The Best Rappers Of The 2000s

Over 22.3K Ranker voters have come together to rank this list of The Best Rappers Of The 2000s
Voting Rules
Greatest rappers from 2000-2010.

Update: Dive into the best new hip hop with our list of 2020's top rap songs.

The best '00s rappers include any and all worthy artists who influenced hip-hop music between 2000 and 2010. This decade brought with it some of the most talented rappers the music world has ever seen, including the likes of Lil' Wayne, Rock Ross, Nas, and Nelly. (Head over to the best new school rappers if you're looking for Kendrick Lamar, Drake, and other great 2010s rappers). Some rappers on this list were also fantastic in the 90s, but continued to be extremely relevant during subsequent years and remained top artists of 2000s hip hop. Agree with the choices on this best '00s rappers list? Vote them up! Obviously, you can also vote down those artists you don't think deserve to be listed. If you have a particular favorite rapper from the '00s that isn't on this list, by all means, add away!

Rap music skyrocketed to popularity in the 2000s, with artists like Eminem leading the way, as the genre went totally mainstream. In addition, the '00s saw a whole slew of cross-over rap artists charting, including the likes of OutKast and Gnarls Barkley. Some of the biggest selling albums of this decade were rap albums, including Jay-Z's Blueprint albums, Nelly's Country Grammer, and 2000's The Marshall Mathers LP by Eminem (produced by Dr. Dre). Diddy, formerly known as Puff Daddy in the 90s (and formally known as Sean Combs), released the album The Saga Continues... as "P. Diddy" in 2001 and, after changing his stage name (again) to just "Diddy," he released the wildly popular album Press Play in 2006. And, while Ludacris released his first album in the 90s, his major label debut came in 2000 with Back for the First Time. He followed that up with 2001's Word of Mouf -- thus, earning a spot on this list of the best rappers of the 2000s.

And of course, no discussion of the best '00 rappers would be complete without a mention of Kanye West. West produced for others during the 90s and early 2000s, but in 2004, with the release of his debut album, The College Dropout, Kanye became a huge commercial success. The College Dropout established West as one of the most talented rappers/hip hop artists of the decade.

Yes, it's easy to put together a list of the best '00s rappers with names like Eminem, Kanye West and Jay-Z, but digging a little deeper produces some outstanding artists like Talib Kweli and Jadakiss. Who do you think are the best artists of 2000s hip hop? Cast your votes below and be sure to add any rappers who may be missing.

Most divisive: Common
Ranked by
  • Eminem
    1
    12,292 votes

    A groundbreaking lyricist and storyteller, this Detroit native quickly rose to fame with his unique blend of dark humor, personal experiences, and intricate wordplay. Throughout the 2000s, he became an international sensation, breaking numerous sales records and earning multiple Grammy awards. His influence on both hip-hop culture and mainstream pop culture is undeniable, as he skillfully navigated controversial topics while maintaining his status as a superstar.

  • Outkast
    2
    1,202 votes

    This innovative duo from Atlanta consistently pushed the boundaries of hip-hop throughout the 2000s with their eclectic mix of funk, soul, and electronic influences. Their genre-defying sound and creative approach to storytelling made them one of the most critically acclaimed acts of the decade. Their profound impact on both hip-hop and popular music has solidified their place in history as icons who challenged conventions and expanded the possibilities of rap.

  • 50 Cent
    3
    7,564 votes

    Rising from a tumultuous background in Queens, New York, this rapper gained massive success in the early 2000s with his gritty tales of street life and catchy hooks. With major co-signs from industry heavyweights like Dr. Dre and Eminem, he became a global phenomenon whose influence extended beyond music into film, fashion, and other business ventures. During his peak years in the 2000s, he was virtually unstoppable - dominating charts and setting trends that would shape the direction of hip-hop for years to come.

  • Nas
    4
    7,728 votes

    A revered lyricist since his classic debut album in the '90s, this Queensbridge MC continued to cement his status as one of rap's greatest poets throughout the 2000s. His introspective storytelling ability combined with his unmatched flow made him an influential figure in both underground and mainstream circles alike. With several critically acclaimed albums under his belt during this era, he proved that true artistry could thrive despite industry pressures and changing trends.

  • André 3000
    5
    5,206 votes

    One half of the groundbreaking duo Outkast, this Atlanta artist consistently pushed the envelope with his diverse musical influences and thought-provoking lyrics. As a solo act and within the group, he showcased his incredible versatility as a rapper, singer, and producer throughout the 2000s. His unique style and willingness to take risks set him apart from his peers, earning him a reputation as one of the most innovative talents in rap history.

  • Ice Cube
    6
    1,709 votes

    Already an established West Coast legend from his time with N.W.A., this Los Angeles native continued to solidify his legacy during the 2000s with hard-hitting rhymes that tackled social issues and street life. His strong storytelling abilities and commanding presence on the mic made him an influential figure in hip-hop culture. Despite transitioning into a successful acting career, he remained relevant in music throughout the decade - proving he could balance stardom with artistic integrity.