Category:Rappers from Chicago
Pages in category "Rappers from Chicago"
The following 95 pages are in this category, out of 95 total, this list may not reflect recent changes (learn more).
The following 95 pages are in this category, out of 95 total, this list may not reflect recent changes (learn more).
1. Chicago hip hop – The hip hop scene in Chicago, Illinois, has produced many artists of various styles. Famous rappers in Chicago include Chance the Rapper, Da Brat, Chicago hip hop artists have never coalesced around an easily defined style or sound. Instead, Chicago hip hop artists took inspiration from a variety of regional influences – initially the East Coast, with its jazz and soul based sampling, at the same time, other Chicago artists embraced West Coast production, with its funky, synth-driven instrumentation. Choppers, or rappers with incredibly fast flow, originated primarily in the Midwest and in the 1990s, with the scene in Chicago becoming the citys first cohesive hip hop style. The most significant rappers and groups to come out of Chicago during this time included Do or Die, Crucial Conflict, and Twista, who at one point was considered the worlds fastest rapper. A new sound that has gotten very popular in Chicago is a new style of hip hop called drill music that formed on Chicagos South Side. In 2016, a number of artists from Chicago released albums, notable examples are Chance The Rappers Coloring Book, Kanye Wests The Life of Pablo and Nonames Telefone. Harmanis is a Greek rapper and producer born and raised in Chicago and he is a member of the first gangsta rap group in Greece, Zontanoi Nekroi whom first LP in 1998 named O Protos Tomos became one of the most emblematic CDs that ever been released in Greece. Although he can rap with more comfort in English, he can also rap very well in Greek, Crucial Conflict is a Chicago hip hop group best known for its 1996 single Hay and Scummy. The members of Crucial Conflict are Coldhard, Wildstyle, Kilo and they frequently collaborate with fellow Chicago rappers Do or Die and Twista. They recently finished their album Planet Crucon, with their newest single, Crucial Conflict, with the help of Do or Die, made the Chicago rap community more visible. With fast-paced raps, the band was compared to Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, when the smash hit Hay was released, it improved the sales of the bands album The Final Tic. They have collaborated and worked with artists as Three 6 Mafia, Do or Die, Twista, R. Kelly, 2Pac, Warren G, The Outlawz, George Clinton, Project Pat, Da Brat, Busta Rhymes. Crucial Conflict has also recorded tracks for soundtracks such as Def Jams How to Be a Player, Rhyme & Reason, Belly. They also made a cameo appearance in the 1998 Hype Williams movie Belly. Commons success as a rapper in the nineties was the first time that significant attention was paid to Chicago hip hop as a separate entity. The singles from his first album reached the top ten in the Billboard Hot Rap Tracks and this opened the door for other blossoming MCs from Chicago in the mid-nineties, but Chicago hip hop was still vastly overshadowed by the West and East Coast hip hop scene. Still, Common has found success in the 21st century with Grammy winning albums like Finding Forever and BeChicago hip hop – a flyer created by Sharkula
2. Add-2 – Andre DiJuan Daniels, better known by his stage name Add-2, sometimes stylized as Add 2, is an American rapper from Chicago, Illinois. He first gained popularity after the release of his mixtape, A Tale of Twos City. In 2009, his single Luxury was featured on MTV, MtvUs top 5 freshman, Luxury is part of Add-2s third mixtape, Tale of Twos City Vol.3, The Rise & Fall. Add-2 has also worked with Grammy award winning music producer 9th Wonder along with Kendrick Lamar, The Roots and Gerald WalkerAdd-2 – Add-2 Performing at The Shrine in Chicago, IL (2012)
3. Lil Bibby – Brandon G. Dickinson, better known by his stage name Lil Bibby, is an American hip hop recording artist from Chicago, Illinois. He released his mixtape in 2013, titled Free Crack. He released the follow-up mixtape Free Crack 2 on August 29,2014, Bibbys latest project, Free Crack 3 was released on November 27,2015. In 2013, Lil Bibby released his debut mixtape, titled Free Crack. The title to the mixtape was inspired by Kanye Wests track, called Crack Music, describing the fact that both Bibby and West are from Chicago, Illinois. He cited Drake and Jadakiss, as two of his favorite rappers, vice stated that Bibbys first mixtape were cleared from its influences from both of these rappers. The mixtape features guest appearances from these newcomers Lil Herb and King L, while the production was handled by Hit-Boy, Young Chop and The Olympicks, the tape combines a gruff and imposing voice, along with a solid delivery and flow. The tracks are hard-hitting with plenty of bass and strong lyrics from Bibby, the most that stands out as far as the beats from the mixtape was a track, called Whole Crew. The music videos were released for such as How We Move featuring King L, Change, Water. Following the release of the mixtape, Bibby was featured on a cover in Vibe. The article complimented Bibby, stating that he had what it takes to be a music artist, due to his maturity. In December 2013, in an interview with XXL, Bibby hinted that the step for his career could be an EP. In 2014, it was stated, that the rapper Drake was a huge fan of Bibby. Bibby said it pushed him onto improve his debut release, adding the tracks Water, in January 2014, Bibby appeared on Sways radio show Sway in the Morning. On the show he spoke about the success of his debut mixtape, during the same month, Bibby also featured on New Yorks radio station, Hot 97. During the same month, Bibby stated in his interview with Billboard, that he was working on material for an EP, Bibby also appeared on the list of 2014s XXL Freshman Class. He was the last person selected to the list, due to Young Thugs last minute cancellation. In July 2014, he made his appearance on the songs, collaborating with a rapper and a Memphis-native Juicy JLil Bibby – Bibby performing in 2014
4. Chali 2na – Charles Stewart, better known as Chali 2na, is an American rapper and hip hop artist, associated with the groups Jurassic 5 and Ozomatli. He is known for his baritone and quick delivery rapping style, as a young boy, Stewart moved to South Central Los Angeles, which had been the home base of Jurassic 5 since the groups inception in 1993. He was raised by his grandmother, a practicing Muslim, who raised him in the Islamic faith and his stage name is a reference to Charlie the Tuna, the deep-voiced animated mascot of StarKist Tuna. He and Cut Chemist became friends in high school, together with Mark 7even, they were part of a seven-man group called Unity Committee. The Unity Committee crew would often spend Thursday nights performing at the Good Life Café and they were, along with another three-person troupe called the Rebels of Rhythm, routinely chosen as the crowds favourite performers. The two crews also appreciated one anothers styles, and they teamed to record a 12 single, Unified Rebelution, the Rebels of Rhythm were MCs Akil and Daakir, the men banded together to form Jurassic 5. In 2006, Cut Chemist elected to split from the group to pursue a career. He is a member of the activist salsa funk band Ozomatli, although no longer an official member, he continues to collaborate with them on occasion. Along with salsa, his music and theirs have been influenced by reggae and soul music, was a founding member of Jurassic 5, which boasted in the song Improvise that the four MCs sounded like one. Fish Market, a mix tape, was compiled and released October 25,2004. Dont Stop, the would-be first single from Fish Outta Water and he also spoke deferentially of Tupac Shakur. Dont Stops chorus was sung by neo-soul artist Anthony Hamilton and it was featured in the soundtrack of the video game NBA Live 06. A second Chali 2na solo song, The Anchor Man, was featured on the Dan The Automator-curated soundtrack to the latest installment in the game series, another song, Something Different, was also featured on the All-Pro Football 2K8 soundtrack. Five years after Fish Market, an album, titled Fish Outta Water, was released. The album received positive reviews, holding a score of 70 on Metacritic. 2na delves into some of the experiences in his life, including a tragic incident in which his cousin. Collaborators on the album include Beenie Man, Raphael Saadiq, his longtime friend Rakaa Iriscience, Talib Kweli, Anthony Hamilton, Damian Marley, another mixtape was released in 2010, Fish Market Part 2. Much like the first Fish Market album, this is filled with collaborations 2na has completed throughout his career with famous artists such as Linkin ParkChali 2na – Chali 2na
5. Chance the Rapper – In 2013, he began to gain recognition following the release of his second mixtape, Acid Rap. Apart from his career, he is also a member of the Chicago collective Save Money. They released the widely lauded album Surf in May 2015, in May 2016, Bennett released his third mixtape Coloring Book to further critical acclaim. It earned him three Grammy awards, including for Best Rap Album, Coloring Book was the first streaming-only album to ever receive and win a Grammy nomination. Chance the Rapper grew up in the neighborhood of West Chatham on Chicagos South Side. His younger brother, Taylor Bennett, is also a Chicago rapper and his father, Ken Williams-Bennett, was an aide to former Chicago mayor Harold Washington and worked for then-Senator Barack Obama. Williams-Bennett, who is now a deputy chief of staff to Mayor Rahm Emanuel, in his freshman year at Jones College Prep High School, Chance formed the hip-hop duo Instrumentality with a friend. Many of Chances earliest performances took place at the YOUmedia Lyricist Loft at Harold Washington Library in Chicago, at Jones College Prep High School, some of his teachers ridiculed his aspirations to become a musician. Following a 10-day suspension in early 2011 during his year for possessing marijuana on campus, Bennett recorded his first full-length project. In December 2011, he released a song titled Windows, in February 2012, Bennett was highlighted as one of Complex magazines 10 New Chicago Rappers to Watch Out For. Bennett says he spent about eight months recording, writing and making connections off of the hunger to put out something, Bennett released the mixtape on April 3,2012 and it has since been downloaded over 300,000 times via Datpiff. The mixtape was well received locally and helped Bennett make connections with such as Chuck Inglish, Kenny Jame$. The mixtape grabbed the attention of Forbes magazine, which featured it in the publications Cheap Tunes column, in July 2012, Bennett appeared on American rapper Childish Gambinos sixth mixtape, Royalty, on the track, called They Dont Like Me. Gambino asked Bennett to join on his first concert tour of North America as his opening act, on April 30,2013, Chance released his second mixtape, Acid Rap, on DatPiff. Since the release of his mixtape, the record has been downloaded one million times. Chance enlisted the guest vocalists from Twista, Vic Mensa, Saba, BJ the Chicago Kid, Action Bronson, Childish Gambino, Acid Rap was strongly praised by music critics and fans alike. At Metacritic, the received an average score of 86, based on 21 critics. It was also nominated for Best Mixtape at the 2013s BET Hip Hop Awards, on May 6,2013, after being featured as the hidden track on Acid Rap, which is a song, titled ParanoiaChance the Rapper – Chance The Rapper performing live in 2013.
