The Greatest Rappers of All Time

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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.
Collection Photo: user uploaded image
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  1. 1
    + 28,433
    - 16,153


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

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  2. 2
    + 25,767
    - 15,194

    most listed
    All Eyez on Me, Me Against the World, The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day ...

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  3. 3
    + 21,890
    - 12,722


    Ready to Die, Life After Death, Born Again

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  4. 4
    + 18,210
    - 11,396


    Illmatic, Life Is Good, Untitled Nas album

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  5. 5
    + 13,559
    - 13,297

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

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  6. 6
    + 14,678
    - 9,993


    AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted, The Predator, Death Certificate

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  7. 7
    + 13,976
    - 9,910


    Doggystyle, Tha Doggfather, Tha Last Meal

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  8. 8
    + 14,289
    - 9,832


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

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  9. 9
    + 13,798
    - 9,056


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

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  10. 10
    + 11,113
    - 8,659


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

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  11. 11
    + 11,994
    - 11,602

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

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  12. 12
    + 10,311
    - 7,742


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

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  13. 13
    + 9,982
    - 7,484


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

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  14. 14
    + 9,455
    - 8,127


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

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  15. 15
    + 8,452
    - 6,910


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

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  16. 16
    + 7,106
    - 6,324


    When Disaster Strikes…, The Big Bang, The Coming

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  17. 17
    + 6,681
    - 6,012


    Black on Both Sides, True Magic, The New Danger

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  18. 18
    + 6,958
    - 5,548


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

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  19. 19
    + 6,112
    - 5,737

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Hip Hop Lives, Return of the Boom Bap, Criminal Minded

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  20. 20
    + 6,372
    - 4,999


    Born Sinner, The Warm Up, Friday Night Lights

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  21. 21
    + 7,562
    - 5,025


    Stankonia, Aquemini, Speakerboxxx/The Love Below

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  22. 22
    + 5,911
    - 5,295


    Radio, Mama Said Knock You Out, Mr. Smith

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  23. 23
    + 5,472
    - 5,017


    Resurrection, Be, Like Water for Chocolate

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  24. 24
    + 6,198
    - 5,701


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

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  25. 25
    + 5,697
    - 5,186


    King, Urban Legend, Trap Muzik

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  26. 26
    + 5,053
    - 4,148


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

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  27. 27
    + 4,650
    - 3,991


    Ironman, Supreme Clientele, Fishscale

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  28. 28
    + 4,315
    - 3,857


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

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  29. 29
    + 4,218
    - 3,773


    Capital Punishment, Yeeeah Baby, Endangered Species

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  30. 30
    + 3,981
    - 3,632


    The Diary, The Fix, Mr. Scarface Is Back

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  31. 31
    + 3,722
    - 3,669


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

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  32. 32
    + 3,489
    - 3,273


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

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  33. 33
    + 3,680
    - 3,487


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

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  34. 34
    + 3,367
    - 3,157


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

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  35. 35
    + 3,642
    - 2,700

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

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  36. 36
    + 4,390
    - 5,950

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

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  37. 37
    + 3,179
    - 2,944


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

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  38. 38
    + 3,765
    - 3,078


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

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  39. 39
    + 3,487
    - 3,768

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

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  40. 40
    + 2,973
    - 1,902
    Notorius BIG is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time

    ranked low on reranks
    Notorius BIG

  41. 41
    + 3,274
    - 2,856


    Everready, Anghellic, Absolute Power

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  42. 42
    + 3,161
    - 2,621


    The Documentary, Doctor's Advocate, Jesus Piece

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  43. 43
    + 2,863
    - 2,787

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Liquid Swords, Grandmasters, Pro Tools

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  44. 44
    + 2,925
    - 2,740


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

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  45. 45
    + 2,885
    - 3,080


    Quality, Liberation, The Beautiful Struggle

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  46. 46
    + 2,058
    - 1,628

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

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  47. 47
    + 2,338
    - 1,910
    Cypress Hill is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time

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

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  48. 48
    + 2,178
    - 2,088


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

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  49. 49
    + 2,209
    - 2,359


    The Renaissance, Amplified, Kamaal/The Abstract

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  50. 50
    + 2,125
    - 2,544


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

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