Younger people today might recognize Christopher Brian Bridges as one of the cast members of the hugely popular Fast & Furious movie franchise. However, most know him as Ludacris. He moved to Atlanta when he was nine, and a short time later, began rapping. He has many hits of his own, such as Move Bitch and What’s Your Fantasy, and has also teamed up with other artists like Usher and Justin Bieber.
2. T. I.
Whether you know him as T.I. or Tip, Clifford Joseph Harris Jr. is another well-known and popular Atlanta rapper. He helped pioneer trap music, alongside Young Jeezy. He’s a three-time Grammy winner and is one of the highest-selling hip hop artists of all time. You might also recognize him from the MCU’s Ant-Man franchise, where he stars alongside Paul Rudd.
3. Lisa Lopez
Lisa Nicole Lopes, better known as Left-Eye, was a member of the chart-topping R&B trio TLC. Is there a person alive today that hasn’t heard their number one hit Waterfalls? Alongside Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins and Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas, they were responsible for hit after hit in the 90s, including No Scrubs and Red Light Special. Unfortunately, in 2002, Left-Eye died in a car crash while on vacation. She was taken from this world all too soon but the mark she left remains.
4. Lil Jon
When you hear his voice, there is no question about who he is. Jonathan H. Smith, or Lil Jon, helped bring Atlanta’s crunk style to the mainstream. Starting as a frontman for Lil Jon And The Eastside Boyz, he’s been a mainstay in the hip hop industry for years. He is a collaborator as much as he is a force in the industry.
5. André 3000
Known as one half of the hip hop group Outkast, André Lauren Benjamin, or André 3000, is a popular Atlanta rapper, singer, songwriter, and actor. Known for their diverse and eclectic music style, they have been a chart-topping group since their 90s debut. It’s his voice you hear in their number one hit Hey Ya! Good luck getting it out of your head after hearing it, though.
6. Big Boi
Big Boi, also known as Antwan André Patton, met André 3000 in high school. Right after they graduated, Outkast was formed. In 1994, they released their first album, Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik, which went platinum and featured the hit single Player’s Ball. Released in 2000, their fourth album, Stankonia, gave the group their first number-one hit, Ms. Jackson.
7. Waka Flocka Flame
Juaquin James Malphurs, or Waka Flocka Flame, was born in 1986 in Queens, New York. He and his family finally settled in Riverdale, Georgia, where his career and fame grew. In 2009, he signed with 1017 Brick Squad and had several hit singles, including Hard In Da Paint and No Hands, which peaked at number 13 on the Billboard Top 100. He’s been friends with Gucci Mane since he was 19, and his mother is Gucci Mane’s former manager.
8. Gucci Mane
Known in the industry as Gucci Mane, Radric Delantic Davis began rapping when he was 14 but had been writing poetry since he was a kid. Along with T.I. and Young Jeezy, he was instrumental in bringing the trap music subgenre to the mainstream in the 2000s. He founded his own label in 2007 called 1017 Records and has collaborated with many artists, such as The Weeknd, Selena Gomez, Mariah Carey, and Bruno Mars.
Best known as Future, Nayvadius DeMun Wilburn, is best known as one of the pioneers in the use of melody and auto-tune in today’s trap music. The mumble-style type of vocals is something he has helped become popular. In 2014, he released the album Honest, which had several platinum singles. This rapper’s future in the industry continues to look bright.
10. Young Thug
Young Thug, known to his family as Jeffery Lamar Williams, grew up in the neighborhood of Sylvan Hills. That’s the home of several other well-known Atlanta rappers, including 2 Chainz and Ludacris. He is considered to be a very influential artist, whose music has greatly impacted today’s sound of hip hop and trap.
Kiari Kendrell Cephus, also known as Offset, is one of the members of hip hop trio Migos. His career started at nine when he was featured as a dancer in a Whitney Houston music video. Years later, he formed the group Migos alongside his cousin Quavo, and Quavo’s nephew, Takeoff. In 2017, they released the single Bad And Boujee, which made the group an internet phenom. Offset married Cardi B that same year.
Quavious Keyate Marshall, better known as Quavo, is another founding member of the Atlanta-based group, Migos. He grew up alongside his future group in Lawrenceville, Georgia. They rose to fame in 2013 with their release, Versace. When Drake remixed the song, it hit the Billboard charts.
13. Soulja Boy
DeAndre Cortez Way, also known as Soulja Boy, had a father who fanned the flames of his musical interests by providing him with a recording studio. While still an independent artist, he recorded the song Crank That (Soulja Boy), as well as made a video coinciding with its release. It reached number one on the Hot 100 and was nominated for Best Rap Song of the Year at the 50th Grammy Awards. Not a bad start.
