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Top 30 Rap Groups: The Best Hip Hop Groups of All-Time

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Top Rap Groups

List of the Best Hip Hop Groups of All Time

A list that ends all debates on who are the best hip hop groups of all-time, expanding from the 1980s into the 2010s.  Since hip hop’s existence, rap groups have played an important role within hip hop, from the first mainstream rap song of Sugarhill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight” to Furious Five’s “The Message,” two songs that are truly iconic to the genre.  Some of the greatest music and most legendary moments in rap came from hip hop groups, proven without rap groups the growth hip hop would not be what it is today.

Top 30 Rap Groups of All Time

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1. Outkast

The group that helped put the city of Atlanta on the map, the duo of Big Boi and Andre 3000 that formed Outkast were among the first southern rap artists to gain national attention, especially following the first few albums of Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik, ATLiens, and Aquemini, and kicking off the career with the classic “Player’s Ball.” While the 1990s was dominated by East Coast and West Coast hip-hop, along with No Limit and Cash Money coming into hip-hop during the late 1990s, Outkast took over the 2000s with “Hey Ya!,” “Ms. Jackson,” “The Way You Move,” and “B.O.B,” and “So Fresh, So Clean,” all on their final two albums of Stankonia and Speakerboxxx/The Love Below.

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2. Run DMC

A pioneering hip hop group out of Queens, New York, not only were Run DMC number one during their reign at the top of the rap game, but the trio helped influence the culture and expanded hip hop across the world during the 1980s, playing a major role in the global growth of hip hop. From throughout the 1980s to the beginning of the 1990s, the trio of Run, DMC, and Jam Master Jay would provide hip-hop with all-time classics, like “Walk This Way”, “It’s Tricky,” “It’s Like That”, and “Down With The King.”

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3. NWA

N.W.A, featuring Dr. Dre, Eazy-E, Ice Cube, MC Ren, and DJ Yella, not only introduced the world to gangster rap music, but were the forefathers of West Coast hip-hop. Among the first of West Coast hip-hop’s earliest stages, NWA would rise to the top of hip-hop with controversial music, like “F*** The Police,” on one of West Coast’s all-time greats, Straight Outta Compton. Even after their split, members would continue to have individual success as NWA handed the world one of the best producers of all-time in Dr. Dre and one of the best lyricists and storytellers of all-time in Ice Cube.

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4. Public Enemy

A powerful rap group that rose to the occasion of being a voice for the people, from the late 1980s and the early 1990s Public Enemy was the biggest representation of the nation’s black power movement. Chuck D, with hip hop’s most iconic hype man in Flavor Flav, led one of hip hop’s most important eras of hip-hop, an era of conscious rap, through releasing projects like It Takes A Nation, Fear of a Black Planet, and Apocalypse 91.

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5. Wu-Tang Clan

A super hip hop group from Staten Island, New York, the RZA, Method Man, Raekwon, Ghostface Killa, Ol Dirty Bastard, GZA, U-God, and Inspectah Deck all became stars following their introduction to hip-hop with the classic album of Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) and one of the greatest hip-hop songs of all-time, “C.R.E.A.M.” From production by RZA to some of New York’s greatest MCs, the Wu-Tang Clan became unstoppable, from the group albums to their solo projects, leaving an unmatchable legacy in hip-hop.

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6. Beastie Boys

Icons, legends, pioneers, the Beastie Boys were one of a kind. Forming as a rock band during the start of the 1980s, and later implementing hip-hop into their music, Ad-Rock, Mike D, and MCA would solidify the Beastie Boys stance in hip-hop history with the forever classic Licensed to Ill. Following the release, the Beastie Boys would continue to release classics and fan favorites well into the late 1990s with Hello Nasty.

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7. Geto Boys

Southern hip hop cannot be mentioned without its forefathers, the Geto Boys. The Geto Boys, along with J Prince and Rap A Lot Records, helped pioneer and introduced southern rap music through the greats Scarface, Willie D and Bushwick Bill. Following their hit “Mind Playin Tricks on Me,” the Geto Boys finally received the proper recognition, only after two previous albums in the 1980s, Grip It! On That Other Level and Making Trouble. While starting with another cast of artists, like DJ Ready Red, the Geto Boys would find their own with We Can’t Be Stopped (1991). While Scarface would take off and become one the greatest southern rappers of all-time, his time with the Geto Boys, alongside Wille D and Bushwick Bill, helped inspired numerous future southern rap artists.

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8. UGK

Two rap artists from the state of Texas by the name of Pimp C and Bun B would eventually become your favorite rappers’ favorite rappers. Releasing one of the best hip-hop albums of all time, Ridin Dirty, and one of the most popular hip hop songs of all time, “International Players Anthem,” UGK’s legacy has been well cemented in the rap game, producing classics like Too Hard to Swallow and Underground Kingz from the early 1990s to the late 2000s.

