Rappers – The A-Z

What is a rapper?

noun
noun: rapper; plural noun: rappers

a person who performs rap music.

The Rapper’s A-Z

The Rapper’s A-Z is where HNHH lists short bios of each rapper in our A-Z section (in addition to providing links to every rapper’s wiki profile on our website in the wiki section).

First (2Chainz – Beanie Man) <> Second (Belly – Cassie) <> Third (Cee-Lo Green – Cypher Clique) <> Fourth (D.R.A.M – Doe B) <> Fifth Dom Kennedy – Flume

Rappers A-Z (2 Chainz – Beanie Man)

Rapper Profile
2 Chainz The artist formerly known as Tity Boi spent more than a decade in limbo before reinventing himself and breaking into the mainstream in 2012, quickly becoming one of the most sought-after features in the game (despite his alleged $100,000 verse fee).
2Eleven For those unfamiliar, 2Eleven is an Inglewood, California emcee who currently operates under Young Jeezy and his Corporate Thugs Entertainment imprint. Throughout his career, he’s released eight mixtapes, four collaborative projects and an EP, having collaborated with the likes of DJ Goonie, Mack 10, Squeak Ru, Christina Milian, USDA, Shield Gang, the Hittmenn West DJs and many more. The last we heard of 2Eleven was his June 2013 mixtape “No Brakes”, which featured guest appearances from Alley Boy, Freddie Gibbs, Mistah Fab and Ice Burgandy as well as production from League Of Starz, M-16, Drumma Boy, Sonny Digital and Roc & Mayne. Stay tuned for updates on his movements, folks.
2Pac Simply put, the most polarizing figure in Hip Hop history, and it’s not even close.  He grew up in Harlem in a home where he was surrounded by people with radical beliefs, and even more radical ways of acting out on those beliefs.  In 1986, he was moved to Maryland and started attending the Baltimore School for the Arts, and studied not only poetry, but ballet, acting, and jazz.  He would go on to act in many plays while attending the school, which helped develop thespian skills that would come in handy later when he starred in films such as Juice, Poetic Justice, and Above the Rim.  Shakur had his share of run-ins with the law, and was very instrumental in the East Coast-West Coast rivalry that led to a lot of violence in the mid-90’s.  But that was only one side of ‘Pac, as his music is also some of the most uplifting and inspirational in the history of the genre.  He had millions of intensely loyal fans, who helped him reach over 75 million records sold.  In 1996, at the age of 35 he was fatally wounded as part of a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas, NV.  He posthumously narrated a documentary called Resurrection about his own life in 2003, and there is currently a biopic film in production about his life.
50 Cent Although 50 Cent’s popularity has died down in recent years, he remains one of the most successful rappers to ever do it, actualizing his dream of becoming wealthy without losing his life in the process (his debut album Get Rich Or Die Tryin’ has been certified eight times platinum).
9th Wonder Considered to be one of the greatest producers hip-hop has ever seen, 9th Wonder has been cited as an influence to many who have followed in his footsteps. The North Carolina-native began his music career in 1997, but he first gained big-time attention in 2003 when he released an unofficial remix of Nas’ 2002 album “God’s Son”. The project was well received, and set 9th Wonder up for a successful career. To date he has released five solo albums, more than twenty collaborative albums, and several other projects. He has produced with countless notable artists including Murs, Buckshot, Kaze, Skyzoo, Pete Rock, David Banner, Jay-Z, De La Soul, Destiny’s Child, Consequence, Memphis Bleek, Mary J. Blige, Erykah Badu, Lloyd Banks, Obie Trice, Bishop Lamont, Ludacris, Royce da 5’9”, KRS-One, Asher Roth, Lil B, Chris Brown, Raekwon, Talib Kweli, Big K.R.I.T., and Nipsey Hussle – just to name a few. He founded a label called Jamla Records, and in 2014 the label released a compilation project that 9th Wonder was featured on. 9th Wonder has yet to announce plans for an upcoming project, but he is consistently producing tracks for various artists so expect something from the legendary producer soon.
A Billion Young A Billion Young are an emerging DJ/production duo and band from Chicago, Illinois, consisting of vocalist Kimberly Lauren, emcee Mike Doan and DJ/producers Snapotorious and Kun.
A-Trak Details to come on A-Trak. *Not Track Star.
