Rappers and R&B singers can pursue a variety of career routes to break their way into the industry. Some start as independent artists, while others excel as feature artists, writers, producers, dancers or even roadies. However, many musical legends began their journeys in groups. While these can be quite successful, going solo often allows for more creative freedom. Artists can illustrate their talents on another level.

Solo careers highlight each artist's musical talents and can even seal their place in music history. From the seductive harmonies of R&B to the hard-hitting lines of Hip Hop, let us celebrate those who broke away from their groups and found success as solo stars.

1. Beyoncé / Destiny’s Child

Beyoncé began her illustrious career as the lead singer of Destiny's Child, one of the best-selling girl groups of all time. Stepping into the spotlight alone, she redefined modern music with her debut album, Dangerously in Love, Over the years, Beyoncé has become one of the biggest names in the industry, known for her powerful vocals and unforgettable performances. Queen Bey’s influence transcends music, which makes her a global icon and an unstoppable force in pop culture.

2. Bobby Brown / New Edition

Initially part of the R&B group New Edition, Bobby Brown often faced ridicule for his lifestyle after leaving the group. Confident that he would be great on his own, the new jack swing pioneer proved everyone wrong with "My Prerogative," a standout track from his second album, Don't Be Cruel. This hit showcased Brown’s defiance alongside his undeniable talent and charisma as a solo artist. Despite the challenges he faced, his solo career soared and established him as a prominent figure in the world of R&B.

3. Michael Jackson / The Jackson 5

The King of Pop rose to fame as a member of The Jackson 5 before embarking on an unparalleled solo career. Noted as one of the greatest performers in history, Michael Jackson mesmerized audiences with his electrifying stage presence and innovative dance moves. With over 75 million records sold worldwide, his impact on music is immeasurable. His groundbreaking albums and timeless hits solidify his legacy as a global sensation that transcends generation and genre. Jackson's indisputable talent and influence continue to inspire artists around the world.

4. Omarion / B2K

Known for his beautiful voice and smooth dance moves, Omarion first came to fame as a member of the R&B quartet B2K. After the group broke up, the California native nurtured a prosperous solo career. His debut album, O, sold over 182,000 copies in its first week and debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard charts. Fortunately for the industry, his ballads and dance singles continue to fascinate audiences worldwide.

5. Jeezy / U.S.D.A.

Jeezy has firmly established himself as the rap game's Snowman and every rapper's favorite trapper. With an extensive number of hits under his belt, the Atlanta-based artist has proven himself equally as a solo artist and as a member of the rap group U.S.D.A. His first solo album, Let's Get It: Thug Motivation 101, is two-time platinum certified and has sold over 2 million copies. Aside from music, he is also a New York Times best-selling author.

6. Lauryn Hill / Fugees

In the ’90s, Lauryn Hill carved her own path with the Fugees. After the trio separated, she released her solo masterpiece, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. This album, certified diamond and having sold over 10 million copies worldwide, has become a staple of Hip Hop and R&B. Tracks such as "Ex-Factor" and "Doo Wop (That Thing)" remain popular. Her evident impact on the industry is undeniable.

7. Ice Cube / N.W.A.

As a member of N.W.A., Ice Cube popularized gangsta rap and wrote most of the tracks for the group’s legendary album Straight Outta Compton. After feuding with group members and management, the rapper went solo. He released several successful albums like AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted. Beyond music, the multi-hyphenate ventured into acting, film production and even sports, founding the Big3 basketball league.

8. Big Boi / Outkast

As one-half of the legendary Outkast, Big Boi rocked the ’90s alongside André 3000 by releasing classics like "Ms. Jackson" and "Rosa Parks." Since 2007, he's been flexing his solo skills with albums like Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty and BOOMIVERSE. Big Boi even joined forces with the electric rock duo Phantogram to form the supergroup Big Grams. Always pushing the envelope, the Georgia-born artist keeps proving his undeniable impact on the music scene.

