Friday's Top Ten: Best Rap Groups

Update: The risk of doing one of these list on the fly is that I overlook some folks. I completely forgot about the Ghetto Boys and Outkast. They belong on this list so I will have to remove Da La Soul and Salt N Pepa. I hate to do it but they will move to the Honorable Mentions

I just came up with this list this morning. Now, as you read this list you will notice that there are some folks missing. I didn’t put Eric B. & Rakim, Boogie Down Production and Dougie Fresh & The Get Fresh Crew on my list because I actually consider them solo acts. Without Rakim, what is Eric B? KRS-One is BDP. Dougie Fresh and Slick Rick are two separate artist that I’ve never connected as a group (and who is The Get Fresh Crew). All would make my list as the greatest rappers – just so you know.

I picked out my favorite album and single from each group. It wasn’t easy, but I just went with my own taste.


NWA- Best Album (Straight Outta Compton) Best Single (“F” the Police) – A classic. They ushered in the era of gangsta rap. By far, NWA is one of the most influential and most controversial rap groups in rap history. NWA set the stage for the sound the west coast would produce for the next decade.


Public Enemy – Best Album (It takes a Million to Hold Us Back) Best Single (Fight The Power) – Public Enemy is the most successful political rap group. Chuck D. does not get the credit his rap skills deserve.


Run DMC – Best Album (Raising Hell) Best Single (Sucker MC) – Definitely the pioneers of the modern rap era. Represent the golden age of rap. I picked Sucker MC as my favorite single because it is the one I use to play when I rolled out the linoleum and broke out a one-legged swipe and a head spin in break dance battles.


Wu Tang Clan – Best Album (Enter the Wu Tang [36 Chamber]) Best Song (C.R.E.A.M.) – There has never been a group with so many prolific lyricist. Method Man was the first to get his shine but it soon became evident that Ghostface and Rakwon could hold it down as well. Their solo albums have not lived up to their talent. They are pure lyricist and at times you actually have to listen to the track a few times to really understand what they are saying.


Whodini – Best Album (Back In Black) Best Single (Friends) – One of the most underrated groups in hip hop. They were a part of the Fresh Fest tour and everybody waited for the cut “The Freaks Come Out At Night” and “Five Minutes of Funk”.


A Tribe Called Quest – (Midnight Marauders) Best Single (Scenario) – The Tribe had some commercial success but for the most part they lingered behind the glitz and glamour. From album to album they were one of the most consistent rap groups. Q-Tip’s solo trek has not panned out well. He’s only produced one hit, Vibrant Thang (the video was something else… whew).


Grand Master Flash & The Furious Five – Best Album (The Message) Best Single (White Lines) - They are a part of the foundation of hip hop and The Message was the first successful socially conscience rap song.


EPMD – Best Album (Strictly Business) Best Single (You Gots to Chill) – Eric Sermon AKA The Green Eyed Bandit was once a prolific producer and was the primary reason for Redman’s success. It was a shock to many when Eric Sermon and Parish went their separate ways. They did reunite for one more album but they were never the same.


Salt N Pepa – Best Album (Hot, Cool & Vicious) Best Single (What A Man) - The only female group worthy of the list. I love me some Salt. Their first album is still my favorite. I use to play “Its Alright” over and over. They have skills but they were at their best when they let their feminine side lead the way.


De La Soul – Best Album (3 Feet High and Rising) Best Single (Me, Myself and I) – Another group, like A Tribe Called Quest, that lingered behind the glamour of rap. They are hip hop’s version of alternative music. Their jazz and introspective style never caught on with mainstream rap – especially since they were competing with NWA for listeners. But, they are still one of the best rap groups ever.


37 Responses to Friday's Top Ten: Best Rap Groups

  1. MEP Says:
    I LOVED Salt-n-Pepa and still do. I loved Very Necessary though - still like to break that one out sometimes and listen to it. lol.
  2. Anonymous Says:
    I like the commentary. You're sensible and fun, two traits that I keep trying to convince people are not mutually exclusive.

    I would forget about Eric B and concentrate on Rakim, the greatest rapper of all time, hands down. This is the man who can speak a thousand words without breathing, the first to ever let some rhymes roll down the Nile. "Some try to make it sound like this but your'e gettin' me so upset that i'm wet cuz you're sweatin' me."

    Please. Long live RAKIM. Eternal 5 mics to my man.

    What about "I'll take your man, your fiance, your husband. Damn chick, don't play with Salt cuz I'll take yo man!" That's how they got fly. Whatta man was long after they brought the real heat with "Push It"

    I wish Run at this point would shut up, butthe old stuff can't be touched. I would have to go with "Darryl & Joe" as one of my faves, along with "30 Days."
  3. Lady Raptastic Says:
    Boy, you a so correc in your choices. I would also add some Dr. Dre chronic 2001. Mmmmmmm. I be layin some beats soon too, so come to my blog if you want to hear.
  4. James Manning Says:

    I think the chronic is one of the best albums of all time - but he was solo then, so he can't make it on this list. I will have to come up with a greatest albums list at some point.
  5. Dell Gines Says:
    Got to take Salt-N-Pepa off that list...

    Gotta take De La Soul off that list...

    They just didn't have 'enough'...

