Rappers From Queens, New York

Hip hop was born in the boroughs of New York City in the 1970s, and Queens has emerged as a hotbed of rap talent over the decades. If you’re looking for information on rappers from Queens, you’ve come to the right place.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Some of the most famous rappers from Queens include Nas, Run-D.M.C., Nicki Minaj, 50 Cent, LL Cool J, Ja Rule, Action Bronson, and A Tribe Called Quest.

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the rich hip hop history of Queens and profile some of the most influential rappers and rap groups that hail from the borough. We will look at early pioneers who put Queens on the hip hop map in the 1980s and 1990s as well as contemporary stars who are currently dominating the charts.

The Origins of Hip Hop in Queens

Queens, New York has long been hailed as one of the birthplaces of hip hop. In the 1970s, the borough became a hotbed of creativity and innovation, with young artists finding their voice through a new musical genre that would go on to revolutionize the music industry.

Pioneers like Run-D.M.C. and LL Cool J

Queens produced some of the most influential and iconic rappers in the history of hip hop. One of the most notable groups to emerge from the borough was Run-D.M.C. Consisting of Joseph “Run” Simmons, Darryl “D.M.C.”

McDaniels, and Jason “Jam Master Jay” Mizell, the group pioneered a new sound and style that would come to define the genre. With hits like “It’s Tricky” and “Walk This Way,” Run-D.M.C. broke barriers and brought rap music into the mainstream.

Another Queens native who made a significant impact on the hip hop scene was LL Cool J. Known for his smooth delivery and charismatic stage presence, LL Cool J became one of the first rap artists to achieve mainstream success.

With hits like “I Need Love” and “Mama Said Knock You Out,” he solidified his place in rap history and paved the way for future generations of artists.

The rise of influential crews like A Tribe Called Quest

In addition to individual artists, Queens was also home to influential rap crews that helped shape the direction of hip hop. One such crew was A Tribe Called Quest. Consisting of Q-Tip, Phife Dawg, Ali Shaheed Muhammad, and Jarobi White, the group blended jazz-infused beats with socially conscious lyrics, creating a unique sound that resonated with audiences.

They are often credited with introducing a more intellectual and artistic element to hip hop.

Queens also gave birth to other notable rap groups, such as Mobb Deep and The Lost Boyz, who made a significant impact on the genre with their gritty storytelling and raw lyricism. These crews, along with the individual artists from Queens, helped establish the borough as a powerhouse in the hip hop world.

For more information about the history of hip hop in Queens and its impact on the music industry, you can visit Queens Library, where you can find a wealth of resources on the subject.

The Golden Era: 1990s

The 1990s marked a golden era for rappers from Queens, New York. During this time, the borough produced some of the most influential and talented artists in the history of hip-hop. The music that emerged from Queens during this period continues to resonate with fans and shape the genre to this day.

Nas ushers in a new sound with Illmatic

One of the most significant contributions to the rap scene during the 1990s was Nas’s debut album, Illmatic. Released in 1994, this album is widely regarded as one of the greatest hip-hop albums of all time.

Nas, also known as Nasir Jones, brought a fresh and innovative sound to the genre with his poetic lyrics and storytelling abilities. The album’s production, handled by renowned producers such as DJ Premier and Q-Tip, added to its timeless appeal.

Did you know? Illmatic was hailed by critics upon its release and continues to receive praise for its lyrical depth and impact. It has been included in numerous “greatest albums” lists and has had a lasting influence on subsequent generations of rappers.

Other 1990s Queens legends like Mobb Deep

While Nas’s Illmatic was a standout album, it was not the only gem to come out of Queens during the 1990s. Mobb Deep, a rap duo consisting of Havoc and Prodigy, also made a significant impact on the scene.

Their gritty and raw lyrics, combined with hauntingly atmospheric production, helped define the sound of New York City rap during this era.

In addition to Mobb Deep, other notable rappers from Queens who emerged during the 1990s include LL Cool J, a pioneer of the genre, and the duo Capone-N-Noreaga. These artists brought their own unique styles and perspectives to the rap game, further solidifying Queens’ reputation as a powerhouse in hip-hop.

Fun Fact: Queensbridge, a housing project in Queens, is known for producing many of the borough’s most celebrated rappers, including Nas, Mobb Deep, and many others.

The 1990s were a pivotal time for rappers from Queens, New York. The music that came out of this era continues to be celebrated and revered by fans and critics alike. The legacy of artists like Nas, Mobb Deep, and others from Queens serves as a testament to the borough’s rich contribution to the world of hip-hop.

Queens MCs Today

Queens, New York has long been known as a breeding ground for talented rappers, and that tradition continues today. The borough has produced some of the biggest names in hip-hop, and Queens MCs continue to make their mark on the industry.

Nicki Minaj reigns over rap and pop

One of the most successful and influential Queens MCs of all time is Nicki Minaj. With her unique style and undeniable talent, she has become a force to be reckoned with in both the rap and pop worlds.

Her ability to seamlessly switch between genres has earned her a large and dedicated fanbase, and she continues to push boundaries and challenge the status quo.

Minaj’s impact on the music industry cannot be overstated. She has broken numerous records, including being the first female artist to have seven songs on the Billboard Hot 100 simultaneously. Her chart-topping hits and electrifying performances have solidified her status as one of the greatest Queens MCs of all time.

If you want to learn more about Nicki Minaj’s journey and her impact on the industry, you can visit her official website here.

Up-and-comers like Action Bronson and A$AP Rocky

In addition to established artists like Nicki Minaj, Queens is also home to a new generation of talented MCs who are making waves in the industry. Two notable up-and-comers from Queens are Action Bronson and A$AP Rocky.

Action Bronson, known for his unique flow and witty lyrics, has gained a strong following with his mixtapes and studio albums. His ability to blend different styles and genres has earned him critical acclaim and a dedicated fan base.

With his larger-than-life personality and undeniable talent, Action Bronson is poised to become one of the next big names in Queens rap.

A$AP Rocky, on the other hand, has already made a name for himself as one of the most innovative and influential artists of his generation. His unique blend of rap, fashion, and art has garnered him a massive following and critical acclaim.

A$AP Rocky’s ability to seamlessly navigate between different styles and genres sets him apart from other artists, and he continues to push boundaries and redefine what it means to be a Queens MC.

If you want to explore the music of Action Bronson and A$AP Rocky, you can check out their official websites here and here respectively.


Queens has been integral to the evolution of hip hop from the very beginning, producing some of the most skilled MCs and seminal rap albums over the past 40+ years. From pioneers like Run-D.M.C. and LL Cool J in the 1980s to current champions like Nicki Minaj, Queens rappers have always demonstrated the borough’s creative energy and spirit. This article only scratches the surface of the iconic rappers and groups that have come out of Queens. As long as hip hop continues to thrive, Queens will no doubt keep churning out more rap stars that shape the future of the genre.

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