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The Best New York Rappers

Updated June 2, 2020 98.0k votes 9.5k voters 215.5k views235 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
    The Notorious B.I.G. is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best New York Rappers
    3,605
    1,025

    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 on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 2
    Nas is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best New York Rappers
    3,413
    1,060

    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 on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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    The Best Nas SongsThe Best Songs Feat. Nas

  • 3
    Jay-Z is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best New York Rappers
    2,832
    1,082

    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 on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 4
    Wu-Tang Clan is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best New York Rappers
    2,367
    906

    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 on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 5
    50 Cent is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best New York Rappers
    2,270
    974

    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 on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 6
    Tupac Shakur is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best New York Rappers
    2,337
    907

    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 on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 7
    Joey Bada$$ is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best New York Rappers
    1,674
    664

    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 on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 8
    A Tribe Called Quest is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best New York Rappers
    1,188
    468

    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 on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 9
    A$AP Rocky is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best New York Rappers
    2,212
    946

    A$AP Rocky

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

    Genres (Music)Hip hop music, Hipster Hop,

    at long last asap 

    amazon buy button

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  • 10
    A Boogie wit da Hoodie is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best New York Rappers
    1,282
    512

    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 on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 11
    Method Man is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best New York Rappers
    1,384
    577

    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 on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 12
    Big L is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best New York Rappers
    1,330
    553

    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 on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 13
    Eric B. & Rakim is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best New York Rappers
    423
    108

    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 on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 14
    Ghostface Killah is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best New York Rappers
    1,030
    422

    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 on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 15
    LL Cool J is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best New York Rappers
    796
    311

    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 on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 16
    Mos Def is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best New York Rappers
    945
    398

    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 on Wikipediaamazon buy button

    More Mos Def 

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  • 17
    Busta Rhymes is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best New York Rappers
    1,214
    539

    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 on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 18
    DMX is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best New York Rappers
    1,541
    689

    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 (born December 18, 1970), known professionally as DMX, is an American rapper and... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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    The Best Songs Feat. DMXThe Best DMX Songs

  • 19
    Prodigy is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best New York Rappers
    703
    271

    Prodigy

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

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

    amazon buy button
  • 20
    Jadakiss is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best New York Rappers
    745
    283

    Jadakiss

    The Last Kiss, Kiss of Death

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

    Jason Terrance Phillips (born May 27, 1975), better known by his stage name Jadakiss, is an... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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    The Best Jadakiss SongsThe Best Songs Feat. Jadakiss

  • 21
    Raekwon is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best New York Rappers
    765
    323

    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 on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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    The Best Raekwon Songs#95 of 223 The Greatest Rappers Of All Time

  • 22
    A$AP Ferg is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best New York Rappers
    870
    341

    A$AP Ferg

    Trap Lord, always strive and prosper

    Genres (Music)Hip hop music, Trap Music, Hipster Hop, Cloud Rap, East Coast hip hop

    Darold Ferguson, Jr., better known by his stage name ASAP Ferg, is an American hip hop... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 23
    Run–DMC is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best New York Rappers
    758
    292

    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 on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 24
    Big Pun is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best New York Rappers
    1,067
    487

    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 on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 25
    MF Doom is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best New York Rappers
    550
    201

    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 on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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    #67 of 190 The Best New School Rappers#1880 of 1,891 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

Bands/MusiciansMusicNew York CityHip-Hop / Raptop 50top 100Rappers