Music

The Best Alternative Hip Hop Groups/Artists  

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3.9k votes 486 voters 24.9k views 64 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. (64 items)

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list ordered by
1
Outkast is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Alternative Hip Hop Groups/Artists
Outkast was an American hip hop duo formed in 1992, in East Point, Atlanta, Georgia, composed of Atlanta-based rappers André "André 3000" Benjamin and Antwan "Big ...more
2
A Tribe Called Quest is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Alternative Hip Hop Groups/Artists
A Tribe Called Quest was an American hip hop group that was formed in 1985, and is composed of MC/producer Q-Tip, MC Phife Dawg aka Phife Diggy, and DJ/producer Ali Shaheed Muhammad. A fourth ...more
3
D12 is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Alternative Hip Hop Groups/Artists
Matt1345 added
D12, an initialism for The Dirty Dozen, is an American hip hop group from Detroit, Michigan. D12 has had chart-topping albums in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia. D12 was formed ...more
4
Bad Meets Evil is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Alternative Hip Hop Groups/Artists
Matt1345 added
Bad Meets Evil is an American hip hop duo consisting of rappers Royce da 5'9" and Eminem. Bad Meets Evil was formed in 1997 thanks to the duo's mutual friend, Proof. It was formed after ...more
5
Tech N9ne is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Alternative Hip Hop Groups/Artists
NoahEvans added
AKA Tech N9ne Aaron Dontez Yates, better known by his stage name Tech N9ne, is an American rapper. In 1999, Yates and Travis O'Guin founded the record label Strange Music. He has sold over two million albums ...more
6
André 3000 is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Alternative Hip Hop Groups/Artists
André Lauren Benjamin, better known by his stage name André 3000, is an American rapper, singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer and actor, best known for being ...more
7
Gorillaz is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Alternative Hip Hop Groups/Artists
Gorillaz are an English virtual band created in 1998 by Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett. The band consists of four animated members: 2D, Murdoc Niccals, Noodle and Russel Hobbs. These members are ...more
8
Mos Def is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Alternative Hip Hop Groups/Artists
Yasiin Bey, better known by his former stage name Mos Def, is an American hip hop recording artist, actor, and activist from Brooklyn, New York City, New York. Best known for his music, Mos Def ...more
9
Beastie Boys is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Alternative Hip Hop Groups/Artists
Beastie Boys were an American hip hop band from New York City, formed in 1981. For the majority of its career, the group consisted of Michael "Mike D" Diamond, Adam "MCA" ...more
10
Royce da 5'9
Matt1345 added
Ryan Daniel Montgomery, better known by his stage name Royce da 5'9", is an American rapper from Detroit, Michigan. He is best known for his longtime association with Eminem as well as his ...more
11
Obie Trice is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Alternative Hip Hop Groups/Artists
Matt1345 added
Obie Trice is an American rapper and songwriter. He began rapping at the age of 11, and is most known for his time spent signed to Shady Records. Since leaving the label Obie has formed his own ...more
12
The Roots is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Alternative Hip Hop Groups/Artists
The Roots are an American hip hop/neo soul band, formed in 1987 by Tariq "Black Thought" Trotter and Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States. ...more
13
Yelawolf is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Alternative Hip Hop Groups/Artists
Matt1345 added
Michael Wayne Atha, better known as Yelawolf, is an American hip hop recording artist from Gadsden, Alabama. He is currently signed to Shady Records, Interscope Records, and has since founded ...more
14
Slaughterhouse is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Alternative Hip Hop Groups/Artists
Matt1345 added
Slaughterhouse is a hip hop supergroup consisting of rappers Crooked I, Joe Budden, Joell Ortiz, and Royce da 5'9". They are currently signed to Shady Records under Interscope. They have ...more
15
The Pharcyde is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Alternative Hip Hop Groups/Artists
The Pharcyde is an alternative hip hop group based in South Central Los Angeles. The original four members of the group are Imani, Slimkid3, Bootie Brown, and Fatlip. DJ Mark Luv was the group's ...more
16
Bizarre is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Alternative Hip Hop Groups/Artists
Matt1345 added
Rufus Arthur Johnson, better known by his stage name Bizarre, is an American rapper, best known for his work with Detroit-based hip hop group D12.
17
Common is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Alternative Hip Hop Groups/Artists
Lonnie Rashid Lynn, better known by his stage name Common, is an American hip hop recording artist and actor from Chicago, Illinois. Common debuted in 1992 with the album Can I Borrow a Dollar? ...more
18
Fugees is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Alternative Hip Hop Groups/Artists
Fugees were 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 members of the group ...more
19
De La Soul is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Alternative Hip Hop Groups/Artists
De La Soul is an American hip hop trio formed in 1987 on Long Island, New York. The band is best known for their eclectic sampling, quirky lyrics, and their contributions to the evolution of the ...more
20
Kid Cudi is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Alternative Hip Hop Groups/Artists
Scott Ramon Seguro Mescudi, better known by his stage name Kid Cudi, is an American recording artist and actor from Cleveland, Ohio. After moving to Brooklyn, New York, with aspirations of ...more
21
Lupe Fiasco is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Alternative Hip Hop Groups/Artists
Wasalu Muhammad Jaco, better known by his stage name Lupe Fiasco, is an American rapper, record producer, and entrepreneur. He rose to fame in 2006 following the success of his debut album, Lupe ...more
22
Trick-Trick is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Alternative Hip Hop Groups/Artists
Matt1345 added
Christian Mathis, better known by his stage name Trick-Trick, is an American rap artist and member of hip-hop group Goon Sqwad.
23
Jurassic 5 is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Alternative Hip Hop Groups/Artists
Jurassic 5 is an American alternative hip hop group formed in 1993 from members of two previous groups, Rebels of Rhythm and Unity Committee by rappers Charles Stewart, Dante Givens, Courtenay ...more
24
Talib Kweli is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Alternative Hip Hop Groups/Artists
Talib Kweli Greene is an American hip hop recording artist from Brooklyn, New York City, New York. Kweli also earned recognition through his work with fellow Brooklyn-bred rapper Mos Def, in ...more
25
Arrested Development is listed (or ranked) 25 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 then best friend Headliner as a positive, Afrocentric alternative ...more