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Top 10 Rap Groups and Crews

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Without the influence of these groups and crews, hip hop would not be what it is today. From Run-D.M.C. to the Wu-Tang Clan to the Fugees to the Beastie Boys, music was forever changed when these talented MCs, DJs, rappers, producers, musicians and more came together. In this video, counts down our picks for the top 10 rap groups of all time. Be sure to check out our list of the top 10 rappers and hip hop artists of all time too!

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It's almost impossible to find a weak link in any of these hip hop crews. Welcome to, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 rap groups of all time.

#10 – Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five

With their debut, The Message, Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five gave birth to conscious rap and paved the way for all who followed. Add their social awareness, flair for fashion and innovative style to the mix and it's no wonder they were the first hip hop act inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. “The Message” later became the first rap song archived in the National Recording Registry.

#9 – Salt-N-Pepa

When this trio started talking about sex, everyone listened. Salt, Pepa and DJ Spinderella made waves in the hip hop community as the first prominent female group. Hits like “Push It,” “Shoop” and “Whatta Man” made the ensemble a household name, and 1993's Very Necessary earned the girls a Grammy and became one of the best selling rap albums ever by a female group.

#8 – Beastie Boys

These guys made us want to fight for our right to party. The trio's debut, Licensed to Ill, was both the first rap album to top the Billboard charts and the best selling rap album of the '80s. By infusing rap with punk rock and jazz-funk, the Beastie Boys truly created an unforgettable sound that was all their own.

#7 – Public Enemy

With MC Chuck D, hype man Flavor Flav and DJ Terminator X, Public Enemy was unstoppable. The group continued hip hop's tradition of bringing to light the struggles of African-Americans by using music as the medium. They also made what is regarded as one of the best rap albums of all time: It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back.

#6 – Bone-Thugs-n-Harmony

When they jumped onto the music scene in 1994, Bone-Thugs injected hip hop with some much needed creativity thanks to their sing-rap style. In fact, their soon-to-be trademark sound won them a Grammy for “Tha Crossroads” and gave them the title of the most melodic group in rap. Let's not forget that Bone-Thugs-n-Harmony was also lucky enough to have worked with Tupac, Biggie, Eazy-E and Big Pun during the abbreviated lifetimes of these influential artists

#5 – The Roots

The city of brotherly love is known for three things; cheese steaks, soft pretzels and hip hop's premiere band, The Roots. Founded in 1987 by Black Thought and Questlove, The Roots rose through the ranks to become an iconic fixture in the rap game. The collective is known for using live music to create, and they show this time and time again as the house band on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.”

#4 – Fugees

Though Lauryn Hill, Wyclef and Pras all had successful careers outside the band, they were propelled into the spotlight as the Fugees. It was their chart-topping second album The Score that helped them break into the mainstream, and songs like “Fu-Gee-La” and “Killing Me Softly” cemented their status as hip hop heavyweights. Today, The Score is not only considered one of the best albums of the '90s but also as one of the greatest rap albums ever.

#3 – Wu-Tang Clan

If it's really true that there's power in numbers, then the Wu-Tang Clan ain't nothing ta fuck with. With each member contributing something different, the Clan hit the mark with their debut, Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers). The highly regarded disc has been continually named one of hip hop's greatest, which is especially telling since no other group has been able to reproduce the organized chaos that made Wu-Tang so successful.

#2 – N.W.A.

If you looked up the word “gangsta” in the dictionary, chances are you'd see a picture of N.W.A. Often credited as the forefathers of gangster rap, they crafted the ultimate anthem against police brutality with “Fuck tha Police.” Its parent album, Straight Outta Compton, was certified double platinum and became a huge influence on west coast hip hop, despite its controversial and violent lyrics.

#1 – Run-DMC

After two MCs and a DJ from Queens, New York decided to put on their Adidas sneakers, track suits and rope chains, hip hop was changed forever. Run-DMC were truly trailblazers in the genre and brought rap to the masses on the strength of their collaboration with Aerosmith, “Walk This Way.” Their impact is so great they were the second rap act to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Do you agree or disagree with our list? Who's in your top ten? Be sure to let us know and check out for more great top 10 lists!

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