Since the late 1970s, hip-hop artists have found unique ways to market their image and sound to a mass audience. Rappers are in constant competition to capture fans' attention with what they're offering—whether it's music or an outlandish look. Through the years, rap vets and the newcomers have used plenty of gimmicks to get fans' support.

For example, back in 1983, Run-DMC donned fedora hats, leather pants and Adidas sneakers to capture the youth's attention. At the time, no rapper was dressing like them and their sense of style sparked a new fashion trend in hip-hop. Then in the 1990s, MC Hammer stood out by being a rapper who could dance and rap onstage at the same time. While other rappers would have two background dancers behind them, Hammer was famous for having exciting stage shows with a plethora of dancers backing him up.

Clothes, an ominous vocal tone, a stuffed animal or taking on an old public image and remixing it to something new have become part of many rappers' shticks. DMX's love for dogs is a huge part of his persona and in more songs than not you can hear him barking. Fellow rapper Jay-Z, along with Dame Dash and Kareem "Biggs" Burke, patterned themselves after the billionaire John D. Rockefeller and the Rockefeller family, thus the name of their iconic rap label Roc-A-Fella Records. Meanwhile, Nicki Minaj adopted the name Barbie (or Harajuku Barbie) and calls her devoted fans the Barbz.

In the end, gimmicks have become an integral part of a rapper's marketing strategy. So check out XXL's highlights of 15 Rappers With the Best Gimmicks of All Time.

See 15 Rappers With the Best Gimmicks of All Time

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