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9. Three 6 Mafia

The real inventors of crunk music, Three 6 Mafia, with production and rhymes from Juicy J and DJ Paul alongside Gangsta Boo, Crunchy Black, Lord Infamous, and Koopsta Knicca, became known for some of the best club bangers of the 1990s and 2000s, like “Tear Da Club Up,” “Hit A…,” “Don’t Stand So Close,” “Who Run It,” “Sippin on Some Syrup,” “Stay Fly,” and many more. Today, Three 6 Mafia has become the most sampled and the most imitated, leaving a legacy of music that easily stood the test of time.

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10. Bone Thugs N Harmony

Long before Lebron James, there was the hip hop group Bone Thugs N Harmony that brought the spotlight to the city known as The Land. The originality of Bizzy Bone, Krayzie Bone, Layzie Bone, Wish Bone, and Flesh Bone helped create some of 90s hip hop’s best music with albums Art of War, E. Eternal 1999 and Creepin on ah Come Up. Discovered by Eazy-E and Ruthless Records, the five member group would become known for classics like “Crossroads,” “1st of the Month,” “Thuggish Ruggish Bone,” “For the Love of Money,” and “If I Could Teach The World.”

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11. Hot Boys

Some may debate a higher ranking, but it is hard to make a case with only one classic album of Guerilla Warfare, despite the local success of Get It How U Live and the not so popular third album of Let Em Burn. Despite the one album, Juvenile, Lil Wayne, B.G. and Turk became southern rap royalty, but mostly as individuals that accounted for the success of Cash Money Records during the late 1990s and 2000s.

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12. Cypress Hill

An extensive list of hits, like “Insane in the Brain,” “Hits from the Bong,” “How I Could Just Kill a Man,” “(Rock) Superstar,” “Lowrider,” “I Wanna Get High,” and numerous more as the list is endless, Los Angeles’ own Cypress Hill helped pioneer marijuana advocacy in hip-hop, along with being one of the most notable hip hop groups of the 1990s. Led by B-Real, Sen Dog, and Eric Bobo, Cypress Hill formed during the late 1980s, the group debuted during the 1990s releasing five consecutive top ten albums.

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13. Salt N Pepa

These three women, Salt, Pepa, and DJ Spinderella, were the first female rappers to become the faces of hip-hop, reaching a pop star level of fame and stardom. Known for hit songs like “Push It,” “Let’s Talk About Sex,” and “Shoop,” Salt N Pepa were among the leaders of hip hop throughout the late 1980s and early 1990s.

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14.  Migos

Migos were without a doubt the hottest hip hop group and artists of the 2010s. As rap music and hip-hop became more mainstream and one of the number top genres in the world, Takeoff, Offset, and Quavo led the rising popularity of the global rap movement and became the faces of pop culture by almost monopolizing their presence in hip-hop during the 2010s.

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15. A Tribe Called Quest

Led by Q Tip along with Phife Dawg, Jabori White, and Ali Shaheed, this East Coast hip hop group that hailed from Queens, New York had a number of gold and platinum albums throughout the 1990s, with the most memorable being The Low End Theory. In all, A Tribe Called Quest’s legendary career led to the hits of “Can I Kick It?,” “Electric Relaxation,” “Check The Rhime,” and “Scenario.”

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16. The Pharcyde

While West Coast hip hop of the 1990s was engulfed in gangster rap, a Los Angeles based hip hop group of The Pharcyde brought an alternative approach to the repetitive sounds and styles of gangster music. Possibly one of hip-hop’s most underrated, The Pharcyde provide rap fans with classics “Passin’ Me By,” “Runnin’,” and “Drop.”

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17. The Diplomats

Led by Cam’ron, this Harlem rap group became famous during the reign of Roc-A-Fella with the classic Diplomatic Immunity album.  Consisting of Cam’ron, Jim Jones, Juelz Santana and numerous affiliates, the Diplomats had a major influence on hip hop culture during a time when the South was beginning to takeover rap and New York City was starting to lose its crown.

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18. Mobb Deep

Queensbridge finest, the duo Prodigy and Havoc created a handful of classic hip-hop hits, like “Shook Ones” and “Quiet Storm,” through multiple eras of hip-hop. As a group, the two of them accomplished much, but individually they were equally as successful, Havoc as one of New York’s top producers and Prodigy having a successful solo career.

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19. 2 Live Crew

Known for club and party music, Luke Skyywalker, Fresh Kid Ice, Mr. Mixx, and Brother Marquis changed the music industry, and have received little credit for it. Debuting during the 1980s, the explicit music that Miami based group released led to the creation of the Parental Advisory label on all albums that were not perceived for audiences outside of adults. From the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s, 2 Live Crew were part of classics like Banned in the U.S.A. and As Nasty as They Wanna Be.

