Music

The Greatest Gangsta Rappers of All Time 

Ranker Music
Originally by
Updated May 1, 2020 114.6k votes 13.7k voters 502.4k views 86 items

List Rules Vote up and add all of your favorite gangsta rappers & groups—political rappers don't necessarily constitute gangsta rap.

Update: Dive into the best new hip hop with our list of 2020's top rap songs.

If you were a fan of West Coast rap at the end of the 1980s and early 1990s, the odds are pretty high that you're familiar with gangsta rap, one of the most popular rap subgenres. The lyrics focus on thug and gangster life and has elements of hardcore hip hop weaved in. Many gangsta rappers were affiliated with gangs and they weren't afraid to boast of their involvement and what activities that their respective gangs were involved in. Gangsta rappers were among the most feared rappers of the time, yet, achieved widespread commercial success due to the harsh realities that were expressed in their lyrics and unmistakable beats that were as catchy as they were innovative. Over time, gangsta rap has come to incorporate rappers from the East Coast as well, but for the most part, those formative years were where the West Coast was closely associated with the genre.

So, who are the best gangsta rappers? Any list of gangsta rappers has to include the likes of Tupac Shakur, Ice T, Snoop Dogg, DMX, 50 Cent and N.W.A. When you think of gangsta rap, you generally will consider the rappers on this list to be the most important voices in the genre. If not for the gangsta rap artists on this list, rap music as as whole may not have expanded in the way it has and the lyrics certainly wouldn't have been as revolutionary if not for gangsta rap.

That said, it's up to you to determine who are the best gangsta rappers. If you think a rap artist is missing from this and should be on it, feel free to add them. This list answers the questions "who are the best gangsta rap bands of all time?" and "who is the greatest gangsta rap 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 gangsta rap bands that you might've heard of.

list ordered by
1
Tupac Shakur is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Gangsta Rappers of All Time
Tupac Amaru Shakur ( TOO-pahk shə-KOOR; born Lesane Parish Crooks, June 16, 1971 – September 13, 1996), also known by his stage names 2Pac and Makaveli, was an American rapper and actor. He is ...more

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2
Eazy-E is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Gangsta Rappers of All Time
Eric Lynn Wright (September 7, 1964 – March 26, 1995), known professionally as Eazy-E, was an American rapper, record producer, and entrepreneur. Dubbed the "Godfather of Gangsta Rap", ...more

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3
N.W.A is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Gangsta Rappers of All Time
N.W.A (an abbreviation for Niggaz Wit Attitudes) was an American hip hop group from Compton, California. They were among the earliest and most significant popularizers and controversial figures ...more

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#702 of 1,891 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #88 of 383 The Greatest Musical Artists of the '90s #2 of 106 The Best '80s Rappers

4
Ice Cube is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Gangsta Rappers of All Time
O'Shea Jackson (born June 15, 1969), known professionally as Ice Cube, is an American rapper, actor, producer, director and writer. Ice Cube initially gained recognition in 1984 as a member of ...more

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5
The Notorious B.I.G. is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Gangsta Rappers of All Time
Christopher George Latore Wallace (May 21, 1972 – March 9, 1997), known professionally as The Notorious B.I.G., Biggie Smalls, or Biggie, was an American rapper. He is widely considered to be ...more

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A Timeline Of How Biggie And Tupac's Friendship Turned Into An Infamous Feud #394 of 1,891 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #35 of 526 Which Artist Would You Bring Back From The Dead To Write One More Song?

6
Dr. Dre is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Gangsta Rappers of All Time
Andre Romelle Young (born February 18, 1965), known professionally as Dr. Dre, is an American rapper, record producer and entrepreneur. He is the founder and CEO of Aftermath Entertainment and ...more

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7
Snoop Dogg is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Gangsta Rappers of All Time
CharliePrice added
Calvin Cordozar Broadus Jr. (born October 20, 1971), known professionally as Snoop Dogg, is an American rapper, singer, songwriter, producer, media personality, entrepreneur, and actor. His ...more

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8
Wu-Tang Clan is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Gangsta Rappers of All Time
Wu-Tang Clan is an American hip hop group formed in the New York City borough of Staten Island in 1992, originally composed of rapper-producer RZA and rappers GZA, Ol' Dirty Bastard, Method Man, ...more

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9
50 Cent is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Gangsta Rappers of All Time
Curtis James Jackson III (born July 6, 1975), known professionally as 50 Cent, is an American rapper, singer, songwriter, actor, television producer, entrepreneur and investor. Born in the South ...more

