How Hip-Hop’s Largest Icons Have Modified Over The Years

Though that is typically true of the music trade generally, hip-hop has been traditionally thought to be a younger artist’s sport. It is a style that thrives on power, picture, and the perception gleaned from recent views. So, for a rapper to keep away from turning into a flash within the pan, they need to be iconic sufficient to attain true longevity.

Though that is a tough tightrope to stroll, it is not inconceivable. Though these rap legends have had various levels of success after their business peaks, the truth that they have been capable of survive the traits they rode in on reveals there was all the time one thing particular about them.

Dr. Dre

Dr. Dre

After rising as an electrifying younger beat producer and rapper throughout his stint within the legendary rap group N.W.A., Dr. Dre discovered even higher success together with his first solo challenge, The Continual, in 1992. Nonetheless, points with the administration of Dying Row Data led him to strike out on his personal and located Aftermath Leisure, by which he made the red-hot sophomore effort 2001.

Though rap followers awaited his third album, Detox, for over 15 years after this, Dr. Dre finally shelved the challenge in favor of Compton, a 2015 launch that was paired with the N.W.A. biopic Straight Outta Compton. As HuffPost reported, nevertheless, he hasn’t wanted to make a lot music after the success of his Beats line of headphones, which almost made him a billionaire after he bought the model to Apple.



After he exploded on the scene in 1999, each these inside and outdoors of the hip-hop group weren’t certain what to do with Eminem. Though he demonstrated his immense creativity and spectacular technical expertise on data like The Slim Shady LP and The Marshall Mathers LP, his lyrics attracted no finish of controversy, and his material was wildly completely different from what usually prevailed in mainstream hip-hop.

Though he skilled a inventive stoop quickly after the album The Eminem Present and the movie 8 Mile took him to the peak of his profession, he efficiently rebounded with the album Restoration in 2010. This ushered in an space of a extra mature Eminem, albeit one who’s much less prolific and fewer commercially profitable. However whereas he hasn’t recorded an album since 2020, his performances on the Oscars and the Superbowl have solely confirmed his legacy.

Snoop Dogg

snoop dogg

After rocketing to prominence by collaborating with Dr. Dre on the 1992 album The Continual, Snoop Dogg confirmed he may carry a profitable profession on his personal with the album Doggystyle. Though the last decade that adopted was tumultuous sufficient to see him go away two completely different report labels, he stayed on high with profitable tracks like “Stunning” and “Drop It Like It is Sizzling” within the 2000s.

Though Snoop Dogg hasn’t had a track chart since “Younger, Wild & Free” with Wiz Khalifa and Bruno Mars in 2011, his profession has since change into so multi-faceted that music stopped being the primary engine of his success over a decade in the past. Between film and TV appearances, long-time collaborations with Martha Stewart, and even a brief stint on gaming model FaZe Clan’s board of administrators, Snoop Dogg is as a lot of a public determine as he is ever been. In accordance with NPR, he even owns the label that gave him his begin, Dying Row Data.

Lil Kim

Lil Kim

After first making her identify as a protégé of slain legend The Infamous B.I.G. and a member of Junior M.A.F.I.A., Lil Kim discovered success of her personal in the course of the late ’90s and 2000s along with her mix of racy and hardcore lyrics and her assured supply.

Though her final look on the Billboard Sizzling 100 noticed her featured on the Keyshia Cole track “Let It Go” in 2007, Lil Kim stayed energetic all through the 2010s. In accordance with, she has since gone impartial and launched the mixtapes Black Friday, Arduous Core 2K14, and Lil Kim Season earlier than making her most up-to-date album, 9, in 2019.

50 Cent

50 cent

After constructing some buzz in New York Metropolis, 50 Cent conquered 2003 together with his best-selling and best-regarded main label debut, Get Wealthy Or Die Tryin’. In accordance with The Guardian, the album bought 12 million copies that yr, which not solely made him a millionaire however appeared to present him a rap empire for a couple of years.

