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The Hip Hop of Punk Rock

Hip-hop, like punk, was from the streets. It

was always more of an emotional vehicle than a musical one. So it makes sense that you would someday see them aligned with each other. - Tom Delonge, of blink-182/ Angels & Airwaves


Let's face it, the genre known as hip-hop music or sometimes referred to as "rap music" has dominated the airwaves and movie screens for almost 50 years now. From 70's Godfathers of hip-hop like Grandmaster Flash and Russell Simmons whose new innovations and brilliant minds paved the way for hundreds of rappers proceeding them to the modern day artists who integrate other genres and variants into their songs which continue to innovate, inspire and expand the massive fan base of the culture.

Hip-hop has spilled over into many sub-genres over the latter part of 30 years, dipping its eager toe in unfamiliar waters back in the 80's with songs like Blondie's song Rapture and the unforgettable cross collaboration with Run-D.M.C. and Aerosmith on Aerosmith's 1975 hit "Walk This Way" to full fledged cannon balling in the pool with bands like The Beastie Boys who exploded in 1986 with their album "Licensed to Ill."

From beginning to end, the 90's brought on cross collaborations, innovations, and countless hits from 1991's remake of Public Enemy's "Bring The Noise" with metal band Anthrax to 1993's Judgement Day soundtrack which brought on collaborations with artists like Cypress Hill & Pearl Jam and Slayer & Ice-T. The newly developing sub-genre known as rap rock hit in the late 90's with bands like Limp Bizkit, and Kid Rock, and Bloodhound Gang which crossed pop, rock, and rap.

Rap Metal merged hip-hop and metal music together with bands like Rage Against the Machine and Linkin Park while rappers like Eminem cross collaborated with pop singers Dido in 2000 for his single "Stan" off "The Marshall Mathers LP".

Eminem Warped Tour 99'

The genre didn't slow down at the drop of the new millennium with artists like The Gorillaz, P.O.D. and Linkin Park emerging, whom all gained platinum success throughout the next decade.

So how can we narrow down which bands "paved the way" for others in the punk rock world? Do we rate it by the amount of trendy punk fans wearing Wu-Tang and N.W.A. t-shirts? OR do we rate them by the amount of punk bands whose influences were based on one or more of these hip-hop groups?

Each answer is subjective, so I decided to base this sheerly on artists and groups who have a clear history of either being around the punk scene and/or have made a made a significant difference in the lives of artists and fans of the punk genre.


*In no particular order

Body Count

Los Angeles, CA hardcore metal/hip-hop group Body Count started in 1990. Fronted by Ice-T, the band has spent the last decade or so dishing out records and sparking controversy starting with their self-titled album with single "Cop Killer" when it was seen as an attack against the entire police force. The band appeared at giant rock fests like Lollapalooza and the Vans Warped Tour.



"Encore/Numb." ThrillerBlueprintTakeover"The Take Over, The Breaks Over"It's no secret that Jay-Z has dominated the hip-hop charts over the last 2 decades, but his collaborations with huge rock bands like Linkin Park and Coldplay have earned him a spot in the pop-punk and punk community. Jay-Z ended up doing a split album with Linkin Park called "Collision Course" which mashed up their songs, most notably the song ". In his album "" with the opening lyrics of the 2nd verse being Jay-Z even executive produced Fall Out Boy's 2007 album "Infinity on High" also guesting in the opening track of the record " a reference to a track off of FOB's "Infinity on High" album." he gave a subliminal reference to Fall Out Boy in the song "


Linkin Park

Talk to any handful of musicians over the last decade and ask them what artists influence them and at least 1 will say Linkin Park. This band has dominated airwaves over the last 2 decades with 11 billboard #1 singles in alternative charts, being the 2nd only band in history to do so, and Selling 27 MIL copies of Hybrid Theory which have shipped worldwide. So what does this have to do with hip-hop? The band single handedly dominated the rap/rock genre with Hybrid Theory at the dawn of the new millennium with tracks like Crawling and In The End all the way to 2017’s One More Light. They hooked up with Jay-Z in the early 2000's with a split EP and headlined massive tours with rock and raps greatest. After the tragic death of lead singer Chester Bennington hip hop and rock alike paid their respects from artists like Lil Uzi Vert and Machine Gun Kelly to Travis Barker and Chance The Rapper.


Rage Against The Machine

In the early 90's very few bands did what RATM did as a hip-hop/metal group. With only 8 lines of lyrics the band completely transformed the feeling of anger, the will to fight and being sick and tired of being told what to do. The song "Killing in the Name Of" made them triple platinum stars, headlining big arena shows like Lollapalooza and Woodstock 99' while at the same time doing gigantic hip hop tours with bands like Wu-Tang Clan and Public Enemy. The band has had an on and off hiatus status, and in 2016 started "Prophets of Rage" with 3 original members, Chuck D of Public enemy and B-Real of Cypress Hill, where they covered songs from Rage, Public Enemy and Cypress.


