Hip-Hop's Ten Best Crews of All Time

Death Row members: Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Tupac, and Suge Knight.
Death Row members: Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Tupac, and Suge Knight.

Crews are the backbone of rap and hip-hop.

Sure, you can be a solitary rapper, but there's strength in numbers, and who doesn't want a gaggle of talented homies to have his back? Rap and hip-hop has been around since the '70's, so crews are no new thing. There've been dozens upon dozens of them, from N.W.A. and Public Enemy to the more recent groups like, A.$.A.P. Mob and Taylor Gang.

We looked at everything from cultural relevancy and uniqueness to influence on hip-hop and plucked out the ten best crews in rap history.

See also: Five Signs You Might Be a Shitty Rapper

10. The Roots

Members: Tariq "Black Thought" Trotter, Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson, Malik B., Leonard "Hub" Hubbard, and Josh Abrams

The Roots have been called hip-hop's first rap band, and it is for this reason that they've made our list. Their jazzy, eclectic style brought a different sound to the game in 1987, when the crew formed in Philadelphia, and they continue to do so today. Combining live instrumentals with neo-soul lyrics, they're also the only group to regularly play on live TV (first, for Late Night With Jimmy Fallon and now for The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon). The Roots are notable for their mélange of musical genres (hip-hop, alternative, soul) that proved that hip-hop is more than just about rapping and braggadocio.

9. Bone-Thugs-N-Harmony

Members: Bizzy Bone, Wish Bone, Layzie Bone, Krayzie Bone, Flesh-n-Bone

Like many crews on this list, Bone-Thugs-N-Harmony are here because they introduced a new sound to hip-hop. Hailing from the Midwest, they churned out harmonic gangsta raps that were unlike anything else being made in the '90s. They won a Grammy in 1997 for their hit "Tha Crossroads," and they collaborated with some of the biggest names in rap history, from 2Pac, Master P, and Notorious B.I.G. to Twista, Insane Clown Posse, and DJ Khaled. They also created a subsidiary crew, Mo' Thugs, which was phenomenal in its own right.

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