Music

The Best New York Rappers 

Ranker Hip Hop
Originally by
Updated June 2, 2020 74.1k votes 8.3k voters 179.6k views 235 items

List Rules Only 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.

list ordered by
1
The Notorious B.I.G. is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best New York Rappers
Genre: Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop & East Coast hip hop; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: Ready to Die, Life After Death, Born Again, Duets: The Final Chapter, Greatest Hits, + more

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 #384 of 2,047 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #2 of 266 The Greatest Rappers Of All Time

2
Nas is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best New York Rappers
Genre: Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop & East Coast hip hop; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: Illmatic, Life Is Good, Untitled Nas album, It Was Written, Stillmatic, + more

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 #513 of 2,047 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #11 of 266 The Greatest Rappers Of All Time

3
Jay-Z is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best New York Rappers
Genre: Hip hop; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: Watch the Throne, The Black Album, Reasonable Doubt, The Blueprint, Vol. 2... Hard Knock Life, + more

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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Fascinating Facts You Didn't Know About The Life Of Jay-Z #546 of 2,047 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #18 of 266 The Greatest Rappers Of All Time

4
Wu-Tang Clan is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best New York Rappers

Albums: Enter the Wu-Tang: 36 Chambers, Wu-Tang Forever, 8 Diagrams, The W, The Swarm, + more

Wu-Tang Clan is an American hip hop group formed in the New York City borough of Staten Island in 1992, originally composed of rapper-producer RZA and rappers GZA, Ol' Dirty Bastard, Method Man, ...more

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9 Stories That Led The FBI To Think The Wu Tang Clan Was An Organized Crime Syndicate #739 of 1,043 The Best Singers of All Time #595 of 2,047 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

5
50 Cent is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best New York Rappers
Genre: Hip hop music and Gangsta rap; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: Get Rich or Die Tryin', Get Rich or Die Tryin' / The Massacre, Street King Immortal, Power of the Dollar, Before I Self Destruct, + more

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 #1,092 of 2,047 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #12 of 266 The Greatest Rappers Of All Time

6
Rakim is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best New York Rappers
Genre: Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop & East Coast hip hop; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: The 18th Letter, The Archive: Live, Lost & Found, The Master, Addictive, + more

William Michael Griffin Jr. (born January 28, 1968), better known by his stage name Rakim, is an American rapper. One half of golden age hip hop duo Eric B. & Rakim, he is widely regarded as ...more

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#55 of 266 The Greatest Rappers Of All Time #8 of 206 The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time #18 of 138 The Dopest Rappers of the '90s

7
DMX is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best New York Rappers
Genre: Hip hop music, Horrorcore & Hardcore hip hop; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: It's Dark and Hell Is Hot, Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood, ...And Then There Was X, Grand Champ, + more

Earl Simmons (born December 18, 1970), known professionally as DMX, is an American rapper and actor. He began rapping in the early 1990s, and released his debut album, It's Dark and Hell Is Hot ...more

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The Best Songs Feat. DMX #756 of 1,043 The Best Singers of All Timelisted on The Complete List of Rappers Who've Been in Prison

8
Tupac Shakur is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best New York Rappers
ahmed-maklad added Genre: Hip hop music, Political hip hop & Gangsta rap; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: All Eyez on Me, Me Against the World, The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory, Still I Rise, Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z..., + more

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 #583 of 1,043 The Best Singers of All Timelisted on The Complete List of Rappers Who've Been in Prison

9
Busta Rhymes is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best New York Rappers
Genre: Hip hop music, Ragga & Dancehall; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: When Disaster Strikes…, The Big Bang, The Coming, Extinction Level Event: The Final World Front, C'Mon (Catch 'em by Surprise), + more

Trevor George Smith Jr. (born May 20, 1972), known professionally as Busta Rhymes, is an American rapper, singer, musician, record producer, record executive, and actor. Chuck D of Public Enemy ...more

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The Best Songs Feat. Busta Rhymes #738 of 1,043 The Best Singers of All Time #704 of 2,047 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

