James E. West
Without West, rappers wouldn’t be able to rock the mic. West, along with Gerhard M. Sessler, helped develop the electroacoustic transducer electret microphone, for which they received a patent in 1962. Their invention was acoustically accurate, lightweight and cost-effective. Ninety percent of microphones in use today — including those in telephones, tape recorders and camcorders — are based on their original concept.