In the ever-evolving landscape of music, few genres have left as indelible a mark on cultural history as hip-hop. A dynamic and influential genre that transcends musical boundaries, hip-hop has consistently produced artists who not only capture the rhythm of their time but also redefine the very essence of musical expression. As we delve into the realm of hip-hop, it becomes an intricate tapestry woven with the threads of poetic lyricism, innovative beats, and societal commentary. In this exploration, we embark on a journey to celebrate and acknowledge the monumental contributions of the “15 Best Hip-Hop Singers of All Time.” These artists, whose voices echo through the corridors of hip-hop history, have shaped the genre and inspired countless others to follow in their footsteps. From the pioneers who laid the foundation to the modern maestros pushing the boundaries, this list is a testament to the enduring legacy of hip-hop. Join us as we traverse the rhythmic landscape and pay homage to the artists who have not only elevated hip-hop to unprecedented heights but have also etched their names into the annals of musical greatness.
The iconic Nas, born September 14th, 1973 in Queensbridge, New York City, has made an immense impact on the music industry. His thought-provoking lyrics and poetic storytelling have earned him a spot as one of hiphop’s greatest artists.
Nas’s artistry is articulated by his emotive rhymes and slick flow. His ability to discuss social issues and personal experiences within his music sets him apart.
In 1994, the 20-year-old released his debut album “Illmatic,” which was a critical success and proved his prodigious talent. Since then, he has released hit albums and collaborated with some of the biggest names in the hiphop world.
The rapper’s influence extends beyond music. Nas is renowned for his philanthropy and dedication to bettering underprivileged communities. He has funded scholarships and created the Hip Hop Fellowship Program at Harvard University. This proves his commitment to making a positive change in the world.
Eminem, the 2nd best hip-hop singer ever, has left an everlasting mark in the music industry. His distinctive flow and provocative lyrics have earned him a passionate set of fans and numerous awards during his career.
Let’s explore Eminem’s accomplishments through a visually stimulating display. Here is a table that highlights some of his career’s crucial elements:
Over 220 million
Apart from his chart-topping fame and awards, there are more remarkable features about Eminem. His ability to touch listeners on a personal level with his honest stories sets him apart from other hip-hop artists.
Eminem often speaks about delicate matters such as addiction, mental health, and personal difficulties in his songs. By doing so, he brings attention to these issues and gives comfort to people who can relate to his words.
An intriguing detail to mention is that Eminem’s reach surpasses the music industry. In 2008, Rolling Stone named him one of the “100 Greatest Artists of All Time,” solidifying his reputation as an influential figure in modern culture.
3. Kendrick Lamar
Kendrick Lamar, an iconic hiphop singer, has left his mark in the music industry with his distinct style and profound lyrics. Let’s explore some facts about this extraordinary artist!
Kendrick Lamar’s influence on hiphop is indisputable. Here are some noteworthy facts:
Kendrick Lamar Duckworth
June 17, 1987
Compton, California, United States
13 Grammy Awards, including Best Rap Album (DAMN.), Best Rap Performance (“HUMBLE.”), and more.
Kendrick Lamar has enthralled fans with his creative storytelling and meaningful lyrics. His album “To Pimp a Butterfly” received praise for its social commentary and exploration of racism.
It’s worth noting that Kendrick Lamar’s success was hard-earned. He was raised in Compton and had to overcome many hardships. His hard work and talent earned him admiration in both the hiphop and mainstream music communities.
Be amazed by Kendrick Lamar’s lyricism and fashion sense – he’s the only rapper who can pull off wearing a onesie!
4. Andre 3000
Andre 3000: an iconic hiphop singer known for his astounding talent and versatility. His unique style and profound lyrics have captivated audiences globally!
Birth Name: André Lauren Benjamin
Date of Birth: May 27, 1975
Place of Birth: Atlanta, Georgia, United States
Main Genre: Hiphop
Years Active: 1991-present
Awards and Achievements: Grammy Awards, BET Hip Hop Awards, MTV Video Music Awards, NAACP Image Awards, Source Award, and more!
Plus, Andre 3000 is recognized for his fashion-forward style and movie contributions. He always pushes artistic boundaries with thought-provoking collaborations. Did you know? He co-founded the successful clothing line “Benjamin Bixby” with Barney’s New York.
Snoop Dogg is a hip-hop legend – he shows that long-term success in the rap game is about having huge talent and no drama!
5. Snoop Dogg
Snoop Dogg – an emblematic figure in hip-hop! His unique style and flow have won over fans. His album “Doggystyle” is one of the top-selling hip-hop albums ever. He’s also collaborated with Dr. Dre and Pharrell Williams, showing off his versatility. Plus, he’s an actor and businessman. He’s even been involved in philanthropy, using his platform for good.
