Rappers and autobiographies share a natural synergy, as the essence of Hip Hop is rooted in storytelling, personal expression, and a reflection of one’s environment and experiences. The genre has often served as a voice for the marginalized and a platform for artists to narrate their struggles and triumphs. This makes a rapper's literary retelling of their lives particularly compelling, as it offers readers an intimate glimpse into who and what helped shape them into the people they are today.

One of the key factors is a creative's ability to articulate complex emotions and experiences through music. For example, Kendrick Lamar’s Pulitzer Prize-winning album, DAMN., is a testament to his profound storytelling and introspection. An autobiography from Lamar could delve deeper into his upbringing in Compton, his artistic evolution, and the cultural and political influences that permeate his work. Similarly, J. Cole’s approach to music, often touching on social issues and personal growth, suggests that his autobiography would be filled with deep reflections and insights into his journey from North Carolina to global stardom.

The unique and often turbulent life stories of rappers also contribute to the appeal. Cardi B’s rise from a stripper and reality TV star to a Grammy-winning artist speaks to unwavering resilience and determination. Her candidness and unapologetic personality would translate into a raw and engaging memoir complete with an unfiltered look at the challenges she overcame. Megan Thee Stallion’s rapid ascent in the industry, coupled with her personal battles and her role as a trailblazer for women in Hip Hop, would provide a similarly powerful narrative.

REVOLT put together a list of 15 artists whose past experiences would translate well as an autobiography. Check them out below.

1. Swizz Beatz

Before achieving fame and success as a prominent music producer and artist, Swizz Beatz, born Kasseem Dean, grew up in South Bronx, New York. Dean's early exposure to Hip Hop culture came from his neighborhood, where the genre was born and thrived. Despite facing adversity, he found solace and inspiration in music, thanks in part to his uncles, Joaquin “Waah” and Darrin “Dee” Dean, the heads of the pioneering Ruff Ryders label. He began his journey into music production as a teenager, and his combination of raw talent, early mentorship, and relentless drive laid the foundation for his future success.

2. T.I.

Clifford Joseph Harris Jr., known professionally as T.I., grew up in the rough Bankhead neighborhood of Atlanta, Georgia. Raised by his grandparents, T.I. (who previously went by his childhood nickname, Tip) experienced the harsh realities of street life from a young age, which deeply influenced his future music. By his early teens, he had already been involved in drug dealing. He began rapping as a child and quickly gained a reputation for his lyrical prowess and charismatic delivery. His early life, marked by struggle and resilience, laid the groundwork for his later success.

3. Foxy Brown

Foxy Brown, born Inga DeCarlo Fung Marchand, grew up in Brooklyn, New York in a turbulent Caribbean-American family. Brown's talent for rapping was said to have been evident early on, and she frequently participated in local talent shows and neighborhood battles. This perseverance and early dedication to her craft laid the foundation for her breakout success during rap’s golden era.

4. Drake

Aubrey Drake Graham, known simply as Drake, led a life marked by unique experiences and early exposure to the entertainment industry. His parents divorced when he was five, and he was raised primarily by his mother in Toronto's affluent Forest Hill neighborhood, though his father, musician Dennis Graham, remained a significant influence. As a youth, he landed a role on the popular teen drama series "Degrassi: The Next Generation.” This period of his life, characterized by a balance of acting and eventually pursuing his musical dreams, laid the groundwork for his future as one of the most influential artists in multiple genres.

5. André 3000

Before achieving fame and success as one half of the iconic duo OutKast, André 3000, born André Lauren Benjamin, experienced a transformative journey shaped by his upbringing in Atlanta, Georgia. Raised by a single mother who worked as a real estate agent, André moved frequently throughout the city's diverse neighborhoods, including East Point and Buckhead. In high school, he met Antwan "Big Boi" Patton, and the two bonded over their shared love of Hip Hop and creative expression.

6. Nas

Nasir Jones, known to the world as Nas, grew up in NYC’s Queensbridge Houses, the largest public housing project in North America. Born to jazz musician father Olu Dara and a postal worker mother, Nas was exposed to a diverse array of music and culture from a young age. Poverty, crime, and systemic challenges profoundly influenced his worldview and artistic voice. Nas dropped out of school in the eighth grade but continued his education through self-study, delving into literature, history, and the Five-Percent Nation teachings. Mentored by his neighbor, producer Large Professor, Nas began to craft his signature style – complex, poetic, and deeply reflective. These formative years, filled with both inspiration and adversity, laid the groundwork for his legendary future as a rap legend.

