From becoming the second rap act to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame to being revered as cultural icons—with their signature bulky gold chains, fedoras. and laceless shell-toe Adidas sneakers—Run-DMC is heralded as one of the most influential hip-hop groups of all time.

Founded in 1981 by DMC (Darryl McDaniels), Reverend Run (Joseph Simmons, brother of music mogul Russell Simmons) and the late Jam Master Jay (Jason Mizell), the Queens-bred trio is largely credited with helping the genre of hip-hop crossover into the mainstream, inevitably changing the landscape of popular music. Widely regarded as the first hardcore rap outfit, Run-DMC’s first single, 1983’s “It’s Like That”/”Sucker M.C.’s,” set the precedent early that they were destined to be pioneers of the culture—influencing a generation of acts such as N.W.A., Public Enemy, Boogie Down Productions, Wu-Tang Clan, Cypress Hill and more.

Throughout the course of their two decades’ worth of accolades, the New York natives released seven total studio albums, with their self-titled debut arriving in 1984. Their third record, 1986’s Raising Hell, solidified their reputation as household names, with their fusion of rock and rap cemented by the group’s biggest hit single to date, a cover of Aerosmith’s 1973 hit single “Walk This Way” that evolved into a groundbreaking rap/rock collaboration. As Run-DMC crafted their discography, the group became the first rap act to achieve certain milestones, including one of the first hip-hop acts to receive a Grammy Award nomination, land a Rolling Stone cover, appear on MTV and sign a major product endorsement deal (with Adidas), to name a few.

Jam Master Jay was fatally shot at his recording studio in New York in 2002, a year after Run-DMC released their seventh album, Crown Royal. In the aftermath of the still-unsolved murder, Run-DMC officially disbanded. In recent years, Rev Run and DMC have selectively reunited on stage, including at Jay Z’s Made in America festival in 2012. A big-screen biopic detailing the legacy of the revolutionary group has reportedly been in production since 2009.

Hailing from Snow Hill, North Carolina, Rapsody (born Marlanna Evans) is an emcee best known for her intricate rhyme patterns, clever wordplay and uncompromising dedication to her own hip-hop philosophy, “Culture Over Everything.” She first got her start as part of the North Carolina-based hip-hop group, Kooley High, later becoming the protégé of producer 9th Wonder. In 2008, she signed as a solo artist to the Grammy Award-winning producer’s own Jamla Records imprint, It’s A Wonderful World Music Group. After being featured on projects from 9th Wonder and Skyzoo, Rapsody made her solo debut with 2010’s Return of the B-Girl. Her first project boasted production from the likes of 9th Wonder and DJ Premier, as well as featured guests such as Big Daddy Kane, Mac Miller, Rah Digga, Phil Ade and Skyzoo.

As she established her reputation as an incredible live performer and storyteller, Rapsody added to her catalog, both as a solo artist and with Kooley High. In 2011, she landed an opening slot on Mac Miller’s Incredibly Dope tour, as well as released two mixtapes, Thank H.E.R. and Now and For Everything. 2012 saw her debut studio album, The Idea of Beautiful, released via Jamla. The 16-track project featured in-house production handled by the 9th Wonder-led Soul Council, with guest appearances from The Cool Kids, Ab-Soul, Childish Gambino, BJ The Chicago Kid, Mac Miller and more. After releasing her 2013 mixtape She Got Game and her 2014 EP Beauty and the Beast, Rapsody landed a feature on Kendrick Lamar’s 2015 sophomore album, To Pimp a Butterfly. After her memorable contribution on the track “Complexion (A Zulu Love),” Rapsody began garnering mainstream recognition and inked a deal with Jay Z’s Roc Nation in 2016. With her career a decade deep and continuing to thrive, Rapsody is a testament to perseverance, hard work and staying true to one’s vision.