10
Method Man is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best New York Rappers
Genre: Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop & East Coast hip hop; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: Tical, 4:21... The Day After, The Riddler, I'll Be There for You/You're All I Need to Get By, Tical 0: The Prequel, + more

Clifford M. Smith Jr. (born March 2, 1971), better known by his stage name Method Man, is an American rapper, record producer and actor. He is known as a member of the East Coast hip hop ...more

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The Best Method Man Albums of All Time #47 of 266 The Greatest Rappers Of All Time #10 of 206 The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time

11
ASAP Rocky is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best New York Rappers
Befman added Genre: Hip hop music; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: Long.Live.A$AP, Live. Love. ASAP, No Rest for the Wicked, Purple Swag, Fuckin' Problems, + more

at long last asap 

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 #17 of 266 The Greatest Rappers Of All Time

12
Big L is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best New York Rappers

Albums: The Big Picture, Lifestylez ov da Poor & Dangerous, Children of the Corn: The Collector's Edition, The Archives 1996–2000, Harlem's Finest – A Freestyle History, + more

Lamont Coleman (May 30, 1974 – February 15, 1999), known professionally as Big L, was an American rapper. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest and most lyrical rappers of all time, and ...more

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The Best Big L Songs #67 of 266 The Greatest Rappers Of All Time #93 of 214 The Best New School Rappers

13
Big Pun is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best New York Rappers
Genre: Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop & East Coast hip hop; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: Capital Punishment, Yeeeah Baby, Endangered Species, The Legacy: The Best of Big Pun, It's So Hard, + more

Christopher Lee Rios (November 10, 1971 – February 7, 2000), better known by his stage name Big Pun (short for Big Punisher), was an American rapper. Emerging from the underground hip hop scene ...more

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The Best Big Pun Songs #74 of 266 The Greatest Rappers Of All Time #842 of 925 People We Wish Were Still Alive

14
Ghostface Killah is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best New York Rappers
Genre: Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop & East Coast hip hop; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: Ironman, Supreme Clientele, Fishscale, Fried Fish, Bulletproof Wallets, + more

Dennis Coles (born May 9, 1970), better known by his stage name Ghostface Killah, is an American rapper, songwriter and actor and member of the Wu-Tang Clan. After the group achieved ...more

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The Best Ghostface Killah Songs #1,372 of 2,047 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #39 of 266 The Greatest Rappers Of All Time

15
Joey Bada$$ is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best New York Rappers
aiden-kemp added Genre: Hip hop music; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: Summer Knights, 1999, Big Dusty, Waves

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 #30 of 266 The Greatest Rappers Of All Time #5 of 214 The Best New School Rappers

16
Mos Def is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best New York Rappers
Genre: Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop & Rock music; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: Black on Both Sides, True Magic, The New Danger, The Ecstatic, Mos Dub, + more

Yasiin Bey (; born Dante Terrell Smith; December 11, 1973), better known by his stage name Mos Def (), is an American rapper, singer, actor and activist. Best known for his music, Bey began his ...more

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The Best Mos Def Songs #867 of 2,047 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #103 of 266 The Greatest Rappers Of All Time

17
KRS-One is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best New York Rappers
Genre: Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop & Hardcore hip hop; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: Hip Hop Lives, Return of the Boom Bap, Criminal Minded, The Kristyles, KRS-One, + more

Lawrence "Kris" Parker (born August 20, 1965), better known by his stage names KRS-One, and Teacha, is an American rapper and occasional producer from The Bronx, New York. He rose to ...more

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#813 of 2,047 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #129 of 266 The Greatest Rappers Of All Time #21 of 206 The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time

18
A Tribe Called Quest is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best New York Rappers
johnstonismyname added

Albums: The Low End Theory, Midnight Marauders, People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm, The Love Movement, Beats, + more

A Tribe Called Quest was an American hip hop collective formed in 1985 and originally composed of MC and main producer Q-Tip, MC Phife Dawg, DJ and co-producer Ali Shaheed Muhammad, and MC ...more

