For every rapper, there's a goal, whether it be to get signed to a major label, to get in the booth with their heroes, or to tour the country and the world on a successful record. And when you're on the come-up, it can seem like the gravy train never stops rolling. But regardless of the journey taken or the number of years or songs it takes to really make it as a rapper, the entire journey is a rollercoaster that takes an artist through highs, lows and everything in between. XXL asked 11 rappers, from OGs to up and comers, from mixtape kings to those who invented entire genres, from major label icons to independent hustlers, if they could pinpoint a high point in their career, a moment that they can look back at and say, "That was great." Peaks and valleys. —XXL Staff


Tech N9ne

Tech N9ne: : I couldn’t believe that Wayne hit me up for Tha Carter IV. And never met me. Couldn’t believe that. I’ve always been the outcast. The dude with the facepaint. Everybody thought I was a devil worshipper. The weird guy who rapped backwards. Nobody does that shit. I’ve always been the weirdo dude. When somebody of that stature—I’m independent. I use my own money, me and Travis [O'Guin, co-founder of Strange Music], you know. These motherfuckers are filthy rich. He was in jail at the time, this nigga is sitting on a lot. He can work with anybody he want to and Funkmaster Flex asked him, “Who do you want to work with?” He said, “Andre 3000 and my man Tech N9ne.” Wow.



Rapsody: : The BET cypher was definitely one—that was big. To be on that stage in front of that many people, that was a big moment. I knew when I wrote [the "Queen of New York" lyric] that people were gonna take this to the left. But I had fun with it; I thought it was funny. Everybody that I've worked with is a highlight; you get to feed off their energy, you learn something new from everybody. To work with people like Common, that's a highlight. I grew up, he's one of my biggest influences outside Jay, Lauryn and Mos, so that's a crazy highlight. Rock The Bells, to be put on that this year. Especially being a female, coming into it early and seeing the differences of it, and then coming out of it now and seeing how you can change someone's perception and just create a lane—just to read people's comments, "Oh, I didn't think females could rap," or, "I put females in this box until I heard this song." That's a highlight for me, because that was one of the reasons I got into it.


Big Boi

Big Boi: : I don't think I've reached it yet. I'm still a student of the game, man. Right now, I'm just in that stage where I'm just having fun.

big boi mannion


Curren$y: : I think when I put New Jet City together last year and how fast the features came back. Like, the people I reached out to give me verses, and I got the stuff back and I realized the kinda respect that people had for me in the game was equal to the respect I had for them. You never know how people feel about you. You always know what you would do. If they called upon you, you always know what you would do. But when I reached out, everybody turned around just how I would and got the music back to me and helped me put together a big project that people are still talking about today. And I put it out last year around this time, so that’s why everybody’s anticipating The Drive In Theatre, because I really haven’t done a solo project since then, since New Jet City, so we’ll see what happens.


Lil Durk

Lil Durk: : My highest point is making music. I ain’t even lie, dropping Signed To The Streets was my highest point. That’s how you get more shows and more money coming in. More interviews.



RiFF RAFF: : High point? That isn’t here yet. It’s going to be when my album drop [scheduled for April].


Fredo Santana

Fredo Santana: : My high point in my career is my work ethic. You feel me? Can’t nobody work hard as me. I want to do what I want to do. I’m gonna do what I wanna do. My work ethic. I’m determined. That’s what I got to do. When you determined and this is what you gotta do, I’m determined that I gotta rap and build my name for myself. So I gotta do what I gotta do.


MC Lyte

MC Lyte: : High was during "Ruffneck" [in 1993], all the way up to that point. It was great and I was nominated for a Grammy and it was just a spectacular time.

MCLyte_I AM Hip-Hop

Killer Mike

Killer Mike: : It has been R.A.P. Music, since. I haven't even reached my high point yet—I'm on my way there. So in 2015 I'll probably be better suited to answer that question.

killer mike

Ice Cube

Ice Cube: : Having the number movie in the country and making 48 millions dollars? That’s pretty high.

ice cube classic


Scarface: : High point was definitely Def Jam [as president of Def Jam South in 1999]. Def Jam was a high point, the whole system was a high point.

The Source Hip Hop Music Awards 2001

Previously: 7 Rappers On The Moment They Knew They Could Make It In Hip-Hop
6 Rappers Pick The Best Songs Of Their Career
50 Rappers Snubbed By The Grammys