The Greatest Rappers of All Time Bands/Musicians
Ultimate List
112  reranks 89,911 votes 7,094 voters 96,498 views more info

The Greatest Rappers of All Time

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

Best rappers of all time. From the early '80s to present day, this list counts down rap's best lyricist 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 of all time.

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.
List is ranked by a combination of each item's votes & positioning in reranks
  • 112 ReRanks
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Score
  1. 1
    Up 2737
    Down 1137

    the people's #1 &most listed
    Tupac Shakur

    Hip hop music, Political hip hop, Gangsta rap More
    100
  2. 2
    Up 3175
    Down 1278
    Hip hop music, Horrorcore, Hardcore hip hop More
    100
  3. 3
    Up 2142
    Down 896
    Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop More
    97
  4. 4
    Up 1811
    Down 830
    Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, East Coast hip hop More
    90
  5. 5
    Up 1484
    Down 1269

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Jay-Z

    Hip hop music, East Coast hip hop, Gangsta rap More
    81
  6. 6
    Up 1098
    Down 708
    Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop More
    78
  7. 7
    Up 1310
    Down 827
    Hip hop music, Pop music, Gangsta rap More
    78
  8. 8
    Up 1235
    Down 768
    Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Political hip hop More
    78
  9. 9
    Up 1349
    Down 849
    Hip hop music, Rap music, Gangsta rap More
    77
  10. 10
    Up 1259
    Down 612
    Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Rock music More
    75
  11. 11
    Up 888
    Down 615
    Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Rock music More
    66
  12. 12
    Up 797
    Down 471
    Hip hop music, Political hip hop, West Coast hip hop More
    66
  13. 13
    Up 750
    Down 678

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    KRS-One

    Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Hardcore hip hop More
    66
  14. 14
    Up 839
    Down 552
    Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop More
    65
  15. 15
    Up 833
    Down 621
    Hip hop music, Horrorcore, Hardcore hip hop More
    65
  16. 16
    Up 773
    Down 683
    Hip hop music, Ragga, Dancehall More
    65
  17. 17
    Up 556
    Down 288
    Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop More
    64
  18. 18
    Up 824
    Down 707
    Hip hop music, Old-school hip hop, Gangsta rap More
    64
  19. 19
    Up 876
    Down 731
    Hip hop music, Gangsta rap More
    64
  20. 20
    Up 684
    Down 367

    ranked low on reranks
    N.W.A

    Hip hop music, Political hip hop, Gangsta rap More
    64
  21. 21
    Up 695
    Down 579
    Hip hop music, Jazz rap, Alternative hip hop More
    63
  22. 22
    Up 712
    Down 615
    Hip hop music, Atlanta hip hop, Hardcore hip hop More
    63
  23. 23
    Up 1015
    Down 1064
    Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Pop music More
    63
  24. 24
    Up 736
    Down 637
    Hip hop music, Atlanta hip hop, Gangsta rap More
    62
  25. 25
    Up 669
    Down 593
    Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop More
    62
  26. 26
    Up 415
    Down 228

    ranked low on reranks
    Run-D.M.C.

    Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Hardcore hip hop More
    61
  27. 27
    Up 606
    Down 279

    ranked low on reranks
    Outkast

    Alternative hip hop, Dance-pop, Jazz More
    60
  28. 28
    Up 445
    Down 345
    Hip hop music, Horrorcore, Gangsta rap More
    60
  29. 29
    Up 478
    Down 391
    Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop More
    59
  30. 30
    Up 508
    Down 382
    Hip hop music More
    59
  31. 31
    Up 483
    Down 431
    Hip hop music, Old-school hip hop, East Coast hip hop More
    59
  32. 32
    Up 455
    Down 315
    Hip hop music, Horrorcore, Hardcore hip hop More
    59
  33. 33
    Up 478
    Down 414
    Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop More
    58
  34. 34
    Up 316
    Down 211
    Hip hop music, Political hip hop, Hardcore hip hop More
    57
  35. 35
    Up 459
    Down 406
    Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop More
    57
  36. 36
    Up 467
    Down 437
    Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Conscious hip hop More
    57
  37. 37
    Up 452
    Down 384
    Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Political hip hop More
    57
  38. 38
    Up 410
    Down 373
    Hip hop music, East Coast hip hop, Mafioso rap More
    56
  39. 39
    Up 381
    Down 344
    Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop More
    55
  40. 40
    Up 411
    Down 336
    Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Southern hip hop More
    54
  41. 41
    Up 325
    Down 239
    Hip hop music, Pop punk, Alternative hip hop More
    54
  42. 42
    Up 398
    Down 398
    Hip hop music, Political hip hop, Hardcore hip hop More
    54
  43. 43
    Up 429
    Down 347
    Hip hop music, Rap music, Hardcore hip hop More
    54
  44. 44
    Up 408
    Down 334
    Hip hop music, East Coast hip hop More
    53
  45. 45
    Up 267
    Down 203
    Hip hop music, Jazz rap, Alternative hip hop More
    52
  46. 46
    Up 353
    Down 322
    Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Neo soul More
    51
  47. 47
    Up 448
    Down 760

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Lil Wayne

    Hip hop music, Ragga, Hardcore hip hop More
    51
  48. 48
    Up 280
    Down 287
    Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Political hip hop More
    51
  49. 49
    Up 355
    Down 373
    Hip hop music, Jazz rap, Alternative hip hop More
    50
  50. 50
    Up 296
    Down 341
    Hip hop music, Jazz rap, Jazz More
    50
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