Music

The Best New York Rappers 

Ranker Hip Hop
Originally by
Updated December 15, 2019 66.5k votes 7.2k voters 149.3k views 231 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
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

Labels: Atlantic Records, Uptown Records, Bad Boy Records

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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#476 of 925 People We Wish Were Still Alive #3 of 498 The Greatest Rappers Of All Time A Timeline Of How Biggie And Tupac's Friendship Turned Into An Infamous Feud

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

Labels: Def Jam Recordings, Ill Will Records, Columbia

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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#17 of 498 The Greatest Rappers Of All Time #6 of 138 The Dopest Rappers of the '90s The Best Nas Songs

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

Labels: Atlantic Records, Def Jam Recordings, The Island Def Jam Music Group, Universal Music Group, Roc-A-Fella Records, + 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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#27 of 498 The Greatest Rappers Of All Time #230 of 1,038 The Worst Bands & Musicians of All Time Fascinating Facts You Didn't Know About The Life Of Jay-Z

4
50 Cent is listed (or ranked) 4 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

Labels: Ill Flava Records, Aftermath Entertainment, Violator, Interscope Records, Shady Records, + 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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#124 of 1,038 The Worst Bands & Musicians of All Time The Best 50 Cent Songslisted on Famous Black Conservatives List

5
Wu-Tang Clan is listed (or ranked) 5 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

Labels: Loud Records, Various Wu-Recording Labels, Universal Motown Republic Group, Sony Music Entertainment, SRC Records, + 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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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

Labels: 4th & B'way Records, MCA Records, Universal Records, Island Records, Aftermath Entertainment, + 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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#61 of 498 The Greatest Rappers Of All Time #18 of 138 The Dopest Rappers of the '90s #17 of 82 Rappers with the Best Album Discography, Ranked

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

Labels: Bloodline Records, Def Jam Recordings, EMI, Ruff Ryders Entertainment, Her Royal Majesty's Records, + 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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#41 of 498 The Greatest Rappers Of All Time #1,433 of 2,003 The Greatest Actors & Actresses in Entertainment History The Best DMX Songs

8
Busta Rhymes is listed (or ranked) 8 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

Labels: Conglomerate, Aftermath Entertainment, Universal Motown Republic Group, Violator, Cash Money Records, + 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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#807 of 1,042 The Best Singers of All Time #18 of 498 The Greatest Rappers Of All Time The Best Songs Feat. Busta Rhymes

9
Tupac Shakur is listed (or ranked) 9 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

Labels: Amaru Entertainment, Death Row Records, Interscope Records

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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10
ASAP Rocky is listed (or ranked) 10 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

Labels: A$AP Worldwide, Polo Grounds Music, Sony Music Entertainment, RCA Records

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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#1 of 144 The Best Young Rappers and New School Rappers #654 of 1,038 The Worst Bands & Musicians of All Time The Best Songs Ft. A$AP Rocky

11
Method Man is listed (or ranked) 11 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

Labels: Def Jam Recordings

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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#21 of 138 The Dopest Rappers of the '90s #33 of 82 Rappers with the Best Album Discography, Ranked The Best Method Man Albums of All Time

12
Big Pun is listed (or ranked) 12 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

Labels: Terror Squad Entertainment, Loud Records

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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#818 of 925 People We Wish Were Still Alive #81 of 498 The Greatest Rappers Of All Time The Best Big Pun Songs

13
Big L is listed (or ranked) 13 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

Labels: Sony Music Entertainment, Rawkus Records, Columbia

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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#31 of 498 The Greatest Rappers Of All Time #22 of 138 The Dopest Rappers of the '90s The Best Big L Songs

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

Labels: Def Jam Recordings, Epic Records, Epic Street Records

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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#1,995 of 2,211 The Best Rock Bands of All Time #42 of 498 The Greatest Rappers Of All Time The Best Ghostface Killah Albums of All Time

15
KRS-One is listed (or ranked) 15 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

Labels: B-Boy Records, Jive Records, E1 Music, Duck Down Music Inc., RCA Records

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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#45 of 498 The Greatest Rappers Of All Time #833 of 2,175 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

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

Labels: Downtown Records, Priority Records, Geffen Records, Rawkus Records, GOOD Music

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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#222 of 282 The Best (Male) Actors Working Today #29 of 138 The Dopest Rappers of the '90s The Best Mos Def Songs

17
Joey Bada$$ is listed (or ranked) 17 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

Labels: Relentless Records

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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#4 of 144 The Best Young Rappers and New School Rappers #112 of 192 The Best Underground Rappers

18
LL Cool J is listed (or ranked) 18 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

Labels: Def Jam Recordings, Violator, G-Unit Records

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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19
Raekwon is listed (or ranked) 19 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

Labels: Universal Records, Aftermath Entertainment, Loud Records, EMI, Interscope Records, + 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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#88 of 498 The Greatest Rappers Of All Time #25 of 138 The Dopest Rappers of the '90s The Best Raekwon Albums of All Time

20
A Tribe Called Quest is listed (or ranked) 20 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

Labels: Jive Records

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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#180 of 561 The Most Hipster Bands #406 of 464 The Best Current Pop Groups/Singers The Best A Tribe Called Quest Albums of All Time

21
Slick Rick is listed (or ranked) 21 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

Labels: Def Jam Recordings, Sony Music Entertainment, The Island Def Jam Music Group, Universal Music Group, PolyGram, + 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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#54 of 498 The Greatest Rappers Of All Time #44 of 138 The Dopest Rappers of the '90s The Best Slick Rick Songs

22
Public Enemy is listed (or ranked) 22 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

Labels: CBS Records, Def Jam Recordings, Sony Music Entertainment, PIAS Recordings, PolyGram, + 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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#325 of 2,175 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #929 of 1,038 The Worst Bands & Musicians of All Time The Best Public Enemy Albums of All Time

23
Lauryn Hill is listed (or ranked) 23 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

Labels: Ruffhouse Records, Columbia

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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#217 of 1,042 The Best Singers of All Time #68 of 935 The Best Female Vocalists Ever The Best Lauryn Hill Songs

24
Prodigy is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best New York Rappers
johnstonismyname added Genre: Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop & East Coast hip hop; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: H.N.I.C., Return of the Mac, H.N.I.C. Pt. 2, Albert Einstein, Product of the 80's, + more

Labels: G-Unit Records, E1 Music

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

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25
Big Daddy Kane is listed (or ranked) 25 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: Long Live the Kane, It's a Big Daddy Thing, Daddy's Home, Looks Like a Job for..., Veteranz Day, + more

Labels: MCA Records, Blackheart Records, Mercury, Cold Chillin' Records, Warner Bros. Records

Antonio Hardy (born September 10, 1968), better known by his stage name Big Daddy Kane, is a Grammy Award-winning American rapper and actor who started his career in 1986 as a member of the rap ...more

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#66 of 138 The Dopest Rappers of the '90s #41 of 206 The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time The Best Big Daddy Kane Albums of All Time