Though his follow-ups, The Bloodbath and Curtis, each went platinum, 50 Cent was already seeing diminishing returns from his music by his third album. Nonetheless, his stake within the Vitamin Water producer Glaceau ended up making him no less than $60 million when it bought to Coca-Cola, and he moved on to performing in movies and TV and producing his personal TV present, Energy. Like many elder statesmen in rap, he is extra of a enterprise mogul than an artist these days.

Missy Elliot

Missy Elliot

After scoring her first platinum album, Supa Dupa Fly, in 1997 and rising to fame alongside the producer Timbaland and R&B singer Aaliyah, Missy Elliot launched a collection of acclaimed and commercially profitable albums that included Miss E … So Addictive in 2001, Below Development in 2002, and The Cookbook in 2005. In accordance with A&E’s Biography web site, she additionally gained 5 Grammy awards all through her legendary run within the 200s.

Nonetheless, that run was minimize brief by Grave’s illness, which she would deal with battling for a number of years. Regardless, she was capable of stage a profitable return to the highlight after her 2015 Superbowl Halftime Present efficiency, which she adopted up with the gold-selling single “WTF.” In 2019, she dropped the EP Iconology, which might be her first report in 14 years.

Lil Wayne

Lil Wayne

Though he was already a well-known rapper as a younger teen as a consequence of his membership within the New Orleans group Sizzling Boyz, Lil Wayne’s star would not actually rise till the 2000s. Throughout that point, a mixture of his fashionable Tha Carter album collection and an extremely prolific run of mixtapes led to his self-proclaimed standing as “the perfect rapper alive.”

His ill-fated 2010 rock album Rebirth and a string of shakier initiatives like Tha Carter IV and a few disappointing sequels to fashionable mixtapes like Dedication and I Am Not A Human Being tarnished Lil Wayne’s legend for a time. However after he regained some kind with Tha Carter V in 2018, has remained energetic and celebrated within the years since. Most lately, he launched a collaboration album with 2 Chaniz known as Welcome 2 Collegrove.

Lauryn Hill

Lauryn Hill

After rising because the breakout star of beloved, eclectic New Jersey hip-hop collective The Fugees, Lauryn Hill went solo and launched The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill in 1998. In accordance with the Berklee School of Music, this critically adored and extremely profitable album reached diamond standing in 2011, making Hill the primary feminine rapper to promote over 10 million copies of an album.

Nonetheless, the aftermath of this launch would apparently throw her right into a inventive drought that also hasn’t abated 25 years later. Though Folks reported that she and the reformed Fugees can nonetheless play to sold-out venues, the one follow-up she’s needed to her debut has been the ill-fated reside recording of her erratic MTV Unplugged No. 2.0 efficiency in 2001.

Ice Dice

Ice Cube

Ice Dice first established himself as a brash, fearless rapper whereas serving as a member of the group N.W.A., for whom he was the first lyricist. Nonetheless, he would discover simply as a lot success following his cut up with the group and emerged as an acclaimed but controversial artist as a consequence of his incisive, typically inflammatory lyrics.

However whereas the early ’90s noticed a legendary run of albums in AmeriKKKa’s Most Wished, Dying Certificates, and The Predator, motion pictures like Boyz In The Hood and Friday additionally confirmed that he’d have a viable profession as an actor. And whereas he would proceed making albums till 2018’s Everythangs Corrupt, he would largely deal with his movie work as soon as the success of his rap profession waned.

Kendrick Lamar

Kendrick Lamar

After some introductory mixtapes and the discharge of his first album, Part .80, in 2011, Kendrick Lamar’s spectacular vocal dexterity and his complicated, thought-provoking lyrics positioned him as one of the thrilling new voices in hip-hop. And after the discharge of his beloved Good Child, M.A.A.D. Metropolis album throughout the next yr, followers have been already ready to call him as among the best rappers to ever reside.

