hip hop artists The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time  

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Originally by Ranker Community
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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 lyrical rappers 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 these rappers have in common is 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. Cast your votes below.

list ordered by

1
7,873 2,898
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
6,275 2,478
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
5,844 1,935
Tupac Shakur is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Tupac Shakur Hip hop music, Political hip hop, Gangsta rap

4
4,696 2,057
The Notorious B.I.G. is listed (or ranked) 4 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

5
3,600 1,338
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
4,937 1,979
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
3,382 1,234
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
3,039 1,473
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
2,598 2,205
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
2,381 1,011
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
2,299 951
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
1,853 891
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
1,845 923
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
1,872 766
Method Man is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Method Man Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop

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15
2,567 1,058
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
1,615 960
Common is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Common Hip hop music, Jazz rap, Alternative hip hop

17
1,377 768
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
1,865 286
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
1,383 459
Ghostface Killah is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Ghostface Killah Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop

20
1,129 473
Raekwon is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Raekwon Hip hop music, East Coast hip hop, Mafioso rap

21
1,300 655
Immortal Technique is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Immortal Technique Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Political hip hop

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22
1,068 718
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
1,537 912
Lupe Fiasco is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Lupe Fiasco Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Political hip hop

24
1,380 547
A Tribe Called Quest is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
A Tribe Called Quest Hip hop music, Jazz rap, Alternative hip hop

25
995 587
Scarface is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Scarface Hip hop music, Horrorcore, Gangsta rap

26
1,400 938
Snoop Dogg is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Snoop Dogg Hip hop music, Pop music, Gangsta rap

27
1,214 492
GZA is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
GZA Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop

28
1,182 485
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Busta Rhymes Hip hop music, Ragga, Dancehall

The Best Rap Songs of 2018

29
1,101 552
Lauryn Hill is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Lauryn Hill Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Neo soul

30
957 502
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
932 461
Black Thought is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Black Thought Hip hop music

32
1,040 366
Redman is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Redman Hip hop music

33
966 197
Outkast is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Outkast Alternative hip hop, Dance-pop, Jazz

34
1,122 553
Ranker Video
DMX Hip hop music, Horrorcore, Hardcore hip hop

35
1,025 462
Royce Da 5'9 is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Royce Da 5'9

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36
833 608
L.L. Cool J is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
L.L. Cool J

37
804 529
Jadakiss is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Jadakiss Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop

38
1,141 777
Dr. Dre is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Dr. Dre Hip hop music, Rap music, Gangsta rap

39
963 807
50 Cent is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
50 Cent Hip hop music, Gangsta rap

40
1,200 1,349
Kanye West is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Kanye West Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Pop music

41
1,073 545
Tech N9ne is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Tech N9ne

42
713 532
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

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43
861 715
Hopsin is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Hopsin Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Horrorcore

44
815 473
Ludacris is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Ludacris Hip hop music, Atlanta hip hop, Hardcore hip hop

45
659 313
Public Enemy is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Public Enemy Hip hop music, Political hip hop, Hardcore hip hop

46
633 438
Kool G Rap is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Kool G Rap Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop

47
583 439
Aesop Rock is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Aesop Rock Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Experimental hip hop

48
957 1,190
Lil Wayne is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Lil Wayne Hip hop music, Ragga, Hardcore hip hop

49
562 447
Pharoahe Monch is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Pharoahe Monch Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, East Coast hip hop - Political, Conscious, Ghost writer for your favorite rappers. Technical wordplay.  

50
724 229
MF Doom is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Nightstalker55 added MF Doom Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, East Coast hip hop