Lil Wayne has had some very commercial success. He has even managed to beat Elvis Presley’s record of the highest number of Billboard 100 lists of all time. Aside from that, he is one of the prolific rappers with a very high number of mixtapes albums and guest spots from 2004 to 2009.
His inclusion in this list may come as a surprise but Lamar has achieved a lot in a short space of time. Since his independently released debut “Section.80” in 2011 his success has been on the rise ever since. He has since won eleven Grammy awards.
In his short life, Tupac Shakur proved what a hip-hop artist could truly be. He spoke about the problems surrounding in the world such as racism, poverty and injustice and took it to a mainstream audience where he sold millions in the process. His influence is still felt widely today.
As a member of Public Enemy, Chuck D is hip hops very own Bob Dylan. The antithesis of much of the misogynistic and commercialized artists that make up much the genre today, his anger and social conscience are the ideas of Martin Luther King and Malcolm X put to music.
Despite being one of the greatest artists of the genre to have ever lived, many people do not know who Big L is as his life was tragically cut short before his career had a chance to really get started. A true example of quality over quantity.
The best rapper to have ever rapped about rapping. As one half of Erik B and Rakim he performed in the one the greatest rapper/ DJ duos and in his solo career has made some music that truly shows how the genre should be done.
Coming onto the scene in 1994 with “Illmatic”, one of the greatest albums of the genre ever made, at the young age of 19, Nasir Jones had put out a fierce 10- track cd with gritty depictions of urban life. A true uncompromising artist in the genre, Nas remains a force to be reckoned with.
By 2012, Drake had scored the most number ones on the Billboard Rap Chart. Over the past six years, he has continued this success having scored a further two number ones this year giving him a total of 26. This means that he has surpassed his genre peers and is now competing with the likes of The Beatles and Madonna.
Since making his debut in 1996, Jay Z has continued to master his craft every year since with tighter musical flows and an ever-developing way with words. He has built up a brilliant discography that contains many classic songs.
The only white person on this list and of any significance in the genre as a whole, Eminem broke racial boundaries to become hops all-time great. Despite his massive success he also caused controversy along the way with his extremely explicit and violent lyrics, which often target specific individuals in his life.