But when that hype appeared untimely on the time, the West Coast scion’s additional releases would solely solidify his legend. His 2015 launch, To Pimp A Butterfly, is broadly thought to be among the best rap albums of all time, and in line with NPR, his 2017 album DAMN made him the one rapper to obtain a Pulitzer Prize for his or her music. And the 2020s have proved fruitful for him as effectively, since his 2022 launch Mr. Morale & the Huge Steppers, and his collaborations together with his cousin Child Keem have each continued his eye-catching momentum.

Nicki Minaj

Nicki Minaj

Of the power of her mixtapes within the late 2000s, Nicki Minaj discovered herself on Lil Wayne’s Younger Cash label, the place she stood out for her unpredictable shifts in tone and persona throughout her verses and her clear expertise for rapping. Though Billboard reported that her Pink Friday collection of albums within the early 2010s afforded her a number of high 10 hits and Grammy nominations, it was typically unclear as as to whether she was making rap or pop albums.

Her verse on Doja Cat’s “Say So” secured her standing and means she has now carried out on a number-one hit, however Minaj’s albums have constantly sat on the high of Billboard’s album charts. The truth is, the group reported that with the discharge of Pink Friday 2 in 2023, she turned the primary feminine rapper to have three albums debut at primary and to have albums obtain this feat in subsequent a long time.



After releasing the basic album Affordable Doubt below his impartial Rocafella Data label, Jay-Z discovered a path to superstardom that was paved by his In My Lifetime album collection. He scored large hits with “Arduous Knock Life” and “Huge Pimpin'” earlier than making The Blueprint, a 2001 album that’s broadly thought of his masterpiece.

After scoring main hits with “99 Issues” and “Filth Off Your Shoulder” from his 2003 report The Black Album, Jay-Z introduced his retirement from hip-hop. After all, this was notoriously short-lived, as he would return to rap in 2006. Not solely has he seen additional success with songs like “Empire State Of Thoughts” and the album 4:44, however he is additionally change into a sports activities and leisure mogul by his Roc Nation model.



Slicing a picture because the powerful, no-nonsense First Girl of DMX’s Ruff Ryders label, Eve achieved worldwide success within the early 2000s along with her model of assured, unbothered rap. She appeared on a number of high ten hits between 2001 and 2004, two of which being collaborations with former No Doubt lead singer Gwen Stefani.

However whereas her albums Scorpion and Let There Be Eve bought effectively because of “Let Me Blow Ya Thoughts” and “Gangsta Lovin,” she advised The Guardian {that a} lack of curiosity in her 2013 launch Lip Lock led her to retreat from the music trade. Though she nonetheless performs and has began a household with billionaire Maximillion Cooper, she hasn’t launched an album since then.



Without delay easy and energetic, St. Louis rapper Nelly blazed an interesting path as one of many first hip-hop artists from the Midwest to achieve stardom and take delight in his rural roots. In accordance with Billboard, Nelly secured 4 top-ten hits by 2003, two of which went to primary and remained there for weeks at a time.

The Unhealthy Boys 2 tie-in “Shake Ya Tailfeather” stayed atop the charts for 4 weeks, whereas the gradual jam, “Dilemma,” reigned for a staggering ten weeks. However whereas Nelly’s business success would proceed together with his twin 2004 releases, Sweat and Swimsuit, his profession would largely decelerate after this, save for a collaboration with the nation band Floria Georgia Line on 2012’s “Cruise.”

Busta Rhymes

Busta Rhymes

When he made his mark within the hip-hop world together with his breakout single, “Woo-Hah!! Obtained You All in Examine,” Busta Rhymes stood out as a singular presence together with his intensely animated and high-speed supply. And whereas his largest hits have been nice for beginning a celebration, he maintained his albums retained respect amongst hardcore rap listeners with their apocalyptic tone and material.

