Music

The Best New York Rappers  

Ranker Hip Hop
Originally by
61.8k votes 6.6k voters 134.8k views 233 items

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

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
Ready to Die, Life After Death, Born Again
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

More The Notorious B.I.G.

#415 of 466 The Best Current Pop Groups/Singersfeaturing A Timeline Of How Biggie And Tupac's Friendship Turned Into An Infamous Feudlisted on Famous Friends of Jay-Z

2
Nas is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best New York Rappers
Illmatic, Life Is Good, Untitled Nas album
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

More Nas

#420 of 2,186 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Timefeaturing The Best Nas Songslisted on Famous Friends of Jay-Z

3
Jay-Z is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best New York Rappers
Watch the Throne, The Black Album, Reasonable Doubt
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

More Jay-Z

#165 of 466 The Best Current Pop Groups/Singersfeaturing Every Athlete Signed To Jay-Z's Roc Nation Sports, Rankedlisted on Famous Friends of Barack Obama

4
Wu-Tang Clan is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best New York Rappers
Enter the Wu-Tang: 36 Chambers, Wu-Tang Forever, 8 Diagrams
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

More Wu-Tang Clan

#510 of 2,186 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #883 of 1,066 The Best Singers of All Timefeaturing 9 Stories That Led The FBI To Think The Wu Tang Clan Was An Organized Crime Syndicate

5
Tupac Shakur is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best New York Rappers
ahmed-maklad added All Eyez on Me, Me Against the World, The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory
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

More Tupac Shakur

#217 of 276 The Most Trustworthy Celebrities in the World #184 of 2,186 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Timefeaturing A Timeline Of How Biggie And Tupac's Friendship Turned Into An Infamous Feud

6
50 Cent is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best New York Rappers
Get Rich or Die Tryin', Get Rich or Die Tryin' / The Massacre, Street King Immortal
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

More 50 Cent

#290 of 2,186 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Timefeaturing 50 Cent & Floyd Maywather’s Feud: A History Of Their Animositylisted on Famous Black Conservatives List

7
Rakim is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best New York Rappers
The 18th Letter, The Archive: Live, Lost & Found
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

More Rakim

#16 of 508 The Greatest Rappers Of All Time #13 of 139 The Dopest Rappers of the '90s #16 of 40 Rappers with the Best Flow, Ranked

8
DMX is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best New York Rappers
It's Dark and Hell Is Hot, Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood
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

More DMX

#1,027 of 2,186 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Timefeaturing The Best DMX Songslisted on Famous Friends of Eminem

9
Method Man is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best New York Rappers
Tical, 4:21... The Day After, The Riddler
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

More Method Man

#19 of 508 The Greatest Rappers Of All Timefeaturing The Best Method Man Albums of All Timelisted on Famous Friends of Eminem

10
ASAP Rocky is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best New York Rappers
Befman added Long.Live.A$AP, Live. Love. ASAP, No Rest for the Wicked

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

More ASAP Rocky

#1,913 of 2,186 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #1 of 144 The Best Young Rappers and New School Rappersfeaturing The Best Songs Ft. A$AP Rocky

11
Joey Bada$$ is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best New York Rappers
aiden-kemp added Summer Knights, 1999, Big Dusty
Jo-Vaughn Virginie Scott (born January 20, 1995), better known by his stage name Joey Badass (stylized as Joey Bada$$), is an American rapper, actor, and record producer. Raised in Brooklyn, New ...more

More Joey Bada$$

#4 of 144 The Best Young Rappers and New School Rappers #48 of 508 The Greatest Rappers Of All Time #112 of 221 The Best Underground Rappers

12
A Tribe Called Quest is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best New York Rappers
johnstonismyname added The Low End Theory, Midnight Marauders, People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm
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

More A Tribe Called Quest

#459 of 466 The Best Current Pop Groups/Singers #951 of 2,186 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Timefeaturing The Best A Tribe Called Quest Albums of All Time

13
Ghostface Killah is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best New York Rappers
Ironman, Supreme Clientele, Fishscale
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

