Music

The Best Alternative Hip Hop Groups/Artists 

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Updated January 25, 2020 5.9k votes 629 voters 25.9k views 66 items

Alternative hip hop is one of the most underrated rap subgenres. While hip hop and rap music has captured the ears of mainstream music listeners. alternative hip hop bands, which are outside of the mainstream, haven't sold as well as their pop rap contemporaries, but are just as important. Alternative hip hop artists are among the most celebrated in all of rap. The best alternative hip hop includes experimental beats, clever lyrics and have not conformed to the mainstream. The fusing of genres outside of the mainstream is what made alternative hip hop bands some of the most progressive in urban music, and helped the top alternative hip hop bands eventually achieve mainstream success.

That said, who are the best alternative hip hop bands and rappers? This list includes all alternative rap artists, including solo performers. So you'll see rappers like Andre 3000 and Big Boi on here separately, in addition to Outkast since they have had solo careers after Outkast disbanded. Kanye West, Gang Starr, A Tribe Called Quest, Jurassic 5 and the Beastie Boys are also considered among the most popular alternative hip hop bands and best alternative hip hop musicians. Their unique spin on rap music has made them beloved rappers and truly earned the title of alternative hip hop artists. 

So, who can truly be considered the top alternative hip hop bands. This list of alternative rappers takes into account all of the popular alternative hip hop bands and critically acclaimed ones as well. This list answers the questions "who are the best alternative hip hop bands of all time?" and "who is the greatest alternative rappers ever?" If you know enough about the genre, please vote based on the quality of the band's music instead of just voting for the most popular alternative hip hop bands that you might've heard of. (66 items)

list ordered by
1
Outkast is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Alternative Hip Hop Groups/Artists
Outkast (stylized as OutKast) is an American hip hop duo formed in 1992 in East Point, Georgia, composed of Atlanta-based rappers André "André 3000" Benjamin (formerly ...more

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#381 of 2,040 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #131 of 364 The Greatest American Rock Bands #6 of 188 The Best Rappers From Atlanta

2
André 3000 is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Alternative Hip Hop Groups/Artists
André Lauren Benjamin (born May 27, 1975), better known by his stage name André 3000 (formerly Dre), is an American musician and actor best known for being part of hip hop duo ...more

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The Best Songs Feat. Andre 3000 #610 of 2,040 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #14 of 501 The Greatest Rappers Of All Time

3
Feloni is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Alternative Hip Hop Groups/Artists
Jody Star added
Trish Best, known by her stage name Feloni, is an African-American rapper from Detroit, Michigan. Her coming out as lesbian was featured on MTV's LOGO documentary show Coming Out Stories.

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4
Fugees is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Alternative Hip Hop Groups/Artists
Fugees (; sometimes The Fugees) was an American hip hop group who rose to fame in the mid-1990s. Their repertoire included elements of hip hop, soul and Caribbean music, particularly reggae. The ...more

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#101 of 408 The Greatest Musical Artists of the '90s #53 of 138 The Dopest Rappers of the '90s #70 of 234 The Best New York Rappers

5
Tyler, the Creator is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Alternative Hip Hop Groups/Artists
Tyler Gregory Okonma (born March 6, 1991), known professionally as Tyler, the Creator, is an American rapper, singer, songwriter, record producer, music video director, fashion designer and ...more

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The Best Tyler the Creator Songs, Ranked #1,698 of 2,040 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #12 of 146 The Best Young Rappers and New School Rappers

6
Beastie Boys is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Alternative Hip Hop Groups/Artists
The Beastie Boys were an American hip hop group from New York City formed in 1981. The group comprised Michael "Mike D" Diamond (vocals, drums), Adam "MCA" Yauch (vocals, ...more

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7
Gorillaz is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Alternative Hip Hop Groups/Artists
Gorillaz are a British virtual band created in 1998 by musician Damon Albarn and artist Jamie Hewlett. The band primarily consists of four animated members: Stuart "2-D" Pot, Murdoc ...more

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The Best Gorillaz Songs of All Time #279 of 2,040 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #15 of 319 The Best Bands With Animal Names

8
Lupe Fiasco is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Alternative Hip Hop Groups/Artists
Wasalu Muhammad Jaco (born February 16, 1982), better known by his stage name Lupe Fiasco ( LOO-pay), is an American rapper, record producer, entrepreneur, and activist. He rose to fame in 2006 ...more

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The Best Songs Feat. Lupe Fiasco #1,667 of 2,040 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #109 of 501 The Greatest Rappers Of All Time

9
Big Boi is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Alternative Hip Hop Groups/Artists
Antwan André Patton (born February 1, 1975), better known by his stage name Big Boi, is an American rapper, songwriter, actor and record producer, best known for being a member of ...more

