100+ Best Rappers of the 90s ( 90s Hip Hop Artists ) – Ultimate List

No matter what era you explore in music history, there will always be MCs that changed the game. And the 90s was certainly no different.

In fact, many would argue that this was the greatest decade for hip-hop. It gave birth to some of the biggest names and most iconic figures in the genre. Tupac, Biggie, Nas, Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, and many more all made their mark on the industry during this time.

And while there are too many great rappers to count from the 90s, we’ve compiled a list of 100+ that we believe are the best of the best. Check out our picks for the greatest rappers of the 90s below.

Top Best Rappers of the 90s

There are so many rappers out there from the 90s, but these 10 mentioned below are truly the cream of the crop. These rappers not only changed the game but also left a lasting impression on the rap industry that is still being felt today.

  1. Tupac Shakur
  2. The Notorious B.I.G.
  3. Nas
  4. Jay-Z
  5. Ice Cube
  6. Snoop Dogg
  7. Scarface
  8. Redman
  9. Andre 3000
  10. Lauryn Hill

Female Rappers of the 90s

When it comes to the best female rappers of the 90s, there are quite a few names that come to mind.

Queen Latifah, Missy Elliott, and Lil’ Kim are just a few of the talented ladies who helped put female rap on the map.

These women were not only incredibly talented lyricists, but they also had style and charisma that was unmatched.

Moreover in an era where male rappers dominated the industry, these women held their own and proved that ladies could be just as successful in rap.

  • Yo-Yo
  • Lauryn Hill
  • Queen Latifah
  • Lil’ Kim
  • Missy Elliott
  • Da Brat
  • Foxy Brown
  • The Lady of Rage
  • Bahamadia
  • Rah Digga

West Coast Rappers of the 90s

The West Coast was definitely one of the most dominant regions in hip-hop during the 90s. Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Tupac, and many others all hail from the West Coast and helped put the region on the map.

These artists brought a unique sound and style that was unlike anything else in the rap game. Their music was often times more laid back and smooth, which helped them stand out from the more aggressive East Coast style.

Not to mention, the West Coast also had its own unique culture that was often reflected in the music. From the clothes to the cars, everything about West Coast rap was cool and stylish.

  • Dr Dre
  • Snoop Doggy Dogg
  • Ice T
  • 2Pac
  • Ras Kass
  • Ice Cube
  • Aceyalone
  • DJ Quik
  • Warren G
  • Xzibit

East Coast Rappers of the 90s

While the West Coast was definitely dominating the rap game in the 90s, the East Coast had its own share of great MCs.

Nas, Biggie, and Jay-Z are just a few of the East Coast rappers who helped to define what East Coast rap would come to be known for: hard-hitting beats and lyrics that often touched on themes of crime and violence.

This style of rap would come to be known as “gangsta rap” and would go on to have a huge impact on the rap industry as a whole.

While the East Coast rap scene is not as dominant as it once was, the impact that these rappers had on the genre is still felt today.

  • The Notorious B.I.G.
  • Nas
  • Mobb Deep
  • Rakim
  • Wu-Tang Clan
  • Method Man
  • Redman
  • Big L
  • Ghostface Killah
  • Lauryn Hill

90s White Rappers

Though they may have been a bit outnumbered by their black counterparts, there were still some great white rappers in the 90s.

Vanilla Ice, in particular, would go on to have one of the biggest hits of the decade with “Ice Ice Baby”.

Eminem on the other hand, would not find mainstream success until the late 90s/ early 2000s and would go onto becoming the biggest selling rapper of all time.

Thanks to these groundbreaking artists, today there are many more white rappers making waves in the music industry like Macklemore, Post Malone, and G-Eazy.

  • Eminem
  • Vanilla Ice
  • Paul Wall
  • El-P
  • The Grouch
  • E.C. Illa
  • Eyedea
  • Evidence
  • The High & Mighty
  • 3rd Bass

Old School Rappers of the 90s

There are quite a few old-school rappers who made a comeback in the 90s and proved that they were still at the top of their game.

LL Cool J, for instance, is one of the most successful old-school rappers of all time, with a career that spans more than three decades.