And whereas he is continued to convey this power to the 2020s with the album Extinction Stage Occasion 2: The Wrath Of God, Busta Rhymes’s profession has since had its share of ups and downs because of the struggles of discovering the appropriate label within the 2000s and the 2010s. As he advised Sway on SiriusXM radio, inventive variations at each Aftermath Leisure and Money Cash Data made his stints there pretty short-lived.

Cunning Brown

Foxy Brown

In some ways, Brooklyn rapper Cunning Brown did not have a very fortunate profession. For every step ahead she took as an artist, there appeared to be a setback. Though she scored a high ten hit with “I will Be” from her debut album Il Na Na, secured high-profile collaborations with Jay-Z, and fashioned a complete supergroup with Nas, every achievement was tarnished ultimately.

Not solely did no follow-up album attain the business and demanding reception that Il Na Na did, however she was repeatedly accused of getting her lyrics ghostwritten by Jay-Z, and the supergroup ended up splitting up after one ill-fated album. Nonetheless, the worst spate of luck got here in 2005, when MTV reported that she skilled a sudden and near-total lack of her listening to. Though she would regain her listening to because of surgical procedure within the following yr, her profession by no means recovered from this setback.


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After releasing his breakthrough So Far Gone mixtape in 2009, Toronto rapper Drake’s mix of braggadocios rapping, easy singing, and weak, emotional songwriting made him a recent new voice in hip-hop. And it scored him two top-ten hits in “Greatest I Ever Had” and “Eternally,” however these would solely be the primary of many.

If Drake’s profession was beginning to get large again then, it is solely change into titanic within the years since. About 15 years after this promising begin, Billboard has credited Drake with 76 top-ten hits and 13 number-one hits. Selection reported that the newest of those, 2023’s “First Individual Shooter,” has tied Drake with Michael Jackson for essentially the most number-one hits scored by a solo male artist.

Technique Man

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One of many rising stars of the legendary Wu-Tang Clan, Technique Man, made quite a few profitable strikes that made him a profitable rapper and actor. Not solely was his work with the powerhouse group deserving of its personal acclaim, however solo data like Tical and his frequent collaborations with New Jersey rapper Redman would additional elevate each of them into prominence.

Though their album Blackout! was a fondly remembered success, their film How Excessive additionally put Technique Man on the radar as an actor. This opened the door for tougher roles like his recurring function within the celebrated crime collection The Wire. Though Technique Man hasn’t launched an album since 2018 and hasn’t had a track chart since 2003, these accolades have put a powerful legacy behind something he seeks to attempt subsequent.


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Nas broke into the main hip-hop scene in 1994 with Illmatic, which stays broadly thought to be the perfect hip-hop album of all time. However whereas his 1996 follow-up It Was Written continued his business and demanding momentum, his profession would enter a stoop afterward that was righted in 2001 by his explosive diss observe towards Jay-Z known as “Ether.”

In contrast to many different artists who’ve been within the rap sport for over 30 years, Nas stays as productive and acclaimed as he was throughout his auspicious begin. His latest King’s Illness album collection has earned him a Grammy nomination yearly like clockwork since 2021, and the primary of this trilogy lastly noticed him win the award in a profession that has included 17 nominations.

André 3000

Andre 3000c

Though each members of the Atlanta group Outkast proved to be gifted rappers and songwriters, André 3000 stood out as an unpredictable presence who mixed his easy supply with refined but relatable lyrics. But, as his time with the group progressed, he discovered himself feeling restricted by rap and extra concerned with exploring different genres.

This was evident on Outkast’s diamond-selling Speakerboxxx/The Love Beneath report, however it additionally appeared to underscore a curious profession that solely noticed him make uncommon, if welcome, appearances on different rapper’s songs. Nonetheless, followers who awaited an André 3000 solo launch lastly acquired their want in 2023 when he launched the surprising however celebrated New Blue Solar, which noticed him step away from vocal performances to play the flute. Billboard reported {that a} 12-minute observe from this launch charted on the Sizzling 100.

