Twitter followers: 218,000
Biggest hit: 1995's "Gangsta's Paradise" featuring L.V.
What am I seeing up there? Coolio partying with some English university students in 2013, doing an acoustic jam after cooking everyone dinner.
Coolio hasn't put out an album since 2009's From the Bottom 2 the Top, which came out on a tiny British indie label. A year later, he got a tattoo to show his dedication to the Insane Clown Posse, although it was one G short of spelling "Juggalo." (Intentionally, according to Coolio.) In 2013 he appeared on Celebrity Wife Swap alongside Sugar Ray frontman Mark McGrath; he went ice-skating. Also, his girlfriend left him at the end. That same year, he was arrested on domestic abuse charges.
A 2014 interview with Noisey didn't really reveal what he's up to beyond the fact that "after all these years, I still continue to let my nuts hang." Recent tweets indicate that he's writing, collaborating with EDM all-star Steve Aoki, and using the hashtag #shakazulu a lot.
And he still has the braids.
Biggest hit: 1997's "Feel So Good"
What am I seeing up there? Ma$e preaching at Atlanta's El Elyon Church
Ma$e tore up the late '90s with his Harlem World and Double Up albums and those hot appearances beside Puff Daddy and the Notorious B.I.G.'s ghost on "Mo Money Mo Problems" and "Been Around the World." Now it's been 11 years since his third LP, Welcome Back. He spent awhile as a preacher, going by his given name, Mason Betha, before that erupted in scandal surrounding his divorce and his continuing involvement in the rap scene. He's planning an album called Now We Even that'll reportedly feature Kanye West, Rick Ross, Diddy and more. A single called "Why Can't We" arrived in December 2013.
Instagram followers: 142,000
Biggest hits: 1997's "I'll Be" featuring Jay Z
What am I seeing up there? Foxy doesn't make too many appearances nowadays, but she did walk the 2013 MTV VMAs red carpet where she teased a collaboration with Pharrell that has yet to surface.
Foxy Brown was one of the first female rappers to make it big, scoring four consecutive Top 10 albums including 1999's Chyna Doll, which hit No. 1. She hasn't released an album since 2001, instead finding issues with her record label (she left her home of Def Jam in 2003, canceling her planned Ill Na Na 2 album), her ears (she suffered from sudden and severe hearing loss in 2005 and needed months of surgery) and the law (she served a year in jail for assault in 2007). Foxy has more or less kept her name in the papers mostly for feuds with people like 50 Cent, Nicki Minaj, Lil' Kim and nearly every other female MC. But in a very, very good career move Foxy's announced she'll guest star in an upcoming episode of Fox's Empire.
"Where is Vanilla Ice?" has been a legitimate question since, like, 1993. The man born Robert Matthew Van Winkle had a hit with his 1990 album To the Extreme and its Queen-aping super-single…and then basically nada. He has done five albums since, with 2011's W.T.F. (Wisdom, Tenacy and Focus) following a six-year break, but nothing's broken through. Right now he's got a show on the DIY Network called The Vanilla Ice Project, which is basically Extreme Home Makeover with your boy at the helm, "Icing" people's houses. The fifth season is about to kick off; watch a clip below. Also, he'll play Mark Twain in an upcoming Adam Sandler movie called The Ridiculous 6.
Twitter followers: 161,000
Biggest hit: 2001's "Danger (Been So Long)" featuring Nivea
What am I seeing up there? Despite not releasing an album in over a decade, the shouty MC landed himself on one of the biggest releases of 2015 by rapping on Mark Ronson's Uptown Special—the LP that includes the blockbuster hit "Uptown Funk" featuring Bruno Mars. Mystikal performed his track "Feel Right" with Ronson on Saturday Night Live, and Mars was there to support him on backup.
Since the release of 2001 album Tarantula, Mystikal's been in jail twice for sexual battery and extortion (which he served from 2004 through 2010) and domestic battery (for three months in 2012). A new album titled Original was set to drop in 2013, but has yet to surface.
Twitter followers: 402,000
Biggest hit: 1996's "Keep On Keepin' On" (featuring Xscape)
What am I seeing up there? Lyte and "Lipgloss" MC Lil Mama went on The Real together to discuss their friendship, professional relationship and why Lil Mama looks up to the pioneering artist. After coming up as the first prominent solo female rapper ever, MC Lyte spent years focusing on projects like leadership (she was president of the L.A. chapter of the GRAMMYs for two years), DJing (she spun at Jay Leno's Tonight Show farewell party) and television (MTV's Celebrity Rap Superstar, Regular Show).
But 12 years after her last album, MC Lyte is back. Click here to listen to "Check," which previews the pioneer's new album Legend. The comeback effort is going to be a blink-and-miss-it affair, available on vinyl exclusively on Record Store Day, April 18.
Twitter followers: 3.49 million
Biggest Hit: 1990's "U Can't Touch This"
What am I seeing up there? PSY fusing "Gangnam Style" with "2 Legit 2 Quit" at the 2012 American Music Awards. Hammer shows up at 2:35.
Hammer's last label album was 1998's Family Affair, which did not chart. Since then he's done four independent albums, the most recent being 2009's DanceJamtheMusic. (Sample it below.) One of the biggest pieces of Hammer news since his breakout was that he'd gone from having $30 million to being more than $13 million in debt. Oprah checked in with him in 2011 and found that he "preaches and officiates friends' weddings, manages 22 mixed martial artists," and spend a lot of time in Silicon Valley. "On a day-to-day basis, I'm loosely involved with about eight [tech] companies that I'm excited about," Hammer said. "Everything from advising to consulting to investing in, it keeps me busy 10 to 12 hours a day." Also, he tried creating a new search engine called WireDoo a few years ago. It didn't come to fruition.
Twitter followers: 533,000
Biggest hit: 1994's "Regulate" featuring Nate Dogg
What am I seeing up there? Despite not charting a Top 40 hit since the '90s, the rapper/producer's legacy still remains high. Rap Monster, a Korean MC and member of popular K-pop boy band BTS, collaborated with the veteran on a new song called "P.D.D" this year. Despite Warren G being more than twice Rap Monster's age, "P.D.D" shows that hip hop isn't bound to age or language barriers.
Twitter followers: 499,000
Biggest hit: 1995's "How High" with Method Man
What am I seeing up there? "Dunfiato" was a cut off Redman's 2014 Muddy Waters 2 mixtape, said to precede a full-length album of the same name. The LP has yet to surface, but the track above is a classic representation of an artist who knows how to mix elements of comedy and the streets in his rhymes.
Redman hasn't dropped an album since 2010's Reggie. But if he decides to forgo the rap game, he did record a pretty sick cameo in Nickelodeon show The Fairly Odd Parents in 2006 with right-hand dude Method Man.
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