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.
list ordered by

1
4,285 1,614
Nas is listed (or ranked) 1 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
5,537 1,792
Eminem is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Eminem Hip hop music, Horrorcore, Hardcore hip hop

3
3,232 1,350
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
3,986 1,304
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
2,352 911
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
3,323 1,155
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
2,154 792
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
1,971 913
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
1,733 1,495
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
1,507 699
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
1,404 651
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
1,169 636
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

13
1,100 633
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

14
1,584 612
J. Cole is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
raynakuzio added J. Cole Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Rhythm and blues

15
1,120 540
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

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16
1,126 549
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
928 519
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
1,125 603
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
950 174
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
836 399
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
760 313
Ghostface Killah is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Ghostface Killah Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop

22
717 514
Slick Rick is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Slick Rick Hip hop music, Old-school hip hop, East Coast hip hop

23
669 384
Scarface is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Scarface Hip hop music, Horrorcore, Gangsta rap

24
932 621
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
877 405
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
741 317
Ranker Video
Busta Rhymes Hip hop music, Ragga, Dancehall

27
651 317
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
674 354
Lauryn Hill is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Lauryn Hill Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Neo soul

29
637 345
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

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30
747 344
Tech N9ne is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Tech N9ne

31
727 354
GZA is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
GZA Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop

32
535 302
Black Thought is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Black Thought Hip hop music

33
778 506
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
535 360
Jadakiss is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Jadakiss Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop

35
661 297
Royce Da 5'9 is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Royce Da 5'9

36
724 360
Ranker Video
DMX Hip hop music, Horrorcore, Hardcore hip hop

37
602 260
Redman is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Redman Hip hop music

38
538 103
Outkast is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Outkast Alternative hip hop, Dance-pop, Jazz

39
558 435
L.L. Cool J is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
L.L. Cool J

40
618 464
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
548 281
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
430 297
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
420 294
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

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44
794 982
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
613 548
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
403 193
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
436 162
Logic is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Luke De-Venny added Logic Hip hop music

48
415 272
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
372 312
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
370 247
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