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20. G-Unit

Following one of hip-hop’s all-time greatest albums, Get Rich or Die Tryin’, 50 Cent facilitated the movement of the G-Unit, which consisted with 50 Cent, Lloyd Banks, Tony Yayo, and Young Buck. Making their first appearance with the 50 Cent mixtape, 50 Cent Is the Future, G-Unit began as trio before adding Young Buck, releasing multiple mixtapes in the early 2000s, like God’s Plan and No Mercy, No Fear. With the rise of the mixtape era of hip-hop, G-Unit would be among the leaders of the movement, along with releasing the classic album Beg for Mercy (2003).

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21. De La Soul

An Afrocentric, neo-soul, progressive style of rap, De La Soul formed as a trio in Long Island during the late 1980s. Following their formation, the group released their debut album 3 Feet High and Rising, which became an instant classic. De La Soul would continue to release music through the 1990s and 2000s, building a core fanbase in a niche subgenre of hip-hip.

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22. Arrested Development

The era of conscious rap, afrocentric artists, and black pride being displayed in music led to Arrested Development being at the forefront of the 1990s movement. Debuting with a few of the early 1990s top rap songs, “People Everyday,” “Mr. Wendal,” and “Tennessee,” the Atlanta, Georiga natives would release only a handful of albums, one being the classic 3 Years, 5 Months & 2 Days in the Life Of, but Arrested Development’s ability to bring positivity and light into a dark time of the early 1990s helped placed them in the hearts of many hip hop fans.

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23. Digital Underground

Led by the legendary Shock G, the Oakland group of Digital Underground introduced the world to Tupac Shakur. In the era of gangster rap, Digital Underground brought their lively style to West Coast hip hop, showcasing a more fun and loving lifestyle of the West Coast, highlighted through songs like “The Humpty Dance” and “Same Song”.

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24. Naughty By Nature

Naughty by Nature will always be the most memorable hip hop artists from the state of New Jersey. Featuring Treach and Vin Rock, the group Naughty By Nature created two of hip hop’s most iconic songs, “OPP” and “Hip Hop Hooray.”

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25. House of Pain

Debuting in the early 1990s, House of Pain released an all-time favorite with “Jump Around.” An iconic song to go along with one of the memorable music videos of the 1990s, House of Pain grew a sizable fan base during the heavily contested time of 90s hip-hop. While able to release other music and have other notable songs, the uniqueness of every aspect of the song, from the instrumental to the lyrics to the chorus, has led House of Pain to live on through multiple generations.

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26. The Lox

As The Lox entered the rap game as a hip hop group under Bad Boy Records, releasing the album Money Power Respect, Jadakiss, Sheek, and Styles P would later individually have successful careers as solo artists, while continuing to release several projects as a group, eventually solidifying themselves as some of the best lyricists and MCs of the 2000s hip hop scene.

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27. M.O.P

The Mashed Out Posse out of Brownsville Brooklyn, New York is probably the most underrated rap group on the list. With hit songs like “Ante Up,” “How Bout Some Hardcore,” “Cold as Ice,” and “Blood Sweat Tears” on the Belly soundtrack, M.O.P’s Lil’ Fame and Billy Danze easily held their own during East Coast hip-hop’s rawest time.

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28. Onyx

The Queens natives of Fredro Starr and Sticky Fingaz were crunk well before the term was generated. The energy-filled Onyx would take over hip-hop with the 1993 hit “Slam,” after signing under Queens legend Jam Master Jay imprint. Onyx had a fair run during the 1990s with “Slam,” “Throw Ya Gunz,” “Last Dayz,” and “Shut ‘Em Down,” before the two veered into other lanes and avenues of entertainment, both having much success in acting.

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29. Brand Nubian

Three individual legends in hip-hop, Grand Puba, Sadat X and Lord Jamar, helped form the conscious rap group of Brand Nubian, debuting in the early 1990s with One for All. Brand Nubian reigned throughout the 1990s hip-hop scene as one of the top non-mainstream hip hop groups of the East Coast with songs like “Slow Down,” “Punks Jump Up to Get Beat Down,” “Don’t Let It Go To Your Head,” becoming some of the best lyricist, storytellers, and conscious rap artists of the time.

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30. 8Ball & MJG

A southern pioneer rap group from Memphis, Tennessee, 8Ball and MJG were some of the first southern artists to go beyond a local audience, reaching regional and later national, especially with the help of P. Diddy’s Bad Boy South label. The two natives of Orange Mound set a prime example of what it takes to be a successful southern MC, displayed on classic albums Comin Out Hard, In Our Lifetime, Space Age 4 Eva, and Livin Legends.

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Top Rap Groups of All-Time Related Topics:

1 Top 15 Female Artists of All-Time

Top 40 All-Time West Coast Rappers

3 Top 50 New York Hip Hop Artists of All-Time

4 Top 50 Atlanta Hip-Hop Artists of All-Time

**No Order. Artists placement is a combination on a number of hits, longevity, impact, legacy, and current streams and views.**

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