African-American rappers

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  1. Nicki Minaj

    Nicki Minaj


    Onika Tanya Maraj (born December 8, 1982), better known by her stage name Nicki Minaj (/mɪˈnɑːʒ/), is a Trinidadian-born American rapper, singer, songwriter and actress. Born in Saint James, Trinidad and Tobago and raised in South Jamaica, Queens, New York, Minaj earned public attention after releasing three mixtapes between 2007–09. She signed a recording contract with Young Money Entertainment in 2009.

  2. Lil' Wayne

    Lil' Wayne


    Dwayne Michael Carter, Jr. (born September 27, 1982), known by his stage name Lil Wayne, is an American rapper from New Orleans, Louisiana. In 1991, at the age of nine, Lil Wayne joined Cash Money Records as the youngest member of the label, and half of the duo The B.G.'z, alongside fellow New Orleans-based rapper Lil' Doogie. In 1996, Lil Wayne formed the southern hip hop group Hot Boys, with his Cash Money label-mates Juvenile, Young Turk and Lil' Doogie (who now goes by B.G.). Hot Boys debuted with Get It How U Live!, that same year. Most of the group's success came with their platinum-selling album Guerrilla Warfare (1999) and the 1999 single "Bling Bling". Along with being the flagship artist of Cash Money Records, Lil Wayne is also the chief executive officer (CEO) of his own label imprint, Young Money Entertainment, which he founded in 2005.

  3. Chris Brown

    Chris Brown


    Christopher Maurice "Chris" Brown (born May 5, 1989) is an American recording artist, dancer and actor. Born in Tappahannock, Virginia, he taught himself to sing and dance at a young age and was involved in his church choir and several local talent shows. Having signed with Jive Records in 2004, Brown released his self-titled debut studio album the following year. It peaked at number two on the US Billboard 200 and was later certified double platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). With his first single "Run It!" peaking atop the US Billboard Hot 100, Brown became the first male artist as a lead since Diddy in 1997 to have his debut single top the chart. His second album Exclusive (2007) spawned his second Hot 100 number one "Kiss Kiss", in addition to "With You" and "Forever". The album was also certified double platinum by the RIAA.

  4. Jay Z

    Jay Z


    Shawn Corey Carter (born December 4, 1969), known by his stage name Jay Z (formerly Jay-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 2014, Forbes estimated Jay Z's net worth at nearly $520 million. He is one of the world's best-selling artists of all time, having sold more than 100 million records, while receiving 21 Grammy Awards for his musical work, and numerous additional nominations. Consistently ranked as one of the greatest rappers ever, he was ranked number one by MTV in their list of The 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.

  5. Tupac Shakur

    Tupac Shakur


    Tupac Amaru Shakur (Previously known as Lesane Parish Crooks)(/ˈtpɑːk ʃəˈkʊər/ TOO-pahk shə-KOOR; June 16, 1971 – September 13, 1996), also known by his stage names 2Pac and (briefly) Makaveli, was an American rapper, author, actor, and poet. As of 2007, Shakur has sold over 75 million records worldwide. His double disc albums All Eyez on Me and his Greatest Hits are among the best selling albums in the United States. He has been listed and ranked as one of the greatest artists of all time by many magazines, including Rolling Stone which ranked him 86th on its list of The 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. He is consistently ranked as one of the greatest rappers ever, as well as one of the most influential rappers of all time.

  6. Nelly



    Cornell Iral Haynes Jr. (born November 2, 1974), better known by his stage name, Nelly, is an American rapper, singer, songwriter, entrepreneur, investor and occasional actor from St. Louis, Missouri. Nelly embarked on his music career with Midwest hip hop group St. Lunatics, in 1993 and signed to Universal Records in 1999. Under Universal, Nelly began his solo career in the year 2000, with his debut album Country Grammar, of which the title-track was a top ten hit. The album debuted at number three on the Billboard 200 and went on to peak at number one. Country Grammar is Nelly's best-selling album to date, selling over 8.4 million copies in the United States. His following album Nellyville, produced the number-one hits "Hot in Herre" and "Dilemma" (featuring Kelly Rowland). Other singles included "Work It" (featuring Justin Timberlake), "Air Force Ones" (featuring Murphy Lee and St. Lunatics), "Pimp Juice" and "#1".

  7. Shad Moss

    Shad Moss


    Shad Gregory Moss (born March 9, 1987), better known by his stage name Bow Wow (formerly Lil' Bow Wow), is an American rapper, actor and television host. As Lil' Bow Wow, he released his first album, Beware of Dog in 2000 at age 13, which was followed by Doggy Bag 2001. In 2003, Bow Wow released his third album Unleashed, which was the first album released without using Lil' in his name.

