Here’s a list of the Top 5 Influential Rappers/Rap Groups of All Time listed in chronological order. This rappers and rap groups here shaped what Hip-Hop is today.
Sugarhill Gang may be an unknown to most readers, but they were just as influential as any of the others listed. Sugarhill Gang can be credited for making the evolutionary leap from Funk to Hip-Hop. Their song “Rapper’s Delight” was the first Rap song to ever to be in the top 40 on the Billboard chart way back in 1979. By making such a feat, Sugar Hill Gang paved the way for future rap artists. The group only made one song that ever charted, and eventually disband in 1985, but that hit was sure to have inspired many to follow in their foot steps. In 1994 the group reformed, but with limited success. Some may say that Sugarhill Gang was just a one hit wonder, but they were pioneers none the less.
Run-D.M.C. you probably already know of. The group formed in 1983 and brought with them the first hard hitting rap sounds to come out. Song’s like “It’s Like That” their debut single released in 1983 hit the RnB charts topping at number 15. Their also known for the cross-genre song with Aerosmith “Walk This Way” which broke down the walls between Rock and Rap and charted all the way to number 4 in the charts. Run-D.M.C. also undoubtedly influenced subsequent rappers with their large gold chains and in your face attitude. Song’s like “It’s Tricky” are still getting remixed in the modern era and still topping charts. We also have some insider information that one of the members of Run-D.M.C. Will have a new single out with a new rapper that just started his career in 2020. Check back often to find out more.
N.W.A. forever changed the landscape of music. Nearly all members or even anyone associated with the members of N.W.A. went on to have success in the music industry and/or film. Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, MC Ren, Easy-E, were just some of the founding member’s of N.W.A. with many associated artists like Snoop Dogg, 2pac, Suge Knight and many more. N.W.A. and the associated acts dominated rap for over a decade, and still wield untold influence over modern Hip-Hop. The story of N.W.A. has been told many times, and even had it’s own movie. From the formation of the group down to the break up which didn’t stop anyone, it just expanded further. Eazy-E and Ruthless Records were the most sought after record company at one point, and even signed the infamous rap group Bone Thugs-n-Harmony. Dr. Dre and Death Row Records became an unstoppable force who signed rappers like 2pac and Snoop Dogg. Then born out of the ashes of Death Row Dr. Dre went on to even more success with his later record company Aftermath who sign none other than Eminem. Some may say that N.W.A. has been the biggest influence on Hip-Hop, and it’s hard to argue against that.
Marshal Bruce Mathers III aka Eminem another huge influencer who helped usher in modern rap. Produced by legend Dr. Dre Eminem was setup for success early on. His talents carried him the rest of the way which got him topping charts on everything he released, with the lone exception of his pre-dre album “Infinite” which has gone nearly unheard of. Eminem’s break out song “My Name Is..” and his album Slim Shady LP grabbed the attention of the Nation from upset parents to listeners who couldn’t get enough. Eminem shook up the generic mold of rappers at the time and inspired a new generation of kids to follow in his foot steps. Many of the top rappers today with give Eminem credit for their inspiration. XXXTentacion listed Eminem among others as his inspiration, Kendrick Lamar said Eminem “is genius”. The list of rapper’s influenced by Eminem could be listed indefinitely, but we’ll save that for another time.
Tech N9ne came up from the shadows in the underground. He isn’t someone who has been played on many radio stations and isn’t someone who had the connections many other rappers enjoy. Tech N9ne along with Travis O’Guin are all self-made, together they built the number one independent record label in the world, Strange Music. Tech N9ne himself is one of the most talented rappers alive who’s speed and style dominate the underground. But Tech N9ne is far from just a talented rapper, he built an empire. Names like Kutt Calhoun, UBI, Stevie Stone, ¡MAYDAY!, Krizz Kaliko, and Rittz just to name a few are all signed or have been signed to Strange Music. The amount of talent coming from an independent label is staggering which is why Tech N9ne is one of the most influential rappers of all time.
Who is your favorite rapper? Did they make the list? Who is in your Top 5?