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rappers The Greatest Rappers of All Time  

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List Rules 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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+ - 929 397
Eminem is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Eminem Hip hop music, Horrorcore, Hardcore hip hop

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2
+ - 899 410
Tupac Shakur is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
TuPac Hip hop music, Political hip hop, Gangsta rap

3
+ - 785 380
The Notorious B.I.G. is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
The Notorious B.I.G. Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop

4
+ - 518 284
Snoop Dogg is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Snoop Dogg Hip hop music, Pop music, Gangsta rap

5
+ - 516 287
Dr. Dre is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Dr. Dre Hip hop music, Rap music, Gangsta rap

6
+ - 422 230
André 3000 is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
André 3000 Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Rock music

7
+ - 379 204
Mos Def is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Mos Def Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Rock music

8
+ - 446 269
Ice Cube is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Ice Cube Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Political hip hop

9
+ - 561 357
Nas is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Nas Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, East Coast hip hop

10
+ - 308 197
Method Man is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Method Man Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop

11
+ - 385 263
Rakim is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Rakim Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop

12
+ - 571 419
Jay-Z is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Jay-Z Hip hop music, East Coast hip hop, Gangsta rap

13
+ - 120 55
N.W.A is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
N.W.A Hip hop music, Political hip hop, Gangsta rap

14
+ - 288 222
Common is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Common Hip hop music, Jazz rap, Alternative hip hop

15
+ - 108 56
Outkast is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Outkast Alternative hip hop, Dance-pop, Jazz

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16
+ - 262 209
Ludacris is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Ludacris Hip hop music, Atlanta hip hop, Hardcore hip hop

17
+ - 283 230
KRS-One is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
KRS-One Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Hardcore hip hop

18
+ - 287 236
Busta Rhymes is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Busta Rhymes Hip hop music, Ragga, Dancehall

19
+ - 160 114
RZA is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
RZA Hip hop music, East Coast hip hop

20
+ - 171 125
Ol' Dirty Bastard is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Ol' Dirty Bastard Hip hop music, Rap music, Hardcore hip hop

21
+ - 257 212
DMX is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
DMX Hip hop music, Horrorcore, Hardcore hip hop

22
+ - 303 260
Eazy-E is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Eazy-E Hip hop music, Old-school hip hop, Gangsta rap

23
+ - 186 148
Ghostface Killah is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Ghostface Killah Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop

24
+ - 168 130
Redman is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Redman Hip hop music

25
+ - 162 126
Big Daddy Kane is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Big Daddy Kane Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop

26
+ - 190 156
Chuck D is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Chuck D Hip hop music, Political hip hop, Hardcore hip hop

27
+ - 196 172
Talib Kweli is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Talib Kweli Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Conscious hip hop

28
+ - 160 137
Q-Tip is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Q-Tip Hip hop music, Jazz rap, Alternative hip hop

29
+ - 192 177
Slick Rick is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Slick Rick Hip hop music, Old-school hip hop, East Coast hip hop

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30
+ - 158 141
Raekwon is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Raekwon Hip hop music, East Coast hip hop, Mafioso rap

31
+ - 160 144
Big Boi is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Big Boi Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Southern hip hop

32
+ - 378 382
Kanye West is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Kanye West Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Pop music

33
+ - 139 122
GZA is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
GZA Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop

34
+ - 277 273
T.I. is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
T.I. Hip hop music, Atlanta hip hop, Gangsta rap

35
+ - 262 258
LL Cool J is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
LL Cool J Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop

36
+ - 117 102
Scarface is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Scarface Hip hop music, Horrorcore, Gangsta rap

37
+ - 243 259
50 Cent is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
50 Cent Hip hop music, Gangsta rap

38
+ - 159 164
Big Pun is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Big Pun Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop

39
+ - 137 141
Lauryn Hill is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Lauryn Hill Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Neo soul

40
+ - 102 103
Lupe Fiasco is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Lupe Fiasco Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Political hip hop

41
+ - 65 60
Missy Elliott is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Missy Elliott Hip hop music, Pop music, Dance-pop

42
+ - 54 47
Gang Starr is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Gang Starr Hip hop music, Jazz rap, Alternative hip hop

43
+ - 59 54
Big L is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Big L Hip hop music, Horrorcore, Hardcore hip hop

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44
+ - 122 131
Guru is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Guru Hip hop music, Jazz rap, Jazz

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+ - 42 35
Adam Yauch is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Adam Yauch Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Rap rock

46
+ - 103 110
Ice-T is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Ice-T Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, Rock music

47
+ - 38 36
Immortal Technique is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Immortal Technique Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Political hip hop

48
+ - 98 114
Aaron Dontez Yates is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Aaron Dontez Yates Hip hop music, Horrorcore, Hardcore hip hop

49
+ - 44 46
Bizzy Bone is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Bizzy Bone Hip hop music, Midwest hip hop, Gangsta rap

50
+ - 39 40
Xzibit is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Xzibit Hip hop music, Horrorcore, Hardcore hip hop