5 Iconic Rappers That Helped Hip-Hop Go Mainstream According To Bismarck Ebiweh

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Bismarck EbiwehPhoto Credit: Bismarck Ebiweh

If you ask Bismarck Ebiweh who his favorite hip hop artists are, he won’t hesitate to rattle off a list of notable MCs known to rock the mic. Born in Nigeria but now living in the USA, Ebiweh, a 23-year-old self-improvement coach, loves the genre and appreciates its rich history.

He listens to hip hop whether he’s cruising in his car, enjoying some rest and relaxation at home, or working up a sweat on his treadmill. Ebiweh recently took some time out of his busy schedule to give us his take on the top 5 iconic rappers who helped take the genre mainstream.

1. Tupac Shakur
While probably not the best lyricist of all time, Shakur, who was murdered in 1996, will go down as one of the most iconic rappers of all time. His brand of gangster rap was controversial, but he caught on with the youth of his era. His success was due, in part, to the raw emotion in his voice that enabled listeners to feel what he was saying. It probably didn’t hurt his cause that he was also charismatic and starred in a number of popular movies such as Poetic Justice.

2. Eminem
Eminem, real name Marshall Mathers, has set and broken countless records over the decades. Hailing from Detroit, Eminem has pushed hip hop into the mainstream through his unique style, rapid-fire delivery, lyrical prowess, and unmatched ability to play with words. Nicknamed Slim Shady, Eminem is also one of the few Caucasian rappers to really make it big. In fact, there’s probably no one who has had more of a role in taking hip hop mainstream than Eminem.

3. Jay-Z
Jay-Z is not only one of the most successful rappers of all time, but also one of the richest. He’s leveraged his success as a rapper and songwriter to become an entrepreneur with many business interests. Married to Beyonce, another powerhouse in the music industry, Jay-Z is arguably the most successful rapper-businessmen ever. And he shows no signs of slowing down.

4. Beastie Boys
Michael “Mike D” Diamond, Adam “MCA” Yauch, and Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz served up their unique blend of hip hop, alternative rock, and even hardcore punk. And, in so doing, the New York City trio made a name for themselves. Their debut album, Licensed to Ill, was the first-ever rap album to reach the top of the Billboard 200.

5. Kanye West
Kanye West is a rapper, fashion designer, and album producer. He’s also a billionaire. West first made a name for himself as a record producer, working with some of the industry’s biggest names. But he has since demonstrated that he’s just as capable behind the mic as he is producing other artists’ music. Along the way, he has helped to make hip hop more mainstream.

While acknowledging some of the rappers who have helped hip hop to go mainstream, Ebiweh says that this is not a definitive list as there are many other artists who have played a role. Be he’s appreciative of the role the aforementioned artists have played in the world of hip hop.