Hip-Hop The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time  

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133.7k votes 16.5k voters 721k views 183 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
7,076 1,197
The Notorious B.I.G. is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
Ready to Die, Life After Death, Born Again

2
5,357 1,087
Nas is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
Illmatic, Life Is Good, Untitled Nas album

3
4,493 856
Wu-Tang Clan is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
Enter the Wu-Tang: 36 Chambers, Wu-Tang Forever, 8 Diagrams

4
3,450 1,730
Jay-Z is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
Watch the Throne, The Black Album, Reasonable Doubt

5
2,975 1,279
DMX is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
It's Dark and Hell Is Hot, Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood

6
2,496 949
Rakim is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
The 18th Letter, The Archive: Live, Lost & Found

7
2,483 940
Busta Rhymes is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
When Disaster Strikes…, The Big Bang, The Coming

8
2,537 785
Method Man is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
Tical, 4:21... The Day After, The Riddler

9
2,871 942
50 Cent is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
GabrielDylanArteaga added Get Rich or Die Tryin', Get Rich or Die Tryin' / The Massacre, Street King Immortal

10
1,826 527
Big L is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
CapoAssKickerMikey95 added The Big Picture, Lifestylez ov da Poor & Dangerous, Children of the Corn: The Collector's Edition

11
1,437 693
Public Enemy is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, Fear of a Black Planet, Apocalypse 91… The Enemy Strikes Black

12
2,408 678
Mobb Deep is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
The Infamous, Blood Money, The Infamous Mobb Deep

13
1,681 775
Run–D.M.C. is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
Raising Hell, Run-D.M.C., King of Rock

14
1,627 441
A Tribe Called Quest is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
The Low End Theory, Midnight Marauders, People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm

15
1,280 678
LL Cool J is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
Radio, Mama Said Knock You Out, Mr. Smith

16
1,422 566
KRS-One is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
Hip Hop Lives, Return of the Boom Bap, Criminal Minded

17
1,418 472
Ol' Dirty Bastard is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version, The Trials and Tribulations of Russell Jones, Ghetto Supastar (That Is What You Are)

18
971 463
Ghostface Killah is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
CapoAssKickerMikey95 added Ironman, Supreme Clientele, Fishscale

19
1,195 408
Raekwon is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
Only Built 4 Cuban Linx Instrumentals, Only Built 4 Cuban Linx... Pt. II, Immobilarity

20
1,799 659
J. Cole is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
SeenaMavaddat added Born Sinner, The Warm Up, Friday Night Lights

21
957 231
Mos Def is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
Black on Both Sides, True Magic, The New Danger

22
1,083 286
Big Pun is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
Capital Punishment, Yeeeah Baby, Endangered Species

23
1,375 402
Gang Starr is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
Hard to Earn, Daily Operation, Moment of Truth

24
859 176
Redman is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
Muddy Waters, Whut? Thee Album, Doc's da Name 2000

25
752 267
GZA is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
CapoAssKickerMikey95 added Liquid Swords, Grandmasters, Pro Tools

26
950 300
Joey Badass is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
Guðmundur Smári Pétursson added Summer Knights, 1999, Big Dusty

27
910 357
Slick Rick is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
The Great Adventures of Slick Rick, The Art of Storytelling, The Ruler's Back

28
945 402
Big Daddy Kane is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
Long Live the Kane, It's a Big Daddy Thing, Daddy's Home

29
955 344
RZA is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
RZA as Bobby Digital in Stereo, Birth of a Prince, Digital Bullet

30
817 363
Immortal Technique is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
Revolutionary Vol. 2, Revolutionary, Volume 1

31
1,092 309
Eric B. & Rakim is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
Paid in Full, Let the Rhythm Hit ’em, Don’t Sweat the Technique

32
685 325
Onyx is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
Bacdafucup, All We Got Iz Us, Bacdafucup

33
892 308
Logic is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
Anne R. added Young Sinatra: Welcome to Forever, Young Sinatra (Undeniable), Young Sinatra

34
646 408
Kool G Rap is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
Road to the Riches, Wanted: Dead or Alive, Live and Let Die

35
1,215 303
Method Man and Redman is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
Blackout!, How High, Blackout! 2

36
751 336
De La Soul is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
3 Feet High and Rising, De La Soul Is Dead, Buhloone Mindstate

37
594 255
Chance The Rapper is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
DeDe0 added Acid Rap, Confident, Songs from Scratch: Paranoia

38
679 319
Q-Tip is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
The Renaissance, Amplified, Kamaal/The Abstract

39
394 123
Pusha T is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
srappaport added My Name Is My Name, Fear of God, Fear of God II: Let Us Pray

40
649 442
Jadakiss is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
The Last Kiss, Kiss of Death, Kiss tha Game Goodbye

41
441 173
Talib Kweli is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
JahleelNorwood added Quality, Liberation, The Beautiful Struggle

42
1,032 351
Beastie Boys is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
Paul's Boutique, Licensed to Ill, Check Your Head

43
408 215
Inspectah Deck is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
Uncontrolled Substance, The Resident Patient, The Movement

44
318 202
Heavy D is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
coreyhut added Vibes, Waterbed Hev, Heavy

45
441 262
Fabolous is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
1426448767 added From Nothin' to Somethin', The S.O.U.L. Tape 2, Street Dreams

46
1,303 521
A$AP Rocky is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
GannonReilly added At. Long. Last. A$AP, Long. Live. A$AP

47
183 50
A$AP Rocky is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time

48
416 116
Guru is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
Anne R. added Jazzmatazz, Volume 1, Guru's Jazzmatazz

49
351 173
Das EFX is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
Hold It Down, Dead Serious, How We Do

50
562 331
Naughty by Nature is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
Nineteen Naughty Nine: Nature's Fury, Anthem Inc., Poverty's Paradise