A$AP Mob If you’re up on A$AP Rocky (which we assume most of you are at this point), you’re at least peripherally up on A$AP Mob as well. Led by Lord Flacko, the young Harlem collective consists of A$AP Ferg, A$AP Ant, A$AP AV, A$AP Bari, A$AP Illz, A$AP J. Scott, A$AP Lou, A$AP Nast, A$AP Twelvyy, A$AP Ty Beats (the in-house producer), A$AP Yams and Da$h (A$AP Dom having been a former member). Although fronted by Rocky, the group was originally founded by Yams, Illz and Bari. Other than rappers and producers, there are video directors and fashion designers amongst the ranks. Most recently, they released their debut mixtape titled Lords Never Worry, and were granted their own cypher at the 2013 BET Hip-Hop Awards. They’re currently working on a debut EP titled L.O.R.D. (slated to drop on March 4, 2014), as well as an as-yet-untitled debut album. Stay tuned for updates on the movement.
Ab-Soul Ab-Soul is nothing less than a rap game shaman. With access to / influence in an intoxicated realm of good and evil spirits, there’s an air of trancelike ritual about this third-eye soldier’s work. Hype notwithstanding, his first two studio albums (Longterm Mentality and Control System) were critically acclaimed. Throughout his career, the Carson, California native has released two studio albums and two mixtapes, collaborating with Mac Miller, Jhene Aiko, JMSN, Danny Brown, Rapsody, Chance The Rapper, Mod Sun, Jesse Medina, Rich Hil, Metasota, Vic Mensa, BJ The Chicago Kid, Retchy P, Action Bronson, Chuck Inglish, Nipsey Hussle, Pete Rock, Camp Lo, Da$h, Sir Michael Rocks, Smoke DZA, Twista, Talib Kweli, Black Thought, Childish Gambino, Murs, Problem, Casey Veggies, Skeme, Joe Budden, Joey Bada$$ and more – not to mention he’s a quarter of TDE super-group Black Hippy alongside Kendrick Lamar, ScHoolboy Q and Jay Rock. Most recently, he announced the completion of two new projects, hinted at another with The Alchemist and decided to stop writing his lyrics down, penning them from memory à la Jay Z (a major influence) instead. Stay tuned.
Ace Hood Antoine McColister better known as Ace Hood is Port St. Lucie, Florida native. Dj khaled signed Ace Hood after hearing him spit over the “I’m So Hood” instrumental outside WECR 99 Jamz radio station in 2007. In 2008, Ace’s first album “Gutta” was released featuring T-Pain, Rick Ross and Trey Songz. This lead to several mixtapes and features. You may remember his verse on Dj Khaled’s “Out Here Grindin”. XXL couldn’t ignore the talent, naming Ace Hood one of the 2009 Freshmen. He then went on to release “Ruthless”, his a second studio album featuring Akon, T-Pain, Rick Ross, Ludacris, Lazzmine Sullivan, The Dream, Birdman and Lloyd.
Albee Al Details to come on Albee Al. The name alone though.
Alchemist The Alchemist is undoubtedly one of hip-hop’s most respected producers. Since the mid-90’s he has worked with many artists including Eminem, Curren$y, Mobb Deep, Nas, Fat Joe, Jadakiss, Ghostface Killah, Snoop Dogg, Yelawolf, Earl Sweatshirt, Domo Genesis, Tyler The Creator, Action Bronson, Vince Staples, Chuck Inglish, and more. He also teamed up with rapper Oh No to form the duo Gangrene, they released You Disgust Me in 2015. Additionally, on March 4th, 2015 Mobb Deep announced an upcoming collaboration album with The Alchemist.
Alicia Keys Alicia Keys needs little introduction. One of the more celebrated contemporary R&B / Soul artists out, the twelve-time GRAMMY award winner has sold more than 30 million records internationally, also having received five American Music Awards and a staggering 17 Billboard Music Awards since stepping foot in the game in 1996. She’s also an actress, having appeared on The Cosby Show, Charmed and Sesame Street as well as in the films Smokin’ Aces and The Secret Life Of Bees. Throughout her prolific music career, she’s collaborated with Beyonce, Usher, The Kerry Brothers, Maxwell, Eve, Angie Stone, Jay Z, Alejandro Sanz, 50 Cent, Dr. Dre, Jack White and many more, and continues to put work in. Most recently, she headlined the 2013 NBA All-Star halftime show and designed her own Reebok pumps. Oh yeah, she’s married to Swizz Beatz and has a son with him.
Allan Kingdom With an ultralight beam shining from Kanye West, Allan Kingdom is putting on for the North in a big way. Born in Winnipeg, Canada, and raised in Saint Paul, Minnesota, the rapper born Allan Kyariga is cultivating new sounds and ideas to bring listeners into his world face first. Before being introduced to the world via his feature on Ye’s “All Day” (a banger that also featured Paul McCartney of Beatles fame) Allan Kingdom self-released three mixtapes (Trucker Music, Talk To Strangers, Future Memoirs) and an EP (Pinkspire Lane). Since “All Day,” Kingdom has released the critically acclaimed Northern Lights, a mixtape ode to his regional upbringing.
