Music

The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time 

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Updated August 19, 2019 172.8k votes 22.2k voters 824.4k views 179 items

List Rules Rappers and hip hop artists who were based on the East Coast during the active years of their careers

East Coast rap originated in New York City during the 70s and established the city (and the Bronx more specifically) as a cradle for musical innovation. Since then, East Coast hip hop has only become more popular and has expanded outside of New York to include Philadelphia, Washington D.C. and other outposts. The so-called Golden Age of Rap saw a resurgence in East Coast hip hop during the early 90s where some of the best East Coast rappers of all time take over rap both critically and commercially. East Coast hip hop spans multiple generations and with its roots at the genre's earliest days, is one of the most important subgenres of rap music.

That said, who are the best East Coast rappers? Any list of East Coast hip hop artists has to include the likes of Nas, Wu-Tang Clan, Jay Z, DMX, Busta Rhymes, Public Enemy, Gang Starr and Notorious B.I.G. These are widely recognized regarded as the best East Coast rappers and with good reason. Their slick rhymes, catchy beats and lyrics that range from party anthems to serious conscious rap. No matter whether you like East Coast rap or West Coast rap, the one thing you can't deny is the amount of respect than many in hip hop have for East Coast rappers.

So, it's up to you to determine who are the best East Coast rappers. If you notice a rapper isn't on this list and should be, feel free to add them. This list answers the questions "who are the best East Coast hip hop bands of all time?" and "who is the greatest East Coast hip hop musician ever?"

If you know enough about the genre, please vote based on the quality of the band's music instead of just voting for the most popular east coast hip hop bands that you might've heard of.
list ordered by
1
The Notorious B.I.G. is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
2
Nas is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
3
Wu-Tang Clan is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
4
Method Man is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
5
Big L is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
6
Mobb Deep is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
7
50 Cent is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
8
Rakim is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
9
A Tribe Called Quest is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
10
Busta Rhymes is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
11
DMX is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
12
J. Cole is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
13
Jay-Z is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
14
Big Pun is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
15
Gang Starr is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
16
Ol' Dirty Bastard is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
17
Raekwon is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
18
Redman is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
19
KRS-One is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
20
A$AP Rocky is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
GannonReilly added
21
Mos Def is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
22
Eric B. & Rakim is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
23
Run–DMC is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
24
Public Enemy is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
25
Joey Bada$$ is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time