Rah Digga (born Rashia Fisher) established a strong reputation as a lyrical force from the jump, first getting her start as part of the acclaimed group, The Outsidaz. During her time with the New Jersey-based collective, she not only met her future husband Young Zee, but also landed her first massive guest feature—appearing on The Fugee’s renowned 1996 debut album The Score on the track “Cowboys.” Soon after, Rah Digga gave a fiery performance at New York City’s famed Lyricist Lounge, catching the eye of Q-Tip and rapping while eight months pregnant. The Tribe Called Quest co-founder promptly orchestrated introducing Rah Digga to Busta Rhymes, with the Grammy-nominated artist extending her an invitation to join his Flipmode Squad. The crew’s debut album The Imperial was released in 1998, with Flipmode receiving Best New Group at the 1999 Source Awards.

With a handful of collaborations under her belt, Rah Digga dropped her solo debut Dirty Harriet in 2000, featuring guest appearances from the likes of Busta Rhymes and Eve, as well as including production from Nottz, DJ Premier, and Pete Rock. Rah Digga began her acting career that same year, landing a role in Da Hip Hop Witch, alongside Eminem, Ja Rule, and Vanilla Ice. In 2001, she was cast in the film, Thirteen Ghosts, as well as appeared in MTV’s Carmen: A Hip Hopera, alongside Beyoncé and Joy Bryant. Her sophomore album Everything Is A Story never saw a formal release, with the unofficial 23-track project later leaking online. In 2010, Rah Digga released Classic, a featureless effort that was produced solely by Nottz. Rah Digga has since continued to expand her catalog, with her most recent singles—”Storm Coming” and “Angela Davis”—arriving in 2014. She also continues to spread the word of hip-hop through public speaking and workshops.

Reminisce “Remy Ma” Mackie is a Grammy-nominated rapper from the Bronx, New York.

Remy began writing poetry at a young age, and eventually began rapping in her teens. Her rhymes caught the attention of fellow Bronx native Big Pun in the late ‘90s, and he was so impressed with her freestyle skills when they met, that he began working with Remy and featured her on two songs on his 2000 album, Yeeeah Baby.  She was also featured on M.O.P.’s “Ante Up (Remix)” that same year.

In the wake of Pun’s passing, Fat Joe continued working with Remy, signing her to an SRC/Universal record deal under his Terror Squad imprint. Joe featured Remy on both his 2001 and 2002 albums, and she made her official debut on the 2004 Terror Squad compilation album, True Story. The album spawned the Grammy-nominated single “Lean Back” and paved the way for Remy’s 2006 debut album, There’s Something About Remy: Based on a True Story. The album moved 37,000 units in its opening week, and produced three relatively successful singles.

A July 2007 altercation with a friend she believed had stolen from her led to Remy reportedly shooting the woman in the torso. In 2008, Remy was convicted of assault, illegal weapon possession and attempted coercion, and immediately began serving an eight-year term at the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility for Women in New York. She married rapper Papoose during her time behind bars, and was released in August 2014.

Remy began working with Fat Joe on the collaborative album, Plata O Plomo, in 2015. The pair earned two Grammy nominations for the lead single, “All The Way Up,” but the album was not a commercial success upon its 2017 release.

In 2015, Remy, Papoose and their family began appearing on VH1’s Love & Hip Hop: New York. In 2017, Remy became entangled in a large-scale beef with fellow rapper Nicki Minaj that has yet to reach a conclusion.

