15. Chuck D
Lyrical with a militant message and a take-no-prisoners persona, Chuck D remains a hugely influential figure in game today.
Essential: It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back
14. Mos Def
Before he caught the acting bug, Mos Def made an indelible impression on hip-hop with lyrics so clean they made your parents boogey.
Essential: Black on Both Sides
13. Andre 3000
He raps, sings, acts and even dabbles in guitar. Andre 3000 is hip-hop's renaissance man. Although he's released 0 solo albums, Dre has developed a reputation for stealing the show with nearly every guest appearance.
12. Slick Rick
Despite myriad run-ins with the INS and jail stints, Ricky Walters managed to hold down the storytelling department like no other.
Essential: The Great Adventures of Slick Rick
11. Ice Cube
Politically salient with an in-your-face voice, Ice Cube developed a cult-like following by favoring substance over style. He's also the only man who went to war with NWA and came out on top.
Essential: Death Certificate