The Greatest Rappers of All Time Bands/Musicians
Ultimate List
109  reranks 88,952 votes 7,001 voters 93,835 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
  • 109 ReRanks
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Score
  1. 1
    Up 2702
    Down 1120

    the people's #1
    Tupac Shakur

    Hip hop music, Political hip hop, Gangsta rap More
    100
  2. 2
    Up 3132
    Down 1257

    most listed
    Eminem

    Hip hop music, Horrorcore, Hardcore hip hop More
    100
  3. 3
    Up 2114
    Down 885
    Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop More
    96
  4. 4
    Up 1784
    Down 820
    Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, East Coast hip hop More
    90
  5. 5
    Up 1468
    Down 1246

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Jay-Z

    Hip hop music, East Coast hip hop, Gangsta rap More
    81
  6. 6
    Up 1084
    Down 702
    Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop More
    78
  7. 7
    Up 1212
    Down 760
    Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Political hip hop More
    78
  8. 8
    Up 1293
    Down 813
    Hip hop music, Pop music, Gangsta rap More
    78
  9. 9
    Up 1331
    Down 839
    Hip hop music, Rap music, Gangsta rap More
    77
  10. 10
    Up 1244
    Down 603
    Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Rock music More
    75
  11. 11
    Up 743
    Down 671

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    KRS-One

    Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Hardcore hip hop More
    66
  12. 12
    Up 875
    Down 607
    Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Rock music More
    66
  13. 13
    Up 764
    Down 674
    Hip hop music, Ragga, Dancehall More
    65
  14. 14
    Up 783
    Down 463
    Hip hop music, Political hip hop, West Coast hip hop More
    65
  15. 15
    Up 818
    Down 614
    Hip hop music, Horrorcore, Hardcore hip hop More
    65
  16. 16
    Up 827
    Down 546
    Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop More
    65
  17. 17
    Up 810
    Down 698
    Hip hop music, Old-school hip hop, Gangsta rap More
    64
  18. 18
    Up 686
    Down 571
    Hip hop music, Jazz rap, Alternative hip hop More
    64
  19. 19
    Up 542
    Down 282
    Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop More
    63
  20. 20
    Up 861
    Down 722
    Hip hop music, Gangsta rap More
    63
  21. 21
    Up 703
    Down 603
    Hip hop music, Atlanta hip hop, Hardcore hip hop More
    63
  22. 22
    Up 669
    Down 362

    ranked low on reranks
    N.W.A

    Hip hop music, Political hip hop, Gangsta rap More
    63
  23. 23
    Up 996
    Down 1053
    Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Pop music More
    62
  24. 24
    Up 659
    Down 588
    Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop More
    62
  25. 25
    Up 724
    Down 632
    Hip hop music, Atlanta hip hop, Gangsta rap More
    62
  26. 26
    Up 402
    Down 227

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

    Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Hardcore hip hop More
    60
  27. 27
    Up 435
    Down 342
    Hip hop music, Horrorcore, Gangsta rap More
    60
  28. 28
    Up 473
    Down 386
    Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop More
    60
  29. 29
    Up 592
    Down 278

    ranked low on reranks
    Outkast

    Alternative hip hop, Dance-pop, Jazz More
    59
  30. 30
    Up 500
    Down 380
    Hip hop music More
    59
  31. 31
    Up 447
    Down 312
    Hip hop music, Horrorcore, Hardcore hip hop More
    59
  32. 32
    Up 479
    Down 428
    Hip hop music, Old-school hip hop, East Coast hip hop More
    59
  33. 33
    Up 470
    Down 413
    Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop More
    58
  34. 34
    Up 307
    Down 211
    Hip hop music, Political hip hop, Hardcore hip hop More
    57
  35. 35
    Up 448
    Down 379
    Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Political hip hop More
    57
  36. 36
    Up 460
    Down 435
    Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Conscious hip hop More
    57
  37. 37
    Up 449
    Down 404
    Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop More
    56
  38. 38
    Up 404
    Down 371
    Hip hop music, East Coast hip hop, Mafioso rap More
    55
  39. 39
    Up 378
    Down 339
    Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop More
    55
  40. 40
    Up 396
    Down 395
    Hip hop music, Political hip hop, Hardcore hip hop More
    54
  41. 41
    Up 321
    Down 236
    Hip hop music, Pop punk, Alternative hip hop More
    54
  42. 42
    Up 403
    Down 334
    Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Southern hip hop More
    54
  43. 43
    Up 425
    Down 343
    Hip hop music, Rap music, Hardcore hip hop More
    53
  44. 44
    Up 265
    Down 201
    Hip hop music, Jazz rap, Alternative hip hop More
    52
  45. 45
    Up 401
    Down 332
    Hip hop music, East Coast hip hop More
    52
  46. 46
    Up 347
    Down 318
    Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Neo soul More
    51
  47. 47
    Up 438
    Down 745

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Lil Wayne

    Hip hop music, Ragga, Hardcore hip hop More
    51
  48. 48
    Up 275
    Down 283
    Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Political hip hop More
    51
  49. 49
    Up 295
    Down 336
    Hip hop music, Jazz rap, Jazz More
    50
  50. 50
    Up 351
    Down 371
    Hip hop music, Jazz rap, Alternative hip hop More
    50
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