1532 artists, 14207 songs
While the four elements of hip-hop -the MC, DJ, break dancing and graffiti- have been forgotten by all but a handful of purists and underground artists, the MC, or rapper, remains at the center of today's various hip-hop styles. The most popular rappers like 50 Cent (at right) and Eminem still engage in rap battles, preserving hip-hop's storytelling narrative style with colorful stories and imagery. Groups like Common, Dilated Peoples and the Roots have broken through to the mainstream while retaining the street-smart political focus of their underground hip-hop peers like the Coup and Dead Prez. Although the X-Ecutioners and Peanut Butter Wolf brought the DJ and turntable skills back into the limelight, the MC continues to reign supreme.