El-P (Jaime Meline) and Killer Mike (Michael Render) met in 2011 and shortly thereafter began collaborating, hitting the road together on a co-headlining tour that resulted in the pair joining forces in a more serious form, creating the joint project R.A.P. Music. Later joining forces in 2013 as a supergroup, utilizing the LL Cool J-inspired moniker Run The Jewels (frequently stylized as RTJ), the pair in turn revitalized their own already established solo careers and began breathing new life into their ever-evolving artistry. Releasing their debut self-titled project that same year as a free digital download on Fool’s Gold Records, RTJ was met with an overwhelming amount of support, confirming that the rapper/producer team was really onto something both refreshing and culturally impactful. The duo promptly rose to prominence; securing a following passionate enough to crowdsource funding that enabled their second collaborative album to be remixed entirely with cat samples. Despite the reimagining of their project as Meow The Jewels being extremely playful and experimental by nature, the group didn’t lose sight of their roots as activists, donating the entirety of the proceeds from the eccentric album to charity. The duo surprised fans on Christmas Eve in 2016 with the unexpected release of their third collaborative project RTJ3 as a free download, debuting at the number eight slot on the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. By utilizing sound branding and marketing, such as creating seasonal merchandise and inspiring fans to recreate their signature “fist and gun” in addition to creating energetic and gritty music authentically their own Run The Jewels is considered one of the most exciting and influential hip-hop pairings in recent memory. El-P (Jaime Meline) and Killer Mike (Michael Render) met in 2011 and shortly thereafter began collaborating, hitting the road together on a co-headlining tour that resulted in the pair joining forces in a more serious form, creating the joint project R.A.P. Music. Later joining forces in 2013 as a supergroup, utilizing the LL Cool J-inspired moniker Run The Jewels (frequently stylized as RTJ), the pair in turn revitalized their own already established solo careers and began breathing new life into their ever-evolving artistry. Releasing their debut self-titled project that same year as a free digital download on Fool’s Gold Records, RTJ was met with an overwhelming amount of support, confirming that the rapper/producer team was really onto something both refreshing and culturally impactful. The duo promptly rose to prominence; securing a following passionate enough to crowdsource funding that enabled their second collaborative album to be remixed entirely with cat samples. Despite the reimagining of their project as Meow The Jewels being extremely playful and experimental by nature, the group didn’t lose sight of their roots as activists, donating the entirety of the proceeds from the eccentric album to charity. The duo surprised fans on Christmas Eve in 2016 with the unexpected release of their third collaborative project RTJ3 as a free download, debuting at the number eight slot on the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. By utilizing sound branding and marketing, such as creating seasonal merchandise and inspiring fans to recreate their signature “fist and gun” logo—in addition to creating energetic and gritty music authentically their own—Run The Jewels is considered one of the most exciting and influential hip-hop pairings in recent memory.

Rapper Big Pooh (born Thomas Jones III) is a solo rapper and member of the supergroup Little Brother, alongside rapper Phonte and producer 9th Wonder. The North Carolina native met Phonte and 9th Wonder while all three were attending North Carolina Central University, and upon realizing each others talent and passion for music, the decision to form a group was made. After seeing local success, an independent deal spawned the hit Atari 2600, which quickly garnered the group a hardcore following. In 2003, they release their critically acclaimed debut album The Listening. While working on the sophomore effort for Little Brother, the members took time to launch their solo careers as well. Big Pooh released his debut Sleepers in 2005. Months later, Little Brother’s next album The Minstrel Show was released to high praise but low record sales. By 2006, 9th Wonder made the decision to leave the group, but Big Pooh and Phonte continued as Little Brother. The duo ultimately decided to leave their label home at Atlantic Records because of the commercial failure of The Minstrel Show, and went on to release two more albums before making the decision to disband in 2010. In the years following, Big Pooh continued his solo career, while also dabbling in sports commentary. The rapper, a self-professed sports fanatic, launched an NBA podcast and added NCAA commentary on popular basketball website, SLAM Online. To date, Rapper Big Pooh has released over a dozen solo projects.

