The Greatest Rappers of All Time Bands/Musicians

The Greatest Rappers of All Time

By * Power
Ranker
28k votes 2.2k voters 38k views 114 items tags f p @

List Criteria: Only individual rappers, not rap groups or collectives.

Best rappers of all time. From the early '80s to present day, this list counts down rap's best lyricist 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 of all time.

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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    Eminem is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time

    #1 on the original list & added by First L
    Eminem Hip hop music, Horrorcore, Hardcore hip hop

  2. 2
    + 898
    - 410

    #2 on the original list & added by First L
    Hip hop music, Political hip hop, Gangsta rap

    ;
  3. 3
    + 783
    - 380
    The Notorious B.I.G. is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time

    #3 on the original list & added by First L
    The Notorious B.I.G. Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop

  4. 4
    + 517
    - 284

    #7 on the original list & added by First L
    Hip hop music, Pop music, Gangsta rap

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  5. 5
    + 515
    - 287

    #8 on the original list & added by First L
    Hip hop music, Rap music, Gangsta rap

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  6. 6
    + 421
    - 230
    André 3000 is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time

    #12 on the original list & added by First L
    André 3000 Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Rock music

  7. 7
    + 379
    - 204

    #17 on the original list & added by First L
    Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Rock music

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  8. 8
    + 446
    - 269

    #6 on the original list & added by First L
    Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Political hip hop

    ;
  9. 9
    + 561
    - 357
    Nas is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time

    #4 on the original list & added by First L
    Nas Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, East Coast hip hop

  10. 10
    + 307
    - 197
    Method Man is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time

    #18 on the original list & added by First L
    Method Man Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop

  11. 11
    + 385
    - 263
    Rakim is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time

    #10 on the original list & added by First L
    Rakim Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop

  12. 12
    + 571
    - 419
    Jay-Z is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time

    #5 on the original list & added by First L
    Jay-Z Hip hop music, East Coast hip hop, Gangsta rap

  13. 13
    + 119
    - 55

    Hip hop music, Political hip hop, Gangsta rap

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  14. 14
    + 288
    - 222

    #23 on the original list & added by First L
    Hip hop music, Jazz rap, Alternative hip hop

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  15. 15
    + 107
    - 56
    Outkast is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time

    #20 on the original list
    Outkast Alternative hip hop, Dance-pop, Jazz

  16. 16
    + 262
    - 209
    Ludacris is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time

    #24 on the original list & added by First L
    Ludacris Hip hop music, Atlanta hip hop, Hardcore hip hop

  17. 17
    + 283
    - 230

    #19 on the original list & added by First L
    Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Hardcore hip hop

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  18. 18
    + 286
    - 236

    #16 on the original list & added by First L
    Hip hop music, Ragga, Dancehall

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  19. 19
    + 160
    - 114

    #44 on the original list
    Hip hop music, East Coast hip hop

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  20. 20
    + 171
    - 125
    Ol' Dirty Bastard is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time

    #37 on the original list
    Ol' Dirty Bastard Hip hop music, Rap music, Hardcore hip hop

  21. 21
    + 257
    - 212

    #14 on the original list & added by First L
    Hip hop music, Horrorcore, Hardcore hip hop

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  22. 22
    + 302
    - 260

    #13 on the original list & added by First L
    Hip hop music, Old-school hip hop, Gangsta rap

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  23. 23
    + 168
    - 130
    Redman is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time

    #28 on the original list & added by First L
    Redman Hip hop music

  24. 24
    + 185
    - 148
    Ghostface Killah is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time

    #27 on the original list
    Ghostface Killah Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop

  25. 25
    + 162
    - 126
    Big Daddy Kane is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time

    #32 on the original list
    Big Daddy Kane Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop

  26. 26
    + 190
    - 156

    #52 on the original list & added by First L
    Hip hop music, Political hip hop, Hardcore hip hop

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  27. 27
    + 196
    - 172

    #45 on the original list & added by First L
    Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Conscious hip hop

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  28. 28
    + 160
    - 137

    #49 on the original list & added by First L
    Hip hop music, Jazz rap, Alternative hip hop

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  29. 29
    + 192
    - 177

    #33 on the original list & added by First L
    Hip hop music, Old-school hip hop, East Coast hip hop

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  30. 30
    + 158
    - 141
    Raekwon is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time

    #31 on the original list & added by First L
    Raekwon Hip hop music, East Coast hip hop, Mafioso rap

  31. 31
    + 378
    - 381
    Kanye West is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time

    #11 on the original list & added by First L
    Kanye West Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Pop music

  32. 32
    + 139
    - 122
    GZA is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time

    #43 on the original list
    GZA Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop

  33. 33
    + 159
    - 144

    #53 on the original list & added by First L
    Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Southern hip hop

    ;
  34. 34
    + 276
    - 273

    #25 on the original list & added by First L
    Hip hop music, Atlanta hip hop, Gangsta rap

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  35. 35
    + 262
    - 258

    #22 on the original list & added by First L
    Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop

    ;
  36. 36
    + 116
    - 102
    Scarface is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time

    #30 on the original list & added by First L
    Scarface Hip hop music, Horrorcore, Gangsta rap

  37. 37
    + 243
    - 259

    #15 on the original list & added by First L
    Hip hop music, Gangsta rap

    ;
  38. 38
    + 159
    - 164
    Big Pun is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time

    #29 on the original list & added by First L
    Big Pun Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop

  39. 39
    + 136
    - 141

    #34 on the original list & added by First L
    Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Neo soul

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  40. 40
    + 102
    - 103

    #39 on the original list
    Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Political hip hop

    ;
  41. 41
    + 65
    - 60

    #59 on the original list
    Hip hop music, Pop music, Dance-pop

    ;
  42. 42
    + 54
    - 47
    Gang Starr is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time

    #72 on the original list
    Gang Starr Hip hop music, Jazz rap, Alternative hip hop

  43. 43
    + 59
    - 54
    Big L is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time

    #26 on the original list
    Big L Hip hop music, Horrorcore, Hardcore hip hop

  44. 44
    + 122
    - 131

    #86 on the original list & added by First L
    Hip hop music, Jazz rap, Jazz

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  45. 45
    + 103
    - 110

    #56 on the original list & added by First L
    Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, Rock music

    ;
  46. 46
    + 41
    - 35

    #195 on the original list & added by JohnWarner
    Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Rap rock

    ;
  47. 47
    + 37
    - 36
    Immortal Technique is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time

    #51 on the original list
    Immortal Technique Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Political hip hop

  48. 48
    + 97
    - 114
    Aaron Dontez Yates is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time

    #42 on the original list & added by First L
    Aaron Dontez Yates Hip hop music, Horrorcore, Hardcore hip hop

  49. 49
    + 43
    - 46
    Bizzy Bone is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time

    #96 on the original list
    Bizzy Bone Hip hop music, Midwest hip hop, Gangsta rap

  50. 50
    + 38
    - 40

    #48 on the original list
    Hip hop music, Horrorcore, Hardcore hip hop

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115 +

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