He got his start in the 80s, but it was in the 90s that he really made his mark on the rap world. With hits like “Mama Said Knock You Out” and “Hey Lover,” LL Cool J proved that he was a force to be reckoned with.

Other old-school rappers like Run DMC, Public Enemy, and Beastie Boys also made a comeback in the 90s and released some of their best work to date.

  • LL Cool J
  • Busta Rhymes
  • Nate Dogg
  • Tupac Shakur
  • Jay-Z
  • Common
  • E-40
  • Kurupt
  • Twista
  • Snoop Dogg

New York Rappers of the 90s

As the hip-hop genre continued to grow in popularity throughout the 1980s, New York City became known as the birthplace of rap.

And by the early 1990s, the New York rap scene was thriving, with a number of iconic and influential artists emerging from the city. These artists helped to define an era of rap music that was characterized by its raw and gritty lyrical content.

New York rap was often about street life, crime, and violence, and these themes were reflected in the music of the time. Though today it has largely been overshadowed by the West Coast rap scene, in the 90s, New York was definitely the place to be if you wanted to be a part of the rap game.

  • Ghostface Killah
  • Wu-Tang Clan
  • Nas
  • Raekwon
  • The Notorious B.I.G.
  • Cappadonna
  • Big Noyd
  • Inspectah Deck
  • Raekwon
  • Mos Def

90s Rappers that Died

Too Soon Sadly, there are quite a few great rappers who died far too soon and never got to reach their full potential.

Tupac Shakur is one of the most iconic and influential rappers of all time, and his untimely death in 1996 sent shockwaves through the rap community. His death was a huge loss for the genre, and his music is still loved and appreciated by fans all over the world.

Other great rappers who died prematurely include Biggie Smalls, Eazy-E, and Aaliyah. Though their careers were cut short, their impact on the rap world is still felt today.

  • Tupac Shakur
  • The Notorious B.I.G.
  • Big L
  • Stretch
  • Fat Pat
  • Freaky Tah
  • DJ Uncle Al
  • Proof
  • Jam Master Jay
  • Camoflauge

90s Memphis Rappers

Memphis was home to some of the most talented and innovative rappers in the country. Artists like 8Ball & MJG, Three 6 Mafia, and Project Pat helped put Memphis on the map as a hotbed for hip hop.

Their unique sound blended southern hip hop with crunk and gangsta rap, creating a new subgenre that would soon take over the rap world.

Today, the Memphis rap scene is still going strong. Artists like Young Dolph and Blac Youngsta are keeping the city’s name in the spotlight. And with a new generation of artists coming up, it’s clear that Memphis is still a place where great music is made.

  • DJ Spanish Fly
  • Three 6 Mafia
  • 8Ball & MJG
  • Project Pat
  • Playa Fly
  • Kingpin Skinny Pimp
  • Gangsta Pat
  • Al Kapone
  • Tommy Wright III
  • La Chat
  • Gangsta Boo

90s Gangsta Rappers

The gangsta rap scene of the 1990s was dominated by a handful of artists, most notably Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, and Tupac Shakur.

Gangsta rap was initially met with resistance from the mainstream music industry. However, it quickly gained popularity among young people in inner-city neighborhoods. And by the mid-1990s, gangsta rap had become one of the most commercially successful genres of music in the United States.

The success of gangsta rap was due in large part to the raw and authentic way that it depicted life in inner-city neighborhoods. It was a far cry from the escapist fantasyland of earlier rap music, and it struck a chord with many people who were struggling to make ends meet.

That said, here are some of the best gangsta rappers of the 90s:

  • Arabian Prince
  • DJ Yella
  • Dr. Dre
  • Eazy-E
  • MC Hammer
  • Ice Cube
  • MC Ren
  • Big Daddy Kane
  • Slick Rick
  • Kool G rap

90s Texas Rappers

Texas has always been a hotbed for hip hop, and the 90s was no exception. A number of great artists emerged from the Lone Star State during this time, including the Geto Boys, DJ Screw, and UGK.

Texas rap is often characterized by its slow and laid-back sound, which is often referred to as “chopped and screwed.” This unique style of rap was popularized by DJ Screw, and it has since been adopted by many other artists from Texas.