Queen Latifah

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After arising alongside the socially aware Native Tongues motion within the late ’80s and early ’90s, Queen Latifah established herself as a strong presence as a rapper whereas additionally flaunting her chops as a singer. On the similar time, she additionally demonstrated her likability and performing abilities in motion pictures like Set It Off and her function within the sitcom Residing Single. However maybe her most iconic movie function noticed her painting Matron “Mama” Morton within the movie adaptation of Chicago.

Not solely would Queen Latifah change into extra outstanding in Hollywood after this function however her music would change and see her pursue vocal jazz and R&B all through the 2000s. Though Billboard famous that her 2009 return to rap, Persona, charted larger on the Prime Hip-Hop/R&B album charts than any of her earlier efforts, she’s principally dedicated to performing in and producing motion pictures and tv these days.

J. Cole

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After amassing some severe buzz on the mixtape circuit, North Carolina rapper J. Cole’s long-awaited main label debut, Cole World: The Sideline Story, was launched by Roc Nation. However whereas the album confirmed his promise as an artist, singles like “Work Out” advised a compromised imaginative and prescient that famously upset Nas, which he addressed on his follow-up report, Born Sinner.

Within the years since this combined begin, nevertheless, J. Cole appears to have firmly shed his rising pains as an artist. Not solely has Billboard credited him with 12 top-ten hits within the decade since, however he has seen success by beginning his Dreamville report label, which is now a house for rising stars like Ari Lennox, Earthgang, and JID.

Da Brat

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After rising as a rising star on Jermaine Dupri’s So So Def label along with her 1994 debut, Funkdafied, Da Brat’s brash and defiant supply secured her a top-ten hit with the album’s title observe. She would then attain some additional play along with her 2000 summer time anthem “What ‘Chu Like” and seem on the massive Dem Franchize Boyz hit “I Assume They Like Me” in 2005, however would solely sporadically launch music after that.

Certainly, Da Brat’s profession was already on a downward development by the point “I Assume They Like Me” got here out, and in 2005, she would have been extra lately identified for showing on the MTV actuality present The Surreal Life than for her music. However whereas her profession might have slowed since her heyday, Folks reported that she has lately began a household along with her spouse Jesseca Harris-Dupart.


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Recognized for his crude but intelligent lyrics and his larger-than-life and aggressive (but nonetheless party-friendly) supply, Ludacris was all however the face of mainstream rap in the course of the early 2000s. He was additionally one of many voices credited for ushering within the rise of southern hip-hop throughout that interval, alongside Outkast and the crunk motion spearheaded by Lil Jon.

However whereas albums like Phrase Of Mouf, Hen & Beer, and the Pink Mild District gave Ludacris a string of greatest sellers, his success would change into extra inconsistent by the point he launched Theater Of The Thoughts in 2008. Nonetheless, he pursued an performing profession concurrently together with his rap profession, which has continued to convey Ludacris extra dependable success because of the Quick and Livid franchise.

LL Cool J

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One in every of hip-hop’s first superstars, LL Cool J set the old-school rap world on fireplace together with his 1985 debut Radio, which made “Rock The Bells” one in every of his enduring signature songs. And whereas he would see a slight dip together with his third launch, Strolling With A Panther, he re-established himself as a pressure to be reckoned with by way of his explosive 1990 launch, Mama Mentioned Knock You Out. Though his rap profession would proceed to appreciable success all through the ’90s and average success within the 2000s, LL Cool J would additionally act in motion pictures like Deep Blue Sea.

Nonetheless, his later profession was dominated by his starring function in NCIS: Los Angeles, which started in 2009 earlier than the present wrapped up in 2023. Because the most noteworthy music challenge for LL Cool J since then was an extremely ill-conceived collaboration with nation singer Brad Paisley in 2013, it is little shock that the world of tv has attracted extra of his focus than his music during the last decade.


