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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.

The Greatest Rappers of All Time Bands/Musicians
  • 260 ReRanks
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  1. 1
    + 12541
    - 4956

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

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  2. 2
    + 14453
    - 5730


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

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  3. 3
    + 9500
    - 3441


    Ready to Die, Life After Death, Born Again

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  4. 4
    + 7917
    - 3145


    Illmatic, Life Is Good, Untitled Nas album

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  5. 5
    + 6157
    - 3121


    AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted, The Predator, Death Certificate

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  6. 6
    + 6333
    - 3268


    The Chronic, 2001, Nuthin' but a 'G' Thang / Let Me Ride

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  7. 7
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    - 5198

    often listed & Ranked High on Reranks
    Watch the Throne, The Black Album, Reasonable Doubt

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  8. 8
    + 5894
    - 3281


    Doggystyle, Tha Doggfather, Tha Last Meal

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  9. 9
    + 4541
    - 2885


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

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  10. 10
    + 5841
    - 3102


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

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  11. 11
    + 4549
    - 2779


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

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  12. 12
    + 4266
    - 2705


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

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  13. 13
    + 4302
    - 3399


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

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  14. 14
    + 4538
    - 4393

    often listed & Ranked High on Reranks
    My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, Late Registration, The College Dropout ...

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  15. 15
    + 3611
    - 2723


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

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  16. 16
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    - 1638


    Stankonia, Aquemini, Speakerboxxx/The Love Below

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  17. 17
    + 3047
    - 2059


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

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  18. 18
    + 2869
    - 2293


    Black on Both Sides, True Magic, The New Danger

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  19. 19
    + 3108
    - 2581


    When Disaster Strikes…, The Big Bang, The Coming

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  20. 20
    + 2603
    - 2274


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

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  21. 21
    + 2635
    - 1775

    ranked low on reranks
    Born Sinner, The Warm Up, Friday Night Lights

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  22. 22
    + 2584
    - 2068


    Radio, Mama Said Knock You Out, Mr. Smith

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  23. 23
    + 2445
    - 2035


    Resurrection, Be, Like Water for Chocolate

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  24. 24
    + 2949
    - 2527


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

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  25. 25
    + 2876
    - 2377


    King, Urban Legend, Trap Muzik

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  26. 26
    + 2204
    - 1589


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

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  27. 27
    + 1950
    - 1554


    Ironman, Supreme Clientele, Fishscale

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  28. 28
    + 932
    - 349

    ranked low on reranks
    Notorius BIG

  29. 29
    + 1896
    - 1531


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

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  30. 30
    + 1775
    - 1430


    The Diary, The Fix, Mr. Scarface Is Back

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  31. 31
    + 1870
    - 1536


    Capital Punishment, Yeeeah Baby, Endangered Species

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  32. 32
    + 1563
    - 917

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

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  33. 33
    + 1686
    - 1533


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

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  34. 34
    + 1698
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    Long Live the Kane, It's a Big Daddy Thing, Daddy's Home

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  35. 35
    + 1531
    - 1349


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

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  36. 36
    + 1700
    - 1331


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

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  37. 37
    + 1676
    - 1719


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

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  38. 38
    + 1502
    - 1356


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

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  39. 39
    + 2308
    - 3101

    often listed & Ranked High on Reranks
    Tha Carter III, Tha Carter II, Tha Carter

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  40. 40
    + 1463
    - 1287


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

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  41. 41
    + 1476
    - 1238


    Everready, Anghellic, Absolute Power

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  42. 42
    + 793
    - 497

    added by scruffenstein
    The Infamous, Blood Money, The Infamous Mobb Deep

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  43. 43
    + 1386
    - 1235


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

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  44. 44
    + 1467
    - 1127


    The Documentary, Doctor's Advocate, Jesus Piece

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  45. 45
    + 1495
    - 1484


    Quality, Liberation, The Beautiful Struggle

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  46. 46
    + 2111
    - 2249


    Take Care, Nothing Was the Same, Thank Me Later

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  47. 47
    + 1382
    - 1281


    Liquid Swords, Grandmasters, Pro Tools

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  48. 48
    + 972
    - 708

    ranked low on reranks
    Cypress Hill, Black Sunday, III - Temples Of Boom

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  49. 49
    + 1040
    - 923


    At the Speed of Life, 40 Dayz & 40 Nightz, Restless

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  50. 50
    + 919
    - 719


    Regulate... G Funk Era (Special Edition), Prince Igor (feat. Warren G ...

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