Music

The Best Alternative Hip Hop Groups/Artists 

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Updated January 25, 2020 5.6k votes 593 voters 25.6k 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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#174 of 344 The Greatest American Rock Bands #4 of 125 The Best Hip Hop Groups of All Time

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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#23 of 138 The Dopest Rappers of the '90s #574 of 2,175 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time The Best Songs Feat. Andre 3000

3
Fugees is listed (or ranked) 3 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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#62 of 81 The Best Trios Of All Time #12 of 125 The Best Hip Hop Groups of All Time #86 of 409 The Greatest Musical Artists of the '90s

4
Beastie Boys is listed (or ranked) 4 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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#26 of 138 The Dopest Rappers of the '90s #166 of 561 The Most Hipster Bands The Best Beastie Boys Albums of All Time

5
Gorillaz is listed (or ranked) 5 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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#129 of 561 The Most Hipster Bands #23 of 319 The Best Bands With Animal Names The Best Gorillaz Songs of All Time

6
Tyler, the Creator is listed (or ranked) 6 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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#774 of 1,042 The Best Singers of All Time #7 of 144 The Best Young Rappers and New School Rappers The Best Tyler the Creator Songs, Ranked

7
Feloni is listed (or ranked) 7 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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#151 of 935 The Best Female Vocalists Ever #152 of 498 The Greatest Rappers Of All Time #47 of 192 The Best Underground Rappers

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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#135 of 192 The Best Underground Rappers #390 of 561 The Most Hipster Bands The Best Songs Feat. Lupe Fiasco

9
M.I.A. is listed (or ranked) 9 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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#147 of 218 The Greatest New Female Vocalists of the Past 10 Years #161 of 198 The Greatest Women in Music, 1980s to Today

10
Big Boi is listed (or ranked) 10 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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#55 of 138 The Dopest Rappers of the '90s #87 of 206 The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time The Best Songs Feat. Big Boi

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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#180 of 561 The Most Hipster Bands #406 of 464 The Best Current Pop Groups/Singers The Best A Tribe Called Quest Albums of All Time

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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#809 of 1,042 The Best Singers of All Time #1,303 of 2,211 The Best Rock Bands of All Time The Best Songs Feat. Kid Cudi

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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#222 of 282 The Best (Male) Actors Working Today #29 of 138 The Dopest Rappers of the '90s The Best Mos Def Songs

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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#322 of 618 The Greatest Live Bands of All Time #11 of 125 The Best Hip Hop Groups of All Time The Best Roots Albums of All Time

15
N*E*R*D is listed (or ranked) 15 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
16
De La Soul is listed (or ranked) 16 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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#42 of 138 The Dopest Rappers of the '90s #674 of 2,175 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time The Best De La Soul Songs

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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#44 of 498 The Greatest Rappers Of All Time #42 of 138 The Dopest Rappers of the '90s The Best Common Songs

18
The Pharcyde is listed (or ranked) 18 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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#48 of 138 The Dopest Rappers of the '90s #364 of 409 The Greatest Musical Artists of the '90s The Best The Pharcyde Songs

19
KRS-One is listed (or ranked) 19 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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#45 of 498 The Greatest Rappers Of All Time #833 of 2,175 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

20
Talib Kweli is listed (or ranked) 20 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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#111 of 138 The Dopest Rappers of the '90s #12 of 192 The Best Underground Rappers The Best Talib Kweli Albums of All Time

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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#101 of 498 The Greatest Rappers Of All Time #46 of 138 The Dopest Rappers of the '90s The Best Q-Tip Albums of All Time

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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#2,013 of 2,211 The Best Rock Bands of All Time #244 of 498 The Greatest Rappers Of All Time #14 of 192 The Best Underground Rappers

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 1991 by members of two previous groups (Rebels of Rhythm and Unity Committee): rappers Charles Stewart (Chali 2na), Dante Givens ...more

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#49 of 125 The Best Hip Hop Groups of All Time #108 of 138 The Dopest Rappers of the '90s #59 of 187 The Best Rappers From Los Angeles

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
25
Gnarls Barkley is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Alternative Hip Hop Groups/Artists
Gnarls Barkley is an American soul duo, composed of singer-songwriter CeeLo Green and producer Danger Mouse. They released their debut studio album, St. Elsewhere, in 2006. It contained their ...more