Biz Markie was an American rapper best known for his composition “Just a Friend“, which is on the Pitchfork 500.
Gift of Gab was an American singer-songwriter working in hip hop music.
MF Doom, who was also born in 1971, died a couple of months ago. Both him and Gift of Gab were known for their multisyllabic rhymes.
The most inspiring figure in hip hop today is Madlib.
Malik B. was an American rapper and singer who was a founding member of The Roots.
Although he did some solo work, his most interesting work was with that group, where he was a rapper rather than a song-writer.
If you are unfamiliar with the work of The Roots, check “The Seed” (2002).