9. Method Man / Wu-Tang Clan

Method Man is more than simply a Wu-Tang Clan member. He's forged a powerful route beyond the group's heritage. In the ’90s, the New York rapper built a partnership with his friend Redman, which ultimately shook up the music scene. Plus, winning a Grammy Award for his duet with Mary J. Blige was only one of the highlights of his solo career. Let's not forget about his acting skills — Method Man appeared in masterpieces such as "The Wire" and The Breaks. His versatility also shines through in characters such as Davis MacLean in "Power Book II: Ghost."

10. 2 Chainz / Playaz Circle

Formerly known as Tity Boi from Playaz Circle, 2 Chainz piqued Ludacris' attention and signed to Disturbing Tha Peace Records. Their 2007 song "Duffle Bag Boy" featuring Lil Wayne catapulted the duo into the limelight. Despite their success, 2 Chainz continued to hone his art by releasing mixtapes until his 2012 solo debut, B ased On A T.R.U. Story.

11. JadaKiss / The LOX

Jadakiss started out with The LOX under Diddy's Bad Boy Entertainment. The group then joined Ruff Ryders and released the hit song "Ryde Or Die, B****." His legendary Verzuz battle with The LOX and Dipset reminded Hip Hop fans why he’s the truth. In 2001, Jadakiss made breakthroughs with his solo debut, Kiss Tha Game Goodbye, which featured hits such as "We Gonna Make It" and "Knock Yourself Out." His second studio album, Kiss Of Death stood out as an influential occasion in his career. The 2004 album received gold certification in the United States by selling more than 500,000 units.

12. Wyclef Jean / Fugees

Wyclef Jean began his career as a founding member of the Fugees, alongside Hill and Pras Michel. Although the band was extremely successful with two albums, they disbanded, which allowed the Haitian artist to release many solo albums. He also became a well-known producer and writer for musicians such as Shakira, Whitney Houston and many more.

13. Dr. Dre / N.W.A.

The founder of N.W.A. and mastermind behind some of their biggest hits, Dr. Dre made an indelible mark on the group’s discography with his production. After the Compton ensemble split, he began his solo career with the classic 1992 album, The Chronic. The Death Row Records co-founder didn't stop there; he helped build the careers of Snoop Dogg and Warren G, and eventually established Aftermath Entertainment. Dr. Dre also signed artists such as Eminem, 50 Cent, Kendrick Lamar, and Anderson .Paak to the label. He expanded his empire by creating Beats By Dre headphones and eventually became one of the richest and most influential Hip Hop moguls of all time.

14. Juicy J / Three 6 Mafia

Juicy J established himself as a founding member of Three 6 Mafia in the early 1990s and released singles such as "Stay Fly" and the Academy Award-winning "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp." Fast forward to 2009, Juicy J chose to pursue a solo career by working with artists such as Wiz Khalifa and producer Mike WiLL Made-It. Beyond his own talents, Juicy J's expertise as a songwriter and producer shines through. He’s created beats for major artists such as Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj, T.I. and more.

15. André 3000 / Outkast

When André 3000 and Big Boi formed Outkast, they took the music game by storm. While the group released their Speakerboxxx/The Love Below album, Three Stacks’ solo songs "Hey Ya" and "Roses" captured the spotlight. The Atlanta-based rapper has collaborated with major artists including UGK, Frank Ocean, Beyoncé and Anderson .Paak since his previous group efforts while maintaining his distinct flow and flair throughout the mix.

16. Kelly Rowland / Destiny’s Child

Kelly Rowland's journey from Destiny's Child to solo stardom is a testament to her enduring talent and charisma. With her albums Ms. Kelly, Here I Am and Talk a Good Game, she gave her fans the main character energy they’ve always wanted to see. Chart-topping singles like "Motivation," "Kisses Down Low" and "Like This" prove that she has carved out a distinctive musical identity that resonates with audiences worldwide. The singer’s collaborations, including the iconic "Dilemma" with Nelly and the sultry "ICE" featuring Lil Wayne, showcase her versatility and ability to transcend genres. Beyond her musical achievements, Rowland's influence extends into acting, television and philanthropy, which makes her a multifaceted powerhouse in the entertainment industry.