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Often known as Frequent Sense, Chicago rapper Frequent attracted widespread acclaim inside rap circles by his bold, refined albums like 1994’s Resurrection and 2000’s Like Water For Chocolate. His profession would obtain a good larger enhance with the critically acclaimed 2005 report Be, which allowed him to amass sufficient cultural capital to begin a high-profile performing profession as effectively.

Within the years that adopted, Frequent would report a good assortment of albums from 2007 to 2021 that — apart from 2008’s Common Thoughts Management — constantly garnered constructive evaluations and maintained his respect amongst his followers. On the similar time, Frequent secured high-profile roles in movies like American Gangster, John Wick: Chapter 2, and Selma, the latter of which noticed him collaborate with John Legend on the Oscar-winning authentic track “Glory.”

Jean Grae

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Though she’s all the time been related extra with constructive word-of-mouth and demanding notion fairly than mainstream success, Jean Grae has lengthy been celebrated for her dense, complicated lyricism and bold track ideas. In accordance with AllMusic, nevertheless, her disillusionment with the music trade following the long-time delay of her album Jeanius prompted her to announce her retirement from music.

As is commonly the case in rap, nevertheless, this retirement was non permanent. After her engagement with fellow underground rapper Quelle Chris, the pair would collaborate on 2018’s All the things’s Tremendous. The album is darkly humorous, with visitor appearances from comedians John Hodgman and Hannibal Buress, however its material makes it abundantly clear that the title is ironic.


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A pioneering pressure in gangster rap who’s represented South Central Los Angeles for the reason that late ’80s, Ice-T first attracted recognition inside the hip-hop group together with his sprawling anthem “6 ‘N the Mornin’,” which noticed him run from the regulation. As Ice-T’s profession each as a solo rapper and because the frontman of the exhausting rock band Physique Depend progressed, his lyrics made him the topic of frequent controversy that reached a fever pitch with the latter challenge’s notorious track, “Cop Killer.”

Though Ice-T would proceed releasing albums till 2006 as a solo rapper and till 2020 with Physique Depend, his most profitable and outstanding gig after this controversy can be an ironic one. Though one in every of his earliest film roles noticed him co-star within the 1991 crime movie New Jack Metropolis, his most long-running performing function has seen him play Detective Odafin ‘Fin’ Tutuola (now Sergeant) on Regulation And Order: Particular Victims Unit for over 20 years.

Will Smith

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Though Will Smith’s performing profession has lengthy overshadowed his rap profession, Will Smith’s begin in present enterprise nonetheless got here on account of his collaborations with DJ Jazzy Jeff because the Contemporary Prince. Not solely did this lead to hits like “Mother and father Simply Do not Perceive” and “Summertime,” however it afforded Smith a foothold into the performing world with The Contemporary Prince Of Bel Air.

And whereas motion pictures like Independence Day and Males In Black would rocket his movie profession to prominence in the course of the ’90s, he was capable of preserve success as a rapper by taking a family-friendly tack on albums like Huge Willie Fashion and Willennium. Nonetheless, curiosity in his data began to wane by the point he launched his final album, 2005’s Misplaced And Discovered, and he pursued performing full-time, resulting in an eventual (if tumultuous) Oscar win in 2022.

MC Lyte

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A pioneering feminine rapper and among the many first to handle misogyny in hip-hop in her lyrics, MC Lyte emerged as a hard-hitting, assured presence on her 1988 debut, Lyte As A Rock. Though that album stays a basic a part of hip-hop historical past, Billboard reported that MC Lyte would not begin seeing a lot business success for her work till the ’90s.

Her highest-charting hits would come from the 1996 album Unhealthy as I Wanna B, and solely “Preserve On, Keepin’ On” from that report would crack the highest ten. AllMusic described MC Lyte as being energetic in anti-violence campaigns, numerous advantages to fund AIDS analysis, and the Rock the Vote nonprofit group. Nonetheless, she hasn’t recorded any new music since 2003.

