90s The 10 Best Rappers of the ’90s  

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It’s fashionable to say that the ‘90s were better, especially when it comes to rap. Here at Complex, we often go out of our way to catalog and defend the contemporary era because hey, we got now and we don’t care who got next. There’s no denying that the '90s yielded a huge amount of top-shelf rap music. But there’s nothing more dangerous than being blinded by nostalgia.


 This sentiment was best explained in Woody Allen’s 2011 comedy Midnight In Paris when one character said, “Nostalgia is denial—denial of the painful present...the name for this denial is 'golden age thinking'—the erroneous notion that a different time period is better than the one ones living in. It's a flaw in the romantic imagination of those people who find it difficult to cope with the present.”


 Maybe that’s why many millennials fetishize the '90s, pretending as if Saved By The Bell and Full House were actually good shows. (Try watching them today, they’re downright awful.) That same logic applies to rap listeners who are quick to point to classics like Snoop Dogg’s Doggystyle but forget clunkers like its follow-up, Doggfather.

Still, the '90s really were a golden age for rap. In the early part of the decade, the genre was ushering in its platinum era. By the end of the decade, it was a full-on commercial monster, a dominant force, the dominant force, in pop music, in all of youth culture worldwide. Maybe '90s rappers weren’t as revolutionary as their '80s counterparts—the forefathers who laid the groundwork for hip-hop. But the '90s rappers matured the form, modernizing rap to the style that’s still prevalent today. Though the era was marred by controversy, violence, arrests, coastal rivalries, and finally tragedy, the '90s stand as the heyday of the greatest, most impactful, influential artists rap has ever produced.


list ordered by

1
+ - 972 298
The Notorious B.I.G. is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The 10 Best Rappers of the ’90s
The Notorious B.I.G. Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop - http://www.complex.com/music/2013/10/best-90s-rappers/the-notorious-big

The Greatest White Rappers of All Time The Greatest Female Rappers of All Time

2
+ - 1,012 314
Tupac Shakur is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The 10 Best Rappers of the ’90s
Tupac Shakur Hip hop music, Political hip hop, Gangsta rap

3
+ - 850 256
Nas is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The 10 Best Rappers of the ’90s
Nas Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, East Coast hip hop

4
+ - 505 149
Wu-Tang Clan is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The 10 Best Rappers of the ’90s
Wu-Tang Clan Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop

5
+ - 504 200
Ice Cube is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The 10 Best Rappers of the ’90s
Ice Cube Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Political hip hop

6
+ - 496 212
Snoop Dogg is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The 10 Best Rappers of the ’90s
Snoop Dogg Hip hop music, Pop music, Gangsta rap

7
+ - 391 197
Big L is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The 10 Best Rappers of the ’90s
Big L Hip hop music, Horrorcore, Hardcore hip hop

8
+ - 177 63
Dr. Dre is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The 10 Best Rappers of the ’90s
Dr. Dre Hip hop music, Rap music, Gangsta rap

9
+ - 142 47
Method Man is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The 10 Best Rappers of the ’90s
Method Man Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop

10
+ - 143 52
DMX is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The 10 Best Rappers of the ’90s
DMX Hip hop music, Horrorcore, Hardcore hip hop

11
+ - 282 156
Big Pun is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The 10 Best Rappers of the ’90s
Big Pun Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop

12
+ - 361 214
André 3000 is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The 10 Best Rappers of the ’90s
André 3000 Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Rock music

13
+ - 330 194
Redman is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The 10 Best Rappers of the ’90s
Redman Hip hop music

14
+ - 295 171
Eazy-E is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The 10 Best Rappers of the ’90s
Eazy-E Hip hop music, Old-school hip hop, Gangsta rap

15
+ - 432 278
Jay-Z is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The 10 Best Rappers of the ’90s
Jay-Z Hip hop music, East Coast hip hop, Gangsta rap

The Best Underground Rappers Songs That Were Total Ripoffs

16
+ - 239 141
A Tribe Called Quest is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The 10 Best Rappers of the ’90s
A Tribe Called Quest Hip hop music, Jazz rap, Alternative hip hop

