According to Biography.com, some of the most well-known rappers over more than four decades of hip-hop history include Tupac Shakur, 50 Cent, Ice-T, Nas, LL Cool J, Eminem, Kanye West, Queen Latifah and Jay-Z. The genre unofficially began at a Bronx party in August 1973, according to BBC.com.
The most well-known rappers in history emerged during different times during the evolution of hip-hop, and represent differing styles within the wider genre. DJ Kool Herc was behind the legendary party on Aug. 11, 1973 in the Bronx. Herc was Jamaican and took elements from that culture as a DJ, including tremendously loud bass and talking over the music.
Over subsequent decades numerous artists have worked to expand the genre. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, rapper Ice-T incorporated stark, uncensored lyrics about inner-city life in Los Angeles, which helped define the gangsta rap sensibility. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, rapper Eminem's uniquely aggressive and inventive style made him one of the most successful rappers of all time, according to TheAtlantic.com. Later in the 2000s, producer-turned-rapper Kanye West helped transform the genre from its overarching gangsta sensibility, paving the way for more outward emotion and introspection in mainstream hip-hop.