Top 10 Most Controversial Rappers

Script written by QV Hough Through their actions and words, these MCs keep the news cycle turning. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Most Controversial Rappers. For this list, we’re focusing on rappers that have consistently affected pop culture, both with their music and polarizing lifestyles. Special thanks to our user Alex Canas  for suggesting this idea, check out the voting page at WatchMojo.comsuggest/Top+Ten+Most+Controversial+Rappers
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Top 10 Most Controversial Rappers

 
Through their actions and words, these MCs keep the news cycle turning. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Most Controversial Rappers.
 
For this list, we’re focusing on rappers that have consistently affected pop culture, both with their music and polarizing lifestyles.



#10. XXXTentacion


Born Jahseh Dwayne Onfroy, this Florida MC gained plenty of media attention early in his career, though not always because of his music. In 2016, he was first arrested for robbery and assault with a deadly weapon, and then again for assaulting his pregnant girlfriend. Meanwhile, the jailed rapper’s hit “Look at Me” was blowing up on YouTube, with the track currently sitting at over 65 Million views. As a result, XXXTentacion’s reputation grew behind bars, drawing more attention through a small tiff with Drake, who was accused of stealing X’s flow with the track “KMT”. In June 2017, XXXTentacion was knocked out cold during a live performance in San Diego. Less than two weeks later, he assaulted an audience member during a Denver show. Not exactly a smooth start to a career, but those YouTube views don’t lie.



#9. Young Thug

 
The new school of rappers coming out of Atlanta stray heavily from genre stereotypes and there’s no better example of this than Young Thug. With his flamboyant style and lyrical flow, many question if he’s just being himself or capitalizing on popular trends. In early 2017, director Ryan Staake documented his bizarre experience on Young Thug’s “Wyclef Jean” video, as the artist himself never showed up. His bizarre melodies and use of auto tune both inspires and infuriates people, as does his fondness of the terms “lover” and “hubby”. This, combined with his fondness for female-influenced fashion statements has simultaneously won him fans, while also exposing homophobia within the rap community.



#8. 2 Live Crew

 
In contrast to Young Thug, this Florida group is anything but cryptic. 2 Live Crew originated during the Golden Age of Hip-Hop, and their 1986 debut was so raunchy that a clerk was actually put on trial for selling the album to a minor. After similar issues arose with their second album, 2 Live Crew became arguably the most controversial rap group of the time. By 1990, their third album, “As Nasty As They Wanna Be”, was legally deemed “obscene” by a United States judge, a decision that was ultimately overruled two years later. Despite moral objections, 2 Live Crew brought further attention to rap music, along with the concept of free speech.

#7. Nicki Minaj


By perpetually embracing drama and meeting it head on, Nicki Minaj has become a polarizing but ever-present figure within pop culture. With an aggressive flow, colorful style and a larger-than-life personality, Nicki is less than subtle with her approach. She capitalizes on popular trends, and she’s unapologetic about doing so. Either you love Nicki Minaj or hate her, which means she’s always a topic of conversation. At the end of the day, Nicki Minaj will do what’s best for Nicki Minaj, haters be damned. So far… that approach seems to be working out for her. Word to the wise though - don’t get on her bad side.

 

#6.Ol’ Dirty Bastard  

As a founding member of the Wu-Tang Clan, this MC’s legacy has been firmly established. Back in the day, however, the media wasn’t sure what to do with his unconventional moniker, or his larger than life personality. ODB’s unpredictable interviews often baffled fans and critics alike, making him a notable pop culture figure. Behind the scenes, the rapper accumulated a troubling rap sheet throughout the 90s, which created negative headlines while simultaneously adding to his mystique. Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s decision-making led many to question his mental health, and his drug use unfortunately led to his demise at age 35.

 

#5. Ice-T

 After four years in the U.S. Army, Tracy Lauren Marrow worked as a pimp and robbed banks. But he left the criminal life behind and ultimately ignited the genre that would become “gangsta rap.” In 1992, Ice-T formed a group named “Body Count” and made national headlines with the single “Cop Killer,” which offended many for obvious reasons. American Vice President Dan Quayle spoke out against the track, while Ice-T defended his right to creative expression. Less than a decade later, he was hired to portray Detective Odafin Tutuola on NBC’s “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,”   bringing the narrative full circle. Just as 2 Live Crew sparked discussions about freedom of speech, Ice-T pushed the issue further.
 

#4. Tyler, The Creator

Rappers often manufacture a specific image, and though Tyler’s may have put him and the entire Odd Future crew on the map, it continues to get him into trouble around the world.Tyler the Creator’s words tend to rub people the wrong way. Many find his lyrics to be homophobic and misogynistic, and his unapologetic nature only fuels the fire. In 2013, Tyler directed a series of controversial commercials for the “Mountain Dew” brand, which further proved that he’s focused more on absurdist humor than being politically correct. In the social media age, Tyler the Creator is a true outlier, for better or worse.



#3. Kanye West


This Chicago native creates music that defines pop culture. Kanye West originally established himself as a brilliant producer, but many recognized a potential superstar in the making, including “Yeezy” himself. Bravado is part of the job description, and Kanye undoubtedly blurs the line between confidence and arrogance . At the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards, he set off social media frenzy by interrupting Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech for Best Female Video. Ever since, perpetual boasting, self-promotion and erratic behavior has kept Kanye West in the news. Of course, his 2014 marriage to Kim Kardashian ensured that every action, good or bad, would from then on receive maximum press coverage.

#2. Eminem

From the very outset, this Detroit native earned both notoriety and acclaim with his aggressive and shocking music. Thrust into the spotlight after having caught Dr. Dre’s ear his satirical music videos made him a hero to some, a villain to others and a subject of conversation across the nation. Early in Slim Shady’s career, many found his lyrical content to highly disturbing, misogynistic and homophobic. For some, it was difficult to differentiate between the person and the persona; a concept that Eminem used to his advantage over time. Throughout his career, he has consistently challenged the status quo and forced people to pay attention.



 Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.
 


Azealia Banks
 
 
Lil Yachty



Insane Clown Posse




#1.N.W.A

Formed in 1986, this rap collective earned fame by documenting their reality . But mainstream American wasn’t quite ready for a group like N.W.A. Whereas 2 Live Crew gained notoriety for sexualized lyrics, N.W.A made headlines with their confrontational style. A track like “F**k tha Police”  caught the FBI’s attention while dividing critics and consumers. In contrast, the profanity-free “Express Yourself” reminded listeners that N.W.A had a voice to be heard, and the right to speak out. Most importantly, N.W.A had the talent and vision to back up their words, which opened America’s eyes and paved the way for a new generation of rap artists.



So, do you agree with our selections? Who do you think is the most controversial rapper or rap group? For more edgy Top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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