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The Best 50 Cent Songs #1,105 of 1,891 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #12 of 223 The Greatest Rappers Of All Time

10
Nas is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Gangsta Rappers of All Time
Cenasucks23 added
Nasir bin Olu Dara Jones, better known as Nas, is an American rapper, songwriter, record producer and actor. He is the son of jazz musician Olu Dara. Since 1994, Nas has released eight ...more

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The Best Nas Songs #513 of 1,891 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #11 of 223 The Greatest Rappers Of All Time

11
DMX is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Gangsta Rappers of All Time
Earl Simmons (born December 18, 1970), known professionally as DMX, is an American rapper and actor. He began rapping in the early 1990s, and released his debut album, It's Dark and Hell Is Hot ...more

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12
Nate Dogg is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Gangsta Rappers of All Time
Nathaniel Dwayne Hale (August 19, 1969 – March 15, 2011), known professionally as Nate Dogg, was an American singer, rapper, songwriter, and actor. Hale began his career as a member of the ...more

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13
Mobb Deep is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Gangsta Rappers of All Time
Mobb Deep was an American hip hop duo from Queensbridge, Queens, New York. The group consisted of Havoc and Prodigy, and were a hardcore East Coast hip hop group. They were known for their dark, ...more

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14
Ice-T is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Gangsta Rappers of All Time
Tracy Lauren Marrow (born February 16, 1958), better known by his stage name Ice-T, is an American musician, rapper, songwriter, actor, record producer, and author. He began his career as an ...more

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15
MC Ren is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Gangsta Rappers of All Time
Lorenzo Jerald Patterson (born June 16, 1969), better known by his stage name MC Ren, is an American rapper, songwriter and record producer from Compton, California. He is the founder and owner ...more

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#78 of 223 The Greatest Rappers Of All Time #71 of 106 The Best '80s Rappers #25 of 188 The Best Rappers From Los Angeles

16
Scarface is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Gangsta Rappers of All Time
Brad Terrence Jordan (born November 9, 1970), better known by his stage name Scarface, is an American rapper and record producer, best known as a member of the Geto Boys, a hip hop group from ...more

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#85 of 223 The Greatest Rappers Of All Time #31 of 136 The Dopest Rappers of the '90slisted on Houston Gangsta Rappers List

17
Westside Connection is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Gangsta Rappers of All Time
Westside Connection was an American West coast hip hop and gangsta rap supergroup formed by Ice Cube, WC and Mack 10. The group's debut album, Bow Down, reached the number 2 position on the ...more

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18
The Game is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Gangsta Rappers of All Time
Jayceon Terrell Taylor (born November 29, 1979), better known by his stage name The Game (or simply Game), is an American rapper, songwriter, record producer and actor. He is best known as a ...more

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19
Method Man is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Gangsta Rappers of All Time
Clifford M. Smith Jr. (born March 2, 1971), better known by his stage name Method Man, is an American rapper, record producer and actor. He is known as a member of the East Coast hip hop ...more

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20
Warren G is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Gangsta Rappers of All Time
Warren Griffin III (born November 10, 1970), known by his stage name Warren G, is an American rapper, songwriter, record producer and DJ, known as one of the pioneers of West Coast hip hop. ...more

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21
Geto Boys is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Gangsta Rappers of All Time
Geto Boys is a rap group from Houston, Texas, currently consisting of Scarface, Willie D, and Bushwick Bill. The Geto Boys have earned notoriety for their lyrics which cover controversial topics ...more

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#25 of 106 The Best '80s Rappers #2 of 71 The Best Houston Rapperslisted on Houston Gangsta Rappers List

22
Xzibit is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Gangsta Rappers of All Time
Alvin Nathaniel Joiner (born September 18, 1974), better known by the stage name Xzibit (pronounced "exhibit"), is an American rapper, actor, and broadcaster. Xzibit began his musical ...more

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23
Too $hort is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Gangsta Rappers of All Time
Todd Anthony Shaw (born April 28, 1966), better known by the stage name Too Short (stylized as Too $hort), is an American rapper, record producer, and actor. He is best known for his hit songs, ...more

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24
Kendrick Lamar is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Gangsta Rappers of All Time
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Kendrick Lamar Duckworth (born June 17, 1987) is an American rapper, songwriter, and record producer. He is regarded as one of the most skillful and successful hip hop artists of his ...more

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Tha Dogg Pound is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Gangsta Rappers of All Time
Tha Dogg Pound is an American hip hop duo formed in 1992, made up of West Coast rappers Kurupt and Daz Dillinger (formerly Dat Nigga Daz). They were signed to Death Row Records in their early ...more

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