Music
11.0k voters

The Best New York Rappers

Updated March 3, 2021 105.0k votes 11.0k voters 248.9k views236 items

List RulesOnly famous hip hop artists from any of the five boroughs.

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

It probably goes without saying, but New York City is undeniably the birthplace of rap. Its impact is still very much alive as the genre continues to grow and change around the world. This is a list of the best New York rappers and hip hop music artists. As you know, there's a long list of them, but who do you think are the best rappers from NYC? 

When ranking the most famous or even top 10 NY rappers, the Big Apple can count Biggie, Jay-Z, Rakim, 50 Cent, Public Enemy, The Beastie Boys, KRS-One, Mos Def, Slick Rick, Nikki Minaj, Run-D.M.C., Mase, and Wu Tang among its influential children, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to rappers from New York! While a pretty good amount of research went in to compiling this list, there's always room for improvement. There are so many New York rap luminaries to choose from, finding a spot for them all is near impossible.

Who were the best New York rappers in 2018 and 2019? Who are the greatest old school New York rappers? Vote on the list and add your favorites or anyone that you think is missing from this list of New York hip hop artists.

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  • 1
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    1,178

    The Notorious B.I.G.

    Ready to Die, Life After Death

    Genres (Music)Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop, Gangsta rap, Mafioso rap

    Christopher George Latore Wallace (May 21, 1972 – March 9, 1997), known professionally as The...  more

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  • 2
    3,663
    1,188

    Nas

    Illmatic, Life Is Good

    Genres (Music)Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, East Coast hip hop

    Nasir bin Olu Dara Jones, better known as Nas, is an American rapper, songwriter, record...  more

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  • 3
    3,156
    1,191

    Jay-Z

    Watch the Throne, The Black Album

    Genres (Music)Hip hop

    Shawn Corey Carter (born December 4, 1969), known professionally as Jay-Z (stylized as JAY-Z),...  more

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  • 4
    2,541
    982

    Wu-Tang Clan

    Enter the Wu-Tang: 36 Chambers, Wu-Tang Forever

    Genres (Music)Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop, Gangsta rap, Mafioso rap

    Wu-Tang Clan is an American hip hop group formed in the New York City borough of Staten Island...  more

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  • 5
    1,706
    718

    DMX

    It's Dark and Hell Is Hot, Flesh of My Flesh

    Genres (Music)Hip hop music, Horrorcore, Hardcore hip hop, Christian hip hop, East Coast hip hop

    Earl Simmons (December 18, 1970 – April 9, 2021), known professionally as DMX, was an American...  more

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  • 6
    2,495
    1,085

    50 Cent

    Get Rich or Die Tryin', Get Rich or Die Tryin' / The Massacre

    Genres (Music)Hip hop music, Gangsta rap

    Curtis James Jackson III (born July 6, 1975), known professionally as 50 Cent, is an American...  more

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  • 7
    921
    360

    LL Cool J

    Radio, Mama Said Knock You Out

    Genres (Music)Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop

    James Todd Smith (born January 14, 1968), known professionally as LL Cool J (short for Ladies...  more

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  • 8
    2,641
    1,041

    Tupac Shakur

    All Eyez on Me, Me Against the World

    Genres (Music)Hip hop music, Political hip hop, Gangsta rap, West Coast hip hop

    Tupac Amaru Shakur ( TOO-pahk shə-KOOR; born Lesane Parish Crooks, June 16, 1971 – September...  more

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  • 9
    1,274
    510

    A Tribe Called Quest

    The Low End Theory, Midnight Marauders

    Genres (Music)Hip hop music, Jazz rap, Alternative hip hop, Rhythm and blues, Alternative rock

    A Tribe Called Quest was an American hip hop collective formed in 1985 and originally composed...  more

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  • 10
    1,325
    559

    Busta Rhymes

    When Disaster Strikes…, The Big Bang

    Genres (Music)Hip hop music, Ragga, Dancehall, Hardcore hip hop, Pop music

    Trevor George Smith Jr. (born May 20, 1972), known professionally as Busta Rhymes, is an...  more

