25. Big Pun
Despite his large frame, Big Pun's fun, fast and feisty rhymes kept him light years ahead of his peers. He was also the first solo Latino rapper to go platinum. How's that for industry impact?
Best Album: Capital Punishment
23. Big L
Gunned down at the age of 24 on February 15, 1999, the rest of Big L's talent followed him to the grave. But he left us with enough material to know that he was one of the most auspicious storytellers in hip-hop history.
Best Album: The Big Picture
22. Masta Ace
As a member of the Juice Crew (along with Marley Marl, MC Shan, Big Daddy Kane, Biz Markie, Roxanne Shante, and Craig G), Masta Ace garnered notoriety as an unsung hip-hop vet. Still, his witty wordplay and lyrical influence earned him a spot among the greats.
Best Album: Disposable Arts