Music

The Greatest Rappers Of All Time 

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Originally by Ranker Community
Updated March 24, 2020 6.5M votes 462.9k voters 3M views 498 items

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

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Finally, a definitive list of the best rappers of all time, ranked by fans all over the world. From old school to current artists, 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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#476 of 925 People We Wish Were Still Alive A Timeline Of How Biggie And Tupac's Friendship Turned Into An Infamous Feud The Best Notorious B.I.G Songs 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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#216 of 274 The Most Trustworthy Celebrities in the World #313 of 1,042 The Best Singers of All Time A Timeline Of How Biggie And Tupac's Friendship Turned Into An Infamous Feud

3
Kendrick Lamar is listed (or ranked) 3 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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#264 of 274 The Most Trustworthy Celebrities in the World #190 of 453 The Greatest Singers of the Past 30 Years The Best Songs Ft. Kendrick Lamar

4
Eminem is listed (or ranked) 4 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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#140 of 453 The Greatest Singers of the Past 30 Years #229 of 282 The Best (Male) Actors Working Today The Best Eminem Songs 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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#62 of 359 The Greatest Entertainers of All Time Insane And Terrifying Stories From The Heyday Of N.W.A. And Dr. Dre The Best Songs on Dr. Dre's The Chronic

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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#1,847 of 2,003 The Greatest Actors & Actresses in Entertainment History The Best Ice Cube Movies The Best Ice Cube Songs

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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#93 of 119 Current Singers You Most Wish You Could Sound Like #262 of 1,038 The Worst Bands & Musicians of All Time The Best Songs Feat. J. Cole

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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#496 of 1,042 The Best Singers of All Time #123 of 284 Musicians Who Belong in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame The Best Songs Ft. Snoop Dogg

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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#86 of 138 The Dopest Rappers of the '90s #49 of 204 The Druggiest Rock Stars of All Time The Best Lil Wayne Songs of All Time

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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#14 of 138 The Dopest Rappers of the '90s #1,392 of 2,175 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

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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#124 of 1,038 The Worst Bands & Musicians of All Time The Best 50 Cent Songslisted on Famous Black Conservatives List

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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#1 of 144 The Best Young Rappers and New School Rappers #654 of 1,038 The Worst Bands & Musicians of All Time The Best Songs Ft. A$AP Rocky

13
Drake is listed (or ranked) 13 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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#88 of 119 Current Singers You Most Wish You Could Sound Like #520 of 1,038 The Worst Bands & Musicians of All Time The Best Songs on Drake's Album More Life

14
Nas is listed (or ranked) 14 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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#6 of 138 The Dopest Rappers of the '90s The Best Nas Songs The Best Songs Feat. Nas

15
Logic is listed (or ranked) 15 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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#2 of 144 The Best Young Rappers and New School Rappers #718 of 2,175 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time The Best Songs on Logic's Album 'Confessions of a Dangerous Mind'

16
André 3000 is listed (or ranked) 16 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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#23 of 138 The Dopest Rappers of the '90s #574 of 2,175 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time The Best Songs Feat. Andre 3000

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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#513 of 1,145 The Best Actors in Film History #348 of 362 The Funniest People of All Time The Best Childish Gambino Songs, Ranked

18
Travis Scott is listed (or ranked) 18 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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#683 of 1,038 The Worst Bands & Musicians of All Time The Best Travis Scott Songs The Best Songs Ft. Travis Scott

19
Joyner Lucas is listed (or ranked) 19 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
20
Chance The Rapper is listed (or ranked) 20 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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#721 of 1,042 The Best Singers of All Time #3 of 144 The Best Young Rappers and New School Rappers The Best Chance the Rapper Songs, Ranked

21
Kid Cudi is listed (or ranked) 21 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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#809 of 1,042 The Best Singers of All Time #1,303 of 2,211 The Best Rock Bands of All Time The Best Songs Feat. Kid Cudi

22
XXXTentacion is listed (or ranked) 22 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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#8 of 144 The Best Young Rappers and New School Rappers The Best XXXTentacion Songs, Ranked The Best XXXTentacion Albums, Ranked

23
Meek Mill is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Rappers Of All Time
idawg387 added
Robert Rihmeek Williams (born May 6, 1987), known professionally as Meek Mill, is an American rapper, songwriter, and activist. Raised in Philadelphia, he embarked on his music career as a ...more

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#45 of 98 The Rappers with the Dirtiest Rhymes #35 of 42 Rappers with the Best Flow, Ranked The Best Meek Mill Albums, Ranked

24
Kanye West is listed (or ranked) 24 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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#611 of 771 American Public Figures Who Are National Treasures The Best Songs Feat. Kanye West The Best Songs on Kanye West's Album The Life of Pablo

25
Joey Bada$$ is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Rappers Of All Time
Jo-Vaughn Virginie Scott (born January 20, 1995), better known by his stage name Joey Badass (stylized as Joey Bada$$), is an American rapper, actor, and record producer. Raised in Brooklyn, New ...more

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#4 of 144 The Best Young Rappers and New School Rappers #112 of 192 The Best Underground Rappers