Top 27 Rappers In Hip Hop Who’ve Paved The Way

Run DMC, Scarface, Lil Kim and many more who’ve raised hip hop to be what it is today. 

Sana Moore

AfterBuzz TV Host & Writer
Posted On: August, 2020 9:50 pm pst

Maria Menounos
Keven Undergaro
AfterBuzz TV Founders

Founded by Emmy winning journalist Maria Menounos and Producer Keven Undergaro, AfterBuzz TV is the artist-friendly entertainment news platform that celebrates, discusses, interviews, promotes and reports on the widest range of stars, creators and content through video, audio and article publications.

Happy Birthday to one of the best genres of music in the world, hip hop! Hip hop started in the Bronx in the 70s and began with emceeing and djing at house parties. Over time, hip hop evolved and discussed many aspects of life like politics, street life, racism, and much more. Hip hop has had a huge influence on education, relationships, politics, fashion, and beauty. In honor of hip hop, here are 27 rappers from the 80s and 90s and their top three songs that have helped shape hip hop to what it is today. 

Credit: Mix Cloud

Kurtis Blow 

“The Breaks” 

“Basketball” (P.S… Bow Wow sampled this song and it was played in the movie “Like Mike”)

“If I Ruled the World” (P.S…Nas sampled this song and many know it as “If I Ruled the World” “Imagine That” )


“Never Seen a Man Cry” 

“Smile” (P.S… Kirk Franklin’s gospel song, ‘Smile’ is  sampled from this song.)

“Mary Jane” (P.S… Ashanti’s song ‘Baby’ was sampled from this song)

“On My Block” 


“Let’s Get Dirty” (I Can’t Get in Da Club) 

“Can’t Wait”

“Tonight’s the Night” 

Big Daddy Kane 

“Ain’t No Half-Steppin”

“Smooth Operator” (P.S… this song was sampled from the Mary Jane Girls’ song “All Night “Long”, which is played at many summer BBQ’s)

“I Get The Job Done”

Master P 

“Pass Me Da Green”

“Ice Cream Man” 

“I’m Bout’ It, Bout It” 

Lil Kim 

Now beware, listening to Lil Kim is not for people with weak ears because her lyrics will have your mouth on the floor. Lil Kim is known for her raw and uncensored rap flow, plus she could hang with any male rapper in the rap game.

“Lighters Up” 

“Big Momma Thang” 

“Not Tonight” 

MC Lyte 

“Cha Cha Cha” 

“Lyte as a Rock”

“Paper Thin” 

Queen Latifah 


“Ladies First Just Another Day”

“Go Head” 

Slick Rick 

“Children’s Story”

“Teenage Love” 

“Mona Lisa” 


“How’s It Goin”g 

“What They Really Want” 

“Ruff Ryder’s Anthem” 

Heavy D 

“Big Daddy” 

“Got Me Waiting” 

“Somebody for Me”

Dj Jazzy Jeff and the  Fresh Prince 

These two weren’t just best friends, and actors on the hit 90s sitcom “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”; they made music too! 


“Parents Just Don’t Understand” 

“Brand New Funk”


“Decatur Psalm”


“Return of the G” 

The Sugarhill Gang 

“Rapper’s Delight” 

“Apache” (Jump On It)

“8th Wonder” 



“I’ll Take Yo Man”

“Whatta Man” 


“Fuk Da Police” 

“Straight Outta Compton”

“Boys in the Hood”


“Ambitionz as a Ridah”

“Hail Mary” 



“One More Chance” 

“Big Poppa” 

“Ten Crack Commandments” 

Snoop Dogg 

“Gin and Juice” 

“Who Am I”

“Lodi Dodi”

LL Cool J 

“I Need Love”

“I’m Bad”


Run DMC 

“It’s Tricky” 

“Peter Piper” 

“It’s Like That” 

Left Eye 

“The Block Party” 

“I Believe in Me” 



“Nas is Like” 

“Affirmative Action”

“Made You Look” 


“Ready or Not” 



Wu-Tang Clan 


“Can It Be All So Simple”

“Protect Ya Neck”

Public Enemy 

“Fight the Power”

“Can’t Truss It” 

“Rebel Without a Pause”                                    


“Can’t Knock the Hustle” 

“Dead President II” 

“Hard Knock Life” 

There are so many rappers to choose from, and it was tough to select only 27 influential rappers, but who is your favorite hip hop artist of all time? Let us know in the comments below! If you love this article, please share it with a friend!

About The Author:

Sana Moore is a host at Afterbuzz TV who loves to add her own sparkle all things in entertainment! “Serving you the freshest tea with a dash of brown sugar!” IG: @iam_sana_

Founded by Emmy winning journalist Maria Menounos and Producer Keven Undergaro, artist-friendly AfterBuzz TV is the world’s largest digital broadcast network and pop culture news platform, producing post-game ‘after-shows’ for nearly all favorite TV shows, interviewing cast and showrunners and providing the widest video, audio and article coverage of shows, content and influencers than any entertainment news platforms in existence

“We don’t just celebrate and cover the top shows, content and stars, we celebrate and cover ALL the shows, content and stars.”

Maria Menounos

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