Rap The Greatest Rappers of All Time  

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

Ranker Video Greatest Rappers of All Time

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 top hip-hop 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 of all time.

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list ordered by
1
187,793 95,874
Eminem is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
The Marshall Mathers LP, The Slim Shady LP, The Eminem Show
Marshall Bruce Mathers III, better known by his stage name Eminem, is an American rapper, record producer, songwriter, and actor. In addition to his solo career, he is a member of the group D12, ...more
2
149,330 77,395
Tupac Shakur is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
All Eyez on Me, Me Against the World, The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory
Tupac Amaru Shakur, also known by his stage names 2Pac and briefly as Makaveli, was an American rapper, songwriter, and actor. Shakur has sold over 75 million records worldwide, making him one ...more
3
127,019 58,351
The Notorious B.I.G. is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Ready to Die, Life After Death, Born Again
Christopher George Latore Wallace, better known by his stage names The Notorious B.I.G., Biggie or Biggie Smalls, was an American rapper. Wallace was raised in the Brooklyn borough of New York ...more
4
84,031 72,740
Nas is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Illmatic, Life Is Good, Untitled Nas album
Nasir bin Olu Dara Jones, better known as Nas, is an American rapper, songwriter, record producer and actor. He is the son of jazz musician Olu Dara. Since 1994, Nas has released eight ...more
5
114,315 51,897
Kendrick Lamar is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
good kid, m.A.A.d city, Section.80
Kendrick Lamar Duckworth, better known as Kendrick Lamar, is an American hip hop recording artist from Compton, California. In 2004, Lamar signed to Carson-based independent record label, Top ...more
6
81,470 46,891
Dr. Dre is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
The Chronic, 2001, Nuthin' but a 'G' Thang / Let Me Ride
Andre Romelle Young, known by his stage name Dr. Dre, is an American record producer, rapper and entrepreneur. He is the founder and current CEO of Aftermath Entertainment and Beats Electronics. ...more
7
84,485 57,150
Snoop Dogg is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Doggystyle, Tha Doggfather, Tha Last Meal
Calvin Cordozar Broadus Jr, best known by his stage name Snoop Dogg, is an American recording artist and actor from Long Beach, California. His music career began in 1992, when he was discovered ...more
8
75,817 74,963
Jay-Z is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Watch the Throne, The Black Album, Reasonable Doubt
Shawn Corey Carter, known by his stage name Jay Z, is an American rapper, record producer, and entrepreneur. He is one of the most financially successful hip hop artists and entrepreneurs in ...more
9
83,912 56,115
Ice Cube is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted, The Predator, Death Certificate
O'Shea Jackson, Sr., better known by his stage name Ice Cube, is an American rapper, record producer, actor, and filmmaker. He began his career as a member of the hip-hop group C.I.A. and later ...more
10
58,381 44,135
50 Cent is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Get Rich or Die Tryin', Get Rich or Die Tryin' / The Massacre, Street King Immortal
Curtis James Jackson III, better known by his stage name 50 Cent, is an American rapper, singer, entrepreneur investor and actor from New York City. Born in the South Jamaica neighborhood of the ...more
11
70,700 62,719
Kanye West is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, Late Registration, The College Dropout
Kanye Omari West is an American rapper, singer, songwriter, record producer, director, painter, entrepreneur, and fashion designer. West first gained prominence as a producer for Roc-A-Fella ...more
12
58,266 41,941
Eazy-E is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Eazy-Duz-It, It’s On (Dr. Dre) 187um Killa, Eternal E
Eric Lynn Wright, better known by his stage name Eazy-E, was an American rapper who performed solo and in the hip hop group N.W.A. Wright is affectionately called "The Godfather of Gangsta ...more
13
51,670 43,312
André 3000 is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Royal Flush, Class of 3000: Music Volume One, DoYaThing
André Lauren Benjamin, better known by his stage name André 3000, is an American rapper, singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer and actor, best known for being ...more
14
42,896 53,354
Rakim is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
The 18th Letter, The Archive: Live, Lost & Found
William Michael Griffin, Jr., better known by his stage name Rakim, is an American rapper. One half of golden age hip hop duo Eric B. & Rakim, he is widely regarded as one of the most ...more
15
67,387 35,155
J. Cole is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Born Sinner, The Warm Up, Friday Night Lights
Jermaine Lamarr Cole, better known by his stage name J. Cole, is an American hip hop recording artist, songwriter and record producer from Fayetteville, North Carolina. Cole first received ...more
16
60,143 35,980
Lil Wayne is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Tha Carter III, Tha Carter II, Tha Carter
Dwayne Michael Carter, Jr., known by his stage name Lil Wayne, is an American rapper, songwriter, and entrepreneur from New Orleans, Louisiana. In 1991, at the age of nine, Lil Wayne joined Cash ...more
17
38,661 40,640
DMX is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
It's Dark and Hell Is Hot, Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood
Earl Simmons, better known by his stage names DMX and Dark Man X, is an American rapper and actor. In 1999, DMX released his best-selling album ...And Then There Was X, which featured the hit ...more
18
35,412 37,279
Busta Rhymes is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
When Disaster Strikes…, The Big Bang, The Coming
Trevor Tahiem Smith, Jr., better known by his stage name Busta Rhymes, is an American rapper, producer, and actor from Brooklyn. Chuck D of Public Enemy gave him the moniker Busta Rhymes, after ...more
19
31,044 35,242
Method Man is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Tical, 4:21... The Day After, The Riddler
Clifford Smith, better known by the stage name Method Man, is an American rapper, record producer, and actor. He took his stage name from the 1979 film Method Man. He is perhaps best known as a ...more
20
32,153 36,732
Ludacris is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Theater of the Mind, Word of Mouf, Back For the First Time
Christopher Brian "Chris" Bridges, better known by his stage name Ludacris, is an American rapper, entrepreneur and actor. Along with his manager, Chaka Zulu, Ludacris is the ...more
21
24,575 31,460
LL Cool J is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Radio, Mama Said Knock You Out, Mr. Smith
James Todd Smith, better known as LL Cool J, is an American rapper, entrepreneur, and actor. He is known for pioneering hip-hop tracks such as "I Can't Live Without My Radio", ...more
22
24,679 34,290
Mos Def is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Black on Both Sides, True Magic, The New Danger
Yasiin Bey, better known by his former stage name Mos Def, is an American hip hop recording artist, actor, and activist from Brooklyn, New York City, New York. Best known for his music, Mos Def ...more
23
26,637 30,651
T.I. is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
King, Urban Legend, Trap Muzik
Clifford Joseph Harris, Jr., better known by his stage name T.I., is an American rapper, record producer, and actor. He signed his first major label record deal in 1999, with Arista Records ...more
24
23,246 24,757
Ghostface Killah is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Ironman, Supreme Clientele, Fishscale
Dennis Coles, better known by his stage name Ghostface Killah, is an American rapper and prominent member of the Wu-Tang Clan. After the group achieved breakthrough success in the aftermath of ...more
25
31,765 19,492
ASAP Rocky is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Long.Live.A$AP, Live. Love. ASAP, No Rest for the Wicked
Rakim Mayers (born October 3, 1988), better known by his stage name ASAP Rocky (stylized as A$AP Rocky), is an American rapper, songwriter, record producer, and actor. He is a member of the hip ...more