hip hop artists The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time  

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A list of the best rap lyricists of all time. Since hip hop and rap music became popular at the beginning of the 1980s, many fans of the genre have focused on the message described in each rapper's lyrics. A form of street poetry, rap lyrics focus on many different things, dependent on who is speaking of the harsh realities of the streets. Others, contrarily, rap about the glamorous life and what it's like to live large. Sometimes, lyrical rappers fluctuate between both of these extremes.

The best rap lyricists are universally respected by both their peers and fans for the honesty and the way they use their words in a creative fashion. Some of the most respected wordsmiths came from the golden age of hip hop. Here, you had groups like Sugar Hill Gang, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, N.W.A. and Black Star and individual rappers like KRS-One and Nas who are universally known as the best lyricists. On the other side of the coin, you have two of the greatest rappers of all time, Tupac Shakur and The Notorious B.I.G., who connected with millions of hip hop fans due to their strong lyrics that touch on the harsh realities of urban culture. A rapper who has switched from rapping about his rough upbringing to glitz and glamour is Jay Z. His debut album was universally praised for talking about life in Brooklyn during his youth, and his recent album was panned for praising brands like Tom Ford and excess.

This list includes many of greatest rappers of all time, who are also among the genre's most popular as well. The one thing that these rappers have in common is that their lyrics are considered some of the best in the history of hip hop music. These top lyricists are the greatest of all time, and it's up to you to decide who is the best lyricist in rap music.
list ordered by

1
5,673 1,840
Eminem is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Eminem Hip hop music, Horrorcore, Hardcore hip hop

2
4,391 1,659
Nas is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Nas Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, East Coast hip hop

3
3,309 1,384
The Notorious B.I.G. is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
The Notorious B.I.G. Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop

4
4,084 1,332
Tupac Shakur is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Tupac Shakur Hip hop music, Political hip hop, Gangsta rap

5
2,407 927
Rakim is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Rakim Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop

6
3,422 1,188
Kendrick Lamar is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Kendrick Lamar Hip hop music, Political hip hop, West Coast hip hop

7
2,207 811
André 3000 is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
André 3000 Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Rock music

8
2,014 938
Ice Cube is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Ice Cube Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Political hip hop

9
1,771 1,527
Jay-Z is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Jay-Z Hip hop music, East Coast hip hop, Gangsta rap

10
1,536 713
Mos Def is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Mos Def Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Rock music

11
1,444 663
Big L is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Big L Hip hop music, Horrorcore, Hardcore hip hop

12
1,152 554
Big Pun is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Big Pun Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop

13
1,193 648
KRS-One is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
KRS-One Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Hardcore hip hop

14
1,118 653
Common is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Common Hip hop music, Jazz rap, Alternative hip hop

15
1,639 638
J. Cole is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
raynakuzio added J. Cole Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Rhythm and blues

16
1,150 559
Method Man is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Method Man Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop

17
951 528
Talib Kweli is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Talib Kweli Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Conscious hip hop

18
984 182
Wu-Tang Clan is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Wu-Tang Clan Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop

19
1,151 617
Lupe Fiasco is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Lupe Fiasco Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Political hip hop

20
849 412
Immortal Technique is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Immortal Technique Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Political hip hop

21
783 317
Ghostface Killah is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Ghostface Killah Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop

22
734 518
Slick Rick is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Slick Rick Hip hop music, Old-school hip hop, East Coast hip hop

23
683 392
Scarface is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Scarface Hip hop music, Horrorcore, Gangsta rap

24
949 633
Snoop Dogg is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Snoop Dogg Hip hop music, Pop music, Gangsta rap

25
896 414
A Tribe Called Quest is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
A Tribe Called Quest Hip hop music, Jazz rap, Alternative hip hop

26
759 324
Ranker Video
Busta Rhymes Hip hop music, Ragga, Dancehall

27
662 325
Raekwon is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Raekwon Hip hop music, East Coast hip hop, Mafioso rap

28
695 358
Lauryn Hill is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Lauryn Hill Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Neo soul

29
767 354
Tech N9ne is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Tech N9ne

30
650 352
Big Daddy Kane is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Big Daddy Kane Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop

31
738 361
GZA is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
GZA Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop

32
547 307
Black Thought is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Black Thought Hip hop music

33
790 513
Dr. Dre is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Dr. Dre Hip hop music, Rap music, Gangsta rap

34
546 363
Jadakiss is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Jadakiss Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop

35
676 303
Royce Da 5'9 is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Royce Da 5'9

36
742 366
Ranker Video
DMX Hip hop music, Horrorcore, Hardcore hip hop

37
620 263
Redman is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Redman Hip hop music

38
556 107
Outkast is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Outkast Alternative hip hop, Dance-pop, Jazz

39
571 441
L.L. Cool J is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
L.L. Cool J

40
636 476
Hopsin is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Hopsin Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Horrorcore

41
559 288
Ludacris is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Ludacris Hip hop music, Atlanta hip hop, Hardcore hip hop

42
438 306
Eazy-E is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Eazy-E Hip hop music, Old-school hip hop, Gangsta rap

43
426 301
Kool G Rap is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Kool G Rap Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop

44
628 555
50 Cent is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
50 Cent Hip hop music, Gangsta rap

45
806 999
Kanye West is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Kanye West Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Pop music

46
413 198
Public Enemy is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Public Enemy Hip hop music, Political hip hop, Hardcore hip hop

47
460 173
Logic is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Luke De-Venny added Logic Hip hop music

48
427 281
T.I. is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
T.I. Hip hop music, Atlanta hip hop, Gangsta rap

49
382 254
Aesop Rock is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Aesop Rock Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Experimental hip hop

50
613 885
Lil Wayne is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Lil Wayne Hip hop music, Ragga, Hardcore hip hop