R.A. The Rugged Man (born R.A. Thorburn) began rapping at the age of 12 and six short years later, found himself at the center of a bidding war between nine labels. With Jive Records winning him over, he penned a deal at the age of 18, and despite the early compliments his lyrical skills garnered, his first album Night of the Bloody Apes was never officially released via the label. Not letting that initial setback slow him down, the Long Island native went on to work with Mobb Deep, Wu-Tang Clan, Kool G Rap, The Notorious B.I.G., Tech N9ne, Chuck D of Public Enemy, DJ Quik, the Alchemist, and more. R.A. eventually released his official debut in 2004 Die, Rugged Man, Die on the independent label Nature Sounds, after a brief stint at Capitol Records resulted in more of his recorded music going unreleased. With his second studio album Legends Never Die arriving a dozen years following his debut, it is undeniably impressive how much ground R.A. has covered despite only having two official studio albums to his name. In addition to contributing his talents as an emcee, R.A. also expanded his pen game to the media world, writing for magazines like Mass Appeal, The Source, XXL, Complex, King, Vibe and also being involved with the Ego Trip Book of Rap Lists and Ego Trip’s Big Book of Racism. He also has written three screenplays with cult film director Frank Henenlotter inspired by his being a die-hard fan of horror films, combined with his passion for cinematography. That led R.A. to begin working on his directorial debut God Take, God Give, all while his next studio album remains at the center of anticipation and speculation.

Reginald “Redman” Noble is a Grammy-nominated rapper, producer and actor from Newark, New Jersey. He is both a solo artist and one half of the duo, Method Man & Redman. At the age of 18, Redman began a DJ and rap career as DJ Kut-Killa and made a name for himself by freestyling and DJing at local parties. Erick Sermon discovered Redman, as he DJ’ed a party for DoItAll from Lords Of The Underground and moved him into his Long Island home a few months later to begin touring with EPMD.

Redman later got to freestyle on stage at an EPMD show, impressing Sermon so much that he featured Redman twice on EPMD’s Business As Usual album.

Red made his official debut in 1992 via Def Jam with Whut? Thee Album, which went on to be certified Gold. His sophomore effort, 1994’s Dare Iz A Darkside, was predominately produced by Red himself. To date, Redman has released eight solo albums.

In between solo projects, Redman released an album with Def Squad in 1998, and his first of two collaborative albums with Method Man in 1999. In 2002, Redman received international recognition and a 2003 Grammy nomination for his work on Christina Aguilera’s single, “Dirrty.” Previously, Redman received a Grammy nomination in 2001 for his work on De La Soul’s “Ooh.”

In addition to music, Redman has made appearances in over a dozen films and TV shows, including starring in the 2001 cult classic film, How High, alongside Method Man. He has also appeared in Scary Movie 3, Seed of Chucky and more, and briefly had his own sitcom Method & Red on Fox in 2003.

First building a name for himself in Lawrence, Massachusetts’ underground rap scene as a breakdancer, Reks (born Corey Christie) made an organic transition into emceeing during his teenage years. After garnering a reputation as part of the local B-Boy crew, Funk Town Connection, the multitalented Reks ended up leaving University of Massachusetts Amherst in order to continue building a name for himself in music. He began recording for Brick Records, the imprint that soon released his debut LP, Along Came the Chosen, in 2001. The project helped elevate him as one of Boston’s most talented artists, even earning him nominations for Hip-Hop Album and Artist of the Year by the Boston Music Awards.

Throughout the course of the next fifteen years, Reks established himself as an active and amiable force, going on to release nine more solo albums, as well as a handful of mixtapes and EPs. His sophomore album, Reckless (2003), was self-released, with Reks infamously selling physical copies out of the trunk of his car. Despite not having the support of a national distribution or a major label deal, Reks continued to garner attention through the mixtape circuit, with his tireless work ethic eventually leading him to cross paths with fellow Boston-area native, Statik Selektah. Reks went on to sign to the DJ’s ShowOff Records imprint, as well as made several noteworthy appearances on Selektah’s 2007 album, Spell My Name Right. In 2008, Selektah lent his talents to Reks, executive producing the hungry emcee’s album, Grey Hairs, which also doubled as his ShowOff debut. After releasing More Grey Hairs in 2009, Reks went on to work with DJ Premier, Styles P, Alchemist, Hi-Tek, and others on 2011’s Rhythmatic Eternal King Supreme. Throughout the past five years, Reks continued to live up to his reputation as a hardworking emcee with a consistent and impressively self-made presence in underground hip-hop. His most recent album, The Greatest X, arrived in 2016, marking the ninth in his catalog.