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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
    + 12515
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    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
    + 14422
    - 5720


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

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  3. 3
    + 9483
    - 3437


    Ready to Die, Life After Death, Born Again

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  4. 4
    + 7904
    - 3142


    Illmatic, Life Is Good, Untitled Nas album

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  5. 5
    + 6145
    - 3115


    AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted, The Predator, Death Certificate

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  6. 6
    + 6314
    - 3266


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

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  7. 7
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    often listed & Ranked High on Reranks
    Watch the Throne, The Black Album, Reasonable Doubt

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  8. 8
    + 5883
    - 3277


    Doggystyle, Tha Doggfather, Tha Last Meal

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  9. 9
    + 4536
    - 2882


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

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  10. 10
    + 5829
    - 3099


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

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  11. 11
    + 4542
    - 2776


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

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  12. 12
    + 4254
    - 2699


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

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  13. 13
    + 4292
    - 3395


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

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  14. 14
    + 4521
    - 4389

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

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  15. 15
    + 3604
    - 2719


    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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    - 1636


    Stankonia, Aquemini, Speakerboxxx/The Love Below

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  17. 17
    + 3043
    - 2056


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

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  18. 18
    + 2865
    - 2290


    Black on Both Sides, True Magic, The New Danger

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  19. 19
    + 3104
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    When Disaster Strikes…, The Big Bang, The Coming

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  20. 20
    + 2600
    - 2270


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

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  21. 21
    + 2631
    - 1772

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

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  22. 22
    + 2581
    - 2065


    Radio, Mama Said Knock You Out, Mr. Smith

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  23. 23
    + 2445
    - 2033


    Resurrection, Be, Like Water for Chocolate

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  24. 24
    + 2946
    - 2524


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

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  25. 25
    + 2874
    - 2375


    King, Urban Legend, Trap Muzik

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  26. 26
    + 2203
    - 1587


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

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  27. 27
    + 1946
    - 1553


    Ironman, Supreme Clientele, Fishscale

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  28. 28
    + 927
    - 348

    ranked low on reranks
    Notorius BIG

  29. 29
    + 1894
    - 1530


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

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  30. 30
    + 1774
    - 1429


    The Diary, The Fix, Mr. Scarface Is Back

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  31. 31
    + 1870
    - 1535


    Capital Punishment, Yeeeah Baby, Endangered Species

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  32. 32
    + 1562
    - 916

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

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  33. 33
    + 1684
    - 1532


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

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  34. 34
    + 1697
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    Long Live the Kane, It's a Big Daddy Thing, Daddy's Home

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  35. 35
    + 1530
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    Only Built 4 Cuban Linx Instrumentals, Only Built 4 Cuban Linx... Pt. II, ...

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  36. 36
    + 1696
    - 1330


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

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  37. 37
    + 1676
    - 1718


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

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  38. 38
    + 1501
    - 1355


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

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  39. 39
    + 2302
    - 3095

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

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  40. 40
    + 1460
    - 1286


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

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  41. 41
    + 1473
    - 1237


    Everready, Anghellic, Absolute Power

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  42. 42
    + 792
    - 496

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

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  43. 43
    + 1385
    - 1234


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

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  44. 44
    + 1465
    - 1126


    The Documentary, Doctor's Advocate, Jesus Piece

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  45. 45
    + 1494
    - 1483


    Quality, Liberation, The Beautiful Struggle

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  46. 46
    + 2108
    - 2246


    Take Care, Nothing Was the Same, Thank Me Later

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  47. 47
    + 1381
    - 1280


    Liquid Swords, Grandmasters, Pro Tools

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  48. 48
    + 971
    - 707

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

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  49. 49
    + 1039
    - 922


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

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  50. 50
    + 918
    - 718


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

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