    Gotto add - X-Clan because there first album took conscious hip hop to the next level

    Gotto add - Gheto Boys, because they were the first southern act to blow up

    Honorable Mentions
    Fugees, even though I didn't like them.

    Blackstar - Mos Def & Talib Kweli

    UTFO - Fly Girl, a Fly Girl

    Poor Righteous Teachers - They never got the respect they deserved

    Brand nubians -They started back packs and tims basically

    Kid N Play - not my style, but they were one of the first to blow up on album and big screen

    Fat Boys - Them too
  6. James Manning Says:
    I have to admit, I forgot about the Ghetto Boys. They should be on the list.

    Can't put UTFO on the list - only had two songs. If that is the case, Black Sheep could go on it. Black Star was ill but again, not enoug.

    I disagree with you on Da La Soul, they've been doing it for a while. Just never moved the joints out of the store.

    Poor Righteous Teachers - outside of "Rock This Funky Joint" what did that do? They were tight - but I need more.

    Brand Nubians could go on as well.

    Kid N Play - yuck.
  7. bigzilla101 Says:
    hey some of your choices were great but it hink u should do a updated one with some of todays rappers. like a lil 50 cent, lloyd banks, nelly, who? mike jones!, and a lil jon. just same to name a few.
  8. James Manning Says:
    >>>hey some of your choices were great but it hink u should do a updated one with some of todays rappers. like a lil 50 cent, lloyd banks, nelly, who? mike jones!, and a lil jon. just same to name a few.

    Are you kidding me? I know 50 is moving units but we're talking about groups here. And I wouldn't even put them on a solo top ten. No, 50 Cent was tight when he was moving mix tapes but he's garbage now. And Lloyd banks is one of the worst rappers out. Lil John, see my list of the Top Ten worst rappers for what I think of him. Sorry bigzilla, but this list is for the old heads of hip hop.
  9. Zeezy4Sheezy Says:
    I really wanna believe Bigzilla was joking! My only disagreement with your argument was where was OUTKAST!! Salt N Pepa over Outkast, cmon!.. Are you sure Eli Manning didn't write this! How about every last one of their albums is their best album except for Speakerboxx...
  10. James Manning Says:
    Yes, another group I completely forgot about. I will have to redo my list because the Ghetto Boys and OutKast belong on it.
  11. Avery Says:
    whoa, whoa, whoa!! slow down on removing De La. I can see that you appreciate what they did/are by virtue of the fact that you put em on the list, but in terms of consistent quality, only Outkast can match their first four albums. I'm feelin the list, though.
  12. James Manning Says:
    Avery, I feel you because I hate to drop the boys but Outkast has to be on the list and the Ghetto Boys are pioneers. So far the list is complete but breaking it down to the top ten is hard
  13. Anonymous Says:
    wat about three 6 could u forget dem
  14. James Manning Says:
    three 6 mafia was cool but they can't break the top ten. if I did a top twenty, they'd make the cut
  15. nia Says:
    come on now kid! look at the peeps you say are the best groups! R U SERIOUS! THIS HAS TO BE A JOKE
  16. James Manning Says:
    Nia, feel free to add your input, but I think the consensus is that the list is on point with a few folks that I did forget about.
  17. Bullfrog Says:
    I can't believe you didn't squeeze Rakim in there SOMEWHERE!! You know "Microphone Fiend" is the cut!
  18. Anonymous Says:
    uhhhhh....THE BEASTIE BOYS!!!!!!! how can you not put them on that list...?
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  22. Anonymous Says:
    Nice list, but where is BTNH? They definitely belong on there.
  23. John Campbell Says:
    What about COLD CRUSH BROTHERS!!!! Grand Master Flash and The Furious Five!!!! Haven't you guys seen Wild Style? And if you want to drop Eric B and leave Rakim then you must add Gangstar (one of the best lyricists that has rapped) on this list. Definently OUTKAST and Geto Boys (5th Ward Boys).
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  25. Anonymous Says:
    where the f**k r Bone Thugs n Harmony!
  26. Anonymous Says:
    forget about lists!
    But for sure Melle Mel and Rakim had to be on top.
    NWA, Wu-Tang, De la Soul, A tribe called quest, SaltnPepa, you are crazy!!!
    I would definitly choose Escape for Whodini.
  27. Anonymous Says:
    wheres Bone thugs
    hip hops most original group.

    without them..this list sucks balls
  28. Anonymous Says:
    Boogie Down Productions
  29. Anonymous Says:
    What happened to DITC?
    YOu can't forget Lord Finesse, Big Pun, and especially Big L.
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  31. Anonymous Says:
    Bone Thugs any1? people really need to understand how many strings they have to their bow, as a 5 member group. oh..not to metion, 14 years in this - still original!
  32. Anonymous Says:
    what kind of retard puts salt'n'peppa above bone thugs n harmony? they pioneered mid west rap and created the rapid flow.
  33. Anonymous Says:
  34. Anonymous Says:
    the roots should be on here but other than that good choices and to the ppl who keep insisting dr dre,dre is a solo artist and was in nwa so he pretty much already on the list
  35. SS001 Says:
    they got thet right nwa is the best group
  36. Anonymous Says:
    Where is Outkast? Second I really think that A Tribe Called Quest (The Best of all Time) should be much higher. The Low End Theory and People's Instictive travels were great albums. They were a rap group thy wasn't afraid to rhyme with a different style.
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