Christopher George Latore Wallace (May 21, 1972 – March 9, 1997), known professionally as The Notorious B.I.G., Biggie Smalls, or simply Biggie, was an American rapper. He is considered by many as one of the best rappers of all time.
Wallace was raised in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. When he released his debut album Ready to Die in 1994, he became a central figure in the East Coast hip hop scene and increased New York City’s visibility in the genre at a time when West Coast hip hop was dominant in the mainstream. The following year, Wallace led Junior M.A.F.I.A. to chart success, a protégé group composed of his childhood friends. In 1996, while recording his second album, Wallace was heavily involved in the growing East Coast–West Coast hip hop feud.
On March 9, 1997, Wallace was killed by an unknown assailant in a drive-by shooting in Los Angeles. His double-disc album, Life After Death, which was released sixteen days later, rose to number one on the U.S. album charts, and was certified Diamond in 2000 by the Recording Industry Association of America, one of the few hip hop albums to receive this certification. It is also one of the best-selling albums in the United States.
Wallace was noted for his “loose, easy flow”, dark semi-autobiographical lyrics and storytelling abilities, which revolved around violence and hardship. He is also noted for sometimes changing his pitch on songs. Three more albums have been released since his death, and he has certified sales of over 17 million units in the United States, including 13.4 million albums. Read more
Ali Douglas Newman (born Jason Douglas Newman, July 30, 1977), better known by his stage name Brother Ali, is an American rapper, community activist, and member of the Rhymesayers Entertainment hip hop collective.
Ali was born in Madison, Wisconsin, with albinism, a disorder characterized by the complete or partial absence of pigment in the skin, hair, and eyes. He moved with his family to Michigan for a few years and then settled in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 1992. He attended Robbinsdale Cooper High School in New Hope, Minnesota. He began rapping at age eight. Read more
Peter O. Philips (born June 21, 1970), better known by his stage name Pete Rock, is an American record producer, DJ and rapper. He rose to prominence in the early 1990s as one half of the critically acclaimed group Pete Rock & CL Smooth.
After the duo went their separate ways, Rock continued with a solo career that has garnered him worldwide respect, though little in the way of mainstream success. Along with groups such as Stetsasonic, Gang Starr, A Tribe Called Quest and The Roots, Rock played a major role in the merging of elements from jazz into hip hop music (also known as jazz rap). He is widely recognized as one of the greatest hip hop producers of all time, and is often mentioned alongside DJ Premier, RZA and J Dilla as one of the mainstays of 1990s East Coast hip hop production. Pete Rock is also the older brother and younger cousin, respectively, of rappers Grap Luva and the late Heavy D. Read more
Omar Credle (born May 13, 1971), better known by his stage name, O.C., is an American rapper and member of the group D.I.T.C., who has been involved with several renowned underground hip hop groups: Crooklyn Dodgers ’95, Luv NY, Perestroika. Read more
Cedric Dormaine Hill better known by his stage name E.S.G. (which stands for Everyday Street Gangsta or Everyday Serving God) is a southern hip hop recording artist from Houston, Texas. He helped to popularize the “Screwed and Chopped” style of rap music. Debut album Ocean of Funk was released in 1994 and it contain the hit single “Swangin’ & Bangin'”, which went national in 1995 in the album Sailin’ Da South and he released albums regularly since then. Read more
Doron Braunshtein (born May 2, 1976), better known by his pseudonym Apollo Braun, is an Israeli-born musician, author, and former owner of two boutique shops in the Lower East Side of New York City, both named Apollo Braun. The provocative, politically charged slogans of his self-designed T-shirts brought his boutiques public attention on numerous occasions before the eventual closing of his second boutique in 2009. He released his debut album in 2001 and has since released many more. His song “Party in My Pants” appeared in the film Religulous. In 2015, Apollo appeared on the Israeli TV show HaKokhav HaBa (English: The Next Star), where he sang two original songs.Braunshtein’s music consists primarily of spoken word, and often references or sexualizes celebrities, politicians, and religious figures. He began writing books in 1999 and has since published 7 books in English, and 5 more in his native language Hebrew. The content of his writing includes philosophical essays, plays, poems, and frequently concerns sexuality (Braun is himself openly biseuxal). Read more
The Roots is an American hip hop band, formed in 1987 by Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter and Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States. The Roots are known for a jazzy and eclectic approach to hip-hop featuring live musical instruments. Malik B., Leonard “Hub” Hubbard, and Josh Abrams were added to the band (formerly named “The Square Roots”).
Since its first independent album-length release the band has released 10 studio albums, two EPs, two collaboration albums (with other artists), and also collaborated on recordings and in live shows with a wide variety of artists in many musical genres. The Roots served as the house band on NBC’s Late Night with Jimmy Fallon from 2009 to 2014, and in the same role (and accompanying show guest artists) on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon since 2014. The Roots’ work has consistently been met with critical acclaim. ThoughtCo ranked the band #7 on its list of the 25 Best Hip-Hop Groups of All-Time, calling them “Hip-hop’s first legitimate band Read more
Marshall Bruce Mathers III (born October 17, 1972), known professionally as Eminem (often stylized as EMINƎM), is an American rapper, songwriter, record producer, record executive, and actor.
Eminem is the best-selling artist of the 2000s in the United States. Throughout his career, he has had 10 number-one albums on the Billboard 200 and five number-one singles on the Billboard Hot 100. With 47.4 million albums sold in the US and 220 million records globally, he is among the world’s best-selling artists of all time and is consistently cited as one of the greatest and most influential artists in any genre. Additionally, he is the only artist to have eight albums consecutively debut at number one on the Billboard 200. Rolling Stone ranked him 83rd on its list of 100 Greatest Artists of All Time, calling him the “King of Hip Hop”. Read more
The Black Eyed Peas (originally simply Black Eyed Peas) are an American musical group, consisting of rappers will.i.am, apl.de.ap, and Taboo, and formerly Fergie. Originally an alternative hip hop group, they subsequently changed their musical sound to pop and dance-pop music. Although the group was founded in Los Angeles in 1995, it was not until the release of their third album, Elephunk, in 2003, that they achieved high record sales. Since that time, the group has sold an estimated 76 million records (35 million albums and 41 million singles), making them one of the world’s best-selling groups of all time. As of 2011, according to Nielsen SoundScan, the Black Eyed Peas were the second-best-selling artist/group of all time for downloaded tracks, behind Rihanna, with over 42 million sales. Read more
The Beatnuts are a New York-based hip hop group and production duo from Queens, New York City. Its current members are JuJu and Psycho Les. JuJu (born Jerry Tineo on December 14, 1968) is Dominican American from Corona and Psycho Les (born Lester Fernandez on April 10, 1970) is a Colombian American from Jackson Heights. The Beatnuts are the only Latino members of the Native Tongues collective. Although only peripheral members, they are routinely acknowledged by Q-Tip. The Beatnuts were originally a trio before Fashion, now known as Al’ Tariq, left the group to start a solo career. V.I.C. (Groove Merchantz, Ghetto Pros) was also a member of The Beatnuts’ production team for a while. Read more