It's pretty much a given that people can't seem to get enough of rappers pre-fame photos. There's an obsession with traveling back in time to an era when MCs still lived normal lives. Grade school, middle school and high school pictures are always favorited.

The common thread among the photos is that they often breed hope for those aspiring to one-day make it in the music business. Seeing a rapper come from humble beginnings, as most often do, is an essential part of the root of hip-hop. As many are aware, the genre was derived from urban inner-city youth and has now turned into a billion dollar industry and a voice for all young people all over the planet. Hip-hop has come a long way from home, but definitely in a good way.

It's also great to hear stories from rappers lives before they made it big. For example, the fact that Snoop Dogg was once Cameron Diaz' pot dealer in High School or hearing 50 Cent was raised by his grandparents is always interesting. Other things like Jay Z mistakenly shot his brother at 12 or that Diddy's father was killed when he was three all show that rappers, although glorified to the extreme, are human just like the rest of us.

Check out XXL's gallery of rappers before the flashing lights.