From Jay-Z and The Notorious B. I. G. to Masta Ace, Sean Price and Mos Def, Brooklyn has been home to some of the most iconic hip hop artists of all time.
From new artists to some of the most legendary hip hop artists of all time, this list of Brooklyn's most popular rappers includes rap artists who were born or raised in the New York City district. Known for their East Coast hip hop style, other famous Brooklyn rappers include Nas, Talib Kewli, Lil Kim, Beastie Boys and Pro Era. It's no secret that the East Coast has been a major player in the hip hop game since its inception in the 1970s. As a birthplace of the genre, East Coast hip hop has become its own musical subgenre.
Yasiin Bey (formerly known as Mos Def), Talib Kweli, Jay-Z, Big Daddy Kane, Lil Kim and Sean Price are some of Brooklyn's most legendary hip hop artists and rappers who have been important in the game for some time. Yasiin Bey first attracted attention and critical recognition in the late 90s after releasing the album “Mos Def & Talib Kweli Are Black Star” with fellow Brooklyn hip-hop artist Talib Kweli. With this cult classic, the duo explored topics such as Pan-Africanism, philosophy and also their life and education in Brooklyn. Born Dante Terrell Smith on December 11, 1973, Yasiin grew up in Bedstuy (in the Roosevelt Houses in Dekalb).
Rapping since he was nine years old, Yasiin has abandoned what many consider to be rap classics, such as his 1999 debut album Black on Both Sides. Talib Kweli was born Talib Kweli Green on October 3, 1975 and grew up in Park Slope. Following his work with Yasiin Bey, Talib released his debut album on Quality in 2002 with commercial hits such as “Get By”. Like Yasiin, Talib was always attracted to Afrocentric themes, so it wasn't surprising that he eventually ventured into activism.
He has supported groups such as the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement and has lectured at high schools such as the Berklee College of Music. Using his past of education and drug trafficking as the main source of inspiration for his lyrics, Jay-Z has established the plan for future artists to transcend the hip-hop genre and become entrepreneurs in their own right. He has also carved out a place among rap legends because of his unique style and abilities. By bringing Brooklyn Drill (a subgenre of rap music) to the mainstream, the late Pop Smoke was one of the most outstanding Brooklyn rappers of the modern era.
Born Bashar Barakah Jackson on July 20, 1999, Smoke was raised in Canarsie, Brooklyn. You can also visit and pay your respects at his grave in the Green-Wood Cemetery in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. Big Daddy Kane is another artist from Brooklyn who has enjoyed a long and memorable career. Born as Katonah Marrero on April 3, 1992 in Brooklyn, Young M. A spent much of her childhood in eastern New York until her mother decided to move to Virginia in the hope of finding a safer environment.
Losing her brother to violence, M. A founded the KWEENZ Foundation which aims to help residents of Eastern New York overcome struggles and trauma related to violence and pain. Fabolous is another hip-hop artist from Brooklyn who has enjoyed a long and memorable career. Born John David Jackson on November 18, 1977, Fabolous first gained recognition with his verse in the rap song “The Symphony” along with his fellow Juice Crew members. MC Lyte is another artist from Brooklyn who made history in 1988 by being the first rapper to release a full studio album with Lyte as a Rock. From there she released some of the best hits of that time with songs such as “Cha Cha Cha”, “Paper Thin”, “10% Dis” and “Ruffneck”.Joey Bada$$ is another artist from Brooklyn who has paid homage to his roots by borrowing many sounds and styles from Brooklyn hip-hop of the 90s and making it his own.
He made a career out of releasing mixtapes and rapping on popular hip-hop instruments such as “So Brooklyn”.Papoose is another artist that may not be well known outside diehard hip-hop fans but is highly revered in the hip-hop and rap wrestling community. Since then he has made a career out of releasing mixtapes and rapping on popular hip-hop instruments. Sean Price is another underground legend among Brooklyn hip-hop artists who was a member of the rap group Boot Camp Clik and half of the duo Heltah Skeltah. Born Sean Duval Price on March 17 1972 Price was raised in Brooklyn and by 2000 had already had a strong presence on the underground. From Jay-Z to Pop Smoke to Big Daddy Kane to MC Lyte to Fabolous to Joey Bada$$ to Papoose to Sean Price - this comprehensive guide covers all 15 best Brooklyn rappers of all time! Whether you're looking for an introduction into East Coast hip hop or just want to learn more about some legendary artists from Brooklyn - this guide will provide you with all you need to know.