7. Cardi B

Before achieving fame and success, Belcalis Marlenis Almánzar, known as Cardi B, navigated a challenging upbringing in the Highbridge neighborhood of South Bronx, New York City. Born to a Dominican father and Trinidadian mother, Cardi B experienced poverty and violence firsthand in her neighborhood, which was notorious for its rough streets and high crime rates. She began working at a young age, taking on various jobs to help support her family. Her journey from strip clubs to social media fame eventually led to her breakout success with the hit single "Bodak Yellow,” catapulting her to international stardom and establishing her as a trailblazing figure in contemporary Hip Hop.

8. Kanye West

Kanye West was largely shaped by his upbringing in Chicago, Illinois. Born to Donda West, an English professor, and Ray West, a former Black Panther turned photojournalist, Ye showed a passion for art and music at an early age. Early experiences include a near-fatal car accident that inspired his single, "Through the Wire," which fueled his determination to pursue a career in music despite initial skepticism from the industry. Kanye's creativity and unyielding self-confidence eventually led him to Roc-A-Fella Records. The rest is history.

9. Scar Lip

Brooklyn-raised Sierra Lucas, who goes by the moniker Scar Lip, began writing poetry at a young age. Tragically, she lost her mother in a hit-and-run accident at a young age. Not long after, she gained a distinctive scar on her lip when her brother struck her, an event that would inspire her stage name. Enduring abuse from her aunt and uncle, she was eventually expelled from their home and placed in foster care, leading to a turbulent period shuttling between homes and detention centers across Pennsylvania and Coney Island. Sierra found solace and inspiration in music, influenced by rapper DMX, and gained attention via early drops like "Therapy” and "Suicide Awareness.”

10. Kendrick Lamar

Compton, California’s Kendrick Lamar Duckworth navigated a challenging upbringing marked by the pervasive influence of street life and gang culture. Raised in a neighborhood rife with violence and poverty, Lamar witnessed the harsh realities of his environment firsthand. Despite the adversity, his family kept him stabilized and instilled in him a strong sense of faith and values. In his early teens, Lamar began recording mixtapes under the moniker K. Dot and drew inspiration from West Coast legends like Tupac Shakur and Dr. Dre. His formative years were shaped by personal losses and challenges, but they also laid the foundation for his future success as a critically acclaimed artist and cultural icon.

11. J. Cole

J. Cole, born Jermaine Lamarr Cole in Frankfurt, Germany, spent his formative years in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Raised by a single mother in a working-class neighborhood, Cole faced financial hardships that shaped his early life. Despite the challenges, he found solace in music, teaching himself to play the piano at a young age and developing a passion for storytelling through rap. Cole's academic prowess earned him a scholarship to St. John's University in New York City, where he studied communications and honed his skills as a lyricist and producer.

12. Megan Thee Stallion

Megan Thee Stallion, born Megan Jovon Ruth Pete in Houston, Texas, was raised by her mother, who was also a rapper known as Holly-Wood. As such, she was exposed to Hip Hop from a young age and developed a passion for performing and storytelling. Despite facing personal tragedy — her mother passed away from a brain tumor — she remained determined to continue her musical aspirations. Megan attended Prairie View A&M University, where she studied health administration, balancing her academic pursuits with her burgeoning career as an artist. Drawing inspiration from Houston legends like Pimp C and her mother's influence, Megan honed her skills and developed her confident and empowering persona as Megan Thee Stallion.

13. Dr. Dre

Before achieving fame and monumental success in the music industry, Dr. Dre, born Andre Romelle Young in Compton, California, was raised primarily by his single mother in a low-income neighborhood plagued by gang violence. He began experimenting with DJing and music production in his teenage years, honing his skills and developing a deep passion for creating beats and crafting sounds that would later define the West Coast Hip Hop sound.

14. Tyler, The Creator

Tyler, The Creator was born Tyler Gregory Okonma in Ladera Heights, California and was raised by a single mother in a diverse community. Tyler struggled with behavioral issues and was often perceived as an outsider during his formative years. Despite these challenges, he found an outlet in music and taught himself to play piano at a young age. Inspired by artists like Pharrell Williams and Eminem, Tyler began creating his own beats and crafting lyrics that reflected his complex emotions and unconventional perspective on life.

15. Nicki Minaj

Onika Tanya Maraj – known by her Barbz fanbase as Nicki Minaj – hails from Saint James, Trinidad and Tobago. At a young age, she moved with her family to Queens, New York, where they faced economic hardships. She attended LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts and, initially, pursued a career in acting and studied drama. Her journey from a young girl with big dreams to an international superstar exemplifies the transformative power of pursuing one's passions despite adversity.