Hip-hop has been bridging cultural gaps since the early 1980s, when the music and art form spread from New York City to the world. Now, people from all walks of life participate in hip-hop, and since we're in the middle of National Hispanic Heritage Month, we'd like to look at the contributions and influence from the game's best Latino and Hispanic MCs.
In no particular order (because we just couldn't pick our favorites -- except Pun, he'll will always be #1), here are 18 of the most influential Latino rappers in hip-hop.
1. Big Pun
There were a number of Latino rappers who came before Pun, but the Puerto Rican spitter was the first solo Latin MC to go platinum. He made hits and never sacrificed his lyrical ability. Not only was he the greatest Latino spitter of all-time, he holds his place among all the greats.
The Cypress Hill frontman has been at it for nearly 25 years. Not only has B-Real influenced a whole slew of rappers (and stoners), the Mexican and Cuban MC is one of hip-hop's best performers ever.
To earn his first major look on the "Fast and Furious" soundtrack, Pitbull had to battle Ruff Ryders rapper Drag-On, and he's been repping for Latinos ever since. You can't have a list of Latino rappers without Mr. 305.
4. Fat Joe
You have to salute the Don Cartagena. Not only does he have a number of hits under his name ("We Thuggin," "What's Luv"), he has a catalog full of underground bangers too ("The Sh-- is Real" and "Lifestyle"). Outside of the studio, he heads Terror Squad and has brought us artists like Big Pun, DJ Khaled and Cool & Dre.
The Superthug is super-proud of his Puerto Rican heritage, and when he dropped 2004's "Oye Mi Canto," he sung it loud and repped for all Latinos across the globe.
Bet you didn't know Fab was part-Latino, did you? His mom is African-American, his dad is Dominican and Loso is just all-around dope. This Brooklyn MC is one of the cleverest lyricists spitting.
7. Kid Frost
Frost gave Mexican-American hip-hop fans someone to identify with in the 1990s with his single "La Raza," and he's still contributing to hip-hop through his son Scoop DeVille, who has produced for Busta Rhymes, Eminem, Kendrick Lamar and Drake.
8. Immortal Technique
Born in Peru, Tech has become one of hip-hop's most important voices. His social and political commentary follows in the tradition of Public Enemy and Dead Prez.
9. Juelz Santana
The half-Dominican MC in undeniable on the mic.
10. Prince Markie Dee
Markie Dee got his start in the 1980s with the Fat Boys and was one of the first rappers to make it to Hollywood, starring in "Krush Groove" and "Disorderlies." He launched a solo rap career in the 1990s, but then moved behind-the-scenes writing songs for Jennifer Lopez, Mary J. Blige and Marc Anthony. He's also a radio host in Miami.
11. Lloyd Banks
50 Cent's protege also reps for the Latinos. The half-Puerto Rican spitter has a number of platinum and gold plaques to his credit and is currently enjoying a comeback run with G-Unit.
12. Joell Ortiz
You'll be hard-pressed to find a rapper more lyrical than Joell Ortiz -- unless you look at the other members of his Slaughterhouse crew, then you'll have a debate.
13. Chino XL
With almost 20 years in the game, Chino XL is still one of hip-hop's most lethal lyricists.
14. Prince Whipper Whip
As a member of the Fantastic Romantic 5, Prince Whipper Whip was a pioneering MC in the 1980s and inspired a number of the Latino artists who came after him.
15. The Beatnuts
Psycho Les and Juju made their mark as rappers and producers and introduced the mainstream to Big Pun on their 1997 single "Off the Books."
16. Jim Jones
Not only is Jim Jones part Puerto Rican, his middle name is Guillermo -- and it doesn't get more Latino than that. The Dipset spitter has given us a ton of hits to dance to and has a impeccable sense of style. He starred in "Love & Hip Hop" and his own spin-off VH1 reality series and brought us Max B. Give him his credit.
AZ a.k.a. Anthony Cruz made his rap debut as the only feature on Nas' classic Illmatic back in 1994. Since then, the Brooklyn MC has released 8 solo albums and one with Nas' super group, the Firm, with Foxy Brown and Nature.
18. Snow tha Product
The Mexican-American Cali rapper is just getting warmed up, but she's providing inspiration for Latinas everywhere, proving that it isn't just an all-boys club. And when her BET Hip Hop Award show cypher airs on October 14, she's sure to get folks talking. Trust, us.