hip hop artists The Greatest Rappers of All Time  

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List Rules 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.
list ordered by

1
50,932 26,568
Tupac Shakur is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Tupac All Eyez on Me, Me Against the World, The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory

The Greatest White Rappers of All Time People You'd Like to See Host Saturday Night Live

2
66,688 32,483
Eminem is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Eminem The Marshall Mathers LP, The Slim Shady LP, The Eminem Show

3
45,018 20,637
The Notorious B.I.G. is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
The Notorious B.I.G. Ready to Die, Life After Death, Born Again

4
33,365 20,714
Nas is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Nas Illmatic, Life Is Good, Untitled Nas album

5
29,027 18,388
Ice Cube is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Ice Cube AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted, The Predator, Death Certificate

6
25,113 26,780
Jay-Z is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Jay-Z Watch the Throne, The Black Album, Reasonable Doubt

7
27,590 18,352
Snoop Dogg is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Snoop Dogg Doggystyle, Tha Doggfather, Tha Last Meal

8
29,415 17,666
Dr. Dre is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Dr. Dre The Chronic, 2001, Nuthin' but a 'G' Thang / Let Me Ride

9
32,576 18,316
Kendrick Lamar is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Kendrick Lamar good kid, m.A.A.d city, Section.80

10
20,404 16,746
Rakim is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Rakim The 18th Letter, The Archive: Live, Lost & Found

11
20,236 12,858
André 3000 is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
André 3000 Royal Flush, Class of 3000: Music Volume One, DoYaThing

12
19,263 13,564
Eazy-E is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Eazy-E Eazy-Duz-It, It’s On (Dr. Dre) 187um Killa, Eternal E

13
21,720 23,161
Kanye West is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Kanye West My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, Late Registration, The College Dropout

14
17,733 14,493
50 Cent is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
50 Cent Get Rich or Die Tryin', Get Rich or Die Tryin' / The Massacre, Street King Immortal

15
15,848 12,055
DMX is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
DMX It's Dark and Hell Is Hot, Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood

The Best Rappers of the 2000s Catchiest Viral Internet Songs of All Time

16
13,718 11,090
Busta Rhymes is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Busta Rhymes When Disaster Strikes…, The Big Bang, The Coming

17
13,261 9,663
Method Man is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Method Man Tical, 4:21... The Day After, The Riddler

18
15,524 11,114
J. Cole is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
J. Cole Born Sinner, The Warm Up, Friday Night Lights

19
11,886 10,599
Mos Def is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Mos Def Black on Both Sides, True Magic, The New Danger

20
12,433 10,167
Ludacris is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Ludacris Theater of the Mind, Word of Mouf, Back For the First Time

21
10,523 10,292
KRS-One is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
KRS-One Hip Hop Lives, Return of the Boom Bap, Criminal Minded

22
10,403 9,883
LL Cool J is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
LL Cool J Radio, Mama Said Knock You Out, Mr. Smith

23
9,771 9,155
Common is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Common Resurrection, Be, Like Water for Chocolate

24
11,648 12,316
Lil Wayne is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Lil Wayne Tha Carter III, Tha Carter II, Tha Carter

25
10,170 8,194
Big L is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Big L The Big Picture, Lifestylez ov da Poor & Dangerous, Children of the Corn: The Collector's Edition

26
8,813 7,300
Ghostface Killah is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Ghostface Killah Ironman, Supreme Clientele, Fishscale

27
10,307 9,628
T.I. is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
T.I. King, Urban Legend, Trap Muzik

28
8,448 6,679
Redman is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Redman Muddy Waters, Whut? Thee Album, Doc's da Name 2000

29
8,342 6,978
Big Pun is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Big Pun Capital Punishment, Yeeeah Baby, Endangered Species

The Dopest Rappers of the '90s The Coolest Hobbies for Young People

30
8,383 5,769
Aaron Dontez Yates is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Tech N9ne Everready, Anghellic, Absolute Power

31
7,723 5,140
Nate Dogg is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Fendarr added Nate Dogg Music & Me, Welcome To The Dogg House, G-Funk Classics

32
7,091 6,320
Lauryn Hill is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Lauryn Hill The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, MTV Unplugged 2.0, Ms. Hill

33
6,422 5,855
Raekwon is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Raekwon Only Built 4 Cuban Linx Instrumentals, Only Built 4 Cuban Linx... Pt. II, Immobilarity

34
6,563 6,592
Slick Rick is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Slick Rick The Great Adventures of Slick Rick, The Art of Storytelling, The Ruler's Back

35
6,950 6,383
Scarface is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Scarface The Diary, The Fix, Mr. Scarface Is Back

36
6,507 6,348
Big Daddy Kane is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Big Daddy Kane Long Live the Kane, It's a Big Daddy Thing, Daddy's Home

37
6,302 5,529
Ol' Dirty Bastard is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Ol' Dirty Bastard Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version, The Trials and Tribulations of Russell Jones, Ghetto Supastar (That Is What You Are)

38
6,976 5,343
Jayceon Terrell Taylor is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
The Game The Documentary, Doctor's Advocate, Jesus Piece

39
5,526 3,933
Chance The Rapper is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
dylansher added Chance the Rapper Acid Rap, Confident, Songs from Scratch: Paranoia

40
5,504 3,863
Ranker Video
Cypress Hill Cypress Hill, Black Sunday, III - Temples Of Boom

41
5,083 3,621
Mobb Deep is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
scruffenstein added Mobb Deep The Infamous, Blood Money, The Infamous Mobb Deep

42
5,365 3,676
Logic is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Logic Young Sinatra: Welcome to Forever, Young Sinatra (Undeniable), Young Sinatra

43
6,222 6,929
Lupe Fiasco is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Lupe Fiasco Food & Liquor, Food & Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album, Part 1

The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time The Best Movies Directed by Wes Anderson

44
5,445 4,938
RZA is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
RZA RZA as Bobby Digital in Stereo, Birth of a Prince, Digital Bullet

45
4,578 3,900
Ice-T is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Ice-T Power, O.G. Original Gangster, Home Invasion

46
5,196 5,101
GZA is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
GZA Liquid Swords, Grandmasters, Pro Tools

47
4,578 4,523
Q-Tip is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Q-Tip The Renaissance, Amplified, Kamaal/The Abstract

48
5,105 5,407
Talib Kweli is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Talib Kweli Quality, Liberation, The Beautiful Struggle

49
4,365 3,346
Warren G is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Warren G Regulate... G Funk Era (Special Edition), Prince Igor (feat. Warren G & Sissel), I Want It All

50
4,521 4,096
Xzibit is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Xzibit At the Speed of Life, 40 Dayz & 40 Nightz, Restless