AlunaGeorge AlunaGeorge controls their own destiny. The rising synthpop duo comprised of singer/songwriter Aluna Francis and producer/instrumentalist George Reid have only released one proper studio album to date (2013’s critically acclaimed Body Music), but it’s been enough to catapult the band to the spotlight and pop charts. Their 2015 collaboration with French prime minister DJ Snake entitled “You Know You Like It” was the band’s first track to crack the US Billboard 100, but we predict they’ll be getting comfortable in that environment. Their newest release, the anti-rape-culture anthem “Mean What I Mean,” features mean verses from Chi-town’s Dreezy and NYC’s Leikeli47 – – not to mention killer vocals from the queen Aluna. Stay tuned for I Remember.
Amber Rose Amber Rose is currently a model and an actress, but is best known for her high profile relationships with Kanye West and Wiz Khalifa (and more recently, a short stint with Machine Gun Kelly). Her unique look stands out, with a bleached buzz cut and super curvy body. She has made numerous cameos in music videos and TV shows. Famously, she was stripper prior to getting work as a video vixen, and was spotted by Kanye West when she was featured in Ludacris’ “What Them Girls Like” music video, which served as the launching pad for their relationship (as well as Rose’s career).
Anderson .Paak In the tradition of Snoop Dogg on The Chronic and Eminem on 2001, Anderson .Paak used his whopping six features on Dr. Dre’s latest album Compton to show us why he’s a one-of-a-kind artist that the world needs to pay attention to. With his unmistakable high-pitched tone, poignant lyricism, and unmatched musicality, Anderson .Paak has become the breakout favorite of hip hop heads and indie snobs alike. The 30-year-old rapper/singer/producer has been honing his craft(s) for decades, under different aliases and in different bands, such as Breezy Lovejoy and NxWorries. With the release of his second studio album Malibu, numerous show stopping appearances on late-night television, and his recent signing to Dr. Dre’s Aftermath, Anderson .Paak is the guy that everybody should be betting on.
Andre 3000 Despite his elusive nature, Andre 3000 remains one of the most respected hip-hop artists to ever do it. A founding member of the hugely influential Outkast duo (alongside Big Boi), his unique flair was a first in the south, opening new floodgates of creativity in the rap game as a whole. Throughout his intermittent career, the celebrated ATLien has collaborated with the likes of TLC, Gwen Stefani, Q-Tip, Jay Z, Ice Cube, Lloyd, Nas, Devin The Dude, Snoop Dogg, Kanye West, Missy Elliot, Beyonce, The Gorillaz, James Murphy, Drake, Lil Wayne, Tech N9ne, Chris Brown, T.I., Fabolous, Rick Ross, Frank Ocean and more, not to mention his early work within the Dungeon Family collective, home to Goodie Mob, Killer Mike, Bubba Sparxxx and more. Most recently, he emerged from obscurity, announced a series of Outkast reunion performances for 2014, attended Kanye’s Yeezus tour stop in Atlanta and was spotted in the studio with Future. Stay tuned.
Anthony Hamilton Anthony Hamilton is a veteran singer/songwriter/producer who’s best known for his 2013, platinum-certified album Comin’ From Where I’m From as well as his collaborations with Nappy Roots. Throughout his 19-year career, The Charlotte, North Carolina native has worked with Jadakiss, Twista, Nelly, 2Pac, Jill Scott, Kanye West, Busta Rhymes, Heltah Skeltah, Xzibit, Santana, 2Pac, Eve, Da Brat, Nick Cannon, Talib Kweli, Ying Yang Twins, Buddy Guy, The Game, Young Buck, Keyshia Cole, Chingy, Al Green, Young Jeezy, Big K.R.I.T., Nas, Maino and many more. Most recently, he contributed the track “Freedom” to the Django Unchained soundtrack and appeared on Ace Hood’s “The Come Up” as well as DJ Khaled’s “Never Surrender”. That’s all for now – it’s been a minute since we’ve heard anything else from him.
Ashanti Ashanti remains one of the most celebrated contemporary R&B singer/songwriters out. Since releasing her self-titled, Platinum-certified debut in 2002, she’s released four studio albums and three compilations, having collaborated with the likes of Akon, R. Kelly, Nelly, Cadillac Tah, Lloyd, Scarface, Crooked I, Nas, Keyshia Cole, The Game, Jim Jones, T.I., Jagged edge, Irv Gotti, Black Child, Charli Baltimore,  and many more throughout her prolific career. Most recently, she was spotted in the studio with the freshly liberated Ja Rule and shot a visual for her 2013 single “I Got It”, which features Rick Ross. She’s currently working on her latest studio album, titled Braveheart, which is slated to drop in 2014. Stay tuned for updates. (Of yeah, she also counts dancing, producing and acting among her many talents, and she’s an active philanthropist.)
