rap The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time

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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.

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

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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

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+ - 2,633 1,064
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

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+ - 3,164 1,062
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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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+ - 1,380 1,245
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

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+ - 1,253 549
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

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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

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+ - 988 529
KRS-One is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
KRS-One Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Hardcore hip hop

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Common is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Common Hip hop music, Jazz rap, Alternative hip hop

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+ - 914 442
Big Pun is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Big Pun Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop

15
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Method Man is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Method Man Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop

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J. Cole is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
J. Cole Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Rhythm and blues

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+ - 790 434
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

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Immortal Technique is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Immortal Technique Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Political hip hop

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+ - 963 500
Lupe Fiasco is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Lupe Fiasco Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Political hip hop

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+ - 679 124
Wu-Tang Clan is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Wu-Tang Clan Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop

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+ - 606 448
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

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+ - 756 508
Snoop Dogg is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Snoop Dogg Hip hop music, Pop music, Gangsta rap

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

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Ghostface Killah is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Ghostface Killah Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop

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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

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Raekwon is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Raekwon Hip hop music, East Coast hip hop, Mafioso rap

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+ - 549 299
Big Daddy Kane is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Big Daddy Kane Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop

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+ - 606 271
Tech N9ne is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Tech N9ne

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+ - 634 312
GZA is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
GZA Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop

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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

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+ - 642 417
Dr. Dre is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Dr. Dre Hip hop music, Rap music, Gangsta rap

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+ - 595 268
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Busta Rhymes Hip hop music, Ragga, Dancehall

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+ - 460 317
Jadakiss is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Jadakiss Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop

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+ - 549 248
Royce Da 5'9 is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Royce Da 5'9

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+ - 618 315
Ranker Video v
DMX Hip hop music, Horrorcore, Hardcore hip hop

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+ - 454 256
Black Thought is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Black Thought Hip hop music

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+ - 501 231
Redman is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Redman Hip hop music

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+ - 472 389
L.L. Cool J is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
L.L. Cool J

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+ - 517 387
Hopsin is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Hopsin Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Horrorcore

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+ - 401 78
Outkast is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Outkast Alternative hip hop, Dance-pop, Jazz

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+ - 448 232
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

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+ - 327 233
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

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+ - 690 869
Kanye West is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Kanye West Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Pop music

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Kool G Rap is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Kool G Rap Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop

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+ - 339 164
Public Enemy is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Public Enemy Hip hop music, Political hip hop, Hardcore hip hop

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+ - 515 475
50 Cent is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
50 Cent Hip hop music, Gangsta rap

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+ - 342 214
T.I. is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
T.I. Hip hop music, Atlanta hip hop, Gangsta rap

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+ - 329 268
Pharoahe Monch is listed (or ranked) 48 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. 

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+ - 268 124
Run–D.M.C. is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Run–D.M.C. Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Hardcore hip hop

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+ - 359 237
Twista is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Twista Hip hop music, Midwest hip hop, Gangsta rap