The Greatest Rappers of All Time Bands/Musicians
0Ultimate List
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The Greatest Rappers of All Time

List Criteria: Only individual rappers, not rap groups or collectives.

Finally, a definitive list of the best rappers of all time, ranked by fans all over the world. From the early '80s to present day, this list counts down rap's best lyricists and game changers in history. Lil' Wayne, Method Man, Jay-Z, Eminem, Andre 3000, and T.I are among the artists that appear on this amazing countdown. Rappers from all cities, both genders, and all races are all vying to be crowned the greatest rapper ever.

What makes a rapper great? There are a number of differing definitions and philosophies. Rapper J. Cole (who finds himself on the Ultimate List below) cites consistency as the most important attribute, and says it's important to look both for the big humorous "punch" lines as well as the underlying message of the rapper's songs. Nas (another MC featured on the list) focuses as well on the meaning of the songs, as well as the scale and ambition of the rapper's narratives and storytelling. (He has also gone on the record as saying that there is no such thing as the "best rapper" or "Greatest of All Time" - often abbreviated as G.O.A.T.)

Numerous different skills and attributes all must come together to make a truly legendary MC. Obviously, a rapper must display a sense of rhythm and an ability to compliment the beat in unpredictable and exciting ways. A gift for lyricism and vocabulary is similarly essential - you can have the flow of the century, but if the words don't come together to tell a compelling story or present a unique point of view, it's still not going to translate into a great hip-hop song. But of course there's also an intangible element that elevates some rappers into the ranks of the greatest of all time. Who are these rappers who stand heads above the competition? You tell us, by voting for your favorites below or making your own list of Top Rappers.

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  1. 1
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    the people's #1 & most listed All Eyez on Me, Me Against the World, The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day ...

    ) open
  2. 2
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    The Marshall Mathers LP, The Slim Shady LP, The Eminem Show

    ) open
  3. 3
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    Ready to Die, Life After Death, Born Again

    ) open
  4. 4
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    Illmatic, Life Is Good, Untitled Nas album

    ) open
  5. 5
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks Watch the Throne, The Black Album, Reasonable Doubt

    ) open
  6. 6
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    - 1808

    Doggystyle, Tha Doggfather, Tha Last Meal

    ) open
  7. 7
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    The Chronic, 2001, Nuthin' but a 'G' Thang / Let Me Ride

    ) open
  8. 8
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    AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted, The Predator, Death Certificate

    ) open
  9. 9
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    The 18th Letter, The Archive: Live, Lost & Found, The Master

    ) open
  10. 10
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    Royal Flush, Class of 3000: Music Volume One, DoYaThing

    ) open
  11. 11
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    good kid, m.A.A.d city, Section.80, Overly Dedicated

    ) open
  12. 12
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    Get Rich or Die Tryin', Get Rich or Die Tryin' / The Massacre, Street King ...

    ) open
  13. 13
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    It's Dark and Hell Is Hot, Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood, ...And ...

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  14. 14
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    Eazy-Duz-It, It’s On (Dr. Dre) 187um Killa, Eternal E

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  15. 15
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    ranked low on reranks Stankonia, Aquemini, Speakerboxxx/The Love Below

    ) open
  16. 16
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, Late Registration, The College Dropout ...

    ) open
  17. 17
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    Tical, 4:21... The Day After, The Riddler

    ) open
  18. 18
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    When Disaster Strikes…, The Big Bang, The Coming

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  19. 19
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    Theater of the Mind, Word of Mouf, Back For the First Time

    ) open
  20. 20
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    Black on Both Sides, True Magic, The New Danger

    ) open
  21. 21
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    King, Urban Legend, Trap Muzik

    ) open
  22. 22
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    Hip Hop Lives, Return of the Boom Bap, Criminal Minded

    ) open
  23. 23
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    Resurrection, Be, Like Water for Chocolate

    ) open
  24. 24
    + 1394
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    Radio, Mama Said Knock You Out, Mr. Smith

    ) open
  25. 25
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    - 864

    Muddy Waters, Whut? Thee Album, Doc's da Name 2000

    ) open
  26. 26
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    Born Sinner, The Warm Up, Friday Night Lights

    ) open
  27. 27
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    - 866

    Capital Punishment, Yeeeah Baby, Endangered Species

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  28. 28
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    Ironman, Supreme Clientele, Fishscale

    ) open
  29. 29
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    The Great Adventures of Slick Rick, The Art of Storytelling, The Ruler's ...

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  30. 30
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    The Big Picture, Lifestylez ov da Poor & Dangerous, Children of the ...

    ) open
  31. 31
    + 979
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    Long Live the Kane, It's a Big Daddy Thing, Daddy's Home

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  32. 32
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    The Diary, The Fix, Mr. Scarface Is Back

    ) open
  33. 33
    + 959
    - 950

    Food & Liquor, Food & Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album, ...

    ) open
  34. 34
    + 930
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    Quality, Liberation, The Beautiful Struggle

    ) open
  35. 35
    + 813
    - 794

    Only Built 4 Cuban Linx Instrumentals, Only Built 4 Cuban Linx... Pt. II, ...

    ) open
  36. 36
    + 878
    - 699

    Paul's Boutique, Licensed to Ill, Check Your Head

    ) open
  37. 37
    + 854
    - 749

    Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version, The Trials and Tribulations ...

    ) open
  38. 38
    + 593
    - 330

    ranked low on reranks & added by Fendarr Music & Me, Welcome To The Dogg House, G-Funk Classics, Vol. 1 & 2 ...

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  39. 39
    + 824
    - 737

    The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, MTV Unplugged 2.0, Ms. Hill

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  40. 40
    + 788
    - 710

    RZA as Bobby Digital in Stereo, Birth of a Prince, Digital Bullet

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  41. 41
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    Revolutionary Vol. 2, Revolutionary, Volume 1, The 3rd World

    ) open
  42. 42
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    Liquid Swords, Grandmasters, Pro Tools

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  43. 43
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    Autobiography of Mistachuck, Rock da Funky Beats / Dance With You, An ...

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  44. 44
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    Sir Luscious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty, Got Purp? Vol. 2, Royal ...

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  45. 45
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks Tha Carter III, Tha Carter II, Tha Carter

    ) open
  46. 46
    + 720
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    The Renaissance, Amplified, Kamaal/The Abstract

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  47. 47
    + 585
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    Everready, Anghellic, Absolute Power

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  48. 48
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    - 454

    ranked low on reranks At the Speed of Life, 40 Dayz & 40 Nightz, Restless

    ) open
  49. 49
    + 833
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks Take Care, Nothing Was the Same, Thank Me Later

    ) open
  50. 50
    + 539
    - 581

    The Documentary, Doctor's Advocate, Jesus Piece

    ) open
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