23. Wise Intelligent
From: Trenton, NJ
Signature Song: Wise Intelligent "Shitty Inna City" (1996)
Was it because they lacked that one classic single? Or because of their insistence on repping 5 Percenter ideology? Or because their names were corny and a bit pretentious? Maybe it was a little bit of all three, but the fact is that Poor Righteous Teachers remain one of the most unappreciated acts in hip-hop history.
Coming up in an era where "underground" acts like Gangstarr, A Tribe Called Quest, and Brand Nubian all thrived, PRT dropped thoughtful yet fun albums like Holy Intellect and Pure Poverty but got little love for it back then, and virtually no love for it today. The group's frontman Wise Intelligent went on to have a solo career that hardly anyone remember, although his creative legacy lives on if you know where to look. Poor Righteous Teachers remind us that being smart and ernest in the '90s took you nowhere.