The Greatest Rappers of All Time Bands/Musicians
Ultimate List
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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.
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  1. 1
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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
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    The Marshall Mathers LP, The Slim Shady LP, The Eminem Show

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  3. 3
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    Ready to Die, Life After Death, Born Again

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  4. 4
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    Illmatic, Life Is Good, Untitled Nas album

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  5. 5
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks Watch the Throne, The Black Album, Reasonable Doubt

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  6. 6
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    The Chronic, 2001, Nuthin' but a 'G' Thang / Let Me Ride

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  7. 7
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    AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted, The Predator, Death Certificate

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  8. 8
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    Doggystyle, Tha Doggfather, Tha Last Meal

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  9. 9
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    The 18th Letter, The Archive: Live, Lost & Found, The Master

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  10. 10
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    Royal Flush, Class of 3000: Music Volume One, DoYaThing

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  11. 11
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    It's Dark and Hell Is Hot, Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood, ...And ...

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  12. 12
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    good kid, m.A.A.d city, Section.80, Overly Dedicated

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  13. 13
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    Get Rich or Die Tryin', Get Rich or Die Tryin' / The Massacre, Street King ...

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  14. 14
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    Eazy-Duz-It, It’s On (Dr. Dre) 187um Killa, Eternal E

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  15. 15
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    When Disaster Strikes…, The Big Bang, The Coming

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  16. 16
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    My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, Late Registration, The College Dropout ...

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  17. 17
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks Hip Hop Lives, Return of the Boom Bap, Criminal Minded

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  18. 18
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    Black on Both Sides, True Magic, The New Danger

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  19. 19
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    Theater of the Mind, Word of Mouf, Back For the First Time

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  20. 20
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    Tical, 4:21... The Day After, The Riddler

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  21. 21
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    ranked low on reranks Stankonia, Aquemini, Speakerboxxx/The Love Below

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  22. 22
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    King, Urban Legend, Trap Muzik

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  23. 23
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    Resurrection, Be, Like Water for Chocolate

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  24. 24
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    Radio, Mama Said Knock You Out, Mr. Smith

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  25. 25
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    Long Live the Kane, It's a Big Daddy Thing, Daddy's Home

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  26. 26
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    Muddy Waters, Whut? Thee Album, Doc's da Name 2000

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  27. 27
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    The Great Adventures of Slick Rick, The Art of Storytelling, The Ruler's ...

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  28. 28
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    The Big Picture, Lifestylez ov da Poor & Dangerous, Children of the ...

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  29. 29
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    Capital Punishment, Yeeeah Baby, Endangered Species

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  30. 30
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    Ironman, Supreme Clientele, Fishscale

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  31. 31
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    The Diary, The Fix, Mr. Scarface Is Back

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  32. 32
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    Quality, Liberation, The Beautiful Struggle

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  33. 33
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    Food & Liquor, Food & Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album, ...

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  34. 34
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    Paul's Boutique, Licensed to Ill, Check Your Head

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  35. 35
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    Only Built 4 Cuban Linx Instrumentals, Only Built 4 Cuban Linx... Pt. II, ...

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  36. 36
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    The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, MTV Unplugged 2.0, Ms. Hill

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  37. 37
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    Born Sinner, The Warm Up, Friday Night Lights

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  38. 38
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    Liquid Swords, Grandmasters, Pro Tools

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  39. 39
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    Autobiography of Mistachuck, Rock da Funky Beats / Dance With You, An ...

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  40. 40
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks Tha Carter III, Tha Carter II, Tha Carter

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  41. 41
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    Sir Luscious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty, Got Purp? Vol. 2, Royal ...

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  42. 42
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    Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version, The Trials and Tribulations ...

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  43. 43
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    Revolutionary Vol. 2, Revolutionary, Volume 1, The 3rd World

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  44. 44
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    RZA as Bobby Digital in Stereo, Birth of a Prince, Digital Bullet

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  45. 45
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    The Renaissance, Amplified, Kamaal/The Abstract

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  46. 46
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    Take Care, Nothing Was the Same, Thank Me Later

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  47. 47
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    Jazzmatazz, Volume 1, Guru's Jazzmatazz, Vol. 4: The Hip Hop Jazz ...

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  48. 48
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks Everready, Anghellic, Absolute Power

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  49. 49
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    Man on the Moon: The End of Day, Indicud, Man on the Moon II: The Legend ...

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  50. 50
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    ranked low on reranks At the Speed of Life, 40 Dayz & 40 Nightz, Restless

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