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.