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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
  • 254 ReRanks
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  1. 1
    + 12394
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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
    + 14259
    - 5676


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

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  3. 3
    + 9385
    - 3409


    Ready to Die, Life After Death, Born Again

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  4. 4
    + 7832
    - 3115


    Illmatic, Life Is Good, Untitled Nas album

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  5. 5
    + 6078
    - 3091


    AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted, The Predator, Death Certificate

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  6. 6
    + 5701
    - 5150

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

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  7. 7
    + 6232
    - 3248


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

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  8. 8
    + 5808
    - 3259


    Doggystyle, Tha Doggfather, Tha Last Meal

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  9. 9
    + 4476
    - 2856


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

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  10. 10
    + 5752
    - 3077


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

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  11. 11
    + 4501
    - 2758


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

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  12. 12
    + 4212
    - 2680


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

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  13. 13
    + 4241
    - 3371


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

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  14. 14
    + 4477
    - 4355

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

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  15. 15
    + 3567
    - 2707


    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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    - 1624

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

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  17. 17
    + 3022
    - 2040


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

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  18. 18
    + 2843
    - 2276


    Black on Both Sides, True Magic, The New Danger

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  19. 19
    + 3074
    - 2568


    When Disaster Strikes…, The Big Bang, The Coming

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  20. 20
    + 2583
    - 2254


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

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  21. 21
    + 2572
    - 1756


    Born Sinner, The Warm Up, Friday Night Lights

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  22. 22
    + 2560
    - 2053


    Radio, Mama Said Knock You Out, Mr. Smith

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  23. 23
    + 2423
    - 2020


    Resurrection, Be, Like Water for Chocolate

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  24. 24
    + 2907
    - 2514


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

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  25. 25
    + 2832
    - 2363


    King, Urban Legend, Trap Muzik

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  26. 26
    + 2188
    - 1571


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

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  27. 27
    + 1934
    - 1540


    Ironman, Supreme Clientele, Fishscale

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  28. 28
    + 900
    - 338

    ranked low on reranks
    Notorius BIG

  29. 29
    + 1879
    - 1519


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

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  30. 30
    + 1762
    - 1419


    The Diary, The Fix, Mr. Scarface Is Back

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  31. 31
    + 1854
    - 1524


    Capital Punishment, Yeeeah Baby, Endangered Species

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  32. 32
    + 1544
    - 905

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

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  33. 33
    + 1677
    - 1521


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

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  34. 34
    + 1687
    - 1447


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

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  35. 35
    + 1520
    - 1339


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

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  36. 36
    + 1685
    - 1321


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

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  37. 37
    + 1664
    - 1706


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

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  38. 38
    + 1490
    - 1347


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

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  39. 39
    + 2283
    - 3075

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

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  40. 40
    + 1461
    - 1232


    Everready, Anghellic, Absolute Power

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  41. 41
    + 1450
    - 1278


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

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  42. 42
    + 1452
    - 1120


    The Documentary, Doctor's Advocate, Jesus Piece

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  43. 43
    + 778
    - 489

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

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  44. 44
    + 2082
    - 2230

    often listed & Ranked High on Reranks
    Take Care, Nothing Was the Same, Thank Me Later

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  45. 45
    + 1376
    - 1226


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

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  46. 46
    + 1484
    - 1477


    Quality, Liberation, The Beautiful Struggle

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  47. 47
    + 1373
    - 1272


    Liquid Swords, Grandmasters, Pro Tools

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  48. 48
    + 956
    - 703

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

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  49. 49
    + 1029
    - 915


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

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  50. 50
    + 1148
    - 1302

    often listed & Ranked High on Reranks
    Autobiography of Mistachuck, Rock da Funky Beats / Dance With You, An ...

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