The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers

33k votes 5.7k voters 430k views 119 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
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  1. 1
    + 1,496
    - 220

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

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  2. 2
    + 1,659
    - 295
    Ice Cube is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers

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

  3. 3
    + 997
    - 248

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

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  4. 4
    + 1,988
    - 318

    the people's #1 & added by sebiesback

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  5. 5
    + 1,344
    - 186
    The Notorious B.I.G. is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers

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

  6. 6
    + 1,185
    - 434
    Eminem is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers

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

  7. 7
    + 711
    - 177
    Outkast is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers

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

  8. 8
    + 882
    - 238
    Run–D.M.C. is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers


    Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Hardcore hip hop

  9. 9
    + 739
    - 238


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

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  10. 10
    + 755
    - 218
    Public Enemy is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers


    Hip hop music, Political hip hop, Hardcore hip hop

  11. 11
    + 692
    - 209


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

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  12. 12
    + 558
    - 90

    added by but chickens double d
    Hip hop music, Pop music, Gangsta rap

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  13. 13
    + 459
    - 68
    Eazy-E is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers

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

  14. 14
    + 454
    - 187
    De La Soul is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Hip hop music, Jazz rap, Alternative hip hop

  15. 15
    + 416
    - 114

    added by NanceyFlowersHarris
    Hip hop music, Ragga, Dancehall

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  16. 16
    + 512
    - 192


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

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  17. 17
    + 558
    - 211
    Beastie Boys is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers


    Hip hop music, Pop punk, Alternative hip hop

  18. 18
    + 592
    - 197


    Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Nu metal

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  19. 19
    + 397
    - 169
    The Sugarhill Gang is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers

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

  20. 20
    + 481
    - 158


    Hip hop music, Old-school hip hop, Electro

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  21. 21
    + 445
    - 122

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

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  22. 22
    + 507
    - 251

    added by sebiesback
    Hip hop music, Gangsta rap

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  23. 23
    + 342
    - 114

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

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  24. 24
    + 311
    - 156

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

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  25. 25
    + 228
    - 51
    DMX is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers

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

  26. 26
    + 172
    - 18
    Dr. Dre is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers

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

  27. 27
    + 216
    - 70
    Big Daddy Kane is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers


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

  28. 28
    + 389
    - 156
    Gang Starr is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers


    Hip hop music, Jazz rap, Alternative hip hop

  29. 29
    + 261
    - 138
    Kurtis Blow is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers


    Hip hop music, Old-school hip hop

  30. 30
    + 255
    - 138
    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
    + 118
    - 41
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  32. 32
    + 192
    - 157

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Hip hop music

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  33. 33
    + 221
    - 91

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

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  34. 34
    + 159
    - 45

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

    ;
  35. 35
    + 246
    - 137


    Hip hop music, Jazz rap, Alternative hip hop

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  36. 36
    + 83
    - 51

    often listed & ranked high on reranks

    ;
  37. 37
    + 205
    - 112

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

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  38. 38
    + 122
    - 78

    added by NanceyFlowersHarris
    Hip hop music, Electro

    ;
  39. 39
    + 176
    - 92
    Common is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers

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

  40. 40
    + 96
    - 35


    Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Neo soul

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  41. 41
    + 126
    - 71


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

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  42. 42
    + 111
    - 49
    Chuck D is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers

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

  43. 43
    + 112
    - 69
    No image


  44. 44
    + 85
    - 11
    Nas is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers

    ranked low on reranks & added by Coolza
    Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, East Coast hip hop

  45. 45
    + 136
    - 106

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

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  46. 46
    + 157
    - 131

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

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  47. 47
    + 46
    - 10
    Redman is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers

    added by Coolza
    Hip hop music

  48. 48
    + 53
    - 43
    Digable Planets is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers

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

  49. 49
    + 76
    - 131
    The Cold Crush Brothers is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers

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

  50. 50
    + 94
    - 133


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

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