hip-hop The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time  

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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
6,124 995
The Notorious B.I.G. is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
The Notorious B.I.G. Ready to Die, Life After Death, Born Again

2
4,706 856
Nas is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
Nas Illmatic, Life Is Good, Untitled Nas album

3
3,892 677
Wu-Tang Clan is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
Wu-Tang Clan Enter the Wu-Tang: 36 Chambers, Wu-Tang Forever, 8 Diagrams

4
2,591 1,118
DMX is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
DMX It's Dark and Hell Is Hot, Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood

5
2,918 1,529
Jay-Z is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
Jay-Z Watch the Throne, The Black Album, Reasonable Doubt

6
2,215 749
Rakim is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
Rakim The 18th Letter, The Archive: Live, Lost & Found

7
2,189 748
Busta Rhymes is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
Busta Rhymes When Disaster Strikes…, The Big Bang, The Coming

8
2,270 642
Method Man is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
Method Man Tical, 4:21... The Day After, The Riddler

9
2,419 808
50 Cent is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
GabrielDylanArteaga added 50 Cent Get Rich or Die Tryin', Get Rich or Die Tryin' / The Massacre, Street King Immortal

10
1,630 420
Big L is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
CapoAssKickerMikey95 added Big L The Big Picture, Lifestylez ov da Poor & Dangerous, Children of the Corn: The Collector's Edition

11
2,087 628
Mobb Deep is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
Mobb Deep The Infamous, Blood Money, The Infamous Mobb Deep

12
1,491 716
Run–D.M.C. is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
Run–D.M.C. Raising Hell, Run-D.M.C., King of Rock

13
1,257 631
Public Enemy is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
Public Enemy It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, Fear of a Black Planet, Apocalypse 91… The Enemy Strikes Black

14
1,295 503
KRS-One is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
KRS-One Hip Hop Lives, Return of the Boom Bap, Criminal Minded

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15
1,472 384
A Tribe Called Quest is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
A Tribe Called Quest The Low End Theory, Midnight Marauders, People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm

16
825 413
Ghostface Killah is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
CapoAssKickerMikey95 added Ghostface Killah Ironman, Supreme Clientele, Fishscale

17
1,513 575
J. Cole is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
SeenaMavaddat added J. Cole Born Sinner, The Warm Up, Friday Night Lights

18
1,278 408
Ol' Dirty Bastard is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
Ol' Dirty Bastard Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version, The Trials and Tribulations of Russell Jones, Ghetto Supastar (That Is What You Are)

19
1,089 348
Raekwon is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
Raekwon Only Built 4 Cuban Linx Instrumentals, Only Built 4 Cuban Linx... Pt. II, Immobilarity

20
835 185
Mos Def is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
Mos Def Black on Both Sides, True Magic, The New Danger

21
945 237
Big Pun is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
Big Pun Capital Punishment, Yeeeah Baby, Endangered Species

The Best Underground Rappers

22
1,145 619
LL Cool J is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
LL Cool J Radio, Mama Said Knock You Out, Mr. Smith

23
1,280 368
Gang Starr is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
Gang Starr Hard to Earn, Daily Operation, Moment of Truth

24
676 231
GZA is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
CapoAssKickerMikey95 added GZA Liquid Swords, Grandmasters, Pro Tools

25
746 147
Redman is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
Redman Muddy Waters, Whut? Thee Album, Doc's da Name 2000

26
830 321
Slick Rick is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
Slick Rick The Great Adventures of Slick Rick, The Art of Storytelling, The Ruler's Back

27
816 243
Joey Badass is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
Guðmundur Smári Pétursson added Joey Badass Summer Knights, 1999, Big Dusty

28
879 371
Big Daddy Kane is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
Big Daddy Kane Long Live the Kane, It's a Big Daddy Thing, Daddy's Home

The Best Dressed Rappers

29
886 318
RZA is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
RZA RZA as Bobby Digital in Stereo, Birth of a Prince, Digital Bullet

30
753 337
Immortal Technique is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
Immortal Technique Revolutionary Vol. 2, Revolutionary, Volume 1

31
1,007 288
Eric B. & Rakim is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
Eric B. & Rakim Paid in Full, Let the Rhythm Hit ’em, Don’t Sweat the Technique

32
610 383
Kool G Rap is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
Kool G Rap Road to the Riches, Wanted: Dead or Alive, Live and Let Die

33
633 299
Onyx is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
Onyx Bacdafucup, All We Got Iz Us, Bacdafucup

34
689 318
De La Soul is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
De La Soul 3 Feet High and Rising, De La Soul Is Dead, Buhloone Mindstate

35
1,125 286
Method Man and Redman is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
Method Man and Redman Blackout!, How High, Blackout! 2

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36
407 153
Talib Kweli is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
JahleelNorwood added Talib Kweli Quality, Liberation, The Beautiful Struggle

37
589 418
Jadakiss is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
Jadakiss The Last Kiss, Kiss of Death, Kiss tha Game Goodbye

38
630 298
Q-Tip is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
Q-Tip The Renaissance, Amplified, Kamaal/The Abstract

39
719 210
Logic is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
Anne R. added Logic Young Sinatra: Welcome to Forever, Young Sinatra (Undeniable), Young Sinatra

40
481 200
Chance The Rapper is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
DeDe0 added Chance The Rapper Acid Rap, Confident, Songs from Scratch: Paranoia

41
927 328
Beastie Boys is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
Beastie Boys Paul's Boutique, Licensed to Ill, Check Your Head

42
354 199
Inspectah Deck is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
Inspectah Deck Uncontrolled Substance, The Resident Patient, The Movement

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43
399 243
Fabolous is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
1426448767 added Fabolous From Nothin' to Somethin', The S.O.U.L. Tape 2, Street Dreams

44
322 153
Das EFX is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
Das EFX Hold It Down, Dead Serious, How We Do

45
290 178
Heavy D is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
coreyhut added Heavy D Vibes, Waterbed Hev, Heavy

46
459 266
M.O.P. is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
M.O.P. Firing Squad, Warriorz, 10 Years and Gunnin' (Greatest Hits)

47
338 85
AZ is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
Anne R. added AZ Doe or Die, Final Call (The Lost Tapes), Aziatic

48
368 102
Guru is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
Anne R. added Guru Jazzmatazz, Volume 1, Guru's Jazzmatazz

49
512 315
Naughty by Nature is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
Naughty by Nature Nineteen Naughty Nine: Nature's Fury, Anthem Inc., Poverty's Paradise

50
1,089 481
A$AP Rocky is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time
GannonReilly added A$AP Rocky At. Long. Last. A$AP, Long. Live. A$AP