The Greatest Rappers of All Time Bands/Musicians
home Music Bands/Musicians | Tags

The Greatest Rappers of All Time

who else should see this list?

original ranker
49,737 views 158 items 68,018 votes 5,596 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.

< >
  • the crowd
  • 106 reranks
  • comments
  • </> embed
Rerank This List
View as a Ranked by
Rank
loading your
votes…
 
  Name
Score
  1. 1
    Up 2511
    Down 1030
    Hip hop music, Horrorcore, Hardcore hip hop More
    100
  2. 2
    Up 2150
    Down 927

    the people's #1 &most listed
    Tupac Shakur

    Hip hop music, Political hip hop, Gangsta rap More
    100
  3. 3
    Up 1712
    Down 734
    Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop More
    97
  4. 4
    Up 1443
    Down 705
    Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, East Coast hip hop More
    90
  5. 5
    Up 1238
    Down 993

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Jay-Z

    Hip hop music, East Coast hip hop, Gangsta rap More
    82
  6. 6
    Up 860
    Down 570

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Rakim

    Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop More
    79
  7. 7
    Up 955
    Down 606

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Ice Cube

    Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Political hip hop More
    79
  8. 8
    Up 1032
    Down 645

    ranked low on reranks
    Snoop Dogg

    Hip hop music, Pop music, Gangsta rap More
    79
  9. 9
    Up 1055
    Down 675

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Dr. Dre

    Hip hop music, Rap music, Gangsta rap More
    78
  10. 10
    Up 1006
    Down 482

    ranked low on reranks
    André 3000

    Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Rock music More
    77
  11. 11
    Up 731
    Down 490
    Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Rock music More
    68
  12. 12
    Up 578
    Down 523

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    KRS-One

    Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Hardcore hip hop More
    68
  13. 13
    Up 542
    Down 304

    ranked low on reranks
    Kendrick Lamar

    Hip hop music, Political hip hop, West Coast hip hop More
    66
  14. 14
    Up 621
    Down 485
    Hip hop music, Horrorcore, Hardcore hip hop More
    65
  15. 15
    Up 640
    Down 558

    often listed
    Eazy-E

    Hip hop music, Old-school hip hop, Gangsta rap More
    65
  16. 16
    Up 665
    Down 565

    often listed &ranked low on reranks
    50 Cent

    Hip hop music, Gangsta rap More
    65
  17. 17
    Up 592
    Down 548

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Busta Rhymes

    Hip hop music, Ragga, Dancehall More
    64
  18. 18
    Up 629
    Down 463

    ranked low on reranks
    Method Man

    Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop More
    64
  19. 19
    Up 478
    Down 274
    Hip hop music, Political hip hop, Gangsta rap More
    64
  20. 20
    Up 362
    Down 198
    Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop More
    64
  21. 21
    Up 865
    Down 847

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Kanye West

    Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Pop music More
    64
  22. 22
    Up 543
    Down 471
    Hip hop music, Jazz rap, Alternative hip hop More
    63
  23. 23
    Up 575
    Down 504

    often listed
    T.I.

    Hip hop music, Atlanta hip hop, Gangsta rap More
    63
  24. 24
    Up 440
    Down 210

    ranked low on reranks &niche appeal
    Outkast

    Alternative hip hop, Dance-pop, Jazz More
    62
  25. 25
    Up 515
    Down 494

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    LL Cool J

    Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop More
    62
  26. 26
    Up 525
    Down 483

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Ludacris

    Hip hop music, Atlanta hip hop, Hardcore hip hop More
    62
  27. 27
    Up 266
    Down 163
    Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Hardcore hip hop More
    61
  28. 28
    Up 393
    Down 352

    often listed
    Slick Rick

    Hip hop music, Old-school hip hop, East Coast hip hop More
    61
  29. 29
    Up 366
    Down 309

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Big Daddy Kane

    Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop More
    61
  30. 30
    Up 318
    Down 263

    often listed &ranked low on reranks
    Scarface

    Hip hop music, Horrorcore, Gangsta rap More
    60
  31. 31
    Up 376
    Down 306

    ranked low on reranks
    Redman

    Hip hop music More
    60
  32. 32
    Up 331
    Down 226
    Hip hop music, Horrorcore, Hardcore hip hop More
    60
  33. 33
    Up 389
    Down 329

    ranked low on reranks
    Ghostface Killah

    Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop More
    60
  34. 34
    Up 390
    Down 355

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Talib Kweli

    Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Conscious hip hop More
    59
  35. 35
    Up 344
    Down 281

    ranked low on reranks
    Lupe Fiasco

    Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Political hip hop More
    58
  36. 36
    Up 337
    Down 299

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Raekwon

    Hip hop music, East Coast hip hop, Mafioso rap More
    58
  37. 37
    Up 361
    Down 312

    often listed
    Big Pun

    Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop More
    58
  38. 38
    Up 201
    Down 149
    Hip hop music, Political hip hop, Hardcore hip hop More
    57
  39. 39
    Up 332
    Down 324

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Chuck D

    Hip hop music, Political hip hop, Hardcore hip hop More
    57
  40. 40
    Up 327
    Down 269

    ranked low on reranks
    Big Boi

    Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Southern hip hop More
    56
  41. 41
    Up 350
    Down 271

    ranked low on reranks
    Ol' Dirty Bastard

    Hip hop music, Rap music, Hardcore hip hop More
    56
  42. 42
    Up 222
    Down 170
    Hip hop music, Pop punk, Alternative hip hop More
    55
  43. 43
    Up 289
    Down 271

    often listed
    GZA

    Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop More
    55
  44. 44
    Up 193
    Down 138
    Hip hop music, Jazz rap, Alternative hip hop More
    55
  45. 45
    Up 318
    Down 264
    Hip hop music, East Coast hip hop More
    55
  46. 46
    Up 299
    Down 283
    Hip hop music, Jazz rap, Alternative hip hop More
    54
  47. 47
    Up 204
    Down 187
    Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Political hip hop More
    52
  48. 48
    Up 253
    Down 247
    Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Neo soul More
    52
  49. 49
    Up 241
    Down 259

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Guru

    Hip hop music, Jazz rap, Jazz More
    52
  50. 50
    Up 234
    Down 220

    ranked low on reranks
    Ice-T

    Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, Rock music More
    52
  51. +Add New Item

Is this list missing something?
RANKERS WHO ADDED ITEMS + 8 MORE

items 1 - 50 of 158

think you can do better?

rerank this list
why?

got a blog or website?

embed this list
why?

    more popular lists