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The Best Songs Feat. Big Boi #93 of 501 The Greatest Rappers Of All Time #16 of 188 The Best Rappers From Atlanta

10
M.I.A. is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Alternative Hip Hop Groups/Artists
Mathangi Arulpragasam (born 18 July 1975), better known as M.I.A., is an English rapper, singer, songwriter, record producer, visual artist, and activist. Her stage name is wordplay on her name ...more

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#105 of 218 The Greatest New Female Vocalists of the Past 10 Years #323 of 501 The Greatest Rappers Of All Time #116 of 605 The Most Hipster Bands

11
A Tribe Called Quest is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Alternative Hip Hop Groups/Artists
A Tribe Called Quest was an American hip hop collective formed in 1985 and originally composed of MC and main producer Q-Tip, MC Phife Dawg, DJ and co-producer Ali Shaheed Muhammad, and MC ...more

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12
Kid Cudi is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Alternative Hip Hop Groups/Artists
Scott Ramon Seguro Mescudi (born January 30, 1984), better known by his stage name Kid Cudi (; often stylized as KiD CuDi), is an American singer, rapper, record producer and actor from ...more

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The Best Songs Feat. Kid Cudi #1,653 of 2,211 The Best Rock Bands of All Timelisted on The Complete List of Rappers Who've Been in Prison

13
Mos Def is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Alternative Hip Hop Groups/Artists
Yasiin Bey (; born Dante Terrell Smith; December 11, 1973), better known by his stage name Mos Def (), is an American rapper, singer, actor and activist. Best known for his music, Bey began his ...more

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14
The Roots is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Alternative Hip Hop Groups/Artists
The Roots are an American hip hop band, formed in 1987 by Tariq "Black Thought" Trotter and Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States. The Roots ...more

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15
De La Soul is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Alternative Hip Hop Groups/Artists
De La Soul is an American hip hop trio formed in 1987 in the Amityville area of Long Island, New York. They are best known for their eclectic sampling, quirky lyrics, and their contributions to ...more

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16
N*E*R*D is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Alternative Hip Hop Groups/Artists
N.E.R.D (stylized as N*E*R*D, an acronym of No-one Ever Really Dies) is an American hip hop and rock band, formed in Virginia Beach, Virginia in 1999. Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo were signed ...more
17
Common is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Alternative Hip Hop Groups/Artists
Lonnie Corant Jaman Shuka Rashid Lynn (born March 13, 1972), better known by his stage name Common (formerly Common Sense), is an American rapper, actor, writer, philanthropist, and activist. ...more

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18
Talib Kweli is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Alternative Hip Hop Groups/Artists
Talib Kweli Greene (; born October 3, 1975) is an American rapper, entrepreneur, and activist. Kweli earned recognition early on through his collaboration with fellow Brooklyn rapper Mos Def, ...more

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The Best Talib Kweli Albums of All Time #876 of 2,040 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #132 of 501 The Greatest Rappers Of All Time

19
The Pharcyde is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Alternative Hip Hop Groups/Artists
The Pharcyde (pronounced "far side") is an American alternative hip hop group, formed in 1989, from South Central Los Angeles. The original four members of the group are Imani (Emandu ...more

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20
KRS-One is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Alternative Hip Hop Groups/Artists
Lawrence "Kris" Parker (born August 20, 1965), better known by his stage names KRS-One, and Teacha, is an American rapper and occasional producer from The Bronx, New York. He rose to ...more

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21
Q-Tip is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Alternative Hip Hop Groups/Artists
Kamaal Ibn John Fareed (born April 10, 1970), better known by his stage name Q-Tip, is an American rapper, record producer, singer, actor and DJ. Nicknamed The Abstract, he is noted for his ...more

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22
J Dilla is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Alternative Hip Hop Groups/Artists
James Dewitt Yancey (February 7, 1974 – February 10, 2006), better known by the stage names J Dilla and Jay Dee, was an American record producer and rapper who emerged in the mid-1990s ...more

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23
Arrested Development is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Alternative Hip Hop Groups/Artists
Arrested Development is an American alternative hip hop group that formed in Atlanta in 1988. It was founded by Speech and his ex-best friend Headliner as a positive, Afrocentric alternative to ...more

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24
Odd Future is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Alternative Hip Hop Groups/Artists
Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All, often abbreviated to OFWGKTA or simply Odd Future, is an American hip hop collective from Los Angeles, California. The collective is led by rapper/producer ...more

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25
Gang Starr is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Alternative Hip Hop Groups/Artists
Gang Starr was an influential East Coast hip hop duo that consisted of the late MC Guru and the DJ/producer DJ Premier.

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