Music

The Greatest Rappers Of All Time 

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
Updated May 7, 2020 6.6M votes 473.9k voters 3.1M views 501 items

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 old school to the current top artists putting out today's biggest hip hop hits, this list counts down rap's best lyricists and game changers in history. Lil' Wayne, Kendrick Lamar, Jay-Z, Eminem, Andre 3000, and Tupac are among the top hip-hop artists that appear on this amazing countdown. Famous rappers from all cities, dead or alive, and all races, from white and black to Asian and Hispanic, are all vying to be crowned the greatest rapper ever.

What makes a rapper great? There are a number of differing good definitions and philosophies. Popular 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 iconic 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" aka "GOAT." Including influential rappers and best-selling artists, this list features successful MCs who are still considered some of the hottest names in the game today. 

Numerous different skills and attributes all must come together to make a truly legendary MC. Obviously, a good 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 modern rappers into the ranks of the greatest of all time. Who are these rap legends who stand heads above the competition? Do you agree with the top 50 biggest rappers ever? You tell us, by voting for your favorites below or ranking your own list of top rappers of all time.

list ordered by
1
The Notorious B.I.G. is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Rappers Of All Time
Christopher George Latore Wallace (May 21, 1972 – March 9, 1997), known professionally as The Notorious B.I.G., Biggie Smalls, or Biggie, was an American rapper. He is widely considered to be ...more

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A Timeline Of How Biggie And Tupac's Friendship Turned Into An Infamous Feud #381 of 2,040 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #1,274 of 1,471 The Greatest Minds of All Time

2
Tupac Shakur is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Rappers Of All Time
Tupac Amaru Shakur ( TOO-pahk shə-KOOR; born Lesane Parish Crooks, June 16, 1971 – September 13, 1996), also known by his stage names 2Pac and Makaveli, was an American rapper and actor. He is ...more

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A Timeline Of How Biggie And Tupac's Friendship Turned Into An Infamous Feud #253 of 274 The Most Trustworthy Celebrities in the Worldlisted on The Complete List of Rappers Who've Been in Prison

3
Eminem is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Rappers Of All Time
Marshall Bruce Mathers III (born October 17, 1972), known professionally as Eminem (; often stylized as EMINƎM), is an American rapper, songwriter, record producer, record executive, film ...more

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The Best Eminem Songs of All Time #247 of 289 The Best (Male) Actors Working Today #553 of 1,043 The Best Singers of All Time

4
Kendrick Lamar is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Rappers Of All Time
Kendrick Lamar Duckworth (born June 17, 1987) is an American rapper, songwriter, and record producer. He is regarded as one of the most skillful and successful hip hop artists of his ...more

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The Best Songs Ft. Kendrick Lamar #264 of 274 The Most Trustworthy Celebrities in the World #441 of 2,040 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

5
Dr. Dre is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Rappers Of All Time
Andre Romelle Young (born February 18, 1965), known professionally as Dr. Dre, is an American rapper, record producer and entrepreneur. He is the founder and CEO of Aftermath Entertainment and ...more

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The Best Songs on Dr. Dre's The Chronic #423 of 2,040 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #1,233 of 1,471 The Greatest Minds of All Time

6
Ice Cube is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Rappers Of All Time
O'Shea Jackson (born June 15, 1969), known professionally as Ice Cube, is an American rapper, actor, producer, director and writer. Ice Cube initially gained recognition in 1984 as a member of ...more

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The Best Ice Cube Movies #1,463 of 2,040 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #961 of 2,835 The Most Influential People of All Time

7
J. Cole is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Rappers Of All Time
Jermaine Lamarr Cole (born January 28, 1985) is an American rapper, singer, songwriter, and record producer. Born on a military base in Germany but raised in Fayetteville, North Carolina, Cole ...more

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The Best J. Cole Albums, Ranked The Best Rappers To Listen To If You Like J. Cole #75 of 119 Current Singers You Most Wish You Could Sound Like

8
Snoop Dogg is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Rappers Of All Time
Calvin Cordozar Broadus Jr. (born October 20, 1971), known professionally as Snoop Dogg, is an American rapper, singer, songwriter, producer, media personality, entrepreneur, and actor. His ...more

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The Best Songs Ft. Snoop Dogg #632 of 1,043 The Best Singers of All Timelisted on The Complete List of Rappers Who've Been in Prison

9
Lil Wayne is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Rappers Of All Time
Dwayne Michael Carter Jr. (born September 27, 1982), known professionally as Lil Wayne, is an American rapper, singer, songwriter, record executive, entrepreneur, and actor. His career began in ...more

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The Best Lil Wayne Songs of All Time #86 of 138 The Dopest Rappers of the '90slisted on The Complete List of Rappers Who've Been in Prison

10
Eazy-E is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Rappers Of All Time
Eric Lynn Wright (September 7, 1964 – March 26, 1995), known professionally as Eazy-E, was an American rapper, record producer, and entrepreneur. Dubbed the "Godfather of Gangsta Rap", ...more

