hip hop artists The Greatest Rappers of All Time  

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List Rules Only individual rappers, not rap groups or collectives.

Finally, a definitive list of the best rappers of all time, ranked by fans all over the world. From the early '80s to present day, this list counts down rap's best lyricists 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 ever.

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 ordered by

1
59,185 30,179
Tupac Shakur is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Tupac All Eyez on Me, Me Against the World, The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory

2
78,117 37,260
Eminem is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Eminem The Marshall Mathers LP, The Slim Shady LP, The Eminem Show

3
51,587 23,133
The Notorious B.I.G. is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
The Notorious B.I.G. Ready to Die, Life After Death, Born Again

4
37,992 23,349
Nas is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Nas Illmatic, Life Is Good, Untitled Nas album

5
28,870 30,135
Jay-Z is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Jay-Z Watch the Throne, The Black Album, Reasonable Doubt

6
33,122 21,040
Ice Cube is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Ice Cube AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted, The Predator, Death Certificate

7
31,590 20,874
Snoop Dogg is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Snoop Dogg Doggystyle, Tha Doggfather, Tha Last Meal

8
33,903 19,911
Dr. Dre is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Dr. Dre The Chronic, 2001, Nuthin' but a 'G' Thang / Let Me Ride

9
38,331 20,422
Kendrick Lamar is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Kendrick Lamar good kid, m.A.A.d city, Section.80

10
22,875 18,727
Rakim is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Rakim The 18th Letter, The Archive: Live, Lost & Found

11
23,116 14,644
André 3000 is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
André 3000 Royal Flush, Class of 3000: Music Volume One, DoYaThing

12
22,086 15,566
Eazy-E is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Eazy-E Eazy-Duz-It, It’s On (Dr. Dre) 187um Killa, Eternal E

13
20,896 16,329
50 Cent is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
50 Cent Get Rich or Die Tryin', Get Rich or Die Tryin' / The Massacre, Street King Immortal

14
25,415 26,332
Kanye West is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Kanye West My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, Late Registration, The College Dropout

37 Celebrities Who Played High School Basketball

15
17,845 13,625
DMX is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
DMX It's Dark and Hell Is Hot, Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood

16
15,473 12,626
Busta Rhymes is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Busta Rhymes When Disaster Strikes…, The Big Bang, The Coming

17
18,481 12,857
J. Cole is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
j cole Born Sinner, The Warm Up, Friday Night Lights

18
14,966 10,961
Method Man is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Method Man Tical, 4:21... The Day After, The Riddler

19
13,174 11,840
Mos Def is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Mos Def Black on Both Sides, True Magic, The New Danger

20
13,765 11,850
Ludacris is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Ludacris Theater of the Mind, Word of Mouf, Back For the First Time

21
11,630 11,535
KRS-One is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
KRS-One Hip Hop Lives, Return of the Boom Bap, Criminal Minded

The Best Dressed Rappers

22
14,174 14,101
Lil Wayne is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Lil Wayne Tha Carter III, Tha Carter II, Tha Carter

23
11,526 11,060
LL Cool J is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
LL Cool J Radio, Mama Said Knock You Out, Mr. Smith

24
10,636 10,267
Common is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Common Resurrection, Be, Like Water for Chocolate

25
11,378 9,165
Big L is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Big L The Big Picture, Lifestylez ov da Poor & Dangerous, Children of the Corn: The Collector's Edition

26
10,104 8,085
Ghostface Killah is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Ghostface Killah Ironman, Supreme Clientele, Fishscale

27
9,482 7,479
Redman is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Redman Muddy Waters, Whut? Thee Album, Doc's da Name 2000

28
11,287 10,753
T.I. is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
T.I. King, Urban Legend, Trap Muzik

Rappers Who Died Young

29
9,322 7,851
Big Pun is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Big Pun Capital Punishment, Yeeeah Baby, Endangered Species

30
8,948 5,906
Nate Dogg is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Fendarr added Nate Dogg Music & Me, Welcome To The Dogg House, G-Funk Classics

31
9,412 6,662
Tech N9ne is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Tech N9ne Everready, Anghellic, Absolute Power

32
8,122 7,141
Lauryn Hill is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Lauryn Hill The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, MTV Unplugged 2.0, Ms. Hill

33
7,647 7,071
Scarface is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Scarface The Diary, The Fix, Mr. Scarface Is Back

34
7,175 6,511
Raekwon is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Raekwon Only Built 4 Cuban Linx Instrumentals, Only Built 4 Cuban Linx... Pt. II, Immobilarity

35
7,290 7,319
Slick Rick is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Slick Rick The Great Adventures of Slick Rick, The Art of Storytelling, The Ruler's Back

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36
7,097 7,011
Big Daddy Kane is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Big Daddy Kane Long Live the Kane, It's a Big Daddy Thing, Daddy's Home

37
7,081 6,186
Ol' Dirty Bastard is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Ol' Dirty Bastard Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version, The Trials and Tribulations of Russell Jones, Ghetto Supastar (That Is What You Are)

38
8,058 6,040
The Game is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
The Game The Documentary, Doctor's Advocate, Jesus Piece

39
6,253 4,182
Mobb Deep is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
scruffenstein added Mobb Deep The Infamous, Blood Money, The Infamous Mobb Deep

40
6,925 4,987
Chance The Rapper is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
dylansher added Chance the Rapper Acid Rap, Confident, Songs from Scratch: Paranoia

41
7,005 4,800
Logic is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Logic Young Sinatra: Welcome to Forever, Young Sinatra (Undeniable), Young Sinatra

42
6,226 4,501
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Cypress Hill Cypress Hill, Black Sunday, III - Temples Of Boom

Things You Didn't Know About Christina Aguilera

43
5,232 4,498
Ice-T is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Ice-T Power, O.G. Original Gangster, Home Invasion

44
6,082 5,472
RZA is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
RZA RZA as Bobby Digital in Stereo, Birth of a Prince, Digital Bullet

45
6,790 7,654
Lupe Fiasco is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Lupe Fiasco Food & Liquor, Food & Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album, Part 1

46
5,794 5,626
GZA is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
GZA Liquid Swords, Grandmasters, Pro Tools

47
5,019 3,835
Warren G is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Warren G Regulate... G Funk Era (Special Edition), Prince Igor (feat. Warren G & Sissel), I Want It All

48
5,114 5,074
Q-Tip is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Q-Tip The Renaissance, Amplified, Kamaal/The Abstract

49
5,581 5,942
Talib Kweli is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Talib Kweli Quality, Liberation, The Beautiful Struggle

50
5,171 4,626
Xzibit is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Xzibit At the Speed of Life, 40 Dayz & 40 Nightz, Restless