The Sport

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Though The Sport first entered the scene as a Dr. Dre protégé identified for his raspy voice, emotionally uncooked lyrics, and reverence for the historical past of West Coast hip-hop, his identify would typically be related to drama within the a long time that adopted. This started with an acrimonious cut up from 50 Cent’s G-Unit group however would additionally see him interact in typically one-sided beefs with the likes of Jay-Z and Eminem.

Nonetheless, The Sport would stay prolific all through the troubles and notch charting singles on the albums The Physician’s Advocate, L.A.X, and The R.E.D. Album. Though Billboard’s knowledge signifies that none of those singles charted as excessive as “Hate It Or Love It” and “How We Do” from his multi-platinum debut, The Documentary, The Sport has the excellence of charting as lately as 2022 with the controversial single, “Eazy.”

Remy Ma

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In accordance with Folks, Remy Ma’s first main look got here on the legendary late rapper Huge Pun’s closing album Yeeeah Child, the place she confirmed her expertise on the track “Ms. Martion.” This is able to result in a long-term stint on the group Terror Squad, which Brox rapper Fats Joe began with Huge Pun. This place led Remy Ma to a high-profile verse on the 2004 hit “Lean Again.”

Though Remy Ma first entered the Billboard charts on her personal with “Immodest” in 2006, it could take till 2016 when her identify appeared on the Sizzling 100 record once more, this time as a featured artist on Destiny Joe’s 2016 sing, “All The Manner Up.” In accordance with Folks, that yr can be large for her for an additional motive, as she married fellow rapper Papoose throughout an episode of Love & Hip-Hop. She would additionally enter a public feud with Nicki Minaj the next yr, which impressed the viral track “Shether.”

Taste Flav

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Though HipHopDX confirmed that Taste Flav has been a wunderkind multi-instrumentalist for the size of the legendary rap group Public Enemy’s spectacular decades-spanning run, he is extra generally thought to be the group’s hype man. This can be a precious function in and of itself, because the fiery political bleakness of his major bandmate, Chuck D, mixes effectively together with his vivacious, humorous type.

Though Public Enemy’s preliminary run of albums that included It Takes a Nation Of Thousands and thousands To Maintain Us Again, and Worry Of A Black Planet is commonly essentially the most fondly regarded portion within the group’s in depth catalog, Taste Flav and Chuck D have managed to remain recording at a constant degree of high quality as lately as 2020. Taste Flav’s larger-than-life character additionally introduced him important actuality TV reputation on The Surreal Life and The Taste Of Love.


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Though Sean Combs has gone by the names Puff Daddy and P. Diddy earlier than merely touchdown on “Diddy,” he is been a strong determine in hip-hop by every stage of his nomenclature. He is launched 9 albums to varied success over the course of his rap profession, however he is been identified extra as a businessman than as a rapper since no less than the early 2000s.

This isn’t solely as a result of he based the Unhealthy Boy report label that produced The Infamous B.I.G.’s legendary albums but in addition due to the success of his Sean John clothes line. Though Forbes reported that his model partnership with alcohol producer Diageo has since ended on less-than-friendly phrases, that was additionally a serious income stream for him for years.

Tyler, The Creator

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Within the late 2000s and early 2010s, Tyler, The Creator rode a wave of controversy and hype within the firm of Odd Future, a rap and skateboarding collective that included fellow acclaimed artists Frank Ocean and Earl Sweatshirt. This era noticed Tyler make edgy and darkish music with a humorous bent to it, which he and his collaborators parlayed into an Grownup Swim sketch comedy present known as Loiter Squad.

However whereas the provocative video and homophobic lyrics in his track “Yonkers” earned him as a lot backlash as buzz, Tyler’s inventive ambitions have since all however left his extra immature music within the mud. By acclaimed albums like Flower Boy, Igor, and Name Me If You Get Misplaced, Tyler, The Creator has confirmed his mettle as a composer and songwriter who can work simply as comfortably exterior of rap as inside the style’s limits.