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#1,505 of 2,040 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #22 of 152 The Greatest Musicians Who Died Before 40 #678 of 925 People We Wish Were Still Alive

11
50 Cent is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Rappers Of All Time
Curtis James Jackson III (born July 6, 1975), known professionally as 50 Cent, is an American rapper, singer, songwriter, actor, television producer, entrepreneur and investor. Born in the South ...more

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The Best 50 Cent Songs The Best Songs Feat. 50 Cent #1,127 of 2,040 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

12
ASAP Rocky is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Rappers Of All Time
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

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The Best ASAP Rocky Albums, Ranked #2 of 146 The Best Young Rappers and New School Rappers #102 of 206 The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time

13
Nas is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Rappers Of All Time
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

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The Best Nas Songs The Best Nas Albums of All Time #508 of 2,040 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

14
André 3000 is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Rappers Of All Time
André Lauren Benjamin (born May 27, 1975), better known by his stage name André 3000 (formerly Dre), is an American musician and actor best known for being part of hip hop duo ...more

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The Best Songs Feat. Andre 3000 #609 of 2,040 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #19 of 138 The Dopest Rappers of the '90s

15
Drake is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Rappers Of All Time
Subhan Sheikh added
Aubrey Drake Graham, who records under the mononym Drake, is a Canadian singer, songwriter, and actor. He was born in Toronto, Ontario. He first garnered recognition for his role as Jimmy Brooks ...more

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The Best Drake Albums of All-Time #1,798 of 2,040 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #179 of 258 The Hottest Men Of 2020, Ranked

16
Travis Scott is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Rappers Of All Time
Jacques Berman Webster II (born April 30, 1992), known professionally as Travis Scott, is an American rapper, singer, songwriter, and record producer. Scott signed to Epic Records before ...more

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The Best Travis Scott Songs #1,815 of 2,040 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #1 of 146 The Best Young Rappers and New School Rappers

17
Donald Glover is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Rappers Of All Time
Leajey added
Donald McKinley Glover Jr. (born September 25, 1983) is an American actor, comedian, writer, producer, director, musician, and DJ. He performs music under the stage name Childish Gambino and as ...more

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The Best Childish Gambino Songs, Ranked #25 of 90 Who Is the Coolest Actor in the World Right Now? #180 of 289 The Best (Male) Actors Working Today

18
Logic is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Rappers Of All Time
Sir Robert Bryson Hall II (born January 22, 1990), known by his stage name Logic, is an American rapper. He was born and raised in Gaithersburg, Maryland. He has amassed a large Internet ...more

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The Best Songs on Logic's Album 'Confessions of a Dangerous Mind' #22 of 56 The Best New Male Artists #856 of 2,040 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

19
Kanye West is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Rappers Of All Time
Kanye Omari West (born June 8, 1977) is an American rapper, singer, songwriter, record producer, entrepreneur, and fashion designer. His musical career has been marked by dramatic changes in ...more

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The Best Kanye West Albums of All-Time #511 of 2,040 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #1,446 of 1,471 The Greatest Minds of All Time

20
Kid Cudi is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Rappers Of All Time
Scott Ramon Seguro Mescudi (born January 30, 1984), better known by his stage name Kid Cudi (; often stylized as KiD CuDi), is an American singer, rapper, record producer and actor from ...more

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The Best Songs Feat. Kid Cudi #863 of 1,043 The Best Singers of All Timelisted on The Complete List of Rappers Who've Been in Prison

21
Joyner Lucas is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Rappers Of All Time
Gary Maurice "Joyner" Lucas, Jr. (born August 17, 1988) is an American rapper, singer, songwriter, record producer, poet, and actor from Worcester, Massachusetts. Lucas gained ...more

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#839 of 2,040 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #16 of 146 The Best Young Rappers and New School Rappers #40 of 206 The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time

22
Chance The Rapper is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Rappers Of All Time
dylansher added
Chancelor Bennett (born April 16, 1993), better known by his stage name Chance the Rapper, is an American hip hop recording artist from the Chatham neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois. In 2013, he ...more

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23
Joey Bada$$ is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Rappers Of All Time
Jo-Vaughn Virginie Scott (born January 20, 1995), better known by his stage name Joey Badass (stylized as Joey Bada$$), is an American rapper, actor, and record producer. Raised in Brooklyn, New ...more

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#8 of 146 The Best Young Rappers and New School Rappers #58 of 206 The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time #6 of 216 The Best New School Rappers

24
XXXTentacion is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Rappers Of All Time
s8715106 added
Jahseh Dwayne Onfroy, better known by his stage name XXXTentacion, was an American rapper, singer and songwriter. Born and raised in Plantation, Florida, Onfroy spent most of his childhood in ...more

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25
Jay-Z is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Rappers Of All Time
Shawn Corey Carter (born December 4, 1969), known professionally as Jay-Z (stylized as JAY-Z), is an American rapper, songwriter, producer, entrepreneur, and record executive. Considered among ...more

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