6. Common (rapper) – Lonnie Rashid Lynn, Jr. better known by his stage name Common, is an American rapper, actor, film producer 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. Commons first major-label album, Like Water for Chocolate, received critical acclaim. His first Grammy Award was in 2003, winning Best R&B Song for Love of My Life and its popularity was matched by May 2005s Be, which was nominated for Best Rap Album, at the 2006 Grammy Awards. Common was awarded his second Grammy for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group, for Southside and his best-of album, Thisisme Then, The Best of Common, was released on November 27,2007. He also narrated the award-winning documentary Bouncing Cats, about one mans efforts to improve the lives of children in Uganda through hip-hop/b-boy culture and he starred as Elam Ferguson on the AMC western television series Hell on Wheels. Common was born on the South Side of Chicago, Illinois and he was raised in the Calumet Heights neighborhood. He is the son of educator Dr. Mahalia Ann Hines and they divorced when he was six years old, resulting in his fathers moving to Denver, Colorado. This left Common to be raised by his mother, but his father remained active in his life, while a student at Luther High School South in Chicago, Lynn with his friends, record producer and Corey Crawley formed C. D. R. A rap trio that opened for acts that included N. W. A, Common attended Florida A&M University for two years under a scholarship and majored in business administration. After being featured in the Unsigned Hype column of The Source magazine, Lynn debuted in 1992 with the single Take It EZ, with the 1994 release of Resurrection, Common achieved a much larger degree of critical acclaim, which extended beyond Chicago natives. The album sold well and received a strong positive reaction among alternative. Resurrection was Commons last album produced almost entirely by his production partner. In 1996, Common appeared on the Red Hot Organizations compilation CD, America Is Dying Slowly, alongside Biz Markie, Wu-Tang Clan, the CD, meant to raise awareness of the AIDS epidemic among African American men, was heralded as a masterpiece by The Source magazine. He would later contribute to the Red Hot Organizations Fela Kuti tribute album. He collaborated with Djelimady Tounkara on a remake of Kutis track, Years of Tears, the song I Used to Love H. E. R. from Resurrection ignited a feud with West Coast rap group Westside Connection. The lyrics of the song criticized the hip hop music was taking and was interpreted by some as directing blame towards the popularity of West Coast Gangsta rap. Westside Connection first responded with the 1995 song Westside Slaughterhouse, with the lyrics Used to love H. E. R, Westside Connection recorded tracks venting their issues with rival East Coast rappersCommon (rapper) – Common at a signing for his book, One Day It'll All Make Sense in Tribeca, Manhattan in 2011.
7. DeLundon – DeLundon, also known as D-Lo, the D. L. O. and Hollywood Nicky is a hip hop recording artist, record producer and owner/founder of DeLu3. 0LLC. DeLundon released a studio album called The Demonstration in 2007. DeLundon will release a new album late 2010 via Tunecore, styled as the arch villain of hip hop. DeLundon expresses Intrigue with the duality of good in evil, he lyrically weaves these themes in his music with a distinct delivery, as a producer he describes his music as out of body. His production style is equivalent to a 2012 version of Phil Spector, experimenting with multiple unrelated abstract mediums and fusing them together to create a hip-hop wall of sound. In early 2012 DeLundon teamed up with Chicago producer Angelbeatz, to form the hip hop group, Angel/DeLundon, in Black and White -2004 The Demonstration -2007 DeLundon -2011 Bakers Street w/Angelbeatz-2012 Convert or Die w/Angelbeatz-2013DeLundon – DeLundon at Howard University in 2007
8. Brandun DeShay – Brandun DeShay, stylized as brandUn DeShay, is an American rapper and producer. He has produced for all six of his releases, DeShay has produced for rappers such as Curren$y, Dom Kennedy, Mac Miller, Action Bronson, Chance The Rapper, and Danny Brown. His first official video, Why You Gotta Zodiac Like That has been in rotation on mtvU. From late 2008 to mid 2010, DeShay was a member of the hip hop collective Odd Future, in an interview with MTV UK, DeShay said that Pharrell Williams and Yasutaka Nakatas music inspired him. He also stated that N. E. R. D, Kanye West, MF DOOM, Lupe Fiasco, A Tribe Called Quest, all Day DeShay, AM The Super D3Shay Volume, One. for the Money Volume, Two. for the Show Your Favorite. MixTape 2 goldUn Child goldUn Child 2 Official websiteBrandun DeShay – DeShay performing at MePhi in AZ in 2010
9. Open Mike Eagle – Eagle II, better known by his stage name Open Mike Eagle, is an American alternative hip hop artist. Originally from Chicago, Illinois, he is now based in Los Angeles, California and he is also a member of Thirsty Fish and Swim Team. Mike grew up in Chicago and lived with his grandparents until he was 13 at which point he moved in with his mother and he attended Whitney M. Young Magnet High School and went on to Southern Illinois University Carbondale where he majored in psychology. There he became friends with Hannibal Buress after being his resident adviser. He did a year of school, but quickly moved to Los Angeles to live with his dad. He began working for AmeriCorps for six months before getting a job at a halfway house. As he continued to work odd jobs, Mike rapped as a hobby before discovering Project Blowed, in 2010, Open Mike Eagle released the first solo album, Unapologetic Art Rap, on Mush Records. The album features Nocando, Busdriver, and Serengeti and his second album, Rappers Will Die of Natural Causes, was released on Hellfyre Club in 2011. It features vocal contributions from P. O. S and MC Paul Barman, in 2012, Open Mike Eagle released the album, 4nml Hsptl, on Fake Four Inc. It is entirely produced by Awkward, in 2012, he co-authored and participated in a study conducted by the National Institutes of Health that observed the locations of increased brain activity during freestyle rapping. Open Mike Eagle, Dumbfoundead and Psychosiz make up the rap trio Thirsty Fish and they released the first album Testing the Waters in 2007 and the second album Watergate on Mush Records in 2011. All three members of Thirsty Fish are also co-founders of the battle crew Swim Team, in 2008, Swim Team released the mixtape Oceans 11. On June 13,2014 & August 15,2014, Mike Eagle appeared live on Ron and he met his wife Tiffany at a TransAfrica nationalist conference at UCLA and they have one son together. Mike also has a brother and sister. Mike Eagle has expressed his appreciation for the Cartoon Network animated television series Adventure Time, in June 2015, Eagle along with John Moe, launched Conversation Parade, a podcast in which the two discuss the show. More recently, Open Mike Eagle podcasts regularly on his podcast Secret Skin, Mike Eagle also co-hosts the pro-wrestling podcast Tights and Fights with Hal Lublin and Danielle Radford on the Maximum Fun Network. He has coined his own term for the style of some of his music, which he calls Art Rap. D. Memory Man - Funtastic from Broadcast One Milo - True Nen from So the Flies Dont Come Blu & Fate - Oblivia from Open Your Optics to Optimism Factor Chandelier - Dozer II from Factoria P. OOpen Mike Eagle – Open Mike Eagle after performing at DOOMTREE Zoo in Saint Paul
10. Lupe Fiasco – Wasalu Muhammad Jaco, better known by his stage name Lupe Fiasco, is an American rapper, record producer, and entrepreneur. He rose to fame in 2006 following the success of his debut album and he also performs as the frontman of rock band Japanese Cartoon under his real name. As an entrepreneur, Fiasco is the executive officer of 1st. Raised in Chicago, Jaco developed an interest in hip hop after initially disliking the genre for its use of vulgarity, after adopting the name Lupe Fiasco and recording songs in his fathers basement, 19-year-old Fiasco joined a group called Da Pak. The group disbanded shortly after its inception, and Fiasco soon met rapper Jay-Z who helped him sign a deal with Atlantic Records. In September 2006, Fiasco released his debut album Lupe Fiascos Food & Liquor on the label and he released his second album, Lupe Fiascos The Cool, in December 2007. The lead single Superstar became his first top 40 hit on the Billboard Hot 100, after a two-year delay, Lasers was released in March 2011 to mixed reviews, however, it became his first album to debut at number one on the Billboard 200. His latest album, Tetsuo & Youth, was released in January 2015, in addition to music, Fiasco has pursued other business ventures, including fashion. He runs two clothing lines, Righteous Kung-Fu and Trilly & Truly, he has designed sneakers for Reebok and he has been involved with charitable activities, including the Summit on the Summit expedition, and in 2010 he recorded a benefit single for victims of the 2010 Haiti earthquake. Fiasco is also noted for his anti-establishment views, which he has expressed in interviews and his music. Fiasco was born Wasalu Muhammad Jaco on February 16,1982 in Chicago, Fiasco is of West African descent, one of nine children of Shirley, a gourmet chef, and Gregory, an engineer. His father, a member of the Black Panther Party, was a prolific African drummer, karate teacher, operating plant engineer, Fiasco was raised Muslim on the West Side of Chicago on Madison Terrace housing project. At the age of three, Fiasco began taking martial arts classes and his parents divorced when he was five, and he went on to live with his mother, but his father still remained an important part of his life. In sixth grade, he went to live with his father full-time in Harvey and his father lived next door to a crack house and taught Fiasco to use guns to defend himself from drug dealers. As a teenager, Fiasco participated in Academic Decathlon competitions and his mother described him by saying, He was a great spirited child. Smart, a bit complex, he kind of was a loner, always had a book bag over his shoulder and some type of a writing tablet. Fiasco initially disliked hip hop music for its use of vulgarity and his struggle to learn to play an instrument led him to create poetry instead, which led to his interest in the lyrical aspects of music. He began rapping his poems in the grade, and upon hearing Nas 1996 album, It Was WrittenLupe Fiasco – Lupe Fiasco in 2012
