The Greatest Rappers of All Time Bands/Musicians
Ultimate List
136,035 votes 176,741 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.
  • 133 ReRanks
    • Women
    • Men
    • Age
    • Region
  • See list ranked by
The List
Comment
Embed
Options
rerank list
  1. 1
    Up 4626
    Down 1838

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

    open
  2. 2
    Up 3821
    Down 1656

    the people's #1 & most listed All Eyez on Me, Me Against the World, The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day ...

    open
  3. 3
    Up 2982
    Down 1266

    Ready to Die, Life After Death, Born Again

    open
  4. 4
    Up 2560
    Down 1195

    Illmatic, Life Is Good, Untitled Nas album

    open
  5. 5
    Up 2050
    Down 1850

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

    open
  6. 6
    Up 1935
    Down 1194

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

    open
  7. 7
    Up 1882
    Down 1260

    Doggystyle, Tha Doggfather, Tha Last Meal

    open
  8. 8
    Up 1732
    Down 1106

    AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted, The Predator, Death Certificate

    open
  9. 9
    Up 1547
    Down 1064

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

    open
  10. 10
    Up 1730
    Down 942

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

    open
  11. 11
    Up 1260
    Down 976

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

    open
  12. 12
    Up 1296
    Down 848

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

    open
  13. 13
    Up 1114
    Down 1035

    When Disaster Strikes…, The Big Bang, The Coming

    open
  14. 14
    Up 1323
    Down 1064

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

    open
  15. 15
    Up 1009
    Down 970

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

    open
  16. 16
    Up 1448
    Down 1520

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

    open
  17. 17
    Up 1192
    Down 908

    Black on Both Sides, True Magic, The New Danger

    open
  18. 18
    Up 1163
    Down 967

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

    open
  19. 19
    Up 1116
    Down 798

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

    open
  20. 20
    Up 1031
    Down 881

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

    open
  21. 21
    Up 949
    Down 812

    Resurrection, Be, Like Water for Chocolate

    open
  22. 22
    Up 1062
    Down 880

    King, Urban Legend, Trap Muzik

    open
  23. 23
    Up 1002
    Down 458

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

    open
  24. 24
    Up 925
    Down 830

    Radio, Mama Said Knock You Out, Mr. Smith

    open
  25. 25
    Up 680
    Down 585

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

    open
  26. 26
    Up 706
    Down 565

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

    open
  27. 27
    Up 687
    Down 516

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

    open
  28. 28
    Up 664
    Down 629

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

    open
  29. 29
    Up 633
    Down 556

    The Diary, The Fix, Mr. Scarface Is Back

    open
  30. 30
    Up 657
    Down 632

    Quality, Liberation, The Beautiful Struggle

    open
  31. 31
    Up 666
    Down 606

    Ironman, Supreme Clientele, Fishscale

    open
  32. 32
    Up 671
    Down 601

    Capital Punishment, Yeeeah Baby, Endangered Species

    open
  33. 33
    Up 634
    Down 613

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

    open
  34. 34
    Up 547
    Down 415

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

    open
  35. 35
    Up 555
    Down 557

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

    open
  36. 36
    Up 514
    Down 527

    Liquid Swords, Grandmasters, Pro Tools

    open
  37. 37
    Up 525
    Down 582

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

    open
  38. 38
    Up 585
    Down 528

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

    open
  39. 39
    Up 543
    Down 496

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

    open
  40. 40
    Up 548
    Down 527

    Sir Luscious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty, Got Purp? Vol. 2, Royal ...

    open
  41. 41
    Up 717
    Down 1142

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

    open
  42. 42
    Up 559
    Down 506

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

    open
  43. 43
    Up 431
    Down 462

    Revolutionary Vol. 2, Revolutionary, Volume 1, The 3rd World

    open
  44. 44
    Up 512
    Down 532

    The Renaissance, Amplified, Kamaal/The Abstract

    open
  45. 45
    Up 352
    Down 332

    Born Sinner, The Warm Up, Friday Night Lights

    open
  46. 46
    Up 376
    Down 473

    Jazzmatazz, Volume 1, Guru's Jazzmatazz, Vol. 4: The Hip Hop Jazz ...

    open
  47. 47
    Up 398
    Down 561

    Take Care, Nothing Was the Same, Thank Me Later

    open
  48. 48
    Up 287
    Down 429

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Everready, Anghellic, Absolute Power

    open
  49. 49
    Up 365
    Down 411

    Power, O.G. Original Gangster, Home Invasion

    open
  50. 50
    Up 267
    Down 243

    ranked low on reranks At the Speed of Life, 40 Dayz & 40 Nightz, Restless

    open
160 +

Something missing? Add it!

think you can do better?

Rerank This List

got a blog or website?

embed this list

viewers of this list also saw...

more popular lists