Whether you know her as Latto or Big Latto or even Mulatto, Alyssa Michelle Stephens is another respected rapper from Atlanta. Although born in Columbus, Ohio, in 1998, she moved to Clayton County, Georgia, where she attended high school. That’s where she attributes her street cred. In 2019, she released the single Bitch From The Souf, which broke into the Top 100.
15. Yung Joc
The popular club hit of 2006, It’s Goin’ Down was released by none other than Jasiel Amon Robinson or Yung Joc. That success got him noticed by another top rapper, T-Pain. They ended up recording Buy U A Drank and it, too, was a top hit. In the years following, he put out four albums and appeared on four television shows.
16. 2 Chainz
Before going solo as 2 Chainz, Tauheed Epps was a member of Playaz Circle. What you may not know is that he was a successful college basketball player in the mid-90s. Following his time in school and Playaz Circle, he went on to release seven albums and started his own independent label.
17. Young Jeezy
Def Jam signed Jay Wayne Jenkins, or Young Jeezy, to their label in 2004. Since then, he’s put out ten albums and collaborated on others. One of his joint efforts with Usher, Love In This Club, won him an Ozone Award. In total, he has been nominated for 20 awards, winning four. Going forward, we might see him more on the big screen because he’s more interested in acting these days.
18. Kilo Ali
Andrell D. Rogers, also known as Kilo Ali, put out nine albums over the course of 20 years. His hip hop style can be described as a bit more on the naughty side. That’s because many of his songs are quite explicit. To be fair, many hip hop artists could be in the same category. Much to the surprise of his fans, he was sentenced to prison in the mid-2000s over an arson charge. Since his release in 2011, he has retired from music.
19. Tag Team
If you were around in the 90s and you didn’t start to sing along when you heard Whoomp! (There It Is), you were clearly living under a rock. It’s a song that has circled around the cultural zeitgeist ever since. Even if Tag Team never had another single, that one would have been enough. The duo consists of Cecil Glenn and Steve Gibson. Their goal was to make music that wasn’t about inappropriate activities. Then, they created a masterpiece.
20. Jermaine Dupri
If there ever was a Renaissance man of music, Jermaine Dupri would qualify. Yes, he’s a rapper, but with all of his talents, he could literally do an entire album by himself. He writes songs and produces albums and is a record executive, a businessman, oh, and a DJ. Yep, if that’s not enough to make you amazed, then nothing is.
Anthony Leonard Platt is more than just a rapper named Unk. He’s used his connections in music to be a hype man and a DJ as well. Because of his biggest hit Walk It Out from the 2000s, he has been featured in multiple NBA video games. Being a beat master, he has created songs to get fans and team members moving for years.
22. Ying Yang Twins
Despite the indication, Kaine and D-Roc aren’t actually twins or brothers, at least not biologically. The two boys were raised together in Atlanta and bonded over living their best life with disabilities. Kaine has a slight case of cerebral palsy that causes a limp while D-Roc has a hand that was stunted. Their bond led to music and collaboration with stars such as Britney Spears and Lil Jon.
23. Kris Kross
You couldn’t go anywhere in the 90s without hearing about the two boys who got fans on their feet. Debuting in 1991 when the pair weren’t quite teenagers, Chris “Mac Daddy” Kelly and Chris “Daddy Mac” Smith went on to have wildly successful albums. Not only were they young, but they were also wearing their clothes backward. If that’s not smart marketing, what is?
Down For Life thought fans might have short attention spans and shortened their name to D4L. Out since the early 2000s, this hip hop group has four main men: Shawty Lo, Mook-B, Stoney, and Fabo. Their biggest hit to date came in the form of Laffy Taffy back in 2006, which hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100.
25. Young Dro
D’Juan Montrel Hart, more commonly referred to by his stage name Young Dro, has been hitting the pavement of Atlanta since the 90s. He hit the big time after coming out with Yes Sir. Since the release of the album, which he put out on his own, he has been welcomed warmly by other popular Atlanta-based rappers such as T.I.
As the Head Editor and Writer at Music Grotto, Liam helps write and edit content produced from professional music/media journalists and other contributing writers. He works closely with journalists and other staff to format and publish music content for the Music Grotto website. Liam is also the founding member of Music Grotto and is passionate in disseminating editorial content to its readers.
Liam’s lifelong love for music makes his role at Music Grotto such a rewarding one. He loves researching, writing and editing music content for Music Grotto.