11. Rockie Fresh – Donald Pullen, better known by the stage name Rockie Fresh, is an American rapper born in Chicago, Illinois signed to Rick Ross Maybach Music Group and Atlantic Records. He is known for his alternatively influenced style of hip-hop, and his associations with recording artists Patrick Stump of Fall Out Boy, in 2009, Rockie began recording his debut mixtape Rockies Modern Life in a small recording studio Chicago, IL. During the recording process, he met Andrew Gertler, who became his manager and they released Rockies Modern Life in December 2009, and followed it up with another mixtape, The Otherside, recorded at Studio 11 in December 2010. Rockies music also grabbed the attention of Fall Out Boy lead-singer Patrick Stump, since the release of The Otherside Rockie has been named one of Metromixs 25 Hottest Artists Under 25 and his music has been featured on The CWs nationally syndicated television show Nikita. He was also featured on Good Charlottes project The Madden Brothers, Before The Fame according to Rolling Stone, in 2012, Rockie released his mixtape Driving 88, which led to his signing with Rick Ross Maybach Music Group on July 12 via Atlantic Records. After his signing, he released his mixtape and debut Maybach Music Group project Electric Highway. It features guest appearances from Lunice, Rick Ross, Nipsey Hussle, Curren$y, production is handled by The Gift, Boi-1da, The Maven Boys and others. He has also appeared on Rick Ross The Black Bar Mitzvah mixtape, amongst other Maybach Music Group collaborations. On April 29,2013, Rockie Fresh released a project in celebration of his birthday. Featuring vocal appearances from his MMG members Rick Ross and Gunplay, shortly thereafter, he announced an endorsement deal with shoe & apparel brand PUMA. Compilation album Self Made Vol.3 from MMG got released on September 16,2013, Rockie Fresh made appearances on 4 tracks on the album and on two more tracks on the Best Buy deluxe edition. On 16 December 2013, Rockie Fresh and Casey Veggies collaboration mixtape Fresh Veggies got released and it is presented by PUMA and released under Maybach Music Group and Peas N Carrots International. The mixtape features appearances from Overdoz, Ty Dolla $ign, Juicy J, Kirko Bangz. Fresh Veggies was produced by Lunice, Jahlil Beats and Hit-Boy, Fresh was nominated for the 2014 XXL freshman class, but didnt make the final cutRockie Fresh – Rockie Fresh performing in January 2014
12. Chuck Inglish – Evan Ingersoll, better known by his stage name Chuck Inglish, is an American rapper from Mount Clemens, Michigan and one half of the hip-hop duo The Cool Kids with Sir Michael Rocks. His debut album Convertibles was released on April 8,2014, raised in Mount Clemens, Michigan until he moved to the Chicago area at the age of 18, Chuck Inglish born Evan Ingersoll is one half of the 2007-formed alternative hip-hop duo The Cool Kids. Ingersoll attended Notre Dame High School in Harper Woods, Michigan where he played football and basketball and he met Sir Michael Rocks in 2005 when Reed found a beat on MySpace that Ingersoll had produced. The two met to discuss terms of the sale, and eventually ended up recording for two hours. They were inspired by golden age hip hop and artists like LL Cool J, Ingersoll began promoting the new duos material, and it was eventually booked by Josh Young of Flosstradamus for a DJ performance. They also received an offer from the DJ A-Trak to sign to his Fools Gold Records label, which they did, eventually, The Cool Kids signed to Chocolate Industries, another independent label. In 2008, the group revealed on their MySpace page that their album, When Fish Ride Bicycles, would be released in 2008. Ingersoll has been the producer for tracks released thus far, the duo uses music software program Reason from Propellerhead Software to produce their music. In 2007, they opened for M. I. A. on her KALA Tour, the group toured across Australia in February 2008 and also appeared at the Laneway Festival. The group also appeared at SUNY Purchases Culture Shock event in April 2009, one of the duos singles, Black Mags, was featured in a late 2007 Rhapsody TV commercial, along with Sara Bareilles. In the same year, the group collaborated with Lil Wayne and they were listed in Rolling Stones Ten Artists to Watch in 2008. According to Rolling Stone, since Black Mags debuted, the Cool Kids have gone from an underground sensation in their native Chicago to the hottest ticket at New Yorks CMJ festival, in 2008, they headlined the NBA 2K Bounce Tour along with Q-Tip. The groups second official mixtape, Gone Fishing was released on May 5,2009, on May 12,2010, they released a mixtape titled Tacklebox. In 2010, Chuck Inglish and Mikey Rocks teamed up with Gary, Indianas Freddie Gibbs, on July 11,2011, The Cool Kids debut album When Fish Ride Bicycles was released. On January 2,2012, Inglish released an mixtape titled WRKING. On April 23,2012, he released another mixtape titled WRKOUT. On June 13,2013, he released a mixtape titled Droptops, on October 15,2013, he released a five song EP titled Easily. On April 8,2014, he released his debut album Convertibles through his Sounds Like Fun imprint, Convertibles was preceded by three singles – Swervin featuring Sir Michael Rocks and Polyester the Saint, Came Thru/Easily featuring Ab-Soul and Mac Miller, and Legs featuring ChromeoChuck Inglish – Chuck Inglish (left) performing with Sir Michael Rocks in July 2008
13. JaMiss – Janelle Daríce Dudley, better known by her stage name JaMiss, is an American rapper, songwriter and actress. JaMiss is from the South Side of Chicago, Illinois, JaMiss was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. Her mother was a dancer on Soul Train and her father was a painter/artist, JaMiss attended Morgan Park High School and studied at Columbia College Chicago where she earned her Bachelors in Theatre, graduating with a 3.5 GPA. JaMiss started rapping in 2005 after always working with friend and rapper GLC. Also highly influenced by Tupac, Jay-Z, Kanye West, MC Lyte, JaMiss initially rapped in a group before going solo. She continued making a name for herself in the industry throughout Chicago, JaMiss was signed to ILL-Regards Records in 2005 and released some of her first mixtapes before parting ways to continue her music and acting career in Los Angeles, California. They crowned JaMiss The Deal Makers First Lady and this mixtape had production by Tony Baines and Bj out of Chicago. She released Even The Odds Vol.2 in 2009 which was hosted by DJ VDub and DJ Kid Scratch and featured artist Drew Sidora, JaMiss was featured on Kanye West Akademiks - Jeanius Level Musik Mixtape and appeared as a dancer in his videos Workout Plan and Slow Jamz. JaMiss was also featured on Carmelo Anthony Become Legendary mixtape, in 2012 JaMiss released her fifth mixtape entitled Most Likely to Succeed in which she released hits such as JaMiss Anthem produced by Caviar and Divas Getting Money produced by Xcel. The mixape also includes producers The Truth, Sega and Ripley, JaMiss released an EP entitled Jayne Byrne named after Jane Byrne, the first and only female mayor of Chicago. The album was produced by fellow Chicagoans Tony Baines and Pro, the album features an intense introduction from Poet Malik Yusef. Her song I Miss You off of this EP was placed in Lifetime movie Grim Sleeper, following that JaMiss was a featured actress in Macy Grays video Bang, Bang. Her song Ladies who Grind produced by Xcel was also placed in the MTV show entitled Finding Carter, JaMiss latest song Roster produced by Tony Baines was placed in Lifetime show entitled UnrealJaMiss – JaMiss at the Arpa Film Festival in Hollywood