Atmosphere Atmosphere isn’t exactly the biggest rapper in the world, in fact we’d never heard of him until now.
August Alsina For the past year we have had our eye on a young burgeoning singer named August Alsina. Last October, we introduced you to the 19-year old with the release of his “Untitled” covers EP, and since then he has been busy with frequent leaks of new material, a digital release of his “Party & Bullshit” maxi-single, and a steady dose of viral videos. The New Orleans native has recently drawn comparisons to Trey Songz by AllHipHop.com, who proclaimed him “R&B’s New Thug.” Now, we are proud to bring you the world premiere of August Alsina’s debut mixtape, the DJ Scream assisted, “The Product.” Hoping to carve out his own path to musical success, the singer/songwriter has chosen to release the project today Sunday, April 15th, in honor of the birthday of his late brother, who was gunned down in New Orleans in 2010. A fitting dedication to the brother who inspired him to leave the street life behind and make music his full time hustle. We highly co-sign August as one of the break-out R&B stars of 2012. The young singer has gained instant recognition and has worked with many of today’s artists including Rich Homie Quan, Trinidad James, Yo Gotti, Lloyd, and more. August will soon be joining 2 Chainz and Pusha T on the upcoming “2 Good To Be T.R.U.” So, follow the jump right now to Stream and Download “The Product”!
AZ Best known for what some consider among the best verses on Nas’ legendary “Illmatic” is NYC-native AZ. The creative lyricist began his music career in 1992 and first gained mainstream attention when he laid down a classic verse on the track “Life’s a Bitch” on “Illmatic”. He released his debut album “Doe Or Die” in 1995 that featured his biggest commercial song “Sugar Hill”. To date, AZ has released eight studio albums as well as a collaborative album with supergroup The Firm and various other projects. “The Essence”, a single featuring Nas from his 2002 album “Aziatic” was nominated for a Grammy for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group.
Azad Right For those unfamiliar, Azad Right is an emerging emcee / producer from Venice, Los Angeles, California.
Azealia Banks Azealia Banks dropped out of high school to pursue a career in music, and so far it has paid off well. XL Recordings discovered the rapper/singer in 2008 after posting music to MySpace. Not long after she signed a recording contract with Interscope and Polydor Records. The artist is known to beef on social media with other artists, including Kreayshawn, Lil’ Kim, Nicki Minaj, Jim Jones, Angel Haze, Baauer, Diplo, ASAP Rocky, Lady Gaga, Iggy Azalea, and Pharrell.
B.o.B For those unfamiliar, B.o.B. is an emcee and musician born in North Carolina and raised in Georgia. He got his start when he was discovered by Brian Richardson in 2006, who eventually helped him ink a deal with Rebel Rock Entertainment.
Bad Lucc Dubb Union member Bad Lucc is the most seasoned member of the rap crew. He has worked extensively with Problem, appearing on many tracks from Welcome to Mollywood, Welcome to Mollywood 2, Million Dollar Afro, and The Separation. He has also appeared on tracks alongside Jay Rock, Freddie Gibbs, Game, Iamsu!, E-40, and Snoop Dogg.
Bas Born in the city of Paris before the Throne made it sound cool, Dreamville rapstar Bas manipulates the English language better than most native tongue can decipher. Perhaps that’s because he migrated to New York City at the ripe age of five, a move that forced the young spitter-to-be into a fast-paced survival mode. That mentality is what piqued J. Cole’s interest long before Bas was rapping with a sense of purpose. Cole, whose Dreamville co-founder Ibrahim Hamad is Bas’s brother, encouraged the France-born MC to cultivate his unique style. Eventually, Bas was signed to Dreamville and released his debut LP Last Winter in 2014. Two years later, Bas released his follow-up Too High To Riot, and is headlining its accompanying nationwide tour.
Beenie Man Beenie Man (a.k.a. ras moses, born Anthony Moses Davis August 22, 1973 in Kingston, Jamaica), is a well established Deejay. He was involved in the music industry from a young age when he won the Tastee Talent contest in 1980. Only one year later (1981), when he was eight years old, he recorded a single, “Too Fancy”, with record producer “Junjo” Lawes. By 1983, Beenie Man was recording with heavyweight DJs, such as Dillinger and Fathead and released his debut album, The Invincible Beenie Man: The Ten Year Old DJ Wonder and the single “Over the Sea”.

