Some of the best writers on the East Coast have the most influential stars in rap and hip-hop history, from DJ Kool Herc to today’s biggest rappers. This list is arranged chronologically, featuring only one entry from each year. This list of hip-hop artists is by no means exhaustive, but it does highlight the 25 most famous rappers from the East Coast.
1. The Notorious B.I.G.
Christopher George Latore Wallace, better known by his stage name, the Notorious B.I.G., Biggie Smalls, or simply Biggie, was born in 1972 and passed away in 1997. He was an American rapper and songwriter. Wallace has produced two additional posthumous recordings, which sold over 28 million copies in the United States, including 21 million. The “greatest” has been used to describe him rapper of all time” by Billboard and the “best rapper who ever lived” by Rolling Stone.
If you love The Notorious B.I.G, make sure to check out our article about the best old school hip hop rappers. The article features some of the most iconic figures in hip hop history, including Biggie Smalls, who dominated the East Coast rap scene in the ’90s. Whether you’re a longtime fan or just discovering Biggie’s music, this article is a must-read for any hip hop enthusiast.
Nas bin Olu Dara Jones was born on September 14, 1973 – he is an American rapper, poet, and actor. He was raised in the Queensbridge Houses of New York City. His mother, Connie Grantham, is African-American, and his father, Olu Dara, is Puerto Rican. He is thought to be among the greatest rappers of all time.
3. Wu-Tang Clan
America’s Wu-Tang Clan is a hip-hop group formed in Staten Island, New York City, in 1992. Its original members include R.Z.A., G.Z.A., Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Method Man, Raekwon, Ghostface Killah, Inspectah Deck, U-God, and Masta Killa. A group of nine rappers from Staten Island, New York City. The team has been referred to as one of the most influential hip-hop groups ever and is noted for its unique blending of styles.
If you’re a fan of Wu-Tang Clan, you might enjoy revisiting the 25 Dopest Rappers of The 90s , who dominated the decade with their unique styles and contributions to the genre. Don’t miss out on the chance to discover some of the best old school hip hop artists either, by checking out the Top 21 Best Old School Hip Hop Rappers (https://www.hoodmwr.com/best-old-school-hip-hop-rappers/).
4. Mobb Deep
Mobb Deep was an American hip-hop pair from New York. Prodigy and Havoc, two rappers, made up the group. They are regarded as the progenitors of hardcore East Coast hip hop and hip hop in the mid-1990s. The group comprises Havoc and Prodigy and is one of the most critically acclaimed hardcore East Coast rap groups. Their most popular songs were “Shook Ones (Part II)” and “Survival of the Fittest,” and their best-known albums are The Infamous (1995), Hell on Earth (1996), and Murda Muzik (1999). They had a reputation for giving dark, brutal speeches.
5. Method Man And Redman
The method Man and Redman are American hip-hop recording artists who, along with R.Z.A., form the rap supergroup Wu-Tang Clan. They are also members of the hip-hop supergroup G-Unit. The two met during a 1993 concert in New York City and became friends. They recorded several albums dating back to 1994 together. Method Man dropped out of high school to pursue a career in music; Redman dropped out later due to health issues. Method Man often shouts out to Redman on tracks that do not feature Redman; this usually comes in the form of “What up, Doc!” referring to Redman’s alias “Funk Doctor Spock”.
6. 50 Cent
Born in 1975, Curtis James Jackson III is an American rapper, actor, businessman, investor, and entrepreneur well known as the performer 50 Cent. At the age of twelve, Jackson, raised in the Queens borough’s South Jamaica neighborhood, started selling drugs during the crack pandemic in the 1980s. Even though he went drug dealing to pursue a musical career, he was struck by nine bullets in a 2000 shooting.
If you are a fan of 50 Cent and his music, you should check out our list of the best rappers of the 2000s where he is featured. This list includes some of the most iconic hip-hop artists of the decade and provides a great overview of the evolution of the genre during this time.
7. A$AP Rocky
Rakim Mayers was born in 1988, better known by his stage name ASAP Rocky (stylized as A$AP Rocky); he is an American rapper, record producer, director, and actor from the Harlem neighborhood of Manhattan, New York. He belongs to the hip-hop group A$ A.P. Mob, from which he adopted his moniker. The collective’s career accolades include four platinum singles and one platinum album by A$AP Rocky.
8. Eric B. & Rakim
Eric B. & Rakim are a hip-hop duo from Long Island, New York, composed of Eric Barrier (born in 1958) and William Michael Griffin Jr. (born in 1962). They are primarily known for their influence on the evolution of the hardcore hip-hop style and for recording what is often considered one of the seminal albums of all time in Hip Hop; 1993’s “Paid in Full”.
9. Mos Def
Yasiin Bey (born Dante Smith in 1973), better known by his stage name Mos Def, is an American rapper, actor, producer, and poet. Most people recognize him as one of the alternative hip-hop group Brooklyn Academy’s founding artists, and he has successfully transitioned into acting. The New Danger (2004), True Magic (2006), and The Ecstatic came after his debut (2009). The editors of About.com placed him as the 14th greatest rapper on their list of the “50 Greatest Rappers of All Time.” The songs “Oh No,” “Ms. Fat Booty,” and “Mathematics” are among his best-known songs.
If you’re a fan of Mos Def’s smooth lyrical flow and political commentary, you’ll love our list of the dopest rappers of the 90s. Mos Def’s career peaked during this time period, and he is celebrated as one of the greatest rappers of the era.
10. A Tribe Called Quest
An American hip hop group called A Tribe Called Quest was founded in 1985, composed initially of M.C.s Q-Tip, Phife Dawg, and Ali Shaheed Muhammad. The group released five consecutive platinum and multi-platinum albums between 1990 and 1995 before breaking up in 1998. The group reunited in 2006 and again toured in 2007–2008 before breaking up again. A sixth album, We obtained from this. Many thanks.