14. Mick Jenkins (rapper) – Jayson Mick Jenkins, better known as Mick Jenkins, is an American hip hop recording artist signed to Cinematic Music Group. His debut album, The Healing Component was released on September 23,2016, on January 13,2012, Mick released his first official mixtape, The Mickstape. In August 2012, he released his second mixtape, titled The Pursuit of HappyNess. These consecutive mixtapes included production from record producers such as After the Smoke, Swisha House, Chris Calor, Quincy Banks, Chuck Inglish, Vanilla. During 2012, Mick returned to Chicago and joined the YCA and this is where he would perform his first a cappella verse, which would feed some attention for the local recording artist and a leader of Chicagos Pivot Gang collective, Saba. The two then collaborated on the track, called Heaux, which was featured on Sabas mixtape GETCOMFORTable, Jenkins is a member of a hip-hop group, called Free Nation. Other members include Prop, J-Stock, Burman, and Maine The Saint, Free Nation is a hip hop group that promotes creative thought without accepting narrow views imposed by the powers that be. In April 2013, Mick released a mixtape, titled Trees & Truths, the tape quickly became a local favorite, featuring acid jazz-influenced production, biblical allegory, and his lacerating lyricism. In July 2014, Mick received significant attention after the release of his single and a visual of Martyrs, the thought-provoking single held various underlying messages and subtle notions. Martyrs has led to prominent figures in the community such as Timbaland, to reach out and praise Jenkins for his musical talent. Mick continues to find ways to convey his message and on August 12 released his project The Water to critical acclaim. Considered by many to be Jenkins breakout project, The Water is centered on the idea of comparing water to lifes truths and he had his first official tour in February 2015 with Kirk Knight, Noname and Saba. He was on tour with Joey Bada$$ and Denzel Curry for Phase 1 of their World Domination Tour, on July 20,2015, Mick Jenkins announced an EP titled Waves, which was released on August 21,2015. Mick Jenkins began streaming his new project in full via NPRs First Listen on August 13,2015, Wave is the follow up to Jenkins’ critically acclaimed 2014 mixtape, The Water. For Wave, Mick continues to keep the collaborators confined to those within his inner circle, the project features the likes of Jean Deaux, Saba, TheMind and popular producers such as Kaytranada. Mick also accompanied French producer STWO on his North American tour from the end of August through the beginning of October, on August 17,2016, Mick Jenkins released the first single from his highly anticipated debut album, titled Spread Love. The album, The Healing Component, was released on September 23,2016, on August 25th, Mick released his second single of the album titled Drowning which features an instrumental performed by Toronto-based jazz quartet BADBADNOTGOOD. The song has a reference to the death of Eric GarnerMick Jenkins (rapper) – Jenkins performing in August 2015
15. Chief Keef – Keith Cozart, better known by his stage name Chief Keef, is an American rapper and record producer from Chicago, Illinois. During his teenage years and while under house arrest, Keefs music videos were met with acclaim from local school students. His increasing popularity led to him being the subject of a bidding war among labels. Ultimately, Keef signed a record deal with Interscope Records. Keef also became the CEO of his own label, Glory Boyz Entertainment. His debut album Finally Rich was released on December 18,2012, since becoming famous, Keef has continued to experience ongoing legal issues. Despite being dropped from Interscope in late 2014, Keef continued self-releasing mixtapes through his Glo Gang label, although Keef had originally planned Bang 3 to be released as his second album, a then-track from the album, Nobody, developed into its own project. Keef released Nobody as an album in December 2014, while continuing to delay the often-pushed back Bang 3. Chief Keef was born Keith Cozart in Chicago, Illinois when his mother was 16 and he grew up in the Parkway Garden Homes, located in the Washington Park neighborhood on the citys South Side. Keef is estranged from his father, when he was a minor, Keefs legal guardian was his grandmother. He began rapping at a young age, regularly listed as 5, using his mothers karaoke machine. During his childhood, Keef attended Dulles Elementary School and the Banner School, Keef dropped out of Dyett High School at age 15. In 2011, Keef first earned attention from Chicagos South Side community with his mixtapes, The Glory Road. In December, Keef fired gunshots from a Pontiac Grand Prix in Chicagos Washington Park neighborhood, police showed up at the scene and the incident resulted in Keef being arrested and charged with unlawful use of a weapon. Keef was consequently placed under house arrest at his grandmothers house for 30 days, followed by another 30 days of home confinement. It has been noted that by the time this incident occurred, Keef had already achieved local South Side popularity, while under house arrest, Keef posted several videos to his YouTube account. These videos were at the forefront of Chicagos hip hop subgenre, the attention he received increased during the short time between the release of his mixtapes, Bang and Back From the Dead, and music videos, including Bang, 3Hunna and I Dont Like. Once his house arrest ended, WorldStarHipHop released a video of a child hysterically celebrating Keefs release from house arrest and it also caught fellow Chicago rapper Kanye Wests attention, and West created a remix of the song with rappers Pusha T, Jadakiss and Big SeanChief Keef – Kanye West, a fellow Chicagoan, discovered Chief Keef, and has since remixed his songs and collaborated with Keef
16. The Legendary Traxster – The Legendary Traxster is an American songwriter, rapper and record producer. A native of Chicago, he is best known as a producer for Twista, Do or Die and he is the owner of Traxster Inc. and Co-CEO of CWAL Records. The Legendary Traxster is a Multi-Platinum & Grammy Nominated American Songwriter/Producer and he produced the Certified Platinum song, “My Chick Bad” by Ludacris featuring Nicki Minaj on the album Battle Of The Sexes”. Traxster’s production on “My Chick Bad” helped land Ludacris a #1 album on the Billboard 200, the single went on to be Certified Gold and the winner of two ASCAP Rhythm & Soul Music Awards” in the Rap and R&B/Hip Hop category. Traxster and Twista came back at it again with their hit single “Make a Movie” Twista ft. Chris Brown from Twista’s The Perfect Storm which also climbed its way to the top of the charts, Traxster produced ten songs on this project. Traxster, also has extended his hand of community service by participating in the ASCAP SCORES program, the Legendary Traxster will lead a songwriting classes with kids at Chalmers Elementary, Chicago, IL. on December 1 and 8,2010. Traxster and the students then go to CRC Studios, Chicago. The finished song will be included on a special compilation CD that ASCAP produces, the Legendary Traxster said, It is an honor and a privilege to be in a position to give back to my community. Having grown up in the city, I know that the environment, conditions. I like to believe my love for music saved my life having seen so many of my childhood friends fall victim to the streets. In light of all the violence that has been occurring in Chicago. Through the SCORES program I hope to inspire someone to pursue their dreams, Picture This is notable for introducing Twista to the mainstream, particularly on the albums blazing centerpiece Po Pimp. Traxster also produced Twista’s Platinum selling “Adrenaline Rush” in its entirety, Traxster is credited for creating the Midwest / Chicago sound, slow, dark, bass heavy grooves, with wild drums and running hi-hats, to match the triple time rhyme patterns of the rappers. He soon spread his sound nationally producing songs for artist around the country, Chris Brown, Waka Flocka Flame, Yo Gotti, Ray J, R. Kelly, T. I. Lil Boosie, Camron, Scarface, Bun B, Mystikal, E-40, WC, C-Bo, Static Major, Tech N9ne, The Outlawz, Raekwon, Shawnna, Eve and Trina have all used Traxster production. When you hear fast-paced rappers rhyme on heavy based rhythms and quick patterned hi hats, you should think of the man behind the beats. For him, it has always been about having the latest records, Traxster began his musical expression as a battle rapper from the south side of Chicago’s “Pocket Town” neighborhood, were he formed his first group in high school. His peers thought he was unusual for wanting to be a rapper, upon graduating high school, the group “D2 Tha S” was formed and became well known lyrically in the streetsThe Legendary Traxster
