Some of the Most popular artists who helped define the era include: Run DMC, LL Cool J, Kool Moe Dee, Big Daddy Kane, Kool G Rap, A Tribe Called Quest, Eric B & Rakim, Public Enemy, MC Lyte, KRS-ONE, NWA, Cypress Hill, Snoop Doggy Dogg, Tupac Shakur, Notorious B.I.G, Geto Boys, Big Punisher.
Hip Hop to many fans is still very much about the quality of its content which developed during the Golden Age. As shown through the use of such vocal and lyrical devices such as using: metaphors, similes, storytelling, clever cadences, changes in tempo and word play. Modern artists talented in the application of the aforementioned vocal and lyrical devices are still very popular but have moved away from what is considered the mainstream which receives the most tv and radio airtime.
The trend in contemporary Hip Hop has become one in which the importance of image and "club friendliness" has become the defining factors and lyricism has ceased to be as important. Hip Hop has a much more Pop vibe and emphasis on material objects and hedonistic pursuits have become the main subject matter. Interestingly, Hip Hop during the early to mid eighties was also known for its rappers rhyming about self promotion and oppulent lifestyles, the Golden Age marked a shift away from that aspect of Hip Hop music.
-Immortal Technique from the song Obnoxious