11. Big L
Lamont Coleman was born in New York City in 1974 and died in 1999. When Coleman first appeared in New York City’s Harlem in 1992, he quickly gained popularity among followers of underground hip-hop. He finally signed with Columbia Records, where he debuted with the album Lifestylez in 1995 or da Poor & Dangerous.
12. Ghostface Killah
Dennis Coles was born in 1970, better known by his stage name Ghostface Killah, and is a well-known American rapper and Wu-Tang Clan member. Following the group’s groundbreaking success with their 1993 debut “Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)”, the members successfully pursued solo careers to varying degrees. With Ironman, Ghostface Killah launched his solo career in 1996, which music critics well received.
13. Big Pun
Christopher Lee Rios was born in 1971 – died in 2000, better known by his stage name Big Pun, was an American rapper. Emerging from the He was the first Latino rapper to release a solo platinum-certified record in the early 1990s Bronx hip hop culture in New York City.
14. J. Cole
Jermaine Lamont Cole in born in 1985. He is an American hip hop recording artist and record producer. Intent on further pursuing a musical career, he released two additional mixtapes, The Warm Up (2009) and Friday Night Lights (2010), to critical acclaim, after signing to Jay-Z’s Roc Nation imprint in 2009.
If you’re interested in J. Cole’s physical attributes, you may be wondering about his height. The article on J. Cole’s height answers your question.
15. Gang Starr
Rapper Guru from Massachusetts and Texas record producer D.J. Premier formed the hip-hop combo, Gang Starr. Hey, you’re known for being one of the jazz rap pioneers.  “Mass Appeal,” “Take It Personal,” “Moment of Truth,” “Full Clip,” and “Above the Clouds” are a few of their best songs.
16. Ol’ Dirty Bastard
Russell Tyrone Jones was born in 1968 – died in 2004, better known by his stage name Ol’ Dirty Bastard (often abbreviated as O.D.B.), was an American rapper. His debut album, “Older Dirty Bastard,” was released in 1994 under Def Jam Recordings. “Shimmy Shimmy Ya” appeared on his second album, “Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version”, which made its U.S. “Billboard 200” debut at position number three. In 1996 he released the hit single “Got Your Money”.
Redman was born in Newark, New Jersey, U.S, in 1970. He Redman is an American rapper, DJ, record producer, and actor better known by his stage name. He became well-known in the early 1990s as a Def Jam label artist. He is well recognized for his work as one half of the rap combo Method Man & Redman, including their starring roles in movies and comedy. Method Man is a close buddy of his. In the late 1990s, he was also a part of the Def Squad.
Established in 1983 by Joseph Simmons, Darryl McDaniels, and Jason Mizell in Hollis, Queens, New York City, Run-DMC (sometimes called Run-D.M.C.) was a hip hop trio from the United States. The group is probably best known for their songs “It’s Like That” and “Rock Box,” featuring Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler and Joe Perry. Over 35 million of their records have been sold globally and have received six Grammy Awards.
19. Lauryn Hill
Lauryn Noelle Hill was born in Newark, New Jersey, the U.S, in 1975. She is an American actress, rapper, singer, songwriter, and record producer. She has won numerous awards at the annual Academy Awards ceremonies and the Grammy Awards. The trio issued two albums, including The Score (1996), which included Lauryn Hill on lead vocals and gave rise to the smash song “Killing Me Softly.” Thanks to it, she became the first woman to win the Grammy Award for Best Rap Album.
If you’re looking for other black artists who have shaped the rap industry, be sure to check out our list of the greatest black rappers of all time. With influential names like Tupac and Notorious B.I.G. included, this list is a must-read for any hip-hop fan.
William Michael Griffin Jr. was born in 1968. He is an American rapper, better known by his stage name Rakim. One of the most influential and most-emulated M.C.s of all time, He is regarded as among the best and most well-known rappers. Eric B. & Rakim set out to contrast their hardcore hip hop sound with a more mesmeric sound by using complex song structures with fluid, Elton John-Esque keyboard playing by Eric B.
21. Public Enemy
Public Enemy is an American hip-hop group formed in 1985 by Chuck D and Flavor Flav. The group’s biggest hits include “Shut ‘Em Down”, “Bring the Noise,” and “Don’t Believe the Hype”. Yo! Bum Rush the Show, their critically acclaimed debut album, and It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, their second album were both released in 1987. The first hip-hop album to win the Pazz & Jop critics’ poll at The Village Voice was (1988).
Earl Simmons was born in 1970. He is an actor and rapper from America. D.M.X. released his best-selling album in 1999. The album And Then There Was X featured the famous song “Party Up (Up in Here)”. He has appeared in movies like Belly (1998), Romeo Must Die (2000), Cradle 2 the Grave (2003), and Exit Wounds (2001).
23. Busta Rhymes
In 1972, Trevor George Smith Jr. was born, better known by his stage name Busta Rhymes; and is an American hip hop recording artist, actor, and record producer. His debut album, The Coming, debuted at number 13 on the Billboard 200 in 1996. It spawned the hit singles “Woo Hah!! Got You All in Check” and “I’ll Hurt You”. When Disaster Strikes, his second album, was released in 1997 and peaked at number two on the Billboard 200.
24. Beastie Boys
The Beastie Boys were a 1981-founded American rap rock band from New York City. Michael “Mike D” Diamond, Adam “M.C.A.” Yauch, and Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz made comprised the group. They achieved popular success with their first few rap-rock singles, including “Hold It Now, Hit It”.