The Best Alternative Hip Hop Groups/Artists

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. {#nodes}

list ordered by
  • 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.
  • 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 Outkast alongside ...more
  • 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 known as Dré) and Antwan "Big ...more
  • 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 graphic ...more
  • 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
  • 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, bass) and Adam "Ad-Rock" ...more
  • 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 American hip hop ...more
  • 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 Niccals, Noodle, ...more
  • 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 as ...more
  • Daniel Dumile (born 1971), better known by his stage name MF Doom (stylized in all caps), is a US-based English rapper, songwriter, and record producer from Long Island, New York. Best known for his ...more
  • 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
  • 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 by ...more
  • 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 Cleveland, ...more
  • Digable Planets () is a Grammy award-winning hip hop trio formed in 1987, in Brooklyn, New York. The trio is composed of rappers Ishmael "Butterfly" Butler (from Seattle), Mariana "Ladybug Mecca" ...more
  • 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 the ...more
  • 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, when ...more
  • 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 the ...more
  • 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 currently serve as the ...more
  • 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 hip ...more
  • 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
  • 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 Tyler, ...more
  • 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 prominence as ...more
  • Run the Jewels is an American hip hop duo, formed by rappers El-P and Killer Mike in 2013. That same year, they released their self-titled first album titled Run the Jewels, as a free digital ...more
  • Gang Starr was an influential East Coast hip hop duo that consisted of the late MC Guru and the DJ/producer DJ Premier.
  • 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. Common ...more