This list isn’t put in any particular order but hopefully you can get a little nostalgic today with the music videos that helped put the rap game together. I’m posting the wiki page because I didn’t know half of these guys actual names!
I know there are a lot of people missing from this list but if you want a complete one check out stopthebreaks.com
Shawn Corey Carter (born December 4, 1969), known by his stage name Jay-Z (sometimes stylized as Jay Z orJAY Z), is an American rapper, record producer, and entrepreneur. He is one of the most financially successful hip-hop artists and entrepreneurs in America. In 2012, Forbes estimated Carter’s net worth at nearly $500 million. He is one of the world’s best-selling artists of all time having sold more than 75 million records, while receiving 17 Grammy Awards for his musical work, and numerous additional nominations.Consistently ranked as one of the greatest rappers of all time, he was ranked number one by MTV in their list ofThe Greatest MCs of All-Time in 2006. Three of his albums, Reasonable Doubt (1996), The Blueprint (2001), and The Black Album (2003), are considered landmarks in the genre with all of them featured in Rolling Stone‘s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jay-Z
“Earl Simmons (born December 18, 1970), better known by his stage names DMX and Dark Man X, is an American rapper and actor. In 1999, DMX released his best-selling album …And Then There Was X, which featured the hit single “Party Up (Up in Here)“. He has acted in films such as Belly, Romeo Must Die, Exit Wounds,Cradle 2 The Grave, and Last Hour. In 2006, he starred in the reality television series DMX: Soul of a Man, which was primarily aired on the BET cable television network. In 2003, DMX published a book of his memoirs entitled,E.A.R.L.: The Autobiography of DMX. DMX has sold over 30 million records worldwide, making him one of the best-selling hip-hop artists of all time.”
“Tupac Amaru Shakur (June 16, 1971 – September 13, 1996), also known by his stage names 2Pac and briefly as Makaveli, was an American rapper and actor. Shakur has sold over 75 million records worldwide, making him one of the best-selling music artists of all time. MTV ranked him at number two on their list of The Greatest MCs of All Time and Rolling Stone named him the 86th Greatest Artist of All Time. His double disc album All Eyez on Me is one of the best selling hip hop albums of all time.
Shakur began his career as a roadie, backup dancer, and MC for the alternative hip hop group Digital Underground, eventually branching off as a solo artist. The themes of most of Shakur’s songs revolved around the violence and hardship in inner cities, racism and other social problems. Both of his parents and several other of his family were members of the Black Panther Party, whose ideals were reflected in his songs.
During the latter part of his career, Shakur was a vocal participant in the so-called East Coast – West Coast hip hop rivalry, becoming involved in conflicts with other rappers, producers and record-label staff members, most notably The Notorious B.I.G. and his label Bad Boy Records.
On September 7, 1996, Shakur was shot multiple times in a drive-by shooting at the intersection of Flamingo Road and Koval Lane in Las Vegas, Nevada. He was taken to the University Medical Center of Southern Nevada, where he died six days later.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tupac_Shakur
“Marshall Bruce Mathers III (born October 17, 1972), better known by his stage name Eminem and by his alter ego Slim Shady, is an American rapper, record producer, songwriter, and actor. In addition to his solo career, Eminem is a member of the group D12, as well as one half of the hip hop duo Bad Meets Evil, alongside Royce da 5’9″. Eminem is one of the world’s best-selling music artists and is the best-selling artist of the 2000s. He has been listed and ranked as one of the greatest artists of all time by many magazines, including Rolling Stonemagazine which ranked him 82nd on its list of The 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. The same magazine declared him The King of Hip Hop. Including his work with D12 and Bad Meets Evil, Eminem has achieved ten number-one albums on the Billboard 200. Eminem has sold more than 80 million albums and over 120 million singles worldwide. As of March 2014, he is the second best selling male artist of the Nielsen Soundscan era and the sixth best overall selling artist in the United States, selling 44.91 million albums.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eminem
“Christopher George Latore Wallace (May 21, 1972 – March 9, 1997), better known by his stage namesThe Notorious B.I.G., Biggie or Biggie Smalls, was an American rapper.
Wallace was raised in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. When he released his debut album Ready to Die in 1994, he became a central figure in the East Coast hip hop scene and increased New York’s visibility in the genre at a time when West Coast hip hop was dominant in the mainstream. The following year, Wallace led his childhood friends to chart success through his protégé group, Junior M.A.F.I.A. While recording his second album, Wallace was heavily involved in the growing East Coast/West Coast hip hop feud.
On March 9, 1997, Wallace was killed by an unknown assailant in a drive-by shooting in Los Angeles. His double-disc set Life After Death, released 16 days later, rose to No. 1 on the U.S. album charts and was certified Diamond in 2000, one of the few hip hop albums to receive this certification. Wallace was noted for his “loose, easy flow”, dark semi-autobiographical lyrics and storytelling abilities. Two more albums have been released since his death. He has certified sales of 17 million units in the United States.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Notorious_B.I.G.
Andre Romelle Young (born February 18, 1965), known by his stage name Dr. Dre, is an American record producer, rapper and entrepreneur. He is the founder and current CEO of Aftermath Entertainment and Beats Electronics. Dre was previously the co-owner of, and an artist on, Death Row Records. He has produced albums for and overseen the careers of many rappers, including Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Xzibit, 50 Cent, The Game, andKendrick Lamar. He is credited as a key figure in the popularization of West Coast G-funk, a style of rap music characterized as synthesizer-based with slow, heavy beats. In 2014, Dr. Dre was ranked as the second richest figure in the American hip hop scene by Forbes with a net worth of $550 million.
Dre began his career as a member of the World Class Wreckin’ Cru and later found fame with the influentialgangsta rap group N.W.A with Eazy-E, Ice Cube, MC Ren, and DJ Yella, which popularized the use of explicit lyrics in rap to detail the violence of street life. His 1992 solo debut The Chronic, released under Death Row Records, led him to become one of the best-selling American performing artists of 1993 and to win a Grammy Award for the single “Let Me Ride”. That same year he produced Death Row labelmate Snoop Dogg’s quadruple platinum debut Doggystyle. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dr_dre
“Calvin Cordozar Broadus, Jr. (born October 20, 1971), known by his stage names Snoop Doggy Dogg,Snoop Dogg, and later Snoop Lion, is an American rapper, singer-songwriter, and actor. Snoop has sold over 30 million albums worldwide. His music career began in 1992 when he was discovered by Dr. Dre. He collaborated on Dre’s solo debut The Chronic (1992), and on the theme song to the feature film Deep Cover.
Snoop’s debut album, Doggystyle, was released in 1993 under Death Row Records, debuting at No. 1 on both the Billboard 200 and Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs charts. Selling almost a million copies in the first week of its release, Doggystyle became certified 4× platinum in 1994 and spawned several hit singles, including “What’s My Name” and “Gin & Juice”. In 1994, Snoop released a soundtrack on Death Row Records for the short film Murder Was The Case, starring himself. His second album Tha Doggfather (1996), also debuted at No. 1 on both charts with “Snoop’s Upside Ya Head” as the lead single. The album was certifieddouble platinum in 1997.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snoop_Dogg