Gym Class Heroes

You might not know the song "Breakfast in America" by SuperTramp, but you definitely know their catchy chorus. It was sampled into the Gym Class Heroes song Cupid's Chokehold, ya know, that part "Take a look at my girlfriend..." that was sung by Patrick Stump of Fall Out Boy. It was stuck in our heads and splattered all over every radio station on constant rotation. The band started way back in 98' when a couple of kids met up in high school. The guys did 4 rounds of Warped Tour and put out 2 EPs until thei claim to fame happened with "The Papercut Chronicles" where they hit fame with Cupid's Chokehold". The song peaked at #4 on the billboard charts, hung out at #1 on Billboard's Top 40, and #3 on UK singles and Canadian hot 100.



If you've never heard of Quarashi before, then you might mistaken them for the Beastie Boys. The band started all the way back in 1996 in Iceland. They did a stint of tours all over Iceland until 2000 whenever Time Bomb Recordings picked them up after some negotiations. They signed to Sony Music later that year under Columbia records. The first album was produced by Cypress Hill's DJ Muggs and Brendan O'Brien who recorded The Red Hot Chili Peppers. The band moved to New York and debuted "Stick "Em UP" in promotion for an upcoming tour. In 2002 Quarishi's biggest hits came out with the album Jinx which featured "Mr. Jinx, Baseline, and Dive In" among others. Spin magazine named the band "Bands to Watch" in 2002. They made circulation on tv shows, commercials and video games including NFL Blitz and Smallville.


Childish Gambino

Childish Gambino is better known as Donald Glover, the actor and writer who got his start as a writer on 30 Rock and after a Wu-Tang name generator claimed the name Childish Gambino. He put out a few mix tapes while writing for TV and had a big break with his 2011 album Camp. He was nominated for a Grammy in 2016 with "Awake, My Love!" getting inspiration from 70's and 80's soul and funk stating that the album wasn't "punk enough". Let's hope the next one is.



one In 2001 Tim Armstrong of Rancid started recording songs in his basement with friends Rob Aston and blink-182's Travis Barker, with help from artists of AFI and The Distillers, they finished their self titled album along with positive criticism, a US tour and a stint on the Vans Warped Tour. The band went on a temporary hiatus until 2004 until their album Haunted Cities. The band went on another hiatus all the way until 2010 when the band released a cover album with songs from the Circle Jerks, Unwritten Law and Cypress Hill. Their hip hop fame got them noticed by artists like Snoop Dogg who featured them on the show Dogg Fizzle Telivizzle and on th Lorielle commercial, (ya, that one.)


Lil Peep

Lorielle Before his untimely death in 2017, Lil Peep blew up on the music social media platform SoundCloud. He was the driving force to post emo hip-hop dubbed a "cloud rapper". Cloud rappers simply post their music on SoundCloud and get big through hits. His first single alone got 4000 plays in the first week. Peep's live shows were a mix between hip hop overdubbed with rock, punk and his own. He was known to cover songs from blink-182 and even got a post humous shout out for the band following his accidental overdose in 2017.


Beastie Boys

The group started out as a punk rock trio in the 80s. Michael "Mike D" Diamond (vocals, drums), Adam "MCA" Yauch (vocals, bass) and Adam "Ad-Rock" Horovitz (vocals, guitar). They kept their punk roots but soon started mixing and dubbing in hop-hop beats with a DJ in the mid 80's after hiring a DJ to play live shows with them. The DJ became a permanent staple, which catapulted them with their unique schtick, and niche. After the success of their song "Cookie Puss" hip hop legend Russell Simmons nabbed the boys up to do a record. License to Ill dropped in 1986 with their biggest songs to date like "Fight for your right to party," and "No sleep til Brooklyn," which nabbed #7 and #14 spots on the billboard charts.


Cypress Hill

The band got their start in the mid 90's touring with hip-hop/punk groups like Beastie Boys and Wu-Tang Clan. Most memorably their known for the song "Insane in the brain." They played at huge headlining shows like Woodstock 94' and Lollapalooza gaining them recognition among the rock community. Touring with bands like blink-182, MxPx and The Offspring, the punks soon followed. They nabbed billboard fame with their first album and went certified triple platinum by RIAA with their 3rd album "Temple of Broom". The band still continues to play collaborating with EMD artists like Deadmau5.



huge Marshall Mathers opened up the floodgates for white rappers when the world was introduced to the Slim Shady EP in 99. That same year he started working on the Marshall Mathers LP and also doing a stint on the Vans Warped Tour with the likes of blink-182 and Pennywise. While still rap battling in Michigan NWA founder Dr. Dre nabbed him up and they started working together. He crossed over into "pop" when he worked with artists like Dido and Elton John and has been known to collaborate and tour with Bob Segar, Madonna and Weird Al. Eminem played himself in the 8 Mile movie which was made inspired by his life in Detroit and his rise to fame.

Honorable Mentions


I know that there are a ton more artists that I missed. These are just some of the ones that I'm super familiar with.

- Do you like the list?

- What hip-hop bands/artists/groups do you think influence and drive the punk and pop-punk scene?

-If you listen to hip-hop do you listen to punk and vise versa?

- The Pop Punk Dad features artists from all around the globe. Email me awesome bands or YOUR BAND at:

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