When it comes to the rap and hip hop side of music, there are so many phenomenal lyricists and artists, that it can be a serious challenge to decide who is on top.
However, some talent is just too great to ignore.
In this post, we’ll tell you about a few of the most famous hip hop singers of all time.
Whether you’re looking to brush up on your hip hop history or just want to add to your own musical collection, we think all of these artists have had a serious impact on the genre.
1. Lauryn Hill
Female hip hop singers and MCs often don’t get the credit that they deserve.
That is, until women like Missy Elliot and Lauryn Hill came along.
While Missy certainly deserves a huge amount of credit for paving the way for the Cardi Bs of today, few women have had an impact on the rap and hip hop community like the great Lauryn Hill.
Best known for hits like “Ex-Factor” and “Everything is Everything,” Hill combines seriously soulful vocals with powerful life lessons.
Unfortunately, Hill has run into some serious legal trouble in recent years, and even went to prison for tax evasion for a few months.
Still, the world is certainly ready for Lauryn to make her comeback, and “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill” remains one of the most impactful and important albums of all time.
Of course, it’s impossible to write a post on hip hop singers and artists without mentioning Nas.
From a long-spanning career that’s spawned hit after hit, it can be a serious challenge to choose a favorite. It’s also tough to talk about Nas’ epic career without mentioning his infamous feud with Jay-Z.
The feud may have spawned incredible diss tracks from both sides, but it’s his lyrical prowess that has allowed him to have one of the longest careers in the industry.
Nas has had a huge impact on current artists, with contemporary great J. Cole even penning the song “Let Nas Down.” The song tells of Cole’s shame when he found the hip hop great didn’t think much of his earlier album.
3. Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls (Notorious Big)
Since it’s impossible to choose between these two hip hop singers and artists, we’re including them both on our list in the same place.
The most famous feud in all of rap history may sometimes overshadow the true lyrical genius of these East Coast and West Coast giants.
Tupac’s hits like “Thugz Mansion” and “California Love” bring serious messages to the masses without coming across as overly saccharine and sentimental. “Dear Mama” also marked the trend of artists rapping about their parents, in particular the strength of their mothers.
Biggie’s smash hits “Hypnotize” and “Big Poppa” will have even the lamest person at your party on their feet.
Of course, “Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems” will continue to be one of the greatest songs of all time.
4. Kanye West
Yes, Kanye West has had some serious troubles as of late.
But before his bizarre and deeply troubling comments about slavery being a choice, he was able to cement his status as one of the most important and influential hip hop singers and rappers of all time.
Though we’re pretty sure that he’d be the first to tell you that.
From The College Dropout to the iconic My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, West has rapped about subjects ranging from the exploitation of diamond mine workers in Sierra Leone to his mother, the late Dr. Donda West.
From his rocky relationship with Amber Rose to his marriage to Kim Kardashian, West’s romantic life has helped to keep him in the spotlight.
He’s also famous for his creative use of beats, including mixing famous jazz songs and even viral YouTube videos into his songs.
To learn how to get these beats for yourself, or how to make your own, check out Backbeat Studios.
Though reviews of Ye, his latest micro-album, have been mixed, one thing is for sure: whatever he does — or says — next, people will be watching.
5. Kendrick Lamar
With contemporaries like West and even Chance the Rapper making controversial comments left and right, many people are searching for a new hip hop icon.
Enter Kendrick Lamar, whose revelatory album Damn won him the Pulitzer Prize.
He was also responsible for creating the soundtrack behind the movie Black Panther, which further cemented his success.
Despite Damn’s serious impact, many feel that his earlier album, To Pimp A Butterfly, is one of the greatest albums of all time. The album was hailed as a defining moment in black culture, and represented a lyrical return to old school hip hop and rap.
Of course, we can’t resist wearing a Damn tee-shirt like Kendrick did on his album cover.
At just 30 years old, we’re confident that Kendrick’s best days are still ahead of him.
Looking for More news About Hip Hop Singers?
Whether you agree or disagree with the names on this list — or think there’s someone we’ve seriously left off — we hope you’ve enjoyed this post.
As you can see from the styles and artists referenced here, there’s no limit to what hip hop and rap can accomplish, or the wide range of people that its music can speak to.
Want to keep up with the latest diss tracks and album release dates?
Looking to learn more about the meaning behind some of rap’s most powerful lyrics?
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