On 11 August 1973, DJ Kool Herc was the DJ at his sister's back-to-school party. He extended the beat of a record by using two record players, isolating the percussion "breaks" by using a mixer to switch between the two records. Herc's experiments with making music with record players became what we now know as breaking or "scratching".
- DJ Kool Herc - Clive Campbell, called a "founding father of hip hop"
- Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five - were an American hip hop group formed in the South Bronx of New York City in 1976. Composed of one DJ (Grandmaster Flash) and five rappers (Melle Mel, The Kidd Creole, Keith Cowboy, Mr. Ness/Scorpio, and Rahiem), the group's use of turntablism, break-beat deejaying, and conscious lyricism were significant in the early development of hip hop music.
- Fab Five Freddy - Fred Brathwaite, In the late 1980s, Fab 5 Freddy became the first host of the groundbreaking and first internationally telecast hip-hop music video show Yo! MTV Raps.
- Marley Marl - Marlon Williams, he is credited with influencing a number of Hip Hop icons such as RZA, DJ Premier, and Pete Rock.
- Afrika Bambaataa - Kevin Donovan, he is notable for releasing a series of genre-defining electro tracks in the 1980s that influenced the development of hip hop culture. Afrika Bambaataa is one of the originators of breakbeat DJing and is respectfully known as "The Godfather" and "Amen Ra of Hip Hop Kulture", as well as the father of electro funk. Through his co-opting of the street gang the Black Spades into the music and culture-oriented Universal Zulu Nation, he has helped spread hip hop culture throughout the world.
- Kool Moe Dee - Mohandas Dewese, he was one of the first rappers to earn a Grammy Award and was the first rapper to perform at the Grammys.
- Kurtis Blow - Kurtis Walker, he is the first commercially successful rapper and the first to sign with a major record label. "The Breaks", a single from his 1980 self-titled debut album, is the first certified gold record rap song. Throughout his career he has released 15 albums and is currently an ordained minister.
- Doug E. Fresh - Douglas E. Davis, is a Barbadian born American rapper, record producer, and beatboxer, also known as the Human Beat Box. The pioneer of 20th-century American beatboxing, Fresh is able to accurately imitate drum machines and various special effects using only his mouth, lips, gums, throat, tongue and a microphone.
- Whodini - The Brooklyn, New York-based trio consisted of vocalist and main lyricist Jalil Hutchins; co-vocalist John Fletcher, a.k.a. Ecstasy (who wore a Zorro-style hat as his trademark); and turntable artist DJ Drew Carter, a.k.a. Grandmaster Dee.
- Warp 9 - a science fiction themed electro-funk and hip hop trio, best known for their influential singles "Nunk," "Light Years Away," and "Beat Wave," ranks among the most iconic groups of the electro hip hop era. Described as the "perfect instance of hip hop's contemporary ramifications," Warp 9 was the brainchild of writer-producers Lotti Golden and Richard Scher. The duo wrote and recorded under the moniker Warp 9, a production project at the forefront of the electro movement. Warp 9 evolved from a studio concept into a band when Prism Records expressed interest in releasing Nunk as a single. Golden & Scher invited drummer Chuck Wansley and percussionist Boe Brown to perform the male vocals and rhymes. Later, a female vocalist was added to the group; Ada Dyre performed vocals and rhymes for Warp 9's second single, "Light Years Away." The group released two albums, It's a Beat Wave (1983), (Island Records), a street themed testament exploring the topics of science fiction, hip hop and mixing, and Fade In, Fade Out (Motown), (1986), a soul R&B oriented montage.
- The Fat Boys - The group was briefly known originally as the Disco 3 and the members, namely Mark Morales a.k.a. "Prince Markie Dee", Damon Wimbley a.k.a. "Kool Rock-Ski", and Darren Robinson a.k.a. "Buff Love" a.k.a. "The Human Beat Box" (June 10, 1967 – December 10, 1995)
- Spoonie Gee - Gabriel Jackson, he has been credited with originating the term hip hop and some of the themes in his music were precursors of gangsta rap.