The Greatest Rappers of All Time Bands/Musicians

The Greatest Rappers of All Time

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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.

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

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  Name
  1. 1
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    Hip hop music, Horrorcore, Hardcore hip hop More
    #2 on the ultimate list
    added by: First L
  2. 2
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    Hip hop music, Political hip hop, Gangsta rap More
    #1 on the ultimate list
    added by: First L
  3. 3
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    Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop More
    #3 on the ultimate list
    added by: First L
  4. 4
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    Hip hop music, Pop music, Gangsta rap More
    #8 on the ultimate list
    added by: First L
  5. 5
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    Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Rock music More
    #12 on the ultimate list
    added by: First L
  6. 6
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    Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Rock music More
    #10 on the ultimate list
    added by: First L
  7. 7
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    Hip hop music, Rap music, Gangsta rap More
    #9 on the ultimate list
    added by: First L
  8. 8
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    Hip hop music, Political hip hop, Gangsta rap More
    #19 on the ultimate list
  9. 9
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    Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Political hip hop More
    #7 on the ultimate list
    added by: First L
  10. 10
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    Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, East Coast hip hop More
    #4 on the ultimate list
    added by: First L
  11. 11
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    Alternative hip hop, Dance-pop, Jazz More
    #26 on the ultimate list
  12. 12
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    Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop More
    #18 on the ultimate list
    added by: First L
  13. 13
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    Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop More
    #6 on the ultimate list
    added by: First L
  14. 14
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    Hip hop music, East Coast hip hop, Gangsta rap More
    #5 on the ultimate list
    added by: First L
  15. 15
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    Hip hop music, East Coast hip hop More
    #45 on the ultimate list
  16. 16
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    Hip hop music, Rap music, Hardcore hip hop More
    #40 on the ultimate list
  17. 17
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    Hip hop music, Jazz rap, Alternative hip hop More
    #21 on the ultimate list
    added by: First L
  18. 18
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    Hip hop music, Atlanta hip hop, Hardcore hip hop More
    #25 on the ultimate list
    added by: First L
  19. 19
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    Hip hop music More
    #31 on the ultimate list
    added by: First L
  20. 20
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    Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop More
    #28 on the ultimate list
  21. 21
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    Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Hardcore hip hop More
    #11 on the ultimate list
    added by: First L
  22. 22
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    Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop More
    #32 on the ultimate list
  23. 23
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    Hip hop music, Ragga, Dancehall More
    #17 on the ultimate list
    added by: First L
  24. 24
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    Hip hop music, Horrorcore, Hardcore hip hop More
    #13 on the ultimate list
    added by: First L
  25. 25
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    Hip hop music, Political hip hop, Hardcore hip hop More
    #39 on the ultimate list
    added by: First L
  26. 26
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    controversial
    Eazy-E

    Hip hop music, Old-school hip hop, Gangsta rap More
    #14 on the ultimate list
    added by: First L
  27. 27
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    Hip hop music, Jazz rap, Alternative hip hop More
    #46 on the ultimate list
    added by: First L
  28. 28
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    Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Conscious hip hop More
    #34 on the ultimate list
    added by: First L
  29. 29
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    Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop More
    #43 on the ultimate list
  30. 30
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    Hip hop music, Horrorcore, Gangsta rap More
    #30 on the ultimate list
    added by: First L
  31. 31
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    Hip hop music, East Coast hip hop, Mafioso rap More
    #36 on the ultimate list
    added by: First L
  32. 32
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    Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Southern hip hop More
    #41 on the ultimate list
    added by: First L
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    Hip hop music, Old-school hip hop, East Coast hip hop More
    #29 on the ultimate list
    added by: First L
  34. 34
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    niche appeal
    Gang Starr

    Hip hop music, Jazz rap, Alternative hip hop More
    #58 on the ultimate list
  35. 35
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    Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Rap rock More
    #109 on the ultimate list
    added by: JohnWarner
  36. 36
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    Hip hop music, Pop music, Dance-pop More
    #73 on the ultimate list
  37. 37
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    Hip hop music, Horrorcore, Hardcore hip hop More
    #33 on the ultimate list
  38. 38
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    Hip hop music, Gangsta rap, G-funk More
    #75 on the ultimate list
  39. 39
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    Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop More
    #24 on the ultimate list
    added by: First L
  40. 40
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    controversial
    T.I.

    Hip hop music, Atlanta hip hop, Gangsta rap More
    #23 on the ultimate list
    added by: First L
  41. 41
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    Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Trip hop More
    #62 on the ultimate list
  42. 42
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    controversial
    Kanye West

    Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Pop music More
    #22 on the ultimate list
    added by: First L
  43. 43
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    Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Political hip hop More
    #37 on the ultimate list
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    niche appeal
    Immortal Technique

    Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Political hip hop More
    #47 on the ultimate list
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    Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop More
    #38 on the ultimate list
    added by: First L
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    Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Neo soul More
    #50 on the ultimate list
    added by: First L
  47. 47
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    controversial
    50 Cent

    Hip hop music, Gangsta rap More
    #16 on the ultimate list
    added by: First L
  48. 48
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    Hip hop music, Old-school hip hop More
    #88 on the ultimate list
  49. 49
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    Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, Rock music More
    #48 on the ultimate list
    added by: First L
  50. 50
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    Hip hop music, Horrorcore, Hardcore hip hop More
    #54 on the ultimate list
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