Music

The Greatest Gangsta Rappers of All Time  

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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.

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list ordered by
1
Tupac Shakur is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Gangsta Rappers of All Time
Tupac Amaru Shakur, also known by his stage names 2Pac and briefly as Makaveli, was an American rapper, songwriter, and actor. Shakur has sold over 75 million records worldwide, making him one ...more
2
N.W.A is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Gangsta Rappers of All Time
N.W.A was an American hip hop group from Compton that is widely considered to have been among the earliest and most significant popularizers of the gangsta rap and west coast hip hop subgenres ...more
3
Ice Cube is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Gangsta Rappers of All Time
O'Shea Jackson, Sr., better known by his stage name Ice Cube, is an American rapper, record producer, actor, and filmmaker. He began his career as a member of the hip-hop group C.I.A. and later ...more
4
Eazy-E is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Gangsta Rappers of All Time
Eric Lynn Wright, better known by his stage name Eazy-E, was an American rapper who performed solo and in the hip hop group N.W.A. Wright is affectionately called "The Godfather of Gangsta ...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, best known by his stage name Snoop Dogg, is an American recording artist and actor from Long Beach, California. His music career began in 1992, when he was discovered ...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, better known by his stage names The Notorious B.I.G., Biggie or Biggie Smalls, was an American rapper. Wallace was raised in the Brooklyn borough of New York ...more
7
Dr. Dre is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Gangsta Rappers of All Time
Andre Romelle Young, known by his stage name Dr. Dre, is an American record producer, rapper and entrepreneur. He is the founder and current CEO of Aftermath Entertainment and Beats Electronics. ...more
8
DMX is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Gangsta Rappers of All Time
Earl Simmons, better known by his stage names DMX and Dark Man X, is an American rapper and actor. In 1999, DMX released his best-selling album ...And Then There Was X, which featured the hit ...more
9
Wu-Tang Clan is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Gangsta Rappers of All Time
Wu-Tang Clan is an American hip hop group from Staten Island, New York City. Members include RZA, GZA, Ol' Dirty Bastard, Method Man, Raekwon, Ghostface Killah, Inspectah Deck, U-God and Masta
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
11
50 Cent is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Gangsta Rappers of All Time
Curtis James Jackson III, better known by his stage name 50 Cent, is an American rapper, singer, entrepreneur investor and actor from New York City. Born in the South Jamaica neighborhood of the ...more
12
Scarface is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Gangsta Rappers of All Time
Brad Terrence Jordan, better known by his stage name Scarface, is an American rapper. He hails from Houston, Texas and is a member of the Geto Boys. He is originally from the city's South Acres ...more
13
MC Ren is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Gangsta Rappers of All Time
Lorenzo Jerald Patterson, better known by his stage name MC Ren, is an American rapper from Compton, California. He is the founder and owner of his own record label Villain Entertainment. His ...more
14
Nate Dogg is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Gangsta Rappers of All Time
Nathaniel Dwayne Hale, better known by his stage name Nate Dogg, was an American singer, rapper, and actor. He was noted for his membership in rap trio 213 and his solo career in which he ...more
15
Ice-T is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Gangsta Rappers of All Time
Tracy Lauren Marrow, better known by his stage name Ice-T, is an American rapper, singer, and actor. He began his career as a rapper in the 1980s and was signed to Sire Records in 1987, when he ...more
16
Big L is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Gangsta Rappers of All Time
Lamont Coleman, best known by his stage name Big L, was an American hip hop recording artist, born and raised in Harlem, New York City, New York. Coleman embarked on his career in rapping, with ...more
17
Mobb Deep is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Gangsta Rappers of All Time
Mobb Deep is an American hip hop duo from Queensbridge, Queens, New York, U.S., that consists of Havoc and Prodigy. The group is best known for its dark delivery as exemplified by the single ...more
18
Geto Boys is listed (or ranked) 18 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
19
Warren G is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Gangsta Rappers of All Time
Warren Griffin III, better known by his stage name, Warren G, is an American West Coast rapper and hip hop producer. He is best known for his debut 1994 single, "Regulate", which ...more
20
Kendrick Lamar is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Gangsta Rappers of All Time
ace_bloody added
Kendrick Lamar Duckworth, better known as Kendrick Lamar, is an American hip hop recording artist from Compton, California. In 2004, Lamar signed to Carson-based independent record label, Top ...more
21
Method Man is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Gangsta Rappers of All Time
Clifford Smith, better known by the stage name Method Man, is an American rapper, record producer, and actor. He took his stage name from the 1979 film Method Man. He is perhaps best known as a ...more
22
T.I. is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Gangsta Rappers of All Time
Clifford Joseph Harris, Jr., better known by his stage name T.I., is an American rapper, record producer, and actor. He signed his first major label record deal in 1999, with Arista Records ...more
23
Westside Connection is listed (or ranked) 23 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
24
Xzibit is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Gangsta Rappers of All Time
Alvin Nathaniel Joiner, better known by his stage name Xzibit, is an American rapper, actor, and television host. He is known as the host of the MTV show Pimp My Ride, which brought him ...more
25
The Game is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Gangsta Rappers of All Time
Jayceon Terrell Taylor, better known by his stage name The Game or simply Game, is an American rapper and actor. Game is best known as a rapper in the West Coast hip hop scene, and for being one ...more