25. Yasiin Bey (formerly Mos Def)
Label: G.O.O.D. Music
From: Brooklyn, NY
Active Since: 1996
Career Highlights: His debut solo album Black On Both Sides received gold certification and his work with Talib Kweli as Black Star has gained critical acclaim. He's been nominated for six Grammy awards, an Emmy, and a Golden Globe for his role in HBO's Something The Lord Made Me. He's appeared in a number of movies and TV shows, most recently a recurring role on Showtime's Dexter.
When Drake said he's the first artist to sing and rap successfully, many hip-hop heads were saying, "Wait a second. Yasiin Bey has been doing it for more than a decade." Formerly the Mighty Mos Def, Yasiin Bey has been dropping knowledge on fans for years. His work with Rawkus Records (Black on Both Sides, Black Star) is treasured in underground hip-hop, and his most recent work, The Ecstatic, isn't something to sleep on either. We just hope we get to see more music from Yasiin Bey soon.