The fifty greatest rap groups of all time: 50-26
35. Brand Nubian
Brand Nubian was one of the first groups to bring the teachings of the Nation of Gods and Earths to prominence in rap music and have since been credited as one of the trailblazers in the "conscious" rap category. Indeed, the group's music focused on gaining a better understanding of self in the face of life's corrupting influences. The controversial teachings of the Nation perhaps limited Brand Nubian's commercial success, but on the other hand, their refusal to compromise their beliefs was one of the things that made them so influential.
34. Fat Boys
One of Jay-Z's favorite groups (he bemoans their breakup in his hit "The Heart of the City"), the Fat Boys were one of the first rap groups to achieve considerable mainstream success. Their 1987 album Crushin' was one of the earliest rap albums to go platinum, but their commercial success was long and sustained. They also helped popularize the art of beatboxing thanks to Big Buff Love, the Human Beatbox.
Whether you're aware of it or not, you've likely heard some of Whodini's music, even if you haven't heard it directly from the group itself. Whodini is a favorite sample choice by artists from 2Pac to MF DOOM, an appropriate role to play in modern music considering that they were one of the pioneering forces in sampling themselves. Their album Escape is cherished as one of the period's best, including standout tracks "Five Minutes of Funk" and "Freaks Come Out at Night."
32. Ultramagnetic MCs
Led by the criminally underrated MC Kool Keith and the hyper-influential producer Ced Gee, the Ultramagnetic MCs released Critical Beatdown, one of the best, most forward-thinking hip-hop albums of the '80s. Still making music well into the 21st Century, the Ultramagnetic MCs are one of the longest running groups in hip-hop, and one of the most well-respected.
31. Camp Lo
Camp Lo escapes effective categorization. There was nothing else that sounded very much like their 1997 debut, Uptown Saturday Night. They took cues from A Tribe Called Quest, but they were more flamboyant and had a definite California edge to them, as well. But they never really got their due commercially. They were likely too smart for their own good.