Where does rapping originate?

Rapping (or rhyming, spitting, emceeing, MCing) is a musical form of vocal delivery that incorporates “rhyme, rhythmic speech, and street vernacular”, which is performed or chanted in a variety of ways, usually over a backbeat or musical accompaniment. The components of rap include “content” (what is being said), “flow” (rhythm, rhyme), and “delivery” (cadence, tone). Rap differs from spoken-word poetry in that rap is usually performed in time to an instrumental track. Rap is often associated with, and is a primary ingredient of hip-hop music, but the origins of the phenomenon predate hip-hop culture. The earliest precursor to the modern rap is the West African griot tradition, in which “oral historians”,or “praise-singers”, would disseminate oral traditions and genealogies, or use their formidable rhetorical techniques for gossip or to “praise or critique individuals.” Griot traditions connect to rap along a lineage of Black verbal reverence that goes back to ancient Egyptian practices, through James Brown interacting with the crowd and the band between songs, to Muhammad Ali’s quick-witted verbal taunts and the palpitating poems of the Last Poets. Therefore, rap lyrics and music are part of the “Black rhetorical continuum”, and aim to reuse elements of past traditions while expanding upon them through “creative use of language and rhetorical styles and strategies. The person credited with originating the style of “delivering rhymes over extensive music”, that would become known as rap, was Harlem, New York native, Anthony “DJ Hollywood” Holloway.