These 80s Hip Hop Groups Pumped Up the Jam

These 80s hip hop groups pumped up the jam with their catchy beats and memorable lyrics, helping rap make a huge commercial impact for the first time. Here are some of the most iconic groups from that era:

Beastie Boys

The Beastie Boys are one of the most well-known hip hop group of all time, and for good reason. They were one of the first rap groups to successfully bridge mainstream pop culture with urban youth, and their music typifies 80s hip hop because it is full of fun party vibes while also being politically aware at times; they’re still going strong today.


This trio is one of the most influential and iconic hip hop groups to date, largely because they were able to seamlessly move between hard rap anthems like “King Of Rock” and softer pop hits like “It’s Tricky.” They’re best known for integrating rock guitar into their sound, and for their, “Walk This Way” collaboration with Aerosmith.

LL Cool J

This Queens-born rapper had a great start in the 80s with his debut album Radio, which included some of his most well-known songs like “I Can’t Live Without My Radio” and “Rock The Bells.”

He’s continued to be successful throughout the following decades thanks to hip hop staples like “Mama Said Knock You Out” and “Mama Said Knock You Out Too.”

Salt ‘N’ Pepa

This female trio was one of the first to mix rap with a more upbeat, danceable sound on songs like “Push It” and “Shoop”. They also helped introduce some new hip hop subgenres to pop audiences by combining Latin music with their signature style on songs like “Let’s Talk About Sex” and “Whatta Man”.


This hip hop group had some of the most recognizable lyrics in the 80s with songs like “Freaks Come Out At Night” and “Magic’s Wand”. They also pushed rap into new territory by collaborating with pop artists like Madonna on songs that are still popular today.

The Sugarhill Gang

Arguably the first rap group to become popular with mainstream audiences, The Sugarhill Gang paved the way for more than 30 years of hip hop dominance. With songs like “Rapper’s Delight” and “Apache”, which remains one of the most sampled songs in hip hop history, they proved that rap could be commercially successful with a mainstream audience.

Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five

The group that helped introduce the world to the idea of a DJ as an artist. They were more than just DJs, they also came up with the concept for scratching and turntablism in hip hop music.

Public Enemy

Pioneers in political hip hop, Public Enemy set the tone for rap music to become an outlet of social and political dissent. While their musical style is a bit more diverse than some of their contemporaries, what sets them apart from the rest are lyrics in songs like “Fight The Power” that helped open up new discussions about race relations in America.


NWA’s contribution to the genre is undeniable. They were one of the first and most influential West Coast rap acts, and they helped create a more hardcore sound that inspired many other rappers during their time.

Early members of NWA included Dr. Dre, Arabian Prince, Ice Cube, DJ Yella, and MC Ren.

The group released their debut album “Straight Outta Compton” in 1988, and it was a huge success, with multiple hits.

(Like 80s Hip Hop Groups? Then you might like our article on 80s Pop Band, click here.)

(affiliate links)

Article By :