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The Greatest Gangsta Rappers of All Time

Updated May 1, 2020 105.4k votes 14.0k voters 508.9k views86 items

List RulesVote 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.

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  • 1
    Eazy-E is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Gangsta Rappers of All Time
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    Eric Lynn Wright (September 7, 1964 – March 26, 1995), known professionally as Eazy-E, was an... more on Wikipediabuy buy button
  • 2
    N.W.A is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Gangsta Rappers of All Time
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    N.W.A (an abbreviation for Niggaz Wit Attitudes) was an American hip hop group from Compton,... more on Wikipediabuy buy button
  • 3
    Tupac Shakur is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Gangsta Rappers of All Time
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    Tupac Amaru Shakur ( TOO-pahk shə-KOOR; born Lesane Parish Crooks, June 16, 1971 – September... more on Wikipediabuy buy button

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  • 4
    Ice Cube is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Gangsta Rappers of All Time
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    O'Shea Jackson (born June 15, 1969), known professionally as Ice Cube, is an American rapper,... more on Wikipediabuy buy button

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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... more on Wikipediabuy buy button

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  • 6
    Dr. Dre is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Gangsta Rappers of All Time
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    Andre Romelle Young (born February 18, 1965), known professionally as Dr. Dre, is an American... more on Wikipediabuy buy button

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  • 7
    Snoop Dogg is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Gangsta Rappers of All Time
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    Calvin Cordozar Broadus Jr. (born October 20, 1971), known professionally as Snoop Dogg, is an... more on Wikipediabuy buy button

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  • 8
    Wu-Tang Clan is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Gangsta Rappers of All Time
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    Wu-Tang Clan is an American hip hop group formed in the New York City borough of Staten Island... more on Wikipediabuy buy button

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  • 9
    50 Cent is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Gangsta Rappers of All Time
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    Curtis James Jackson III (born July 6, 1975), known professionally as 50 Cent, is an American... more on Wikipediabuy buy button

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  • 10
    DMX is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Gangsta Rappers of All Time
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    Earl Simmons (born December 18, 1970), known professionally as DMX, is an American rapper and... more on Wikipediabuy buy button

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  • 11
    Nas is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Gangsta Rappers of All Time
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    Nasir bin Olu Dara Jones, better known as Nas, is an American rapper, songwriter, record... more on Wikipediabuy buy button

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  • 12
    Nate Dogg is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Gangsta Rappers of All Time
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    Nathaniel Dwayne Hale (August 19, 1969 – March 15, 2011), known professionally as Nate Dogg,... more on Wikipediabuy buy button

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  • 13
    Method Man is listed (or ranked) 13 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... more on Wikipediabuy buy button

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  • 14
    Ice-T is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Gangsta Rappers of All Time
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    Tracy Lauren Marrow (born February 16, 1958), better known by his stage name Ice-T, is an... more on Wikipediabuy buy button

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  • 15
    The Game is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Gangsta Rappers of All Time
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    Jayceon Terrell Taylor (born November 29, 1979), better known by his stage name The Game (or... more on Wikipediabuy buy button

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  • 16
    Westside Connection is listed (or ranked) 16 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... more on Wikipediabuy buy button

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  • 17
    Mobb Deep is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Gangsta Rappers of All Time
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    Mobb Deep was an American hip hop duo from Queensbridge, Queens, New York. The group consisted... more on Wikipediabuy buy button

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  • 18
    Scarface is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Gangsta Rappers of All Time
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    Brad Terrence Jordan (born November 9, 1970), better known by his stage name Scarface, is an... more on Wikipediabuy buy button
  • 19
    MC Ren is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Gangsta Rappers of All Time
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    Lorenzo Jerald Patterson (born June 16, 1969), better known by his stage name MC Ren, is an... more on Wikipediabuy buy button

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  • 20
    Geto Boys is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Gangsta Rappers of All Time
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    Geto Boys is a rap group from Houston, Texas, currently consisting of Scarface, Willie D, and... more on Wikipediabuy buy button

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  • 21
    Too $hort is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Gangsta Rappers of All Time
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    Todd Anthony Shaw (born April 28, 1966), better known by the stage name Too Short (stylized as... more on Wikipediabuy buy button

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  • 22
    Warren G is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Gangsta Rappers of All Time
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    Warren Griffin III (born November 10, 1970), known by his stage name Warren G, is an American... more on Wikipediabuy buy button
  • 23
    Kendrick Lamar is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Gangsta Rappers of All Time
    Kendrick Lamar Duckworth (born June 17, 1987) is an American rapper, songwriter, and record... more on Wikipediabuy buy button

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  • 24
    E-40 is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Gangsta Rappers of All Time
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    Earl T. Stevens (born November 15, 1967), better known by his stage name E-40, is an American... more on Wikipediabuy buy button
  • 25
    Xzibit is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Gangsta Rappers of All Time
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    Alvin Nathaniel Joiner (born September 18, 1974), better known by the stage name Xzibit... more on Wikipediabuy buy button

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