Music

The Greatest Gangsta Rappers of All Time  

Reference
Originally by
106.8k votes 12.8k voters 481.1k views 88 items

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

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
2
N.W.A is listed (or ranked) 2 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
3
Ice Cube is listed (or ranked) 3 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
4
Eazy-E is listed (or ranked) 4 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
5
Snoop Dogg is listed (or ranked) 5 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
6
The Notorious B.I.G. is listed (or ranked) 6 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
7
Dr. Dre is listed (or ranked) 7 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
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
9
Nas is listed (or ranked) 9 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
10
DMX is listed (or ranked) 10 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
11
50 Cent is listed (or ranked) 11 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
12
Scarface is listed (or ranked) 12 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
13
MC Ren is listed (or ranked) 13 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
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
15
Nate Dogg is listed (or ranked) 15 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
16
Method Man is listed (or ranked) 16 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
17
Kendrick Lamar is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Gangsta Rappers of All Time
ace_bloody added
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
18
Mobb Deep is listed (or ranked) 18 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
19
Big L is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Gangsta Rappers of All Time
Lamont Coleman (May 30, 1974 – February 15, 1999), known professionally as Big L, was an American rapper. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest and most lyrical rappers of all time, and ...more
20
Geto Boys is listed (or ranked) 20 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
21
Warren G is listed (or ranked) 21 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
22
T.I. is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Gangsta Rappers of All Time
Clifford Joseph Harris Jr. (born September 25, 1980), known professionally as T.I. and Tip (often stylized as TIP or T.I.P.), is an American rapper and actor. Harris signed his first major-label ...more
23
The Game is listed (or ranked) 23 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
24
Xzibit is listed (or ranked) 24 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
25
Too $hort is listed (or ranked) 25 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