rap The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time  

Originally by
112k votes 12k voters 196k views 212 items Follow Embed

A list of the best rap lyricists of all time. Since hip hop and rap music became popular at the beginning of the 1980s, many fans of the genre have focused on the message described in each rapper's lyrics. A form of street poetry, rap lyrics focus on many different things, dependent on who is speaking of the harsh realities of the streets. Others, contrarily, rap about the glamorous life and what it's like to live large. Sometimes, lyrical rappers fluctuate between both of these extremes.

The best rap lyricists are universally respected by both their peers and fans for the honesty and the way they use their words in a creative fashion. Some of the most respected wordsmiths came from the golden age of hip hop. Here, you had groups like Sugar Hill Gang, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, N.W.A. and Black Star and individual rappers like KRS-One and Nas who are universally known as the best lyricists. On the other side of the coin, you have two of the greatest rappers of all time, Tupac Shakur and The Notorious B.I.G., who connected with millions of hip hop fans due to their strong lyrics that touch on the harsh realities of urban culture. A rapper who has switched from rapping about his rough upbringing to glitz and glamour is Jay Z. His debut album was universally praised for talking about life in Brooklyn during his youth, and his recent album was panned for praising brands like Tom Ford and excess.

This list includes many of greatest rappers of all time, who are also among the genre's most popular as well. The one thing that these rappers have in common is that their lyrics are considered some of the best in the history of hip hop music. These top lyricists are the greatest of all time, and it's up to you to decide who is the best lyricist in rap music.
list ordered by

1
+ - 5,212 1,669
Eminem is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Eminem Hip hop music, Horrorcore, Hardcore hip hop

The Greatest White Rappers of All Time The Best Current Crime Shows

2
+ - 4,041 1,506
Nas is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Nas Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, East Coast hip hop

3
+ - 3,052 1,260
The Notorious B.I.G. is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
The Notorious B.I.G. Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop

4
+ - 3,749 1,215
Tupac Shakur is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Tupac Shakur Hip hop music, Political hip hop, Gangsta rap

5
+ - 2,208 857
Rakim is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Rakim Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop

6
+ - 3,086 1,082
Kendrick Lamar is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Kendrick Lamar Hip hop music, Political hip hop, West Coast hip hop

7
+ - 2,018 752
André 3000 is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
André 3000 Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Rock music

8
+ - 1,827 864
Ice Cube is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Ice Cube Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Political hip hop

9
+ - 1,624 1,426
Jay-Z is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Jay-Z Hip hop music, East Coast hip hop, Gangsta rap

10
+ - 1,425 659
Mos Def is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Mos Def Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Rock music

11
+ - 1,314 621
Big L is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Big L Hip hop music, Horrorcore, Hardcore hip hop

12
+ - 1,059 594
Common is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Common Hip hop music, Jazz rap, Alternative hip hop

13
+ - 1,109 606
KRS-One is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
KRS-One Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Hardcore hip hop

14
+ - 1,470 555
J. Cole is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
J. Cole Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Rhythm and blues

15
+ - 1,052 513
Big Pun is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Big Pun Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop

Insane Backstories of the Most Famous Rap Disses Catchiest Viral Internet Songs of All Time

16
+ - 1,065 523
Method Man is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Method Man Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop

17
+ - 881 494
Talib Kweli is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Talib Kweli Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Conscious hip hop

18
+ - 1,071 575
Lupe Fiasco is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Lupe Fiasco Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Political hip hop

19
+ - 860 157
Wu-Tang Clan is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Wu-Tang Clan Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop

20
+ - 781 376
Immortal Technique is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Immortal Technique Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Political hip hop

21
+ - 681 495
Slick Rick is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Slick Rick Hip hop music, Old-school hip hop, East Coast hip hop

22
+ - 702 299
Ghostface Killah is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Ghostface Killah Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop

23
+ - 632 364
Scarface is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Scarface Hip hop music, Horrorcore, Gangsta rap

24
+ - 881 590
Snoop Dogg is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Snoop Dogg Hip hop music, Pop music, Gangsta rap

25
+ - 825 390
A Tribe Called Quest is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
A Tribe Called Quest Hip hop music, Jazz rap, Alternative hip hop

26
+ - 694 299
Ranker Video v
Busta Rhymes Hip hop music, Ragga, Dancehall

27
+ - 613 302
Raekwon is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Raekwon Hip hop music, East Coast hip hop, Mafioso rap

28
+ - 712 316
Tech N9ne is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Tech N9ne

29
+ - 607 332
Big Daddy Kane is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Big Daddy Kane Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop

The Best Rap Songs About Alcohol The Best Reasons to Have Kids

30
+ - 629 340
Lauryn Hill is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Lauryn Hill Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Neo soul

31
+ - 691 341
GZA is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
GZA Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop

32
+ - 514 287
Black Thought is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Black Thought Hip hop music

33
+ - 734 476
Dr. Dre is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Dr. Dre Hip hop music, Rap music, Gangsta rap

34
+ - 633 281
Royce Da 5'9 is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Royce Da 5'9

35
+ - 514 347
Jadakiss is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Jadakiss Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop

36
+ - 695 348
Ranker Video v
DMX Hip hop music, Horrorcore, Hardcore hip hop

37
+ - 569 249
Redman is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Redman Hip hop music

38
+ - 495 98
Outkast is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Outkast Alternative hip hop, Dance-pop, Jazz

39
+ - 530 422
L.L. Cool J is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
L.L. Cool J

40
+ - 591 438
Hopsin is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Hopsin Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Horrorcore

41
+ - 513 268
Ludacris is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Ludacris Hip hop music, Atlanta hip hop, Hardcore hip hop

42
+ - 396 280
Eazy-E is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Eazy-E Hip hop music, Old-school hip hop, Gangsta rap

43
+ - 405 282
Kool G Rap is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Kool G Rap Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop

The Best Rap Songs About Relationships The Best Moisturizing Conditioner

44
+ - 764 949
Kanye West is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Kanye West Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Pop music

45
+ - 579 524
50 Cent is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
50 Cent Hip hop music, Gangsta rap

46
+ - 382 186
Public Enemy is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Public Enemy Hip hop music, Political hip hop, Hardcore hip hop

47
+ - 386 140
Logic is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Logic Hip hop music

48
+ - 386 258
T.I. is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
T.I. Hip hop music, Atlanta hip hop, Gangsta rap

49
+ - 359 296
Pharoahe Monch is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Pharoahe Monch Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, East Coast hip hop - Political, Conscious, Ghost writer for your favorite rappers. Technical wordplay.  

50
+ - 351 232
Aesop Rock is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Aesop Rock Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Experimental hip hop