Kanye West
It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back
OutKast
Dr. Dre

Rap

Rap's germination is sometimes attributed to the righteous street poetry of the Last Poets and the Watts Prophets, but it didn't begin to take full shape -- and earn its tag -- until after the Sugarhill Gang released "Rapper's Delight" in 1979. Since then, rap spread from its New York epicenter throughout the remainder of the U.S. (with each region taking on its own specific flavor) and then to countless countries. Rap's core components are beats and rhymes, but that simplicity belies the wide range of sounds that have sprung from them. Instrumentalists, a sampled breakbeat, or a drum machine can form the backbone of a track, while an arrangement can be spaciously spare or chaotically dense, and a chorus can range from atonal shouting to a sweet melody. Detractors were still calling rap a fad in 1985, when LL Cool J released his first single. They were doing the same thing when, roughly 20 years later, the same MC released his tenth album, and they'll probably continue to do so as long as the genre exists. Should rap ever die, which isn't likely, it would be far too late to prevent its effect on most other music forms, from R&B to rock to jazz.

Rap Artists Highlights grid list

Kanye West
Kanye West
OutKast
OutKast
Dr. Dre
Dr. Dre
Eminem
Eminem
Wu-Tang Clan
Wu-Tang Clan
Grandmaster Flash
Grandmaster Flash
Jay-Z
Jay-Z
The Notorious B.I.G.
The Notorious B.I.G.
2Pac
2Pac
Missy Elliott
Missy Elliott
Beastie Boys
Beastie Boys
Afrika Bambaataa
Afrika Bambaataa
DMX
DMX
Boogie Down Productions
Boogie Down Productions
Eric B. & Rakim
Eric B. & Rakim
LL Cool J
LL Cool J
Salt-N-Pepa
Salt-N-Pepa
Nas
Nas
De La Soul
De La Soul
Public Enemy
Public Enemy
Lil Wayne
Lil Wayne
Drake
Drake
Kool Moe Dee
Kool Moe Dee
N.W.A
N.W.A
Ice-T
Ice-T
Snoop Dogg
Snoop Dogg
50 Cent
50 Cent
Run-D.M.C.
Run-D.M.C.
Big Daddy Kane
Big Daddy Kane
Queen Latifah
Queen Latifah
Ice Cube
Ice Cube
Digital Underground
Digital Underground
The Roots
The Roots
A Tribe Called Quest
A Tribe Called Quest
Lil Jon
Lil Jon
Cypress Hill
Cypress Hill
Kurtis Blow
Kurtis Blow
Nicki Minaj
Nicki Minaj
Bone Thugs-N-Harmony
Bone Thugs-N-Harmony
KRS-One
KRS-One
Fugees
Fugees
Kool Keith
Kool Keith
EPMD
EPMD
Biz Markie
Biz Markie
Naughty by Nature
Naughty by Nature
Slick Rick
Slick Rick
The Sugarhill Gang
The Sugarhill Gang
Diddy
Diddy

Rap subgenres and styles [+]