Music
14.0k voters

The Greatest Gangsta Rappers of All Time

Updated May 1, 2020 106.3k votes 14.0k voters 511.2k 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.

Photo:
...more
  • 1
    Eazy-E
    4,526
    904
    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
    4,286
    859
    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
    5,839
    1,245
    Tupac Amaru Shakur ( TOO-pahk shə-KOOR; born Lesane Parish Crooks, June 16, 1971 – September... more on WikipediaBuy buy button

    More Tupac Shakur 

    The Best Songs Feat. Tupac Shakur11 Conspiracy Theories About The Murder Of Tupac Shakur

  • 4
    Ice Cube
    4,523
    912
    O'Shea Jackson (born June 15, 1969), known professionally as Ice Cube, is an American rapper,... more on WikipediaBuy buy button

    More Ice Cube 

    The Best Ice Cube MoviesThe Best Ice Cube Songs

  • 5
    The Notorious B.I.G.
    Christopher George Latore Wallace (May 21, 1972 – March 9, 1997), known professionally as The... more on WikipediaBuy buy button

    More The Notorious B.I.G. 

    The Best Notorious B.I.G Songs of All TimeThe Best Songs Feat. The Notorious B.I.G.

  • 6
    Dr. Dre
    3,252
    901
    Andre Romelle Young (born February 18, 1965), known professionally as Dr. Dre, is an American... more on WikipediaBuy buy button

    More Dr. Dre 

    The Best Songs on Dr. Dre's The ChronicThe Best Dr. Dre Albums, Ranked

  • 7
    Snoop Dogg
    3,214
    982
    Calvin Cordozar Broadus Jr. (born October 20, 1971), known professionally as Snoop Dogg, is an... more on WikipediaBuy buy button

    More Snoop Dogg 

    The Best Snoop Dogg Music Videos#58 of 70 The Complete List of Rappers Who've Been in Prison

  • 8
    Wu-Tang Clan
    2,187
    911
    Wu-Tang Clan is an American hip hop group formed in the New York City borough of Staten Island... more on WikipediaBuy buy button

    More Wu-Tang Clan 

    The Best Wu-Tang Clan Songs#83 of 383 The Greatest Musical Artists of the '90s

  • 9
    50 Cent
    2,722
    1,176
    Curtis James Jackson III (born July 6, 1975), known professionally as 50 Cent, is an American... more on WikipediaBuy buy button

    More 50 Cent 

    The Best 50 Cent SongsThe Best 50 Cent Movies

  • 10
    DMX
    2,136
    849
    Earl Simmons (born December 18, 1970), known professionally as DMX, is an American rapper and... more on WikipediaBuy buy button

    More DMX 

    The Best DMX SongsThe Best Songs Feat. DMX

  • 11
    Nas
    1,844
    881
    Nasir bin Olu Dara Jones, better known as Nas, is an American rapper, songwriter, record... more on WikipediaBuy buy button

    More Nas 

    The Best Songs Feat. NasThe Best Nas Songs

  • 12
    Nate Dogg
    1,618
    709
    Nathaniel Dwayne Hale (August 19, 1969 – March 15, 2011), known professionally as Nate Dogg,... more on WikipediaBuy buy button

    More Nate Dogg 

    The Best Nate Dogg Albums of All Time#1434 of 1,891 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

  • 13
    Method Man
    1,006
    454
    Clifford M. Smith Jr. (born March 2, 1971), better known by his stage name Method Man, is an... more on WikipediaBuy buy button

    More Method Man 

    The Best Method Man Albums of All TimeThe Best Songs Feat. Method Man

  • 14
    Westside Connection
    Westside Connection was an American West coast hip hop and gangsta rap supergroup formed by... more on WikipediaBuy buy button

    More Westside Connection 

    The Best Westside Connection Songs#22 of 135 The Best West Coast Rappers

  • 15
    Ice-T
    1,303
    624
    Tracy Lauren Marrow (born February 16, 1958), better known by his stage name Ice-T, is an... more on WikipediaBuy buy button

    More Ice-T 

    19 Ice-T Tweets For When You Just Need To SmileThe Best Ice T Songs

  • 16
    The Game
    1,272
    594
    Jayceon Terrell Taylor (born November 29, 1979), better known by his stage name The Game (or... more on WikipediaBuy buy button

    More The Game 

    The Best The Game Albums, RankedThe Best Songs Feat. The Game

  • 17
    Mobb Deep
    1,401
    684
    Mobb Deep was an American hip hop duo from Queensbridge, Queens, New York. The group consisted... more on WikipediaBuy buy button

    More Mobb Deep 

    The Best Mobb Deep Albums of All TimeThe Best Mobb Deep Songs

  • 18
    Scarface
    1,386
    705
    Brad Terrence Jordan (born November 9, 1970), better known by his stage name Scarface, is an... more on WikipediaBuy buy button
  • 19
    MC Ren
    1,327
    686
    Lorenzo Jerald Patterson (born June 16, 1969), better known by his stage name MC Ren, is an... more on WikipediaBuy buy button
  • 20
    Geto Boys
    1,046
    511
    Geto Boys is a rap group from Houston, Texas, currently consisting of Scarface, Willie D, and... more on WikipediaBuy buy button

    More Geto Boys 

    #2 of 24 Houston Gangsta Rappers List#29 of 106 The Best '80s Rappers

  • 21
    Warren G
    1,025
    579
    Warren Griffin III (born November 10, 1970), known by his stage name Warren G, is an American... more on WikipediaBuy buy button
  • 22
    Too $hort
    835
    441
    Todd Anthony Shaw (born April 28, 1966), better known by the stage name Too Short (stylized as... more on WikipediaBuy buy button

    More Too $hort 

    The Best Too $hort Albums of All Time#15 of 188 The Best Rappers From Los Angeles

  • 23
    Kendrick Lamar
    Kendrick Lamar Duckworth (born June 17, 1987) is an American rapper, songwriter, and record... more on WikipediaBuy buy button

    More Kendrick Lamar 

    The Best Rappers To Listen To If You Like Kendrick Lamar#4 of 223 The Greatest Rappers Of All Time

  • 24
    Tha Dogg Pound
    Tha Dogg Pound is an American hip hop duo formed in 1992, made up of West Coast rappers Kurupt... more on WikipediaBuy buy button

    More Tha Dogg Pound 

    The Best Tha Dogg Pound Albums of All Time#29 of 123 The Best Hip Hop Groups of All Time

  • 25
    Xzibit
    964
    636
    Alvin Nathaniel Joiner (born September 18, 1974), better known by the stage name Xzibit... more on WikipediaBuy buy button

    More Xzibit 

    The Best Xzibit SongsThe Best Xzibit Albums of All Time