30. Killer Mike
Killer Mike is the new school Ice Cube: the voice of a minister, the attitude of a Panther, and the delivery of a cannonball. Mike's versatility is one of his best weapons. He rocks party jams and militant anthems with the same gusto.
Essential: R.A.P. Music
29. Talib Kweli
Talib Kweli was drawn to writing at an early age, having grown up in a home with both parents as college professors. Kweli extends those early lessons to his art, using hip-hop as a platform to enlighten and empower his community.
28. Ghostface Killah
Ghostface is by far one of the most imaginative storytellers of our time. He's also the most consistent album maker in hip-hop with a deep and rich catalog of great albums.
Essential: Supreme Clientele
AZ, who debuted on Nas' 1994 hit song "Life's a B***h," is arguably the most underrated rapper ever. Too tough to sell out, his "intelligent thug" persona sets him aside from his peers.
Essential: Doe or Die
26. MC Lyte
Brooklyn's own MC Lyte is the complete package. She made her entrance by helping Sinnead O'Connor to a dance hit, throwing flames at a cheating boyfriend, and railing against copycat rappers, all at the same damn time.
Essential: Lyte As a Rock