quest's 'Scenario' propelled him into the cultural conscience. Soon after, however, internal problems arose because of Busta's increasing popularity, which created fierce jealousies, and the group broke up on the set of Yo! MTV Raps.
James Todd Smith (born January 14, 1968), better known as LL Cool J, is an American rapper and actor. LL Cool J stands for "Ladies Love Cool James". He is known for romantic ballads such as "I Need Love", "Around the Way Girl" and "Hey Lover" as well as pioneering hip-hop such as "I Can't Live Without My Radio", "I'm Bad", "The Boomin' System", and "Mama Said Knock You Out". He has also appeared in several films. He has released twelve studio albums and a greatest hits compilation, with his latest album being 2008's Exit 13, the last for his record deal with Def Jam Recordings. He now resides in Manhasset, New York with his wife and four children.
Stanley Kirk Burrell (born March 30, 1962), best known by his stage names MC Hammer, Hammer and Hammertime, is a rapper, entertainer and dancer most popular during the late 1980s until the mid-1990s. Remembered for a rapid rise to fame before losing the majority of his fortune, he is also known for his hit records, including "U Can't Touch This", flamboyant dance techniques and trademark Hammer pants.
Hammer became a preacher during the late 1990s was a television show host and dance judge, is a record label CEO, and as of 2008 works as a co-creator of a dance website called DanceJam, while still performing occasionally at concerts and other social media, ministry and outreach functions. In addition, he is executive producer of his own reality show called Hammertime.