17
+ - 260 158
Mos Def is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The 10 Best Rappers of the ’90s
Mos Def Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Rock music

18
+ - 256 158
Scarface is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The 10 Best Rappers of the ’90s
Scarface Hip hop music, Horrorcore, Gangsta rap

19
+ - 106 43
Rakim is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The 10 Best Rappers of the ’90s
Rakim Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop

20
+ - 95 44
Bone Thugs-N-Harmony is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The 10 Best Rappers of the ’90s
Bone Thugs-N-Harmony Urban contemporary, Hip hop music, Horrorcore

21
+ - 106 55
Raekwon is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The 10 Best Rappers of the ’90s
Raekwon Hip hop music, East Coast hip hop, Mafioso rap

22
+ - 183 123
Guru is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The 10 Best Rappers of the ’90s
Guru Hip hop music, Jazz rap, Jazz

23
+ - 77 40
Gang Starr is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The 10 Best Rappers of the ’90s
Gang Starr Hip hop music, Jazz rap, Alternative hip hop

24
+ - 215 183
Lauryn Hill is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The 10 Best Rappers of the ’90s
Lauryn Hill Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Neo soul

25
+ - 141 114
Common is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The 10 Best Rappers of the ’90s
Common Hip hop music, Jazz rap, Alternative hip hop

26
+ - 185 162
Prodigy is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The 10 Best Rappers of the ’90s
Prodigy Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop

27
+ - 117 96
Kool G Rap is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The 10 Best Rappers of the ’90s
Kool G Rap Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop

28
+ - 121 103
Slick Rick is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The 10 Best Rappers of the ’90s
Slick Rick Hip hop music, Old-school hip hop, East Coast hip hop

29
+ - 148 134
De La Soul is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The 10 Best Rappers of the ’90s
De La Soul Hip hop music, Jazz rap, Alternative hip hop

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30
+ - 66 53
Raekwon is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The 10 Best Rappers of the ’90s
Raekwon

31
+ - 50 38
Big Daddy Kane is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The 10 Best Rappers of the ’90s
Big Daddy Kane Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop

32
+ - 18 5
Ranker Video v
Busta Rhymes Hip hop music, Ragga, Dancehall

33
+ - 106 102
AZ is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The 10 Best Rappers of the ’90s
AZ Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop

34
+ - 43 41
Bone Thugs is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The 10 Best Rappers of the ’90s
Bone Thugs

35
+ - 4 1
Ranker Video v
Chuck D Hip hop music, Political hip hop, Hardcore hip hop

36
+ - 101 114
Kurupt is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The 10 Best Rappers of the ’90s
Kurupt Hip hop music

37
+ - 18 20
Ice-T is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The 10 Best Rappers of the ’90s
Ice-T Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, Rock music

38
+ - 3 3
Ranker Video v
Lil' Kim Hip hop music, Dirty rap, Hardcore hip hop

39
+ - 92 111
Black Thought is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The 10 Best Rappers of the ’90s
Black Thought Hip hop music

40
+ - 23 33
Jeru the Damaja is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The 10 Best Rappers of the ’90s
Jeru the Damaja Hip hop music

41
+ - 14 25
Lords of the Underground is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The 10 Best Rappers of the ’90s
Lords of the Underground Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Hardcore hip hop

42
+ - 67 96
B-Real is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The 10 Best Rappers of the ’90s
B-Real Hip hop music, Nu metal, Hardcore hip hop

43
+ - 26 45
Souls of Mischief is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The 10 Best Rappers of the ’90s
Souls of Mischief Hip hop music, Jazz rap, Alternative hip hop

44
+ - 14 33
Del tha Funkee Homosapien is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The 10 Best Rappers of the ’90s
Del tha Funkee Homosapien Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Funk

45
+ - 48 100
Mase is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The 10 Best Rappers of the ’90s
Mase Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, Christian hip hop

46
+ - 7 37
Del the Funky is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The 10 Best Rappers of the ’90s
Del the Funky