17. Ludacris – Christopher Brian Chris Bridges, better known by his stage name Ludacris, is an American hip hop recording artist and actor from Atlanta, Georgia. Alongside his manager, Chaka Zulu, Ludacris is the co-founder of Disturbing tha Peace, throughout his career, Ludacris has won Screen Actors Guild, Critics Choice, MTV, and Grammy Awards. Along with fellow Atlanta-based rappers Big Boi and André3000 of OutKast, born in Champaign, Illinois, Ludacris moved to Atlanta at age nine, where he began rapping. In 2001, he released Word of Mouf, followed by Chicken-n-Beer in 2003 and he took a more serious approach with his next two albums, Release Therapy, and Theater of the Mind. His next record, Battle of the Sexes, was released in 2010, Ludaversal was released on March 31,2015. As an actor, he has appeared in films including Crash, Gamer, and New Years Eve, but is best known for playing Tej Parker in the The Fast and the Furious film series. Ludacris was born as Christopher Brian Bridges in Champaign, Illinois and he later moved to the Chicago area, where he attended Emerson Middle School in Oak Park, and Oak Park & River Forest High School for one year. He then moved to Centreville, Virginia and attended Centreville High School for one year and he attended Banneker High School in Atlanta, Georgia and graduated in 1995. From 1998 to 1999, he studied management at Georgia State University. His parents were both African-American, and he also has some English and Native American ancestry and he is a distant cousin of late comedian Richard Pryor. Bridges wrote his first rap song at age nine when moving to Atlanta, Bridges served as an intern and then a DJ at Atlantas Hot 97.5 under the name Chris Lova Lova. He was also known for DJing during Freaknik at one point, Ludacris collaborated with Timbaland on the track Phat Rabbit from his album Tims Bio, Life from da Bassment. This song was a hit in many countries, in Ludacris early music career he collaborated with Dallas Austin and Jermaine Dupri. In 1998, Ludacris began to record his debut album Incognegro and this album was the defining example of Ludacris fast, wild, and comedic flow, a unique style for southern rappers. Timbaland handled part of the production, despite its poor sales, it was never deleted and is still sold today. Ludacris also appeared on Timbalands 1998 debut on Phat Rabbit, a track that would later be used on his re-issue of Incognegro called Back For The First Time, in 2000, Ludacris released his major label debut, Back for the First Time. It was produced with the help of the underground producer Sessy Melia, the album reached as high as #4 on the U. S. Billboard 200, and was a major success. Ludacris made his mark on the industry with such as Southern Hospitality and Whats Your Fantasy, along with his first ever single the Phat RabbitLudacris – Ludacris at Midtown 2012
18. MC Chris – Christopher Brendan Ward, better known by the stage name MC Chris, is an American nerdcore rapper, voice actor, writer, and improvisational comedian. He has released ten albums, five EPs, one re-release, Ward was born in Libertyville, Illinois. He attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and New York Universitys Tisch School of the Arts. Ward has appeared on, worked behind the scenes on, and contributed lyrics to, many of Williams Street Studios shows on Adult Swim. He worked as an assistant and starred as the character MC Pee Pants in the episodes MC Pee Pants, Sir Loin, The Last One. He reprised the role of MC Pee Pants in Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters, and in the PlayStation 2 video game Aqua Teen Hunger Force Zombie Ninja Pro-Am. Ward also had a role in Sealab 2021, as a writer and as the recurring character Hesh Hepplewhite and he worked as a production assistant and writer for The Brak Show and voiced a character on the episode Brakstreet. He was a writer for Space Ghost, Coast to Coast with a cameo in the episode Baffler Meal. In October 2004, he announced his resignation from Cartoon Network on his blog to focus on his recording career. He made his return to Adult Swim in the form of a red Gummi bear by the name of Gummi on the show Cheyenne Cinnamon and the Fantabulous Unicorn of Sugar Town Candy Fudge. He will be working on a new cartoon called The mc chris Cartoon, Ward originally performed with The Lee Majors. He has lashed out at the media for focusing more on the scene than his music. Despite these issues, he has apologized to those in the nerdcore community for the aforementioned conflicts and has appeared in news stories dealing with nerd culture and nerdcore. Its actually embarrassing how I used to think I was the one playing with Star Wars toys and making music. I have absolutely no problem with the label now and he self-releases with no record label. In 2012, Ward forcibly ejected a fan from the audience at his show in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for posting a comment on Twitter about Wards opening act. After receiving criticism from fans for the incident, Ward apologized in an online videoMC Chris – mc chris flipping the bird in April 2007
19. Naledge – Jabari Miles Evans, better known by his stage name Naledge, is an American rapper and one half of the hip-hop group Kidz in the Hall. Evans grew up in the South Side neighborhood of Chicago, in addition to his early musical accomplishments, he demonstrated an interest in academics, writing and publishing a book entitled “The Straight Jab” at the age of 16. Upon his graduation from Luther High School South, he attended the University of Pennsylvania, an Ivy League school, at Penn, Naledge became a member of the Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity. While attending college he met classmate Michael Aguilar, a producer now known as Double-O. The two began working together and formed the hip-hop group Kidz in the Hall, upon Naledge’s graduation from the University of Pennsylvania in 2004, he and Double-O signed with Rawkus Records and in 2006 released their first album, School Was My Hustle. In early 2007, Kidz in the Hall created a song entitled Work To Do in support of presidential nominee Barack Obama. They were among the first artists to support Obama in their music, the song features a sample from The Main Ingredients version of the Isley Brothers original of the same name. In November 2007, Kidz in the Hall were officially signed to Duck Down Records and their song Blackout was featured on the soundtrack of Madden 09. The album was declared the most commercially viable album the group has thus far. Naledge is also planning to come out with an album in the near future. He was quoted by rap website Hiphopdx, My solo album is still in the process of being put together, i’ve been busy with shows, but I have some tracks in the works, says the rising MC. I got beats from 9th Wonder, Black Milk, Double-O, Pete Rock, Just Blaze has been my ‘yes man, ’ okaying tracks for the album. Naledge has released solo work in the past, having dropped the mixtape Chicago Picasso on June 30,2009, the mixtape was in anticipation of the release of his solo album. The first single off the mixtape, entitled “Star Struck”, was released on May 6,2009, in June 2009, Naledge was featured in Chicago Magazine as one of the citys top singles. In September 2010, Naledge announced on his Facebook Page and Twitter account the release of his upcoming mixtape Twentysomething LP hosted by DJ Moondawg on September 10,2010. He also announced a preview of his mixtape on iTunes on September 7. In 2012, Naledge has created his company, with hope of helping local artists have an outlet to have their work heard. Additionally, in 2014 Naledge received his masters degree from the University of Southern California’s School of Social Work,2016 Yung Berg That N***** Aint do nothing Featuring Naledge Kidz in the Hall Website http, //www. kidzinthehall. com/ Naledges websiteNaledge – TwentySomething Promo Image, 2010
20. No I.D. – Ernest Dion Wilson, professionally known as No I. D. is an American hip hop and R&B music producer from Chicago, Illinois. Wilson is also a jockey, music arranger and rapper, having released an album in 1997, titled Accept Your Own and Be Yourself. He is perhaps best known for his work with Chicago-based rapper Common. Wilson, who has served as a mentor for several artists. Wilson was once president of Wests GOOD Music record company and although he would resign from that position, in June 2011, Wilson announced he formed the supergroup Cocaine 80s, alongside Common and several other artists. In August 2011, Wilson became the Executive Vice President of A&R for Def Jam Recordings and he subsequently launched his own record label imprint, ARTium Recordings. He is currently the Executive Vice President and Head of Creative at Def Jam Recordings, in 1996, Wilson released an album under the pseudonym No I. D. titled Accept Your Own and Be Yourself. The moniker No I. D. is a half-palindrome of his birth name and he also released a beat tape, titled Invisible Beats. In Wilsons early career he was working as a co-producer for Jermaine Dupri, Wilson also introduced Chicago-based rapper Kanye West to hip hop production, inviting him to his sessions with Common, when West was only beginning. West cites Wilson as his mentor on Last Call, the outro to his acclaimed debut album The College Dropout. West also referenced Wilsons mentorship on songs such as Big Brother, Wilsons second official release was with Dug Infinite, a two-album package titled The Sampler, vol. In 2007, he was the focus of perhaps the most attention of his career for producing two songs from Jay-Zs album American Gangster. At the time he worked with such as Jay-Z, Rhymefest, Plies, Big Sean, Killer Mike, Rick Ross, Drake, and Kanye West, Young Jeezy. Wilson produced D. O. A. the first single for Jay-Zs eleventh studio album The Blueprint 3, as well as the second single Run This Town, which features Kanye West and Rihanna. He once again teamed up with Common for the first time since 1997, after resigning as President of Kanye West GOOD Music record company, in August 2011, it was announced No I. D. was appointed Executive Vice President of A&R for Def Jam Recordings. In addition, Def Jam has signed a joint venture label deal for No I. D. s Artium Recordings. In 2013, Wilson served as the producer of GOOD Music recording artist Big Seans second album Hall of Fame. In an August 2013 interview with Complex, Wilson said he was working on Jhene AikoNo I.D. – No I.D. in March 2008.