Lastly, Kanye West has made a mark in hip-hop with his over-the-top ego!
6. Kanye West
Kanye West is a prominent figure in hip-hop, leaving an everlasting mark on the music industry. His daring productions and lyrical genius have redefined boundaries and challenged societal norms.
“The College Dropout” was West’s debut album, exhibiting his raw talent and lyrical skill. It was a departure from mainstream rap at the time, featuring reflective themes and soulful sound. This album kick-started West’s success and positioned him as a major player in music.
West kept evolving with albums like “Late Registration” and “Graduation”, blending genres and gaining critical acclaim. Not only is he renowned for his musicality, but also for his outspoken nature and public persona. From the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards interruption of Taylor Swift to his tweets and rants, West has often been in the spotlight. In spite of the controversies, his influence on hip-hop is undeniable.
West has created iconic tracks with top industry names such as Jay-Z and Kid Cudi, like “Ni**as in Paris” and “Father Stretch My Hands.” He has also launched clothing lines like Yeezy and collaborated with Adidas. His avant-garde fashion choices have made him a trendsetter amongst celebs and fashion buffs.
Kanye West’s contributions to hip-hop cannot be understated. His artistic innovation, thought-provoking lyrics, and public presence have secured his place as one of the greatest hip-hop artists of all time. Whether you’re a fan or not, his effect on the genre is clear.
7. Missy Elliott
Missy Elliott, born in 1971, is an iconic hiphop singer who has left a lasting impression on the industry. With her unique style and innovative music videos, she has broken records and pushed boundaries.
Birth Name: Missy Elliott Date of Birth: July 1, 1971 Main Genre: Hiphop
Notable Achievements: – 5 Grammy Awards – Over 30 million records sold worldwide – Inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2019 – MTV Video Vanguard Award recipient – Billboard’s Female MC of the Millennium – Numerous chart-topping singles and albums
Influence on Hiphop Culture: – Pioneered futuristic sound and production techniques – Introduced avant-garde fashion into music videos – Championed female empowerment and body positivity within the industry – Collaborated with a diverse range of artists, transcending genres and styles
Missy Elliott has experienced hardships, such as health issues, but has still managed to stay a key figure in the music industry. Her creativity and infectious energy have made fans of all ages worldwide. In an interview, she shared how she overcame stage fright. She used her fear to fuel her performance on stage, delivering a powerful show that impressed both fans and critics.
Missy Elliott has made an unparalleled contribution to hiphop. Her groundbreaking music videos, boundary-pushing beats, and empowering lyrics have made her one of the greatest hiphop singers of all time. She continues to inspire with her unique style and unmatched talent.
8. Ice Cube
Ice Cube, the multi-talented artist and cultural influencer, is 8th on the list of greatest hip-hop singers ever. He has made an impact on rap music as well as acting, film production, and entrepreneurship.
For more insight, dive into Ice Cube’s discography to appreciate the evolution of his lyrical genius.
9. Lil Wayne
Lil Wayne is a sensational rapper and songwriter. He is 9th on the list of best hip hop singers of all time. His unique style and lyrical prowess have made an impact on the music industry.
He has released multiple successful albums. These include the “Tha Carter” series, and hit songs like “Lollipop,” “A Milli,” and “Mirror.” He has earned a place in the hip hop hall of fame.
He has collaborated with many artists across genres. From Britney Spears to Drake and Nicki Minaj.
He has won multiple awards, such as Grammy Awards, BET Hip Hop Awards, MTV Video Music Awards.
He founded Young Money Entertainment and signed talented artists such as Drake and Nicki Minaj.
Lil Wayne is celebrated as one of the greatest hip hop singers of all time. In 2018, he was awarded the I Am Hip Hop award at the BET Hip Hop Awards.
KRS-One’s rank of #10 makes him one of the greatest hiphop singers of all time! His style and lyrics are unique and influential. Let’s learn more about him.
Real Name:Lawrence Parker.
Birthplace:Brooklyn, New York.
Birthdate:August 20, 1965.
Discography:Over 20 albums released.
Notable Hits:“Sound of da Police,” “Black Cop,” “MC’s Act Like They Don’t Know”.
KRS-One is not only an amazing singer, but he also uses his music to bring attention to political and social issues. His powerful lyrics set him apart from the rest.
If you’re new to KRS-One’s music, here’s what to do:
Start with ‘Return of the Boom Bap’ to experience his raw talent.
Listen to his albums chronologically to understand how his style and lyrics have changed.
Analyze the social commentary behind his lyrics.
By exploring KRS-One’s discography, you’ll gain a deeper appreciation for hiphop music. Whether you’re a fan or just getting started, KRS-One won’t disappoint!