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  • 11
    1,117
    461

    Ghostface Killah

    Ironman, Supreme Clientele

    Genres (Music)Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop, Gangsta rap, Contemporary R&B

    Dennis Coles (born May 9, 1970), better known by his stage name Ghostface Killah, is an...  more

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  • 12
    1,441
    610

    Method Man

    Tical, 4:21... The Day After

    Genres (Music)Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop

    Clifford M. Smith Jr. (born March 2, 1971), better known by his stage name Method Man, is an...  more

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  • 13
    554
    145

    Eric B. & Rakim

    Paid in Full, Let the Rhythm Hit ’em

    Genres (Music)Hip hop music, Jazz rap, Old-school hip hop, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop

    Louis Eric Barrier (born November 8, 1965 in East Elmhurst, Queens, New York) is the former...  more

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  • 14
    1,441
    610

    Big L

    The Big Picture, Lifestylez ov da Poor & Dangerous

    Genres (Music)Hip hop music, Horrorcore, Hardcore hip hop, Gangsta rap, Underground hip hop

    Lamont Coleman (May 30, 1974 – February 15, 1999), known professionally as Big L, was an...  more

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  • 15
    715
    268

    MF Doom

    Vaudeville Villain, Operation: Doomsday

    Genres (Music)Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, East Coast hip hop, Avanthop, Underground hip hop

    Daniel Dumile (born 1971), better known by his stage name MF Doom (stylized in all caps), is a...  more

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  • 16
    1,826
    774

    Joey Bada$$

    Summer Knights, 1999

    Genres (Music)Hip hop music

    Jo-Vaughn Virginie Scott (born January 20, 1995), better known by his stage name Joey Badass...  more

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  • 17
    1,010
    413

    Mos Def

    Black on Both Sides, True Magic

    Genres (Music)Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Rock music, East Coast hip hop, Conscious hip hop

    Yasiin Bey (; born Dante Terrell Smith; December 11, 1973), better known by his stage name Mos...  more

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  • 18
    2,377
    1,045

    A$AP Rocky

    Long.Live.A$AP, Live. Love. ASAP

    Genres (Music)Hip hop music, Hipster Hop,

    at long last asap 

    Rakim Mayers (born October 3, 1988), better known by his stage name ASAP Rocky (stylized as...  more

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  • 19
    1,130
    485

    Big Pun

    Capital Punishment, Yeeeah Baby

    Genres (Music)Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop, Gangsta rap, Mafioso rap

    Christopher Lee Rios (November 10, 1971 – February 7, 2000), better known by his stage name...  more

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  • 20
    803
    325

    Raekwon

    Only Built 4 Cuban Linx Instrumentals, Only Built 4 Cuban Linx... Pt. II

    Genres (Music)Hip hop music, East Coast hip hop, Mafioso rap

    Corey Woods (born January 12, 1970), better known by his stage name Raekwon () , is an...  more

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  • 21
    800
    312

    Run–DMC

    Raising Hell, Run-D.M.C.

    Genres (Music)Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Hardcore hip hop, Industrial hip hop, Rock music

    Run-DMC was an American hip hop group from Hollis, Queens, New York, founded in 1981 by Joseph...  more

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    309

    Prodigy

    H.N.I.C., Return of the Mac

    Genres (Music)Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop, Gangsta rap

    Albert Johnson (November 2, 1974 – June 20, 2017), better known by his stage name Prodigy, was...  more

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  • 23
    1,631
    742

    Rakim

    The 18th Letter, The Archive: Live

    Genres (Music)Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop

    William Michael Griffin Jr. (born January 28, 1968), better known by his stage name Rakim, is...  more

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  • 24
    730
    295

    Lauryn Hill

    The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, MTV Unplugged 2.0

    Genres (Music)Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Neo soul, Folk music, Reggae

    Lauryn Noelle Hill (born May 26, 1975) is an American singer, songwriter and rapper, known for...  more

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  • 25
    1,534
    659

    A Boogie wit da Hoodie

    the bigger the Artist

    Genres (Music)Hip hop, R&B music

    Artist Julius Dubose (born December 6, 1995), better known by his stage name A Boogie wit da...  more

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