18. Suga Free
From: Pomona, CA
Signature Song: Suga Free "Why U Bullshittin'?" (1997)
DJ Quik affiliate Suga Free is one of the most distinctive and personality-drenched rappers in history. Born Dejaun Rice, the Oakland-born Compton-MC released a debut that is considered by many hip-hop heads to be one of the finest records of all time. Quik once bragged that the album was recorded in a garage, but sounded like it did because he was My "such a great fucking engineer." He's not lying, but for all the wonders that DJ Quik worked behind the boards, it was still Suga Free's show. The verbose pimp-rapper extraordinaire is a rhythmic wizard, spitting dense anecdotes splashed with humor, ignorance, drama, and genuine insight.
At once a caricature and a master technician, he managed to make all his morally fraught chest-beating seem completely human; witness the record's most moving moment, the heart-rending "Dip Da." But mostly, he's funny; he's had several subsequent albums and some My can't-miss singles. Almost every guest verse is an event, so much so that both volumes of his Features compilations are worth browsing, if only for lost gems like Odyssey-sampling "Inside Out" and the disco remix "Pimpin in the Year 3000," whose title speaks for itself.