The Greatest Rappers of All Time Bands/Musicians
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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
    + 6257
    - 2634

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

    ) open
  2. 2
    + 7585
    - 2921

    The Marshall Mathers LP, The Slim Shady LP, The Eminem Show

    ) open
  3. 3
    + 4854
    - 1901

    Ready to Die, Life After Death, Born Again

    ) open
  4. 4
    + 4213
    - 1792

    Illmatic, Life Is Good, Untitled Nas album

    ) open
  5. 5
    + 3230
    - 2903

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

    ) open
  6. 6
    + 2883
    - 1673

    AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted, The Predator, Death Certificate

    ) 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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    - 1887

    Doggystyle, Tha Doggfather, Tha Last Meal

    ) open
  9. 9
    + 2463
    - 1616

    The 18th Letter, The Archive: Live, Lost & Found, The Master

    ) open
  10. 10
    + 2650
    - 1515

    Royal Flush, Class of 3000: Music Volume One, DoYaThing

    ) open
  11. 11
    + 2605
    - 1526

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

    ) open
  12. 12
    + 2303
    - 1754

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

    ) open
  13. 13
    + 1992
    - 1474

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

    ) open
  14. 14
    + 2016
    - 1564

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

    ) open
  15. 15
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    - 806

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

    ) open
  16. 16
    + 2399
    - 2437

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

    ) open
  17. 17
    + 1760
    - 1173

    Tical, 4:21... The Day After, The Riddler

    ) open
  18. 18
    + 1754
    - 1344

    Black on Both Sides, True Magic, The New Danger

    ) open
  19. 19
    + 1767
    - 1609

    When Disaster Strikes…, The Big Bang, The Coming

    ) open
  20. 20
    + 1663
    - 1423

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

    ) open
  21. 21
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    - 1414

    Hip Hop Lives, Return of the Boom Bap, Criminal Minded

    ) open
  22. 22
    + 1450
    - 1202

    Resurrection, Be, Like Water for Chocolate

    ) open
  23. 23
    + 1644
    - 1375

    King, Urban Legend, Trap Muzik

    ) open
  24. 24
    + 1453
    - 1208

    Radio, Mama Said Knock You Out, Mr. Smith

    ) open
  25. 25
    + 940
    - 709

    Born Sinner, The Warm Up, Friday Night Lights

    ) open
  26. 26
    + 1144
    - 844

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

    ) open
  27. 27
    + 1090
    - 900

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

    ) open
  28. 28
    + 1063
    - 892

    Ironman, Supreme Clientele, Fishscale

    ) open
  29. 29
    + 1078
    - 897

    Capital Punishment, Yeeeah Baby, Endangered Species

    ) open
  30. 30
    + 1006
    - 915

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

    ) open
  31. 31
    + 991
    - 841

    The Diary, The Fix, Mr. Scarface Is Back

    ) open
  32. 32
    + 1020
    - 892

    Long Live the Kane, It's a Big Daddy Thing, Daddy's Home

    ) open
  33. 33
    + 1001
    - 998

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

    ) open
  34. 34
    + 963
    - 945

    Quality, Liberation, The Beautiful Struggle

    ) open
  35. 35
    + 848
    - 824

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

    ) open
  36. 36
    + 655
    - 356

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

    ) open
  37. 37
    + 924
    - 740

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

    ) open
  38. 38
    + 887
    - 780

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

    ) open
  39. 39
    + 862
    - 775

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

    ) open
  40. 40
    + 825
    - 739

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

    ) open
  41. 41
    + 712
    - 745

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

    ) open
  42. 42
    + 767
    - 791

    Liquid Swords, Grandmasters, Pro Tools

    ) open
  43. 43
    + 734
    - 846

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

    ) open
  44. 44
    + 776
    - 780

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

    ) open
  45. 45
    + 1227
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks Tha Carter III, Tha Carter II, Tha Carter

    ) open
  46. 46
    + 635
    - 685

    Everready, Anghellic, Absolute Power

    ) open
  47. 47
    + 552
    - 481

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

    ) open
  48. 48
    + 750
    - 770

    The Renaissance, Amplified, Kamaal/The Abstract

    ) open
  49. 49
    + 602
    - 605

    The Documentary, Doctor's Advocate, Jesus Piece

    ) open
  50. 50
    + 883
    - 1127

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Take Care, Nothing Was the Same, Thank Me Later

    ) open
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