Hip Hop Artists The Greatest Rappers of All Time  

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

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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.

list ordered by

1
175,602 88,621
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

2
137,990 73,480
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

3
117,795 55,285
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

4
78,073 68,552
Nas is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Illmatic, Life Is Good, Untitled Nas album

5
106,937 47,810
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

6
75,810 43,365
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

7
79,152 53,268
Snoop Dogg is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Doggystyle, Tha Doggfather, Tha Last Meal

8
70,159 71,473
Jay-Z is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Watch the Throne, The Black Album, Reasonable Doubt

9
78,582 53,196
Ice Cube is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted, The Predator, Death Certificate

10
65,589 58,028
Kanye West is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, Late Registration, The College Dropout

11
53,739 40,688
50 Cent is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Get Rich or Die Tryin', Get Rich or Die Tryin' / The Massacre, Street King Immortal

12
54,229 38,893
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

13
47,920 40,720
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

14
39,934 50,759
Rakim is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
The 18th Letter, The Archive: Live, Lost & Found

15
61,386 32,662
J. Cole is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Born Sinner, The Warm Up, Friday Night Lights

16
55,612 33,253
Lil Wayne is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Tha Carter III, Tha Carter II, Tha Carter

17
36,284 38,127
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

18
33,268 34,854
Busta Rhymes is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
When Disaster Strikes…, The Big Bang, The Coming

19
29,060 33,069
Method Man is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Tical, 4:21... The Day After, The Riddler

20
30,424 34,012
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

21
22,967 29,364
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

22
23,272 32,369
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

23
25,221 28,474
T.I. is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
King, Urban Legend, Trap Muzik

24
21,434 16,982
Big Sean is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Finally Famous, Hall of Fame, Finally Famous Vol. 3: Big

25
42,453 24,941
Drake is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Rappers of All Time
Subhan Sheikh added Take Care, Nothing Was the Same, Thank Me Later