10 hip hop icons from the Bronx

Grandmaster Flash scratches his way to a ‘Nobel Prize of Music’|Grandmaster Flash scratches his way to a ‘Nobel Prize of Music’

It’s of little surprise that, the Bronx, the birthplace of hip hop, is responsible for some of the iconic music genre’s biggest names throughout the years.

While this list could expand into a full on dissertation, here are 10 influential hip hop names that originated from the Bronx.

J Lo

The Castle Hill native who put on an iconic Super Bowl halftime performance has proudly boasted her Bronx roots, adopting the beloved identity as “Jenny from the Block,” it didn’t take marrying a New York Yankee for Jennifer Lopez to be appreciated in the borough.

Cardi B

Just a “regular degular shemgular girl from the Bronx,”  Cardi B had grown up not far from hip hop’s birthplace in Highbridge, a neighborhood that often makes cameo appearances in her video work.


He’s currently a go-to producer for a plethora of A-listers in hip-hop.

Before going number one on Chris Brown’s most recent album with his track “Take A Risk,” Amadeus had humble beginnings as a kid on 169th Street and Washington Avenue in the Bronx.

Grandmaster Caz & Melle Mel

These two pioneers of hip hop that originated from the boogie down uptown have remained committed to making the Bronx a better place through music.

The duo now works with Windows of Hip Hop, a nonprofit, Bronx based economic development project that promotes the educational, communal and historical perspective of the genre.

Big Pun

Mural-ized in the south Bronx, the late Big Pun was instrumental in achieving Puerto Rican representation for hip hop during the 1990s.

Often working alongside fellow Bronx rapper Fat Joe, Big Pun is one of the  most iconic names to come out of the borough.

Fat Joe

Heavily influenced by Big Pun, this iconic Puerto Rican and Cuban rapper put the south Bronx’s Morrisania neighborhood on the map with his hits like “Lean Back” and “All The Way Up” later on.

Still a proud Bronx philanthropist to this day, Fat Joe has worked with Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. on many creative efforts to better the borough, such as a sneaker giveaway for students that improve their grades.

French Montana

Originally from Morocco, French Montana’s hip hop origins start in the south Bronx.

Reportedly, French Montana attended both Roosevelt and Lehman high schools in his youth.

Swizz Beatz

One of the most reputable producers of our time, Swizz hails from the northeast Bronx and remains heavily involved in the borough’s culture as does his wife, Alicia Keys.

Grandmaster Flash

Grand Master Flash pioneered not only the origins of hip hop from his home in Hunts Point and elsewhere, but also revolutionized DJ techniques of scratching, looping and beat breaking during his prime of the 1980s, 90s and even beyond.

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