More Ghostface Killah

#1,151 of 2,186 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #1,649 of 2,239 The Best Rock Bands of All Timefeaturing The Best Ghostface Killah Albums of All Time

14
Busta Rhymes is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best New York Rappers
When Disaster Strikes…, The Big Bang, The Coming
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

More Busta Rhymes

#753 of 2,186 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Timefeaturing The Best Songs Feat. Busta Rhymeslisted on Famous Friends of Eminem

15
Big L is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best New York Rappers
The Big Picture, Lifestylez ov da Poor & Dangerous, Children of the Corn: The Collector's Edition
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

More Big L

#31 of 508 The Greatest Rappers Of All Time #917 of 931 People We Wish Were Still Alivefeaturing The Best Big L Songs

16
Mobb Deep is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best New York Rappers
dane-jeriss added The Infamous, Blood Money, The Infamous Mobb Deep
Mobb Deep was an American hip hop duo from Queensbridge, Queens, New York. The group consisted of Havoc and Prodigy, and were a hardcore East Coast hip hop group. They were known for their dark, ...more

More Mobb Deep

#1,341 of 2,186 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #859 of 1,066 The Best Singers of All Timefeaturing The Best Mobb Deep Albums of All Time

17
Mos Def is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best New York Rappers
Black on Both Sides, True Magic, The New Danger
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

More Mos Def

#874 of 2,186 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #1,276 of 2,239 The Best Rock Bands of All Timefeaturing The Best Mos Def Songs

18
Run–DMC is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best New York Rappers
Raising Hell, Run-D.M.C., King of Rock
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

More Run–DMC

#315 of 2,186 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #235 of 270 Rank the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame Inductees #203 of 354 The Greatest American Rock Bands

19
Big Pun is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best New York Rappers
Capital Punishment, Yeeeah Baby, Endangered Species
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

More Big Pun

#46 of 508 The Greatest Rappers Of All Time #818 of 931 People We Wish Were Still Alivefeaturing The Best Big Pun Songs

20
Prodigy is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best New York Rappers
johnstonismyname added H.N.I.C., Return of the Mac, H.N.I.C. Pt. 2

Mobb Deep Albums 

Albert Johnson (November 2, 1974 – June 20, 2017), better known by his stage name Prodigy, was an American rapper, author, and entrepreneur who, with Havoc, was one half of the hip hop duo Mobb

More Prodigy

#1,077 of 2,186 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #81 of 508 The Greatest Rappers Of All Timelisted on Musicians You May Not Know Are Republican

21
Lauryn Hill is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best New York Rappers
johnstonismyname added The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, MTV Unplugged 2.0, Ms. Hill
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

More Lauryn Hill

#558 of 2,186 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Timefeaturing The Best Lauryn Hill Songslisted on Grammy Award for Best New Artist Winners List

22
KRS-One is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best New York Rappers
Hip Hop Lives, Return of the Boom Bap, Criminal Minded
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

More KRS-One

#833 of 2,186 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #45 of 508 The Greatest Rappers Of All Time #31 of 139 The Dopest Rappers of the '90s

23
Raekwon is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best New York Rappers
Only Built 4 Cuban Linx Instrumentals, Only Built 4 Cuban Linx... Pt. II, Immobilarity
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

More Raekwon

#53 of 508 The Greatest Rappers Of All Time #25 of 139 The Dopest Rappers of the '90sfeaturing The Best Raekwon Albums of All Time

24
LL Cool J is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best New York Rappers
Radio, Mama Said Knock You Out, Mr. Smith
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

More LL Cool J

#716 of 2,186 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Timefeaturing The Best LL Cool J Albums of All Timelisted on Famous Black Conservatives List

25
Slick Rick is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best New York Rappers
The Great Adventures of Slick Rick, The Art of Storytelling, The Ruler's Back
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

More Slick Rick

#903 of 2,186 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #54 of 508 The Greatest Rappers Of All Timefeaturing The Best Slick Rick Songs