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The Best A Tribe Called Quest Albums of All Time #1,110 of 2,047 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #1,136 of 2,211 The Best Rock Bands of All Time

19
LL Cool J is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best New York Rappers
Genre: Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop & East Coast hip hop; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: Radio, Mama Said Knock You Out, Mr. Smith, G.O.A.T. (The Greatest of All Time), Bigger and Deffer, + more

James Todd Smith (born January 14, 1968), known professionally as LL Cool J (short for Ladies Love Cool James), is an American rapper, record producer, actor, author and entrepreneur from ...more

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The Best Songs Feat. LL Cool J #842 of 1,043 The Best Singers of All Time #722 of 2,047 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

20
Raekwon is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best New York Rappers
Genre: Hip hop music, East Coast hip hop & Mafioso rap; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: Only Built 4 Cuban Linx Instrumentals, Only Built 4 Cuban Linx... Pt. II, Immobilarity, Avenging Eagles, The Lex Diamond Story, + more

Corey Woods (born January 12, 1970), better known by his stage name Raekwon () , is an American rapper and a member of Wu-Tang Clan. He released his solo debut, Only Built 4 Cuban Linx... in ...more

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The Best Raekwon Songs #84 of 266 The Greatest Rappers Of All Time #23 of 206 The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time

21
A Boogie wit da Hoodie ... is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best New York Rappers
johnstonismyname added

Albums: the bigger the Artist

Artist Julius Dubose (born December 6, 1995), better known by his stage name A Boogie wit da Hoodie (or simply A Boogie), is an American rapper, singer, and songwriter. He is signed to ...more

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#41 of 146 The Best Young Rappers and New School Rappers #117 of 266 The Greatest Rappers Of All Time #23 of 214 The Best New School Rappers

22
Lauryn Hill is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best New York Rappers
johnstonismyname added Genre: Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop & Neo soul; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, MTV Unplugged 2.0, Ms. Hill, Greatest Singles Collection, MTV Unplugged, + more

Lauryn Noelle Hill (born May 26, 1975) is an American singer, songwriter and rapper, known for being a member of Fugees, and for her solo album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, which won many ...more

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The Best Lauryn Hill Songs #626 of 1,043 The Best Singers of All Timelisted on The Complete List of Rappers Who've Been in Prison

23
Slick Rick is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best New York Rappers
Genre: Hip hop music, Old-school hip hop & East Coast hip hop; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: The Great Adventures of Slick Rick, The Art of Storytelling, The Ruler's Back, Behind Bars, J-Love Legends Volume 1, + more

Richard Martin Lloyd Walters (born January 14, 1965), better known as Slick Rick is a British-American rapper. He has released four albums: The Great Adventures of Slick Rick (1988), The Ruler's ...more

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The Best Slick Rick Songs #885 of 2,047 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Timelisted on The Complete List of Rappers Who've Been in Prison

24
Public Enemy is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best New York Rappers

Albums: It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, Fear of a Black Planet, Apocalypse 91… The Enemy Strikes Black, Yo! Bum Rush the Show, Fight the Power, + more

Public Enemy is an American hip hop group consisting of Chuck D, Keith Shocklee, Flavor Flav, Professor Griff, and DJ Lord (replaced Terminator X in 1998 after his retirement from the group). ...more

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The Best Public Enemy Albums of All Time #330 of 2,047 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #325 of 620 The Greatest Live Bands of All Time

25
Run–DMC is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best New York Rappers

Albums: Raising Hell, Run-D.M.C., King of Rock, Down With the King, Tougher Than Leather, + more

Run-DMC was an American hip hop group from Hollis, Queens, New York, founded in 1981 by Joseph Simmons, Darryl McDaniels, and Jason Mizell. Run-DMC is widely acknowledged as one of the most ...more

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#275 of 2,047 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #50 of 206 The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time #196 of 364 The Greatest American Rock Bands