  8. Akon



    Aliaume Damala Badara Akon Thiam (born April 16, 1973) (pronounced /ˈkɒn/), is an American rapper, songwriter, businessman, and record producer. He rose to prominence in 2004 following the release of "Locked Up", the first single from his debut album Trouble.

  9. Tyrese Gibson

    Tyrese Gibson


    Tyrese Darnell Gibson (born December 30, 1978), also known mononymously as Tyrese, is an American Grammy-nominated R&B singer, songwriter, actor, author, television producer, former fashion model and MTV VJ. He is best known for his roles as Joseph "Jody" Summers in Baby Boy and as Roman Pearce in the The Fast and the Furious series. After releasing several albums, he transitioned into films, with lead roles in several major Hollywood releases.

  10. Trina



    Katrina Laverne Taylor (born December 3, 1978), better known by her stage name Trina, is an American rapper and model. Trina first gained notoriety in 1998 with her appearance on Trick Daddy's second studio album on the single "Nann Nigga. Since then, she has released five moderately successful studio albums. XXL Magazine calls her "the most consistent female rapper of all time".

  11. Ray J

    Ray J


    William Ray Norwood, Jr. (born January 17, 1981), known by his stage name Ray J, is an American singer, songwriter, record producer and actor. Born in McComb, Mississippi and raised in Carson, California, he is the brother of recording artist and actress Brandy Norwood and the first cousin of rapper Snoop Dogg.

  12. Ludacris



    Christopher Brian "Chris" Bridges (born September 11, 1977), better known by his stage name Ludacris, is an American rapper, entrepreneur, and actor. Along with his manager, Chaka Zulu, Ludacris is the co-founder of Disturbing tha Peace, an imprint distributed by Def Jam Recordings. Ludacris has won Screen Actors Guild, Critic's Choice, MTV, and Grammy Award awards during his career. Along with fellow Atlanta based rappers Big Boi and André 3000 of OutKast, Ludacris was one of the first and most influential Dirty South artists to achieve mainstream success during the early 2000s.

  13. Snoop Dogg

    Snoop Dogg


    Calvin Cordozar Broadus Jr. (born October 20, 1971 or 1972), best known by his stage name Snoop Dogg, is an American rapper and actor from Long Beach, California. His music career began in 1992, when he was discovered by Dr. Dre of N.W.A and as a result was prominently featured throughout Dr. Dre's solo debut album, The Chronic (1992). He has since sold over 21 million albums in United States and 35 million albums worldwide.

  14. Lil' Kim

    Lil' Kim


    Kimberly Denise Jones (born July 11, 1974 or 1975), known by her stage name Lil' Kim, is an American rapper, songwriter, record producer, model, and actress. She was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, living much of her adolescent life on the streets after being expelled from home. In her teens, Jones would freestyle rap, heavily influenced by actress/singer Diana Ross, and fellow female hip-hop artists like MC Lyte and The Lady of Rage. Performing a freestyle rap for The Notorious B.I.G. got her music career start in 1995 with his group Junior M.A.F.I.A., whose debut album Conspiracy generated three hit singles.

  15. Game



    Jayceon Terrell Taylor (born November 29, 1979), better known by his stage name The Game or simply Game, is an American rapper and actor. Game is best known as a rapper in the West Coast hip hop scene, and for being one of Dr. Dre's most notable protégés. Born in Los Angeles, California, he released his first mixtape You Know What It Is Vol. 1 in 2002, and landed a record deal with the independent label Get Low Recordz owned by JT the Bigga Figga. Game's mixtape reached the hands of Sean Combs, founder of Bad Boy Records, who originally was on the verge of signing him to his label. Five months later, he was discovered by Dr. Dre who listened to the mixtape and signed him to his Aftermath Entertainment label in 2003. He rose to fame in 2005 with the success of his debut album The Documentary (2005) and Doctor's Advocate (2006). The Recording Industry Association of America certified his album The Documentary double platinum in March 2005 and it has sold over five million copies worldwide.

  16. Nick Cannon

    Nick Cannon


    Nicholas Scott "Nick" Cannon (born October 8, 1980) is an American rapper, actor, comedian, television and radio host, and producer. On television, Cannon began as a teenager on All That before going on to host The Nick Cannon Show, Wild 'N Out, and America's Got Talent. He acted in the films Drumline, Love Don't Cost a Thing, and Roll Bounce. As a rapper he released his debut self-titled album in 2003 with the hit single "Gigolo", a collaboration with singer R. Kelly. In 2007 he played the role of the fictional footballer TJ Harper in the film Goal II: Living the Dream. In 2006, Cannon recorded the singles "Dime Piece" and "My Wife" for the planned album Stages, which was never released. Cannon married American R&B/pop singer Mariah Carey in 2008. He filed for divorce in December 2014 after six years of marriage, which was finalized in April 2015.

