The Greatest Rappers of All Time Bands/Musicians
0Ultimate List
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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
    + 6874
    - 2888

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

    ) open
  2. 2
    + 8368
    - 3195


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

    ) open
  3. 3
    + 5302
    - 2074


    Ready to Die, Life After Death, Born Again

    ) open
  4. 4
    + 4640
    - 1959


    Illmatic, Life Is Good, Untitled Nas album

    ) open
  5. 5
    + 3519
    - 3186

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

    ) open
  6. 6
    + 3176
    - 1859


    AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted, The Predator, Death Certificate

    ) open
  7. 7
    + 3507
    - 2006


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

    ) open
  8. 8
    + 3349
    - 2052


    Doggystyle, Tha Doggfather, Tha Last Meal

    ) open
  9. 9
    + 2705
    - 1749


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

    ) open
  10. 10
    + 2882
    - 1658


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

    ) open
  11. 11
    + 2960
    - 1694


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

    ) open
  12. 12
    + 2528
    - 1953


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

    ) open
  13. 13
    + 2207
    - 1704


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

    ) open
  14. 14
    + 2196
    - 1610


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

    ) open
  15. 15
    + 1979
    - 905

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

    ) open
  16. 16
    + 1833
    - 1562


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

    ) open
  17. 17
    + 1918
    - 1284


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

    ) open
  18. 18
    + 1901
    - 1460


    Black on Both Sides, True Magic, The New Danger

    ) open
  19. 19
    + 1920
    - 1733


    When Disaster Strikes…, The Big Bang, The Coming

    ) open
  20. 20
    + 2603
    - 2660

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

    ) open
  21. 21
    + 1803
    - 1482


    King, Urban Legend, Trap Muzik

    ) open
  22. 22
    + 1576
    - 1312


    Resurrection, Be, Like Water for Chocolate

    ) open
  23. 23
    + 1632
    - 1518


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

    ) open
  24. 24
    + 1581
    - 1310


    Radio, Mama Said Knock You Out, Mr. Smith

    ) open
  25. 25
    + 1116
    - 792


    Born Sinner, The Warm Up, Friday Night Lights

    ) open
  26. 26
    + 1170
    - 971


    Ironman, Supreme Clientele, Fishscale

    ) open
  27. 27
    + 1238
    - 932


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

    ) open
  28. 28
    + 1173
    - 985


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

    ) open
  29. 29
    + 1171
    - 981


    Capital Punishment, Yeeeah Baby, Endangered Species

    ) open
  30. 30
    + 1086
    - 990


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

    ) open
  31. 31
    + 1080
    - 903


    The Diary, The Fix, Mr. Scarface Is Back

    ) open
  32. 32
    + 1092
    - 960


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

    ) open
  33. 33
    + 1083
    - 1082


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

    ) open
  34. 34
    + 744
    - 427

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

    ) open
  35. 35
    + 1035
    - 1008


    Quality, Liberation, The Beautiful Struggle

    ) open
  36. 36
    + 925
    - 887


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

    ) open
  37. 37
    + 946
    - 834


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

    ) open
  38. 38
    + 1009
    - 818


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

    ) open
  39. 39
    + 958
    - 839


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

    ) open
  40. 40
    + 894
    - 802


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

    ) open
  41. 41
    + 850
    - 847


    Liquid Swords, Grandmasters, Pro Tools

    ) open
  42. 42
    + 738
    - 746


    Everready, Anghellic, Absolute Power

    ) open
  43. 43
    + 1357
    - 1982

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Tha Carter III, Tha Carter II, Tha Carter

    ) open
  44. 44
    + 788
    - 812


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

    ) open
  45. 45
    + 801
    - 906


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

    ) open
  46. 46
    + 682
    - 664


    The Documentary, Doctor's Advocate, Jesus Piece

    ) open
  47. 47
    + 825
    - 844


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

    ) open
  48. 48
    + 601
    - 551


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

    ) open
  49. 49
    + 1003
    - 1251

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

    ) open
  50. 50
    + 794
    - 827


    The Renaissance, Amplified, Kamaal/The Abstract

    ) open
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