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musicians > rap artists

eminem
Detroit MC Marshall Mathers (a.k.a. Eminem) released his debut 12" as one half of the two man crew, Soul Intent, and soon after released his '96 debut album, Infinite, featuring members of his crew, The Dirty Dozen. After being featured in The Source's Unsigned Hype column in '98, Eminem further made his name by dropping verses on indie singles by artists like Shabaam Sahdeeq and OldWorlDisorder. By the time he released his "Just Don't Give a Fuck" 12" and Slim Shady EP, Eminem was an underground sensation. learn more

run-dmc
Run-D.M.C. is arguably the greatest group in hip-hop history. They were the first rap group to receive a gold plaque, the first to earn a platinum album, the first to star on MTV, the first to become a household name . and, for two generations of rap fans, they are the face and sound of '80s hardcore hip-hop. Their backgrounds, however, are not those of the stereotypical MC: All three members - Run (Joseph Simmons), D.M.C. (Darryl McDaniels), and Jam Master Jay (Jason Mizell) - are products of solidly middle-class upbringings in the Hollis neighborhood of Queens, N.Y. learn more

nelly
By now the story of Nelly's meteoric rise to stardom is a well-known, oft-recited part of hip-hop history. The member of the St. Louis-based rap collective, the St. Lunatics, inks a deal with Universal Records, drops a sizzling single with a familiar nursery rhyme hook and releases a debut album that spawns three humongous hits, yielded three Grammy nominations and sold an incredible nine million plus copies worldwide. learn more

tupac
Tupac Amaur Shakur was born in New York City into a nobility of violence. His mother, a Black Panther, was jailed on a bombing charge while she was pregnant with him, although she waas later aquitted. His father was SHOT and killed when Tupac was just a child. Tupac wrote sensitive poetry while attending the High School of Performing Arts in Baltimore, Maryland. Shakur never entirely ceased extolling black womanhood or elders. Increasingly, however, such lyrics were shouldered aside by the bitches and the cop-killing bullets of gangstaism. learn more

notorious big
His mother says "Christopher was always special, he could sing and talk before he colud walk". He lived in the poor brooklyn neighborhood of Bedford-Stuyvesant. Biggie (a nickname given to him because of his weight) wanted to be an artist and honor-roll student. He dropped out of high school at 17, and became a crack dealer, he proclaimed was his only source of income. His mother said "He didn't need to sell crack, he was never hungry". Hustlin' his way was common for young lack males trying to make a living in the ghetto. learn more

lloyd banks
My Story starts in Queens. I grew up around the corner from 50. Me and Tony Yayo lived on the same block. I've been rapping for a long time, its just something I did. Even when I was in school, 11 or 12, instead of doing my work I would write down everything around me. Even when I wasn't rapping I would write. It was something I did in my spare time. I was young, 50 is 7 years older then me. The things I was rapping about wasn't what he was going through. The things I'm going through now, he was going through then. learn more

50 cent
The first 26 years of Curtis Jackson's life have made way for a remarkable success story. Born and raised in the rugged streets of Southside Jamaica, Queens, Jackson (better known these days as 50 Cent) endured a rough childhood. While growing up fatherless, 50 learned the tricks of the drug trade as a youngster by observing his mother's hustling ways. When 50 was only eight years old, his mother passed away and he was taken in by his grandparents. learn more

snoop dogg
Raised in Long Beach and nicknamed Snoop due to his resemblance to Peanuts' top canine, Snoop Dogg's troubled teen years culminated in a drug conviction after high school. After he got out of prison, Snoop Dogg turned to rap and soon captured the attention of star producer/rapper Dr. Dre. Introduced on Dr. Dre's seminal album The Chronic (1992), Snoop Dogg's smooth low-key style and lyrical authenticity turned him into one of gangster rap's stars, culminating with the release of his own top-selling, Grammy-nominated debut album Doggystyle (1993). learn more

master p
Master P created a hip-hop empire without registering on any mainstream radar. For several years, he operated solely in the rap underground, eventually surfacing in the mid-'90s as a recording artist and producer who knew exactly what his audience wanted. And what they wanted was gangsta rap. With his independent label No Limit, Master P gave them gangsta rap at its most basic -- violent, vulgar lyrics, hard-edged beats, whiny synthesizers, and blunted bass. He wasn't a great rapper, nor was anyone on No Limit; occasionally, the No Limit rappers were even talentless and clumsy. learn more