  17. T.I.

    T.I. (2015)


    Clifford Joseph Harris, Jr. (born September 25, 1980), better known by his stage names T.I. and Tip (stylized as TIP), is an American hip hop recording artist and actor from Atlanta, Georgia. He signed his first major-label record deal in 1999, with Arista Records subsidiary, LaFace Records. In 2001, T.I. formed the Southern hip hop group Pimp Squad Click (P$C), alongside his longtime friends and fellow Atlanta-based rappers. Upon being released from Arista, T.I. signed to Atlantic Records and subsequently became the co-chief executive officer (CEO) of his own label imprint, Grand Hustle Records, which he launched in 2003. T.I. is perhaps best known as one of the artists who popularized the hip hop subgenre, trap music, along with Young Jeezy and Gucci Mane, respectively.

  18. Missy Elliott

    Missy Elliott


    Melissa Arnette "Missy" Elliott (born July 1, 1971) is an American singer, songwriter, rapper and record producer. Her first major success came as a songwriter with childhood friend and producer Timbaland on projects for Aaliyah, 702, Total, and SWV. As a record producer and songwriter, she has worked with Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, Janet Jackson, Christina Aguilera, and Beyoncé as well as contemporary artists Keyshia Cole, Tamia, Monica and Ciara.

  19. Sean Combs

    Sean Combs


    Sean John Combs (born November 4, 1969), also known by his stage names Puff Daddy, Puffy, Diddy, and P. Diddy, is an American rapper, record producer, actor, and entrepreneur. Combs was born in Harlem and grew up in Mount Vernon, New York. He worked as a talent director at Uptown Records before founding Bad Boy Records in 1993. He signed The Notorious B.I.G. and profited from the success of the artists he signed. He released his debut album No Way Out in 1997, which has been certified seven times platinum and was followed by successful albums such as Forever (1999), The Saga Continues... (2001) and Press Play (2006). In 2009 Combs formed the musical group Diddy – Dirty Money and released the critically well-reviewed and commercially successful album Last Train to Paris (2010).

  20. Soulja Boy

    Soulja Boy


    DeAndre Cortez Way (born July 28, 1990), better known by his stage name Soulja Boy Tell 'Em, or simply Soulja Boy, is an American rapper, record producer, actor and entrepreneur.

  21. Nas



    Nasir bin Olu Dara Jones (/nɑːˈsɪər/; born September 14, 1973), better known as Nas /ˈnɑːz/, is an American rapper, songwriter, record producer and actor. The son of jazz musician Olu Dara, Nas has released eight consecutive platinum and multi-platinum albums and sold over 25 million records worldwide since 1994. He is also an entrepreneur through his own record label; he serves as associate publisher of Mass Appeal magazine and is the owner of a Fila sneaker store. He is currently signed to Mass Appeal Records.

  22. Eve



    Eve Jihan Jeffers-Cooper (born November 10, 1978) is an American hip hop recording artist and actress from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She is also the inaugural winner of the Grammy Award for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration in 2002, for the song "Let Me Blow Ya Mind", with American singer Gwen Stefani. Eve was number 48 on VH1's "50 Greatest Women of the Video Era" list.

  23. Pharrell Williams

    Pharrell Williams


    Pharrell Lanscilo Williams (born April 5, 1973), also known by his mononym Pharrell (/fəˈrɛl/), is an American singer, songwriter, rapper, record producer and fashion designer. Williams and Chad Hugo make up the record production duo the Neptunes, producing soul, hip hop and R&B music. He is also the lead vocalist and drummer of rock, funk and hip hop band N*E*R*D, which he formed with Hugo and childhood friend Shay Haley. He released his first single "Frontin'" in 2003 and followed up with his debut solo album In My Mind in 2006. His second album, Girl, was released on March 3, 2014.

  24. Common



    Lonnie Rashid Lynn Jr. (born March 13, 1972), better known by his stage name Common (formerly Common Sense), is an American hip hop recording artist, actor, and poet from Chicago, Illinois. Common debuted in 1992 with the album Can I Borrow a Dollar? and maintained a significant underground following into the late 1990s, after which he gained notable mainstream success through his work with the Soulquarians. In 2011, Common launched Think Common Entertainment, his own record label imprint, and, in the past, has released music under various other labels such as Relativity, Geffen and GOOD Music, among others.

  25. DMX



    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.

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