Music Metrics Vault

Old school hip hop

Most popular artists in Old school hip hop

This chart is based on the monthly listeners metric for all artists tagged with the genre old school hip hop by Spotify. It may contain some errors or some data may not be up to date. You can check the artist profile to update data if necessary.

# Artist Monthly Listeners Followers
1
8,635,125
2,809,653
2
5,710,552
5,731,062
3
4,466,177
1,356,025
4
4,336,925
811,009
5
3,618,303
1,701,292
6
3,110,621
655,430
7
1,970,689
1,072,174
8
1,768,602
386,651
9
1,458,105
362,638
10
1,372,389
798,973
11
KRS-One
1,294,865
650,979
12
1,143,848
673,962
13
Biz Markie
1,053,075
406,613
14
Slick Rick
942,411
692,019
15
EPMD
734,742
400,224
16
Heavy D & The Boyz
705,348
470,217
17
2 LIVE CREW
555,983
523,278
18
Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five
504,725
121,939
19
Afrika Bambaataa
490,958
147,534
20
Big Daddy Kane
475,762
535,309
21
ICE-T
398,243
1,415,896
22
Grandmaster Flash
386,694
313,990
23
DJ Kool
385,968
31,499
24
Marley Marl
297,430
62,668
25
MC Lyte
281,343
411,316
26
King Tee
281,246
95,023
27
Jungle Brothers
268,832
180,701
28
Kool G Rap
254,978
276,025
29
The D.O.C.
235,627
426,879
30
Whodini
228,938
259,488
31
Boogie Down Productions
226,920
326,963
32
Kurtis Blow
193,519
222,456
33
Newcleus
186,250
70,388
34
Kool Moe Dee
185,500
256,569
35
J.J. Fad
176,784
59,975
36
Chubb Rock
160,215
145,350
37
Grandmaster Melle Mel
149,692
69,630
38
Stetsasonic
118,395
65,905
39
Mantronix
104,495
47,299
40
The Egyptian Lover
99,993
62,197
41
Kid 'N Play
86,877
290,905
42
Gucci Crew II
84,319
35,659
43
Fat Boys
80,579
246,083
44
Special Ed
79,512
154,049
45
L'Trimm
70,298
14,560
46
Doug E. Fresh
65,165
268,918
47
Ultramagnetic MC's
61,128
66,962
48
D-Nice
60,287
96,805
49
Audio Two
43,539
41,199
50
Dimples D.
39,723
1,202
51
Strafe
36,156
4,168
52
Schoolly D
32,528
86,431
53
Craig G
30,709
8,304
54
Whistle
29,412
22,624
55
Twilight 22
27,984
9,908
56
Mc Shan
24,990
50,759
57
L.A. Dream Team
24,741
21,609
58
Funky 4 + 1
23,280
13,201
59
Roxanne Shante
22,964
104,463
60
Utfo
22,522
58,579
61
World Class Wreckin' Cru
22,022
36,268
62
Dana Dane
20,569
100,207
63
Spoonie Gee
20,367
21,138
64
West Street Mob
20,260
13,495
65
Rob Base
19,309
32,827
66
Just-Ice
19,146
36,599
67
Three Times Dope
18,818
39,547
68
Dr. Jeckyll & Mr. Hyde
17,942
7,319
69
Rock Master Scott & The Dynamic Three
14,592
1,383
70
Tuff Crew
14,102
17,213
71
T La Rock
12,325
26,944
72
Afrika Bambaataa & The Soulsonic Force
10,181
8,953
73
Chuck D
9,968
22,917
74
Davy DMX
9,706
3,173
75
Beat Street
8,895
3,791
76
Frankie Cutlass
7,589
7,259
77
Crown City Rockers
7,054
7,763
78
Fila Fresh Crew
6,923
870
79
Grandmaster Caz
6,746
25,126
80
Fab 5 Freddy
6,695
13,980
81
Steady B
6,124
32,720
82
Grand Wizard Theodore
5,282
5,192
83
Doug E. Fresh & The Get Fresh Crew
4,619
72,486
84
Busy Bee
4,602
13,519
85
Arabian Prince
4,380
9,115
86
Maggotron
4,357
9,402
87
Spyder D
3,943
1,760
88
Rock Master Scott
3,858
428
89
Cold Crush Brothers
3,836
33,070
90
The Real Roxanne
3,672
60,529
91
Stezo
3,450
8,471
92
Jimmy Spicer
3,228
4,274
93
Lovebug Starski
3,006
6,350
94
The Treacherous Three
3,006
35,188
95
Captain Rock
2,512
3,682
96
Chi-Ali
2,328
3,322
97
Original Concept
2,042
5,213
98
The 7A3
1,696
2,311
99
Disco Four
1,445
1,747
100
Harlem World Crew
1,225
1,957
101
Sparky D
1,121
2,487
102
The Younger Generation
559
223
103
U.T.F.O.
175
2,666
104
Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde
12
1,694
105
Ultimate Force
11
138

Some info about old school hip hop

Old school hip hop, an iconic genre born in the late 1970s, is much more than just a style of music; it's a cultural movement that laid the foundation for a global phenomenon. Emerging in the boroughs of New York City, specifically the Bronx, this genre was forged amidst block parties, rebellious street expression, and an urgent need for a voice among the marginalized communities. Unlike its successors, old school hip hop is characterized by its simpler rapping techniques and focus on fun and social issues, rather than the complex lyricism and aggressive themes often found in later forms.

During its inception around the late 1970s and early 1980s, old school hip hop was marked by its raw simplicity and energy. DJs and emcees played a crucial role in its communal vibes, with DJs like Kool Herc and Grandmaster Flash innovating techniques such as breakbeat DJing, where breaks in funk and soul songs were isolated and looped to create continuous rhythm tracks for parties. This would not only energize the crowd but also provide an instrumental backdrop for emcees to rap over.

Key artists who were instrumental in defining the old school era include groups and rappers like Run-D.M.C., Sugarhill Gang, and Afrika Bambaataa. The latter’s "Planet Rock" is often heralded as a pioneering work for incorporating synthesizer sounds with traditional hip hop beats, pushing the genre into new sonic territories. Meanwhile, Sugarhill Gang's "Rapper's Delight" was among the first tracks to introduce hip hop to a global audience, marking a pivotal moment in the genre’s history as it moved from street corners to the international stage.

The lyrical content of old school hip hop often revolved around party scenes, everyday life, and sometimes a commentary on social issues, albeit less politically charged than in the genre's golden age phase that followed. Its rhymes and chants were more about creating a lively atmosphere and less about the deeper narrative content that would characterize later hip hop. This can be seen in the works of artists like Kurtis Blow and Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five, whose track "The Message" provided a stark portrayal of life in urban America, making it one of the earliest examples of socially conscious hip hop.

Old school hip hop's beat-driven music heavily influenced the performing arts, particularly breakdancing and graffiti, creating a synergistic cultural movement known as "hip hop culture". This genre not only served as an expressive outlet but also as a significant community builder, knitting tight bonds among youths across different boroughs of New York.

Globally, old school hip hop's influence can be seen across continents from Europe to Asia, where it gave rise to local movements and styles, attesting to its universal appeal. Countries such as the UK, Germany, and Japan, among others, embraced the genre, adapting its elements to their cultural contexts.

In conclusion, old school hip hop remains a vital root of the broader hip hop tree. Its emphasis on beats, party vibes, and community continues to inspire a wide range of artists and genres. Whether echoed in modern rap battles or sampled in contemporary electronic music, the spirit of old school hip hop lives on, a testament to its pioneering artists and enduring legacy.