Hip-Hop The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time  

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155.2k votes 19.6k voters 776.6k views 180 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.
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list ordered by
1
8,426 1,431
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
6,313 1,327
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
5,334 1,068
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
4,160 2,051
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
3,421 1,531
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
3,615 1,157
50 Cent is listed (or ranked) 6 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
7
2,872 1,120
Rakim is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
The 18th Letter, The Archive: Live, Lost & Found
8
2,854 1,108
Busta Rhymes is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
When Disaster Strikes…, The Big Bang, The Coming
9
2,897 923
Method Man is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
Tical, 4:21... The Day After, The Riddler
10
2,164 663
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
2,924 765
Mobb Deep is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
The Infamous, Blood Money, The Infamous Mobb Deep
12
1,659 813
Public Enemy is listed (or ranked) 12 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
13
1,897 878
Run–DMC 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
1,891 526
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
2,373 801
J. Cole is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
SeenaMavaddat added Born Sinner, The Warm Up, Friday Night Lights
16
1,462 806
LL Cool J is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
Radio, Mama Said Knock You Out, Mr. Smith
17
1,182 535
Ghostface Killah is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
CapoAssKickerMikey95 added Ironman, Supreme Clientele, Fishscale
18
1,592 665
KRS-One is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
Hip Hop Lives, Return of the Boom Bap, Criminal Minded
19
1,603 562
Ol' Dirty Bastard is listed (or ranked) 19 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)
20
1,356 475
Raekwon is listed (or ranked) 20 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
21
1,160 285
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
1,277 356
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
1,539 461
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
998 232
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
1,183 388
Joey Bada$$ is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
Guðmundur Smári Pétursson added Summer Knights, 1999, Big Dusty