11. Tupac Shakur
Tupac Shakur, the 11th one on the list, is a rap legend! He was famous for his powerful lyrics, raw storytelling and passionate delivery. Let’s explore a few facts about this iconic artist.
Full Name: Tupac Amaru Shakur
Date of Birth: June 16, 1971
Hometown: East Harlem, New York City
Main Genre: Hiphop/Rap
Tupac Shakur was a social justice advocate and his songs like “Changes,” “Dear Mama,” and “Brenda’s Got a Baby” highlighted issues such as racism, poverty and struggles of the marginalised.
His stage presence and ability to mesmerize the audiences were unparalleled. His electrifying performances and magnetic persona made him a star.
For rap singers wishing to follow in Tupac’s footsteps, it is important to stay true to themselves and their personal stories. Additionally, connecting with people by talking about universal themes and social issues can be a great way to elevate their music.
Biggie Smalls may be gone, but his rhymes live on so strongly that even the afterlife can’t resist bopping their heads to them.
12. The Notorious B.I.G.
The Notorious B.I.G., also known as Biggie Smalls, is a much-lauded hiphop singer. He was born on May 21, 1972 in Brooklyn, New York City. He gained fame in the early 1990s due to his special flow and storytelling skills.
Awards and Recognitions:
He won the Grammy Award for Best Rap Solo Performance (1997).
Was named Top Rap Artist (1996) at the Billboard Music Awards.
Won Best Rap Video (1995) at the MTV Video Music Awards.
“Ready to Die” (1994) – Made Biggie an elite rapper. Includes hits such as “Juicy” and “Big Poppa“.
“Life After Death” (1997) – Released after his death. Became one of the greatest-selling hip-hop albums of all time.
His lyrics and storytelling still influence many hiphop artists.
Pro Tip: Listen to his music to understand his impact on hiphop culture. Jay-Z is the only one who can make ‘99 problems‘ seem like a cakewalk!
Jay-Z is a legendary hip-hop singer with immense talent and influence. He’s been in the biz for decades, consistently delivering hits and becoming one of the greats.
Let’s take a look at some of his accolades:
Birth Name: Shawn Corey Carter
Date of Birth: December 4, 1969 (age 52)
Place of Birth: Brooklyn, New York City, U.S.
Genres: Hip hop, rap
Years Active: 1995-present
Not only is Jay-Z a master of music, but also a smart entrepreneur. He co-founded Roc-A-Fella Records and later launched Roc Nation. Jay-Z also made investments in fashion, sports management, and streaming services.
Aspiring artists should study Jay-Z’s business skills. He was able to diversify his income while keeping up with his music career. This is truly inspiring!
Artists should also emulate Jay-Z’s commitment to excellence. Throughout his career, he never compromised on the quality of his music or performances. By striving for greatness and pushing boundaries creatively, artists can leave a lasting impact on the industry.
William Michael Griffin Jr., famously known as Rakim, is a legendary hiphop star. His unique sound & lyrical genius revolutionized the genre.
Audiences were mesmerized by his intricate rhymes & smooth flow.
His debut album, “Paid in Full,” was hailed a masterpiece, with hits like “Eric B. Is President” and “I Ain’t No Joke.”
Rakim’s storytelling prowess shined through on tracks like “Microphone Fiend.”
He teamed up with DJ Eric B. to form one of the most iconic duos in hiphop.
Today, many artists are inspired by his groundbreaking work.
Rakim is a private person who lets his art speak for itself. Yet, his influence on hiphop remains undeniable. His legendary music was celebrated during the 1980s & 1990s, and continues to be discovered & revered by new generations.
15. Lauryn Hill
Lauryn Hill is a legendary hip hop singer who has left an indelible mark on the music industry. Her exceptional talent and love for her craft have earned her a place among the best hip hop singers of all time.
Her soulful sounds and thought-provoking lyrics have captivated people worldwide. Hill is renowned for her genre-defying style, blending hip hop, R&B and reggae into something unique. Her iconic songs, such as “Doo Wop (That Thing)” and “Ex-Factor”, demonstrate her willingness to tackle difficult topics.
Plus, she is known for her advocacy work, using her platform to bring attention to causes such as racism, sexism and poverty.
A Lauryn Hill performance is not one to miss. She captivates the audience with her energy and authenticity. Her connection with the crowd creates a lasting bond that will never be forgotten.
To appreciate Hill’s artistry fully, it is important to delve into her discography. Listen to her albums and allow yourself to be immersed in her stories. Through her music, you will gain a deeper understanding of her immense talent.
Samuel Moore is a frequent contributor to Singers Room. Since 2005, Singersroom has been the voice of R&B around the world. Connect with us via social media below.