20. Black Thought
Widely lauded for his raw and uncut rhymes--which have taken a political bent lately--Black Thought is, to paraphrase his bandmate ?uestlove, in a league by himself. Bonus kudos for his enthralling live performances.
Best Album: Illadelph Halflife (w/ The Roots)
An ingenuous street-corner poet, Common keeps hip-hop's flag flying high with his socially-aware lyrics.
Best Album: Resurrection
18. Lauryn Hill
People always say that the hip-hop of today is devoid of talented female MCs. Maybe it's because the standards established by Lyte, Latifah, and Lauryn, are almost unattainable.
Best Album: The Score(w/ Fugees)