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The Greatest Rappers of All Time

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50,929 views 152 items 69,156 votes 5,653 voters 119 followers 106reranks
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 Criteria: Only individual rappers, not rap groups or collectives.

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  Name
Score
  1. 1
    Up 2184
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    the people's #1 &most listed
    Tupac Shakur

    Hip hop music, Political hip hop, Gangsta rap More
    100
  2. 2
    Up 2548
    Down 1037
    Hip hop music, Horrorcore, Hardcore hip hop More
    100
  3. 3
    Up 1737
    Down 738
    Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop More
    97
  4. 4
    Up 1453
    Down 708
    Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, East Coast hip hop More
    90
  5. 5
    Up 1243
    Down 1002

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Jay-Z

    Hip hop music, East Coast hip hop, Gangsta rap More
    81
  6. 6
    Up 882
    Down 573
    Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop More
    79
  7. 7
    Up 983
    Down 608
    Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Political hip hop More
    79
  8. 8
    Up 1055
    Down 649
    Hip hop music, Pop music, Gangsta rap More
    78
  9. 9
    Up 1085
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    Hip hop music, Rap music, Gangsta rap More
    78
  10. 10
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    Down 485
    Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Rock music More
    76
  11. 11
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    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    KRS-One

    Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Hardcore hip hop More
    68
  12. 12
    Up 736
    Down 492
    Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Rock music More
    67
  13. 13
    Up 645
    Down 487
    Hip hop music, Horrorcore, Hardcore hip hop More
    65
  14. 14
    Up 671
    Down 559
    Hip hop music, Old-school hip hop, Gangsta rap More
    65
  15. 15
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    ranked low on reranks
    Kendrick Lamar

    Hip hop music, Political hip hop, West Coast hip hop More
    65
  16. 16
    Up 685
    Down 568

    often listed
    50 Cent

    Hip hop music, Gangsta rap More
    64
  17. 17
    Up 606
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    Hip hop music, Ragga, Dancehall More
    64
  18. 18
    Up 652
    Down 465
    Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop More
    64
  19. 19
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    Hip hop music, Political hip hop, Gangsta rap More
    64
  20. 20
    Up 384
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    Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop More
    63
  21. 21
    Up 556
    Down 472
    Hip hop music, Jazz rap, Alternative hip hop More
    63
  22. 22
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    controversial
    Kanye West

    Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Pop music More
    63
  23. 23
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    Down 507
    Hip hop music, Atlanta hip hop, Gangsta rap More
    62
  24. 24
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    Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop More
    62
  25. 25
    Up 547
    Down 486
    Hip hop music, Atlanta hip hop, Hardcore hip hop More
    62
  26. 26
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    ranked low on reranks &niche appeal
    Outkast

    Alternative hip hop, Dance-pop, Jazz More
    61
  27. 27
    Up 285
    Down 164
    Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Hardcore hip hop More
    61
  28. 28
    Up 383
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    Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop More
    60
  29. 29
    Up 406
    Down 353
    Hip hop music, Old-school hip hop, East Coast hip hop More
    60
  30. 30
    Up 333
    Down 266
    Hip hop music, Horrorcore, Gangsta rap More
    60
  31. 31
    Up 392
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    Hip hop music More
    59
  32. 32
    Up 404
    Down 330
    Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop More
    59
  33. 33
    Up 344
    Down 227
    Hip hop music, Horrorcore, Hardcore hip hop More
    59
  34. 34
    Up 399
    Down 357
    Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Conscious hip hop More
    59
  35. 35
    Up 218
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    Hip hop music, Political hip hop, Hardcore hip hop More
    57
  36. 36
    Up 347
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    Hip hop music, East Coast hip hop, Mafioso rap More
    57
  37. 37
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    Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Political hip hop More
    57
  38. 38
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    Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop More
    57
  39. 39
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    Hip hop music, Political hip hop, Hardcore hip hop More
    56
  40. 40
    Up 364
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    Hip hop music, Rap music, Hardcore hip hop More
    55
  41. 41
    Up 328
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    Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Southern hip hop More
    54
  42. 42
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    Hip hop music, Pop punk, Alternative hip hop More
    54
  43. 43
    Up 292
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    Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop More
    54
  44. 44
    Up 197
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    Hip hop music, Jazz rap, Alternative hip hop More
    54
  45. 45
    Up 320
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    Hip hop music, East Coast hip hop More
    53
  46. 46
    Up 300
    Down 285
    Hip hop music, Jazz rap, Alternative hip hop More
    53
  47. 47
    Up 218
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    Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Political hip hop More
    52
  48. 48
    Up 250
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    Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, Rock music More
    51
  49. 49
    Up 243
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    Hip hop music, Jazz rap, Jazz More
    51
  50. 50
    Up 255
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    Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Neo soul More
    51
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