The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers

32k votes 5.6k voters 418k views 117 items tags f p @

List Criteria: Should be rappers and hip hop artists who rap in the style that emerged from New York in the late '70s to early '90s.

If you're a fan of rap music, you should have at minimum a base knowledge in old school rap. If not for old school rappers, it's highly unlikely that rap would have evolved into the popular artform that it is today. Many of old school rappers are widely respected by today's biggest hip hop artists. For the sake of this list, all of the old school hip hop artists featured became popular during the rap's golden age, which occurred during the 1980s through the mid-1990s. The diversity, innovation and ultimately, the influence of of these old school rappers cannot be stated enough.

So, who are the best old school rappers? If you know old school rap, you know that the likes of Run DMC, De La Soul, Eric B & Rakim, Gang Starr, Grandmaster Flash and the Beastie Boys. These names are widely recognized as some of the best old school rappers. If not for the contributions of these artists, old school rap, and thus, good rap music would cease to exist.  Who are your favorite old school rap artists?

That said, it's to you to determine the best old school rap. If you are familiar with old school rap and old school rappers, feel free to chime in with your vote. If you notice someone isn't on this list and should be, feel free to add them. This list answers the questions "who are the best old school hip hop bands of all time?" and "who is the greatest old school hip hop musician ever?" If you know enough about the genre, please vote based on the quality of the band's music instead of just voting for the most popular old school hip hop bands that you might've heard of.
Collection Photo: user uploaded image
  • 9 ReRanks
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  1. 1
    + 1,437
    - 214

    added by sebiesback
    Hip hop music, Political hip hop, Gangsta rap

    ;
  2. 2
    + 1,609
    - 289

    added by greencactusdude
    Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Political hip hop

    ;
  3. 3
    + 959
    - 239

    most listed & added by danman082200
    Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop

    ;
  4. 4
    + 1,921
    - 312

    the people's #1 & added by sebiesback

    ;
  5. 5
    + 1,288
    - 183

    added by CalebMongan
    Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop

    ;
  6. 6
    + 1,155
    - 424

    added by StasKogan
    Hip hop music, Horrorcore, Hardcore hip hop

    ;
  7. 7
    + 702
    - 170

    added by GabrielDylanArteaga
    Alternative hip hop, Dance-pop, Jazz

    ;
  8. 8
    + 861
    - 233


    Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Hardcore hip hop

    ;
  9. 9
    + 726
    - 234


    Hip hop music, Jazz rap, Old-school hip hop

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  10. 10
    + 744
    - 215


    Hip hop music, Political hip hop, Hardcore hip hop

    ;
  11. 11
    + 675
    - 204


    Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop

    ;
  12. 12
    + 533
    - 84

    ranked low on reranks & added by but chickens double d
    Hip hop music, Pop music, Gangsta rap

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  13. 13
    + 444
    - 184


    Hip hop music, Jazz rap, Alternative hip hop

    ;
  14. 14
    + 430
    - 66

    added by nathan-endless
    Hip hop music, Old-school hip hop, Gangsta rap

    ;
  15. 15
    + 400
    - 112

    added by NanceyFlowersHarris
    Hip hop music, Ragga, Dancehall

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  16. 16
    + 499
    - 190


    Hip hop music, Old-school hip hop, East Coast hip hop

    ;
  17. 17
    + 547
    - 205


    Hip hop music, Pop punk, Alternative hip hop

    ;
  18. 18
    + 578
    - 194


    Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Nu metal

    ;
  19. 19
    + 391
    - 166

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Hip hop music, Old-school hip hop, Disco

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  20. 20
    + 472
    - 156


    Hip hop music, Old-school hip hop, Electro

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  21. 21
    + 433
    - 120

    added by GabrielDylanArteaga
    Hip hop music, Jazz rap, Alternative hip hop

    ;
  22. 22
    + 489
    - 247

    added by sebiesback
    Hip hop music, Gangsta rap

    ;
  23. 23
    + 330
    - 111

    added by PedroManuelFroisCampagnolo
    Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop

    ;
  24. 24
    + 304
    - 155

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop

    ;
  25. 25
    + 215
    - 50

    added by hannan-ibrahim
    Hip hop music, Horrorcore, Hardcore hip hop

    ;
  26. 26
    + 204
    - 68


    Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop

    ;
  27. 27
    + 149
    - 17

    added by Coolza
    Hip hop music, Rap music, Gangsta rap

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  28. 28
    + 379
    - 154


    Hip hop music, Jazz rap, Alternative hip hop

    ;
  29. 29
    + 254
    - 136


    Hip hop music, Old-school hip hop

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  30. 30
    + 245
    - 132
    Dj Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh ... is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers

    added by GabrielDylanArteaga

  31. 31
    + 113
    - 39
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  32. 32
    + 186
    - 154

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Hip hop music

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  33. 33
    + 215
    - 87

    added by paulgag04
    Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop

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  34. 34
    + 150
    - 40

    added by nathan-endless
    Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Hardcore hip hop

    ;
  35. 35
    + 242
    - 132


    Hip hop music, Jazz rap, Alternative hip hop

    ;
  36. 36
    + 78
    - 49

    often listed & ranked high on reranks

    ;
  37. 37
    + 199
    - 111

    added by sebiesback
    Hip hop music, Gangsta rap, G-funk

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  38. 38
    + 117
    - 76

    added by NanceyFlowersHarris
    Hip hop music, Electro

    ;
  39. 39
    + 171
    - 87

    added by danman082200
    Hip hop music, Jazz rap, Alternative hip hop

    ;
  40. 40
    + 87
    - 32


    Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Neo soul

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  41. 41
    + 120
    - 70


    Hip hop music, Contemporary R&B, Rhythm and blues

    ;
  42. 42
    + 106
    - 48

    added by but chickens double d
    Hip hop music, Political hip hop, Hardcore hip hop

    ;
  43. 43
    + 109
    - 67
    No image


  44. 44
    + 132
    - 103

    added by GabrielDylanArteaga
    Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, West Coast hip hop

    ;
  45. 45
    + 62
    - 8

    added by Coolza
    Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, East Coast hip hop

    ;
  46. 46
    + 151
    - 127

    added by effucuz
    Hip hop music, Atlanta hip hop, Gangsta rap

    ;
  47. 47
    + 50
    - 41

    added by micah-stewart
    Hip hop music, Jazz rap, Alternative hip hop

    ;
  48. 48
    + 38
    - 7

    added by Coolza
    Hip hop music

    ;
  49. 49
    + 73
    - 130
    The Cold Crush Brothers is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers

    often listed
    Hip hop music, Old-school hip hop

  50. 50
    + 91
    - 129


    Hip hop music, Old-school hip hop, Electro hop

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