21. R.O.E. – Roosevelt Sledge, Jr. better known by his stage name R. O. E. is an American rapper from Chicago, Illinois. He first gained popularity after the release of his debut EP, in 2011, his single I Won was featured on many hip hop blogs and independent radio stations. Later shot a video for the single and his latest single, The Sun Will Shine, hit the net in mid-2013, setting up the winter release of his second EP, To Happiness. Since the release of, To Happiness, R. O. E. has toured around the U. S. with his band and he has released several projects including, Long Way From Home. The Chicago native now resides in Brooklyn, where hes recording his album for release in 2017. To Happiness Live From Chicago An Intimate Evening With Long Way From HomeR.O.E. – R.O.E.
22. Sir Michael Rocks – Antoine Reed, is an American rapper better known by his stage name Sir Michael Rocks or Mikey Rocks. He started his career in 2005 as a member of the hip hop duo The Cool Kids, and later joined the groups All City Chess Club. The Cool Kids released their debut album When Fish Ride Bicycles in 2011, the album peaked at No.76 on the Billboard 200, and No.9 on Top Rap Albums. In April 2014 he contributed to the Chuck Inglish album Convertibles and his first commercial solo album, Banco, was released on July 29,2014 and features guest appearances by artists such as Too $hort, Mac Miller, Twista, and Iamsu. Antoine “Mikey Rocks” Reed was born in 1987, and raised in the Chicago suburb of Matteson, at a young age he listened to artists such as Nas, Jay-Z, Slick Rick, and Eric B. and Rakim, and he started rhyming at the age of ten. Despite an interest in sports, academics, and graphic art, I never had a backup plan or plan B. I’ve always known that this was what I was supposed to be doing, as far as time goes, I’ve put all my time into it. As a teenager he began producing his own music, also working on rhymes and making music with friends, including his future collaborators Tris J and he attended Rich South High School and Walter Payton College Prep in Chicago, IL. Beyond music he had an early interest in zoology, stating he would specializing in reptile and he began producing under the moniker Sir Michael Rocks, also going by Mikey Rocks. In mid-2005 Rocks was mostly working on production, and doing some rapping as well. He soon founded the hip hop duo The Cool Kids, when Rocks was still sixteen and he met co-founder Evan Chuck Inglish Ingersoll on Myspace in 2005, after Rocks found a beat that Ingersoll had produced. The two met to discuss terms of the sale, and eventually ended up recording for two hours. Stated Inglish, One day we just met up--I came over to his house with some CDs and we were both, like, searching for each other without searching for each other. They discovered common influences and a sense of retro fashion. Inspired by golden age hip hop and artists like LL Cool J, & Rakim, they formed a production duo The Cool Kids that year. The band stated they originally were going to make beats and produce for other artists. ”However, Rocks himself rapped during a session and wound up as the temporary voice of the Cool Kids. The group was booked by Josh Young of Flosstradamus for a DJ performance. Diplo offered to release a mixtape of their unreleased tracks titled Totally Flossed Out on his label Mad Decent, also in 2007 the group collaborated with Lil Wayne and DJ Benzi through the Internet on a track entitled Gettin ItSir Michael Rocks – Sir Michael Rocks
23. Gil Scott-Heron – Gilbert Gil Scott-Heron was an American soul and jazz poet, musician, and author, known primarily for his work as a spoken-word performer in the 1970s and 1980s. His own term for himself was bluesologist, which he defined as a scientist who is concerned with the origin of the blues. His music, most notably on Pieces of a Man and Winter in America in the early 1970s, influenced and helped engender later African-American music genres such as hip hop and neo soul. In fact, Scott-Heron himself is considered by many to be the first rapper/MC ever, Scott-Heron remained active until his death, and in 2010 released his first new album in 16 years, entitled Im New Here. A memoir he had working on for years up to the time of his death. His recording work received critical acclaim, especially one of his best-known compositions The Revolution Will Not Be Televised. Gil Scott-Heron received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012, during the museums opening ceremonies, the Sylvan Theater on the monument grounds was temporarily named the Gil Scott-Heron stage. Gil Scott-Heron was born in Chicago, Illinois and his mother, Bobbie Scott-Heron, was an opera singer who performed with the New York Oratorio Society. Scott-Herons father, Gil Heron, nicknamed The Black Arrow, was a Jamaican football player in the 1950s who became the first black man to play for Celtic Football Club in Glasgow. Gils parents separated in his childhood and he was sent to live with his maternal grandmother, Lillie Scott, in Jackson. When Scott-Heron was 12 years old, his grandmother died and he returned to live with his mother in The Bronx in New York City. He enrolled at DeWitt Clinton High School, but later transferred to The Fieldston School after impressing the head of the English department with one of his writings, as one of five black students at the prestigious school, Scott-Heron was faced with alienation and a significant socioeconomic gap. During his admissions interview at Fieldston, an administrator asked him, and said, Same way as you. This type of intractable boldness would become a hallmark of Scott-Herons later recordings, after completing his secondary education, Scott-Heron enrolled at Lincoln University in Pennsylvania because Langston Hughes was an alumnus. It was here that Scott-Heron met Brian Jackson with whom he formed the band Black & Blues, after about two years at Lincoln, Scott-Heron took a year off to write the novels The Vulture and The Nigger Factory. Scott-Heron was very influenced by the Black Arts Movement. Scott-Heron returned to New York City, settling in Chelsea, Manhattan, the Vulture was published by the World Publishing Company in 1970 to positive reviews. Although Scott-Heron never completed his degree, he was admitted to the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins UniversityGil Scott-Heron – Scott-Heron performing at WOMAD in Bristol, 1986
24. Skee-Lo – Antoine Roundtree, better known under his stage name Skee-Lo, is an American rapper. He is best known for his 1995 song, I Wish and he is considered to have been a one-hit wonder. His first single I Wish became a hit on radio and TV during the summer of 1995 with a number one MTV video directed by Marty Thomas that won many nominations and wins from VMA Awards worldwide. The song was known for its lack of explicit lyrics at a time when gangsta rap was very popular. His debut album of the title was released shortly thereafter. Afterwards he stopped his career before coming back to release a new album in 2000. He has been living in Los Angeles since 1990 and is married to Stacy with two children, born in Chicago, Illinois, Skee-Lo was raised in Poughkeepsie, New York, then moved to Riverside, California when he was nine. He graduated from school in Moreno Valley before moving to Los Angeles in 1990. He converted to Islam around this time and joined the Nation of Islam and he first started rapping that year. Skee-Los debut album I Wish was released in 1995, which he first started working on in 1993, the album was a huge success. One of the singles, Top of the Stairs, was featured in the credits as well as the soundtrack to the 1995 film Money Train. He quietly retired from rapping five months after the release because of a dispute with label Sunshine Records. Skee-Lo claims Sunshine Records took all the credit from the albums success and this was first revealed in a 2012 interview with L. A. Weekly, and he further said So I refused to shoot any more videos, promote or record music. After many years he won the rights against the label in court. Skee-Lo recorded a cover of the Schoolhouse Rock, song The Tale of Mr. Morton, which taught sentence structure. The song appears on the 1996 compilation album, Schoolhouse Rock, in 1996, Skee-Lo became a VJ for both MTVs The Beach House and The Grind. He also co-wrote Ill Be Your Everything by boy band Youngstown, the song is featured on the 1999 Inspector Gadget movie soundtrack. In 2000 he returned to the scene with a second albumSkee-Lo – Skee-Lo Performing at the 2010 Seattle Hempfest
25. Soulja Boy – DeAndre Cortez Way, known professionally as Soulja Boy Tell Em, or simply Soulja Boy, is an American rapper, record producer, actor and entrepreneur. In September 2007, his debut single Crank That peaked at one on the U. S. Billboard Hot 100. The single was initially self-published to the internet, and later became a hit in the United States for seven non-consecutive weeks starting in September 2007. On August 17, Way was listed at number 18 on the Forbes list of Hip-Hop Cash Kings of 2010 for earning $7 million for that year. Way has released three albums and one independent album, his debut studio album Souljaboytellem. com was certified platinum by the RIAA. The DeAndre Way sold only 100,000 copies, Way was born in Chicago and moved to Atlanta at the age of six, where he became interested in rap music. At age 14, he moved to Batesville, Mississippi, with his father who provided a studio for Way to explore his musical ambitions. In November 2005, Way posted his songs on the website SoundClick, following positive reviews on the site, he established accounts on YouTube and Myspace. In March 2007, he recorded Crank That and released his first independent album Unsigned & Still Major, Da Album Before da Album, followed by a low-budget video demonstrating the Crank That dance. By the end of May 2007, Crank That had received its first airplay and Way met with Mr. Collipark to sign a deal with Interscope Records. On August 12,2007, the song was used on the television series Entourage, Ways major label debut album, Souljaboytellem. com, was released in the United States on October 2, peaking at number four on both the Billboard 200 and Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums charts. The album was recorded using just the demo version of FL Studio. For the 50th Grammy Awards, Way was nominated for Best Rap Song with Crank That, Souljaboytellem. com received a favorable review from Allmusic, but received mainly negative reviews from other sources such as Entertainment Weekly. Several reviewers credited Soulja Boy with spearheading a new trend in hip-hop, the follow-up to souljaboytellem. com, iSouljaBoyTellem, was released on December 16,2008 to negative critical reception. The first single from the album, Bird Walk, peaked at number 40 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart and it was performed on YouTube Live on November 22,2008, with an introduction from MC Hammer. Kiss Me Thru the Phone, with Sammie, followed, peaking at three on the Hot 100 and number one on the Hot Rap Tracks charts. Chris Brown was originally Ways first choice to sing the hook, Way then tried to do it on his own with Auto-Tune but he found it unacceptable. It sold over 2,000,000 digital copies in the United States, on January 26,2009, Way released the third single Turn My Swag OnSoulja Boy – Soulja Boy at YouTube Live in November 2008, doing his signature dance.