Today, the Texas rap scene is as strong as ever, with artists like Travis Scott, Lil Baby, and Megan Thee Stallion leading the charge. And with a new generation of artists coming up, it’s clear that Texas will continue to be a major force in the rap world.

  • Scarface
  • Nelly
  • Bun B
  • Baby Bash
  • Shaquille O’Neal
  • Lil’ Flip
  • Big Hawk
  • Pimp C
  • Fat Pat
  • Viper

Early, Mid, and Late 90s Rappers

The rap scene in the early 90s was characterized by its raw and aggressive sound. The most popular artists at the time were Tupac Shakur, Snoop Dogg, and Dr. Dre. They were all known for their hard-hitting lyrics and gangsta style.

By the mid-90s, the rap scene had become more mainstream. The music was still very harsh, but there was also a new focus on being creative and making catchy tunes. The Wu-Tang Clan and Biggie Smalls were two of the most successful artists during this time.

In the late 90s, the rap scene became even more commercialized. While there were still some underground artists making great music, the majority of rappers were focused on making hits that would sell records. Artists like Puff Daddy and Jay-Z became some of the biggest names in music during this era.

Regardless of when they emerged, all of these artists helped shape the rap scene in the 90s and beyond. And they are all considered to be some of the best rappers of all time.

Early 90s Rappers

  • Tupac Shakur
  • Snoop Dogg
  • Dr. Dre
  • LL Cool J
  • Big L

Mid 90s Rappers

  • Jay-Z
  • Method Man
  • André 3000
  • Raekwon
  • KRS-One

Late 90s Rappers

  • Eminem
  • Big Pun
  • Rakim
  • Lauryn Hill
  • Prodigy

90s Bay Area Rappers

The Bay Area was another region that was very dominant in hip-hop during the 90s. Artists like E-40, Too Short, and Mac Dre were putting the Bay Area on the map and helping to shape the sound of West Coast rap.

The Bay Area rap scene is still going strong today. Newer artists like G-Eazy and Saweetie are keeping the region’s name in the spotlight. And with a new generation of artists coming up, it’s clear that the Bay Area is still a place where great music is made.

  • Luniz
  • Mac Dre
  • Dru Down
  • Keak Da Sneak
  • 3X Krazy
  • E-40
  • Celly Cel
  • B-Legit
  • The Click
  • Funk Mobb

90s Underground Rappers

While the mainstream rap scene was booming in the 90s, there was also a thriving underground scene. Artists like MF DOOM, El-P, and Aesop Rock were making great music that was outside of the mainstream.

These artists were often signed to independent labels, and they had a more experimental sound. They were also known for their complex and often cryptic lyrics. Additionally, many of these artists came from alternative backgrounds, which was a departure from the traditional hip-hop upbringing.

Despite being outside of the mainstream, these artists still managed to build a large and loyal following. And they continue to be revered by many hip-hop fans today. Here are a few of the best underground rappers of the 90s:

  • J-Live
  • Kool Keith
  • Atmosphere
  • Big L
  • Latyrx
  • Aceyalone
  • Black Star
  • Blackalicious
  • Pharoahe Monch

Forgotten Rappers of the 90s

Take a look at any list of the best rappers of the 90s, and you’ll notice one thing: most of the artists are from the East Coast or the West Coast. But what about the other regions of the country?

There were a number of great rappers from the Midwest, South, and even Canada during the 90s. And while they might not be as well-known as some of their East Coast and West Coast counterparts, they still made great music.

So, if you’re looking for some underrated and forgotten rappers of the 90s, here are a few to check out:

  • Ahmad
  • Paperboy
  • Luniz
  • Positive K,
  • Akinyele
  • Mista Grimm
  • N2Deep
  • MC Breed
  • Craig Mack
  • Canibus

Wrapping Up

Without a doubt, the 90s was a great decade for rap music. There were so many talented artists making great music.

And while the genre has evolved since then, the 90s will always be considered a golden era for hip-hop. We hope that you enjoyed our ultimate list of the best rappers of the 90s.

If you do then don’t forget to pass it on to your friends. Thanks for reading!