The Greatest Rappers of All Time Bands/Musicians
Ultimate List
108  reranks 85,981 votes 6,750 voters 84,496 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
  • 108 ReRanks
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Score
  1. 1
    Up 3022
    Down 1212

    most listed
    Eminem

    Hip hop music, Horrorcore, Hardcore hip hop More
    100
  2. 2
    Up 2603
    Down 1080

    the people's #1
    Tupac Shakur

    Hip hop music, Political hip hop, Gangsta rap More
    100
  3. 3
    Up 2040
    Down 866
    Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop More
    96
  4. 4
    Up 1724
    Down 798
    Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, East Coast hip hop More
    90
  5. 5
    Up 1425
    Down 1203

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Jay-Z

    Hip hop music, East Coast hip hop, Gangsta rap More
    81
  6. 6
    Up 1050
    Down 675
    Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop More
    79
  7. 7
    Up 1173
    Down 734
    Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Political hip hop More
    78
  8. 8
    Up 1253
    Down 785
    Hip hop music, Pop music, Gangsta rap More
    78
  9. 9
    Up 1288
    Down 805
    Hip hop music, Rap music, Gangsta rap More
    77
  10. 10
    Up 1205
    Down 583
    Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Rock music More
    75
  11. 11
    Up 718
    Down 648

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    KRS-One

    Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Hardcore hip hop More
    66
  12. 12
    Up 849
    Down 589
    Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Rock music More
    66
  13. 13
    Up 737
    Down 650

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Busta Rhymes

    Hip hop music, Ragga, Dancehall More
    65
  14. 14
    Up 752
    Down 436
    Hip hop music, Political hip hop, West Coast hip hop More
    65
  15. 15
    Up 798
    Down 535
    Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop More
    65
  16. 16
    Up 789
    Down 594
    Hip hop music, Horrorcore, Hardcore hip hop More
    64
  17. 17
    Up 788
    Down 675
    Hip hop music, Old-school hip hop, Gangsta rap More
    64
  18. 18
    Up 678
    Down 584
    Hip hop music, Atlanta hip hop, Hardcore hip hop More
    63
  19. 19
    Up 515
    Down 273
    Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop More
    63
  20. 20
    Up 641
    Down 348
    Hip hop music, Political hip hop, Gangsta rap More
    63
  21. 21
    Up 832
    Down 695
    Hip hop music, Gangsta rap More
    63
  22. 22
    Up 664
    Down 557
    Hip hop music, Jazz rap, Alternative hip hop More
    63
  23. 23
    Up 637
    Down 577
    Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop More
    62
  24. 24
    Up 972
    Down 1025
    Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Pop music More
    62
  25. 25
    Up 698
    Down 618
    Hip hop music, Atlanta hip hop, Gangsta rap More
    62
  26. 26
    Up 387
    Down 214

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

    Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Hardcore hip hop More
    61
  27. 27
    Up 459
    Down 373
    Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop More
    60
  28. 28
    Up 415
    Down 329
    Hip hop music, Horrorcore, Gangsta rap More
    60
  29. 29
    Up 567
    Down 266

    ranked low on reranks
    Outkast

    Alternative hip hop, Dance-pop, Jazz More
    59
  30. 30
    Up 432
    Down 295
    Hip hop music, Horrorcore, Hardcore hip hop More
    59
  31. 31
    Up 482
    Down 367
    Hip hop music More
    59
  32. 32
    Up 468
    Down 417
    Hip hop music, Old-school hip hop, East Coast hip hop More
    59
  33. 33
    Up 454
    Down 403
    Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop More
    57
  34. 34
    Up 436
    Down 362
    Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Political hip hop More
    57
  35. 35
    Up 451
    Down 419
    Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Conscious hip hop More
    57
  36. 36
    Up 291
    Down 201
    Hip hop music, Political hip hop, Hardcore hip hop More
    57
  37. 37
    Up 435
    Down 388
    Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop More
    56
  38. 38
    Up 395
    Down 358
    Hip hop music, East Coast hip hop, Mafioso rap More
    56
  39. 39
    Up 365
    Down 328
    Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop More
    55
  40. 40
    Up 386
    Down 384
    Hip hop music, Political hip hop, Hardcore hip hop More
    55
  41. 41
    Up 305
    Down 227
    Hip hop music, Pop punk, Alternative hip hop More
    54
  42. 42
    Up 391
    Down 324
    Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Southern hip hop More
    54
  43. 43
    Up 419
    Down 327
    Hip hop music, Rap music, Hardcore hip hop More
    53
  44. 44
    Up 390
    Down 320
    Hip hop music, East Coast hip hop More
    52
  45. 45
    Up 253
    Down 191
    Hip hop music, Jazz rap, Alternative hip hop More
    52
  46. 46
    Up 338
    Down 309
    Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Neo soul More
    51
  47. 47
    Up 265
    Down 270
    Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Political hip hop More
    51
  48. 48
    Up 422
    Down 718

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Lil Wayne

    Hip hop music, Ragga, Hardcore hip hop More
    51
  49. 49
    Up 284
    Down 324
    Hip hop music, Jazz rap, Jazz More
    50
  50. 50
    Up 340
    Down 361
    Hip hop music, Jazz rap, Alternative hip hop More
    50
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