26. TooSmooth – William Alexander McClam, known by his stage name TooSmooth, is an American singer, songwriter, musician, record producer, and entrepreneur. Recording Industry Association of America and National Academy of Recording Arts and he graduated high school a year early to study at Full Sail University. TooSmooth released his first single In Love September 11,2011 a week later his song was played on Globegig Radio an Independent UK station, the first time TooSmooth was played outside the USA. Smooths first album The Come Up Vol.1 Was released December 30,2011 and that same week Lights Out Entertainment LLC became a part of the Recording Industry Association of America listing TooSmooth and his record label among major labels of America. William is also a National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences member granting him the privilege to vote and that came about because earlier that year TooSmooth emailed his song Future Dreams to the same executive, by doing that sparked interest in TooSmooth and his songwriting ability. Later that year building a professional relationship with Warner Bros. TooSmooth Was Invited out to Paramount Pictures for the same pitching opportunitiesTooSmooth – TooSmooth at Lights Out Entertainment photo shoot
27. Twista – Carl Terrell Mitchell, better known by his stage name Twista, is an American rapper from Chicago, Illinois. His 2004 album Kamikaze reached the top of the US Billboard 200 album chart, carl Mitchell grew up in the K-Town area of the North Lawndale neighborhood on the West Side of Chicago, Illinois and began rapping when he was 12. In 1992, Mitchell released his first album called Runnin Off at da Mouth under the name Tung Twista, in 1996 he teamed with Chicago producer The Legendary Traxster and Cwals Do or Die on the track Po Pimp produced by The Legendary Traxster, which became a hit single. This led to a Cwals label deal with Atlantic Records, which released Adrenaline Rush in 1997, Twista had by then dropped the Tung from his stage name. Adrenaline Rush became Twistas first charting album, as it peaked at #77 on the Billboard Hot 200, the album also spawned a Billboard Hot 100 hit in Get It Wet produced by The Legendary Traxster, which peaked at #96. In 1998 Twista teamed with other Chicago area rappers to form the Speedknot Mobstaz and they released their first album, Mobstability produced entirely by The Legendary Traxster, in 1998. Twista then formed his own Legit Ballin label, which released two albums, Legit Ballin in 1999 and Legit Ballin Vol.2, Street Scriptures in 2001. The label later released Respect The Game, Vol.3 in 2002 and Volume 4, in 2000, Twista collaborated with Ruff Ryders and Drag-On on the Ruff Ryders, Ryde or Die Vol.2 album, on the track Twisted Heat. Beginning in 2002, Twista began recording his album Kamikaze with rappers like Kanye West, Kamikaze came out in 2004 and debuted at the top spot of the American Billboard 200 album chart. Its first single Slow Jamz, featured West and Jamie Foxx, other singles included Overnight Celebrity and So Sexy, the album sold around two million copies. The remix of the song Jook Gal by Elephant Man featured Twista, the Kamikaze album and its singles gave Twista a new level of success and rose his profile significantly within the rap community. Twistas album The Day After was released in 2005 and it featured the hit singles Girl Tonite featuring Trey Songz, Hit the Floor featuring Pitbull, and So Lonely featuring Mariah Carey. His next album, Adrenaline Rush 2007 came out in 2007 and its singles were Give it Up featuring Pharrell and Creep Fast featuring T-Pain. This album sold poorly compared to Twistas earlier albums, Twista appeared on the single Hell No from Monicas album fall 2006 The Makings of Me. In 2008, Twista launched a new label called Get Money Gang Entertainment. In 2009, Twista appeared on the single Legendary with fellow Chicago rappers AK47 of Do or Die and Saurus, Twista released his eighth solo album entitled, The Perfect Storm on Nov 9,2010. The first single from the album, Make a Movie produced by The Legendary Traxster, two buzz singles were released, I Do produced by Traxster and Heat produced by fellow Chicago producers NO I. D. and The Legendary Traxster. The album features such as Waka Flocka Flame, Raekwon, Tia London, Diddy, Ray JTwista – Twista at WGCI radio station in Chicago, 2010
28. Vic Mensa – Victor Kwesi Mensah, better known by his stage name Vic Mensa, is a Grammy-nominated American rapper from Chicago, Illinois. He is currently signed to Roc Nation and was a member of the group Kids These Days and he released his first solo mixtape Innanetape. Mensa is also founder of the hip-hop collective Savemoney which includes frequent collaborator Chance the Rapper and his debut single Down on My Luck was released in June 2014 by Virgin EMI. Victor Kwesi Mensahs father is from Ghana and his mother is white American, Vic grew up in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago. He attended Whitney M. Young Magnet High School and while a freshman, when announcing a tour for 2015, Mensa said that he has plans to collaborate with Albarn sometimes in the near future. On September 18,2013, it was announced, that Mensa would be joining J. Cole and Wale on the What Dreams May Come Tour. Following the end of the tour, he toured Europe with Danny Brown, for the beginning of February 21,2014, to cap off his rise to stardom, Mensa was chosen to be on the cover of XXL for the Freshman Class of 2014. On May 12,2014, his first official single Down on My Luck was serviced to contemporary radio in the United Kingdom. On the same day, the video for the song was released. Down on My Luck was then released for download in international markets on June 6,2014. It was released as his first single from his debut EP, on February 12,2016, Kanye West debuted a track, titled Wolves from his upcoming album, The Life of Pablo. The song featured Vic Mensa, along with Sia at his adidas Originals showcase, Mensa later performed Wolves alongside West and Sia on Saturday Night Lives 40th Anniversary Celebration on February 15,2015. On April 10,2015, Vic Mensa released another collaboration with Kanye West, the song is said out to be his second single for his upcoming debut album, titled Traffic. On April 21,2015, Roc Nation announced that Vic had signed to its label, Jay also tweeted an iTunes link to Mensas new Kanye-featured single in the process. He has stated, that the album is around 80-90% done, in July 2015, Mensa released a new song, titled No Chill onto Apple Music. It was produced by Skrillex and Jahlil Beats, on the same month, he released a remix of Codeine Crazy, by Future, titled Codeine Crazy on SoundCloud. On August 14,2015, Mensa released a new song, in 2015, Mensa received a nomination for Best Rap Song at the 58th Grammy Awards as a songwriter for co-writing Kanye Wests single All Day. On February 8,2016 it was announced that Mensa, along with Travis Scott and iLoveMakonnen, on May 17,2016, Mensa was revealed to have teamed up in the studio with British virtual band Gorillaz to collaborate for a track on the groups upcoming studio albumVic Mensa – Vic Mensa Live in 2014
29. Gerald Walker – Gerald Joshua Walker better known by his stage name Gerald Walker is an American hip-hop musician. He is the founder and CEO of independent music agency One Step at a Time Music, in 2015, Walker announced a music and literary partnership deal with INgrooves. In 2010, Walker released On Your Side a mixtape with longtime friend, on Your Side gained online recognition which led to releases such as The Other Half of Letting Go and Believers Never Die. He has toured and worked with various rappers including Rockie Fresh, Yelawolf. Releasing over a dozen mixtapes on September 22,2015, Walker released his debut double-album Target, Gerald Walker was born in Chicago, Illinois and grew up in Bellwood and Matteson. When he was five years old, Walkers parents separated, this event would have a significant effect on Walkers personality, Walker attended Riverside University High School, and took classes at Columbia College Chicago during the summer. It was the summer after his school graduation that Walker first began rapping, inspired by hip-hop groups such as Little Brother. He moved to Chicago to pursue a career in television while networking with other emerging artist within the music scene. In September 2009 Walker released his mixtape, Evening Out With Your Girlfriend. In 2010 Gerald Walker