hip hop artists The Greatest Rappers of All Time  

Originally by
1.9M votes 139k voters 1.3M views 527 items Follow Embed

List Rules 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.
list ordered by

1
+ - 64,782 32,379
Eminem is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Eminem The Marshall Mathers LP, The Slim Shady LP, The Eminem Show

The Greatest White Rappers of All Time Vote: Your Globe Noms Picks for Best Supporting Actor, TV Miniseries or Movie

2
+ - 49,391 26,464
Tupac Shakur is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Tupac All Eyez on Me, Me Against the World, The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory

3
+ - 43,814 20,669
The Notorious B.I.G. is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
The Notorious B.I.G. Ready to Die, Life After Death, Born Again

4
+ - 32,484 20,842
Nas is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Nas Illmatic, Life Is Good, Untitled Nas album

5
+ - 28,325 18,506
Ice Cube is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Ice Cube AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted, The Predator, Death Certificate

6
+ - 26,886 18,517
Snoop Dogg is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Snoop Dogg Doggystyle, Tha Doggfather, Tha Last Meal

7
+ - 24,387 26,906
Jay-Z is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Jay-Z Watch the Throne, The Black Album, Reasonable Doubt

8
+ - 28,579 17,831
Dr. Dre is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Dr. Dre The Chronic, 2001, Nuthin' but a 'G' Thang / Let Me Ride

9
+ - 31,464 18,160
Kendrick Lamar is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Kendrick Lamar good kid, m.A.A.d city, Section.80

10
+ - 19,912 17,061
Rakim is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Rakim The 18th Letter, The Archive: Live, Lost & Found

11
+ - 19,716 13,039
André 3000 is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
André 3000 Royal Flush, Class of 3000: Music Volume One, DoYaThing

12
+ - 18,787 13,624
Eazy-E is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Eazy-E Eazy-Duz-It, It’s On (Dr. Dre) 187um Killa, Eternal E

13
+ - 21,149 23,352
Kanye West is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Kanye West My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, Late Registration, The College Dropout

14
+ - 17,210 14,696
50 Cent is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
50 Cent Get Rich or Die Tryin', Get Rich or Die Tryin' / The Massacre, Street King Immortal

15
+ - 15,483 12,299
DMX is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
DMX It's Dark and Hell Is Hot, Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood

The Best Rappers of the 2000s Catchiest Viral Internet Songs of All Time

16
+ - 13,391 11,362
Busta Rhymes is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Busta Rhymes When Disaster Strikes…, The Big Bang, The Coming

17
+ - 12,959 9,922
Method Man is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Method Man Tical, 4:21... The Day After, The Riddler

18
+ - 14,979 11,118
J. Cole is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
J. Cole Born Sinner, The Warm Up, Friday Night Lights

19
+ - 11,631 10,830
Mos Def is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Mos Def Black on Both Sides, True Magic, The New Danger

20
+ - 12,164 10,337
Ludacris is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Ludacris Theater of the Mind, Word of Mouf, Back For the First Time

21
+ - 10,330 10,526
KRS-One is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
KRS-One Hip Hop Lives, Return of the Boom Bap, Criminal Minded

22
+ - 10,157 10,084
LL Cool J is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
LL Cool J Radio, Mama Said Knock You Out, Mr. Smith

23
+ - 9,582 9,378
Common is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Common Resurrection, Be, Like Water for Chocolate

24
+ - 11,214 12,520
Lil Wayne is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Lil Wayne Tha Carter III, Tha Carter II, Tha Carter

25
+ - 9,942 8,429
Big L is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Big L The Big Picture, Lifestylez ov da Poor & Dangerous, Children of the Corn: The Collector's Edition

26
+ - 10,110 9,752
T.I. is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
T.I. King, Urban Legend, Trap Muzik

27
+ - 8,561 7,444
Ghostface Killah is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Ghostface Killah Ironman, Supreme Clientele, Fishscale

28
+ - 8,240 6,885
Redman is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Redman Muddy Waters, Whut? Thee Album, Doc's da Name 2000

29
+ - 8,144 7,135
Big Pun is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Big Pun Capital Punishment, Yeeeah Baby, Endangered Species

The Dopest Rappers of the '90s The Most Ridiculously Simple Questions Women Can't Agree On

30
+ - 8,191 5,864
Aaron Dontez Yates is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Tech N9ne Everready, Anghellic, Absolute Power

31
+ - 7,520 5,271
Nate Dogg is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Nate Dogg Music & Me, Welcome To The Dogg House, G-Funk Classics

32
+ - 6,900 6,519
Lauryn Hill is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Lauryn Hill The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, MTV Unplugged 2.0, Ms. Hill

33
+ - 6,408 6,778
Slick Rick is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Slick Rick The Great Adventures of Slick Rick, The Art of Storytelling, The Ruler's Back

34
+ - 6,269 6,046
Raekwon is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Raekwon Only Built 4 Cuban Linx Instrumentals, Only Built 4 Cuban Linx... Pt. II, Immobilarity

35
+ - 6,802 6,525
Scarface is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Scarface The Diary, The Fix, Mr. Scarface Is Back

36
+ - 6,387 6,526
Big Daddy Kane is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Big Daddy Kane Long Live the Kane, It's a Big Daddy Thing, Daddy's Home

37
+ - 6,161 5,688
Ol' Dirty Bastard is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Ol' Dirty Bastard Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version, The Trials and Tribulations of Russell Jones, Ghetto Supastar (That Is What You Are)

38
+ - 6,774 5,431
Jayceon Terrell Taylor is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
The Game The Documentary, Doctor's Advocate, Jesus Piece

39
+ - 5,238 3,986
Chance The Rapper is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Chance the Rapper Acid Rap, Confident, Songs from Scratch: Paranoia

40
+ - 5,376 4,042
Ranker Video v
Cypress Hill Cypress Hill, Black Sunday, III - Temples Of Boom

41
+ - 6,104 7,046
Lupe Fiasco is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Lupe Fiasco Food & Liquor, Food & Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album, Part 1

42
+ - 4,887 3,754
Mobb Deep is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Mobb Deep The Infamous, Blood Money, The Infamous Mobb Deep

43
+ - 5,089 3,718
Logic is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Logic Young Sinatra: Welcome to Forever, Young Sinatra (Undeniable), Young Sinatra

The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time The Best Vehicle Brands & Car Manufacturers Currently

44
+ - 5,148 3,153
Easy E is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time

45
+ - 5,323 5,060
RZA is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
RZA RZA as Bobby Digital in Stereo, Birth of a Prince, Digital Bullet

46
+ - 4,462 4,004
Ice-T is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Ice-T Power, O.G. Original Gangster, Home Invasion

47
+ - 5,078 5,236
GZA is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
GZA Liquid Swords, Grandmasters, Pro Tools

48
+ - 4,464 4,627
Q-Tip is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Q-Tip The Renaissance, Amplified, Kamaal/The Abstract

49
+ - 5,004 5,530
Talib Kweli is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Talib Kweli Quality, Liberation, The Beautiful Struggle

50
+ - 4,241 3,428
Warren G is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Warren G Regulate... G Funk Era (Special Edition), Prince Igor (feat. Warren G & Sissel), I Want It All