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
6,221 2,069
Eminem is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Eminem Hip hop music, Horrorcore, Hardcore hip hop

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2
4,809 1,805
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
3,601 1,510
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
4,462 1,460
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
2,637 1,002
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
3,779 1,321
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
2,439 879
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
2,209 1,035
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
1,928 1,653
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
1,666 767
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
1,598 713
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
1,289 607
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
1,289 700
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
1,213 708
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
1,830 719
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

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16
1,237 596
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
1,013 566
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
1,112 208
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
921 455
Immortal Technique is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Immortal Technique Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Political hip hop

20
1,246 662
Lupe Fiasco is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Lupe Fiasco Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Political hip hop

21
868 346
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
788 547
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
738 421
Scarface is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Scarface Hip hop music, Horrorcore, Gangsta rap

24
710 349
Raekwon is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Raekwon Hip hop music, East Coast hip hop, Mafioso rap

25
963 438
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
1,018 693
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
818 354
Ranker Video
Busta Rhymes Hip hop music, Ragga, Dancehall

28
763 388
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
691 377
Big Daddy Kane is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Big Daddy Kane Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop

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30
792 391
GZA is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
GZA Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop

31
598 334
Black Thought is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Black Thought Hip hop music

32
741 327
Royce Da 5'9 is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Royce Da 5'9

33
808 390
Ranker Video
DMX Hip hop music, Horrorcore, Hardcore hip hop

34
592 384
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
667 284
Redman is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Redman Hip hop music

36
829 386
Tech N9ne is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Tech N9ne

37
624 118
Outkast is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Outkast Alternative hip hop, Dance-pop, Jazz

38
845 554
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
605 468
L.L. Cool J is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
L.L. Cool J

40
690 589
50 Cent is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
50 Cent Hip hop music, Gangsta rap

41
601 321
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
684 519
Hopsin is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Hopsin Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Horrorcore

43
460 328
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

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44
477 348
Eazy-E is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time
Eazy-E Hip hop music, Old-school hip hop, Gangsta rap

45
868 1,049
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
442 221
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
531 212
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
466 312
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
418 285
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
383 123
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