MC Hammer

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Though acts like Run DMC and LL Cool J had discovered stardom in hip-hop earlier than MC Hammer’s rise in 1990, it was exhausting to call a rap track that had ever gotten as large as “U Cannot Contact This” by the point it got here out. And whereas the Billboard Database famous that songs like “Pray” and “2 Legit 2 Give up” truly charted larger than his signature track, it nonetheless virtually outlined the pop-rap of the early ’90s.

Nonetheless, Leisure Weekly reported that by 1996, MC Hammer had filed for chapter after his lavish (and sometimes beneficiant) life-style got here face-to-face with a sea change in rap that noticed gangster rap seize {dollars} and a spotlight that after belonged to him. Though he tried to adapt to this with 1994’s The Funky Headhunter and stored making albums as late as 2001, his profession is extra rooted in nostalgia than pushed by any latest efforts these days.


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Recognized for his assured but laid-back flows and lyrics about overcoming the challenges of avenue life by hustling exhausting, AllMusic defined that T.I.I practiced what he preaches by aggressively promoting mixtapes till he returned to prominence following the failure of his first main label deal. T.I.’s crucial acclaim, business success, and avenue respect all through the 2000s threw some credibility behind the self-proclaimed King Of The South’s declare to the throne.

Whereas the 2003 album Lure Muzik launched T.I. to the world together with his signature “Rubber Band Man” track, much more profitable albums like 2006’s King and 2008’s Paper Path would produce 4 top-ten hits between them, with “Useless And Gone” and “Stay Your Life” each reaching primary on the Billboard Sizzling 100. However whereas he has continued releasing albums as late as 2020, just one single from that yr’s The L.I.B.R.A charted at quantity 97.

Pusha T

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After spending seven years making music together with his brother Malice as a part of the Virginia Seashore group Clipse, Pusha T struck out on his personal and signed with the G.O.O.D. Music report label. Though his highest-charting songs would contain featured spots on different artists’ work, his albums have change into extra acclaimed amongst followers and critics alike than the final.

Though Selection reported that Pusha T minimize all ties with G.O.O.D. Music after the discharge of his 2022 report It is Virtually Dry, each that and his earlier album Infrared are amongst his most celebrated releases. The interval between these album cycles additionally noticed him strike a devastating blow to Drake’s public picture with the methodical diss observe “The Story Of Adidon” in 2018.


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After a protracted interval of working with acclaimed producer ninth Surprise, North Carolina rapper Rapsody bridged the lengthy hole between her 2012 album The Thought of Stunning and her 2017 launch Laila’s Knowledge with a collection of mixtapes. In accordance with AllMusic, these attracted important sufficient underground buzz to see her work with main rap stars like Kendrick Lamar and fellow North Carolina native J. Cole.

However whereas Billboard famous that Laila’s Knowledge did not fairly crack their Sizzling 100 record, her follow-up album Eve carried out considerably higher. Though it took her a while to get right here, Rapsody appears to be gaining prominence and success as a rapper, which makes her future look brilliant. Now, the one query is what she’ll do subsequent.

Ja Rule

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Though the height of Ja Rule’s profession did not final lengthy, he was nonetheless capable of notch 5 top-ten hits — with one known as “All the time On Time” even making it to primary — whereas showing on two number-one hits by Jennifer Lopez between 2000 and 2004. The key to his success was the best way he and his administration paired up Ja Rule’s gruff, deep vocals with the dulcet tones of varied R&B singers (particularly Ashanti).

Nonetheless, that success would change into short-lived after an ill-fated beef with 50 Cent and Eminem severely broken his public notion as a reputable rapper and arguably contributed to the damage of his label, Homicide Inc. Though he launched albums till 2012, he by no means had one other hit once more. And in line with Folks, his non-musical initiatives have not all the time gone easily both as a result of he was unlucky sufficient to be the co-founder of the notorious Fyre Fest in 2017.

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