The rap scene blew up in the early 90s. From the East Coast rap artists to the West Coast rappers. Rap artists were incredible storytellers and put the spotlight on the realities of life in some of the country’s most dangerous inner cities.
Tupac Shakur’s murder in 1996 followed shortly after by Biggie Small’s murder ignited the whole ‘gangsta rap’ movement. Fighting between the East and West ensued. Instead of slinging mud at each other they were slinging words. There were some incredible rap artists of the 90s. Here is a list of some of the 13 great rap artists of the 90s and what they are up to today. Are we missing anyone? Please comment below and let us know!
13. Snoop Dogg: Actor & Reggae Album
In 1993, Snoop Dogg made his debut album, Doggystyle. That album has led to a successful career as a rap artist, selling over 30 million albums.
Aside from his rap career, Snoop is an actor and coaches high school football. In 2013, he went on a trip to Jamaica and came back as a Rastafarian. He released a reggae album under the name Snoop Lion. He is the only artist that has been nominated for 17 Grammy Awards without a single win.
12. 50 Cent: Entrepreneur
50 Cent is best known for his debut album Get Rich or Die Tryin. He completed two more albums after his debut’s massive success and even has another one scheduled for a release in 2016. He ventured into acting with his debut acting role in Get Rich or Die Tryin’.
He has become somewhat of a serial entrepreneur. He has his own brand of liquor, cologne, apparel, books, and various other products. He was recently involved in a bit of financial hot water after he declared bankruptcy but it was found he had over $10 million dollars in his checking account and over $60 million in assets. He has 2 kids and has dated numerous women including comedian Chelsea Handler and actress Vivica A. Fox.
11. Nas: Actor & Shoe Store Owner
Nas’s 1994 debut album Illmatic is considered by many to be one of the greatest rap albums of all-time. He hasn’t completely disappeared from the public eye due to his on-going feud with rap rival Jay-Z. The animosity started between Jay-Z and Nas when Nas’ ex-girlfriend confessed that she had cheated on him with Jay-Z.
So, where has Nas been? In 2013, Nas announced the opening of his shoe store, 12AM RUN. In 2014, Nas appeared on an episode of PBS Finding Your Roots. He found out about his Scandinavian roots. He’s also been in several films including Belly.
10. Ice Cube: Actor & Clothing Line
Ice Cube is one of the founders of gangsta rap. He is also a successful entrepreneur and actor. He has been in films such as Friday, Are We There Yet?, and he recently co-starred with Channing Tatum in 21 Jump Street. In 2014, he was the featured guest on an episode of Sesame Street!
Ice Cube has a clothing line called Solo by Cube. It includes hoodies with built-in headphones! He’s also a spokesperson for Coors Light beer. Many rap artists have failed at establishing themselves as serious actors, but Ice Cube has successfully made a career and a name for himself outside of the music industry.
9. DMX: Actor
DMX has followed in the shoes of Ice Cube and traded in rapping for acting. He’s starred in films such as Belly, Romeo Must Die and Exit Wounds. He also said he received the call to serve the Lord in 2012. He is active in his church ministry.
Legal woes have also continued to plague DMX. He has been arrested over a dozen times in the past couple years alone. Everything from neglecting to pay child support to animal cruelty. He is the father of at least twelve children!
8. Bone Thugs N’ Harmony: Comeback to the Music Scene
Bone Thugs N’ Harmony was formed in 1991. They dropped their 1st album Faces of Death in 1993. The group members include; Bizzy Bone, Wish Bone, Layzie Bone, Krayzie Bone and Flesh-n-Bone. They cranked out a number of albums in the 90s and 2000s, including Grammy-Award winning Tha Crosswords.
The group took a brief hiatus but staged a comeback in 2010. They’re slowly gaining momentum and might again one day emerge on top of the hip hop music scene.
7. Lil Kim: Reality TV
In 1996, Lil Kim burst onto the rap scene with her album Hard Core. It was certified double platinum. She came out with a number of albums that produced #1 hits throughout the late 90s and early 2000s.
Lil Kim developed a plastic surgery fixation and changed her entire appearance. She resurfaced as a contestant on the eighth season of Dancing with the Stars and was barely recognizable.
6. Missy Elliot: Comeback to the Music Scene
Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliot launched her career with the album Supa Dupa Fly. She went on to create many more albums and scored herself 5 Grammy Awards.
She kind of went on the down-low for a few years until the 2015 Super Bowl where she performed with Katy Perry and knocked the house down with rocking renditions of “Work It” and “Get Ur Freak On”. We should be seeing more of Missy Elliot in the not-so-distant future!
5. Coolio: Spokesperson & Reality TV
Coolio’s “Gangsta’s Paradise” is one of the most successful rap songs in history. He enjoyed 15 minutes of fame and then his records had limited success. He appeared on Celebrity Big Brother, Wife Swap, and a reality show cooking competition, Rachael v. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off.
Coolio is a spokesperson for the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. He has ten kids from four different women. Who knows when or where we will see Coolio next?
4. Redman: Actor & Clothing Line
In the 90s, Redman was a rap artist under the umbrella of Def Jam records. He enjoyed success and numerous billboard hits. Redman transitioned from music to acting with the 2001 comedy How High. He then followed that up with a co-starring role in the horror film Seed of Chucky.
In 2015, Redman announced the launch of his cannabis-related clothing line with Mighty Healthy. T-shirts, hoodies, and other products depicting ‘420’ or marijuana leaves are readily available at several national retail stores.
3. Ice-T: Actor & Video Game Voice Overs
Ice-T has the distinction of being the first music artist to obtain the ‘Explicit Content” sticker. He was signed to a major record label in 1987. He produced a number of hits including “The Coldest Rap” and “Body Rock”.
In 2000, Ice-T was cast on the television series Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Ice-T has also done voice-overs for video games such as Gears of War 3 and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.
2. The D.O.C: Comeback to the Music Scene
Tracy Curry is better known by ‘D.O.C.’. He was a prominent rap artist in the late 80s and 90s. In 1989, he was in a serious car accident which nearly killed him. The accident smashed his larynx, completely changing the sound of his voice. He’s been slowly making a return. He produced two albums in the 90s and is working on making a comeback in the fall of 2016.
1. 36 Mafia: Da Mafia 6ix
36 Mafia was a group comprised of Juicy J, Lord Infamous, and DJ Paul. They underwent many lineup changes due to members leaving to attempt solo careers, contract issues, and legal matters.
In 2006, 36 Mafia won an Academy Award for Best Original Song. In 2013, Lord Infamous died in his sleep of a heart attack and in 2015, Koopsta Knicca died of a brain aneurysm. The group sort of exists under the name Da Mafia 6ix. The music style has been coined everything from ‘crunkrap’ to ‘horrorcore’.