2013 I Am Hip Hop Hall of Fame

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Nas

Year of Honor: 2006

It seems contradictory to award a man who proclaimed hip hop to be dead in an album title (which was released the same year he received this award) with the first I Am Hip Hop award. However, hip hop as a culture has always been at odds with itself and no artist has ever embodied that struggle better than Nas. Hailing from Queensbridge, NY, his highly-lauded debut album, Illmatic, was credited with ushering in a new era of rap music whose effect can still be heard today.

(Photo: Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images)

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