released his official mixtape, I Remember When This All Meant Something. The mixtape consist of fifteen original tracks including three bonus songs featuring production from, Symbolyc One, producer of Kanye Wests 2010 single Power. Gerald Walker released his first Christmas-themed album, A Gerald Walker Christmas, in January 2011, Gerald Walker purchased a leased hip-hop instrumental from Dallas TX, based and Taylor Gang producer, Cardo. Walker then wrote, recorded and released the song entitled, Heres Everything Ive Always Meant to Say as free download online. After pressure from Walkers friends he reluctantly emailed the finished song to Cardo, who, to his surprise, was impressed, in April 2011, Walker announced that he would be touring with Shady/Interscope Recording artist Yelawolf. In May 2011, while on tour Walker released his official mixtape, On Your Side. In June, Gerald Walker was featured on MTVs RapFix Live broadcast, in September, Walker released his fourth mixtape The Other Half of Letting Go, in collaboration with popular street-wear brand Diamond Supply. The mixtape quickly catapulted Walker as an emerging artist in the hip-hop community, amber McKynzie of XXL Magazine wrote, The mixtape might be titled The Other Half of Letting Go, but Gerald Walker is shaping up to be an artist that hip-hop shouldn’t let go unnoticed. The mixtape was the only hip-hop release featured in the Shepherd Express 2011 Essential Albums of the Year list, in November, The Source debuted the track list and cover art to Gerald Walkers second Christmas album Its Christmastime Again, Gerald WalkerGerald Walker – Gerald Walker performing at Warehouse Live in Houston, in 2011.
30. Kanye West – Kanye Omari West is an American rapper, songwriter, record producer, fashion designer, and entrepreneur. Intent on pursuing a career as a rapper, West released his debut album The College Dropout in 2004 to widespread critical and commercial success. He went on to pursue a variety of different styles on subsequent albums Late Registration, Graduation, and 808s & Heartbreak. In 2010, he released his fifth album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy to rave reviews from critics, West released his abrasive sixth album, Yeezus, to further critical praise in 2013. His seventh album, The Life of Pablo, was released in 2016, Wests outspoken views and life outside of music have received significant mainstream attention. He has been a frequent source of controversy for his conduct at award shows, on social media and he is the founder and head of the creative content company DONDA. His 2014 marriage to television personality Kim Kardashian has also been subject to media coverage. He has won a total of 21 Grammy Awards, making him one of the most awarded artists of all time, three of his albums have been included and ranked on Rolling Stones 2012 update of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time list. He has also included in a number of Forbes annual lists. Time named him one of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2005 and 2015, West was born on June 8,1977 in Atlanta, Georgia. His parents divorced when he was three years old, after the divorce, he and his mother moved to Chicago, Illinois. His father, Ray West, is a former Black Panther and was one of the first black photojournalists at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Ray West was later a Christian counselor, and in 2006, opened the Good Water Store and Café in Lexington Park, Maryland with startup capital from his son. West, was a professor of English at Clark Atlanta University, West was raised in a middle-class background, attending Polaris High School in suburban Oak Lawn, Illinois after living in Chicago. At the age of 10, West moved with his mother to Nanjing, China, according to his mother, West was the only foreigner in his class, but settled in well and quickly picked up the language, although he has since forgotten most of it. When asked about his grades in school, West replied, I got As. West demonstrated an affinity for the arts at an early age and his mother recalled that she first took notice of Wests passion for drawing and music when he was in the third grade. Growing up in Chicago, West became deeply involved in its hip hop scene and he started rapping in the third grade and began making musical compositions in the seventh grade, eventually selling them to other artistsKanye West – West performing at Lollapalooza in 2011
31. Young Dolph – Adolph Thornton, Jr. better known by his stage name Young Dolph, is an American rapper. In February 2016, Dolph released his studio album, King of Memphis. Genasis hit single Cut It, which peaked at number 35 on the Billboard Hot 100, adolph Thornton, Jr. was born on August 11,1985 in Chicago, Illinois. His family moved to Memphis, Tennessee, when he was 2 years old and he has two sisters and two brothers. In his hit track “Preach” he rapped that, “Mama always in the streets, in 2008 he was involved in a car accident which nearly took his life and later that same year his grandmother died from lung cancer. These series of incidents motivated his “wake up” call and he started doing music around that time because it served as an emotional release. In addition, Young Dolph and his fellows all complained about fake rappers telling stories about what they’ve never done and his partners encouraged him to do more music after hearing his first song, even though he did it simply for fun. His first mixtape, Paper Route Campaign, was a success and confirmed his journey into the entertainment industryYoung Dolph – Brick Squad Monopoly
32. Yung Berg – Christian Ward, better known as his stage names Yung Berg and Hitmaka, is an American record producer, rapper and songwriter. Yung Berg had been signed to DMXs Bloodline Records as Iceberg. His debut single was Sexy Lady, which features R&B singer Junior released in April 2007 and his debut album Look What You Made Me was released in 2008. In 2001, he was signed to DMXs Bloodline Records and he made his debut on the Exit Wounds soundtrack on the song Dog 4 Life as Iceberg. However, his parents sent him to a boarding school in Montana in 2001. He moved to Los Angeles after finishing school in 2003, in 2005, Yung Berg worked as a hypeman and recording assistant for Disturbing tha Peace member and Chicago rapper Shawnna. Yung Fly Movement, formerly known as Yung Boss Records, is an Los Angeles, Bergs debut single Sexy Lady, which featured R&B singer Junior, became a hit on Los Angeles urban radio, and he signed with Epic Records among many labels that approached him. Bergs six-track EP Almost Famous, The Sexy Lady EP was released in July 2007, also in 2007 he made a cameo in the music video of singer Kat DeLunas debut single Whine Up. Sexy Lady peaked at #18 on the Billboard 100, in 2008, Berg released another single Sexy Can I, a collaboration with singer Ray J, then his debut album Look What You Made Me. The second single was Do That There, featuring Dude n Nem, followed by The Business, featuring Casha, Look What You Made Me would chart at #20 on the Billboard 200 and at #2 on the Top Rap Albums chart. In December 2008, Berg began casting exceptionally stand out beautiful dark skin/brown skin women to showcase beauty of all races for a dating reality show that he would host. However, as evidenced by the trailer for his new TV Show, titled Back In Business, but the reality show was never released as planned. In 2009 along with Bergs producer Rob Holladay & his brother/singer K-Young, in 2014 Yung Berg also co-wrote & co-produced for Nicki Minajs album The Pinkprint on the tracks Want Some More, Buy a Heart & Shanghai. In 2014 Yung Berg would appear in the first season of the VH1 show Love & Hip Hop, the show loosely follows events in his and fellow cast mate, Hazel Es personal lives. Yung Berg is considered a delinquent parent by the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services, as of this date Yung Bergs amount owed in past-due child support is $104,962 for one child. But on August 26,2008, Trick-Trick denied having anything to do with the altercation, and claimed to have saved Yung Berg from the altercation. On December 16,2011, Berg explained the altercation by stating he didnt want to go to Trick-Tricks club since a member of his entourage had a problem with him, but somehow ended up there. I was like 30 deep, I went in the club & I went to the back because I had the one record at the time, he saidYung Berg – Yung Berg in Chicago, 2008.