Music

The Best Hardcore Rappers 

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Updated May 1, 2020 35.5k votes 4.6k voters 201k views 178 items

Update: Dive into the best new hip hop with our list of 2020's top rap songs.

Hardcore hip hop is a subgenre of rap music that developed at the beginning of the 1980s. The genre's lyrics tackled the harsh conditions of the urban experience and have resonated with many rap fans. The tenacious beats of hard rap songs add to the intensity. Hardcore rappers are recognized as the precursor to gangsta rap due to its unapologetic stances on anger and aggression towards violence, police brutality, crime, poverty, drugs and rebellion. Many hardcore rap songs take on these issues head on. Hardcore rap has become one of the most important subgenres of rap and has also played an important role in shaping conscious rap and political hip hop.

So, who are the best hardcore rappers? Any list of hardcore rappers has to include names like the Geto Boys, DMX, Necro, Big L, Immortal Technique and Notorious B.I.G. These hardcore rap artists are widely known as the most famous faces and important voices in hardcore rap. When you think of hardcore rap, you generally think of the hardcore rappers on this list. Even though some of the biggest names are widely known, that doesn't mean the lesser known groups are any less important. It's dark and gritty nature has won hardcore rap many admirers over the years.

That said, it's up to you to determine what are the best hardcore rappers. If you like hardcore hip hop, then feel free to vote on this list. If you notice someone isn't on this list, and should be, feel free to add them. This list answers the questions "who are the best hardcore hip hop bands of all time?" and "who is the greatest hardcore hip hop 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 hardcore hip hop bands that you might've heard of.

list ordered by
1
Eminem is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Hardcore Rappers
Marshall Bruce Mathers III (born October 17, 1972), known professionally as Eminem (; often stylized as EMINƎM), is an American rapper, songwriter, record producer, record executive, film ...more

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2
DMX is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Hardcore Rappers
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

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The Best Songs Feat. DMX #761 of 1,043 The Best Singers of All Timelisted on The Complete List of Rappers Who've Been in Prison

3
N.W.A is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Hardcore Rappers
danman082200 added
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

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#708 of 2,040 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #18 of 206 The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time #12 of 221 Bands/Artists With Only One Great Album

4
The Notorious B.I.G. is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Hardcore Rappers
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

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5
Feloni is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Hardcore Rappers
RealKnowledge added

TrakDiamondRecord.com

Trish Best, known by her stage name Feloni, is an African-American rapper from Detroit, Michigan. Her coming out as lesbian was featured on MTV's LOGO documentary show Coming Out Stories.

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#63 of 218 The Greatest New Female Vocalists of the Past 10 Years #158 of 935 The Best Female Vocalists Ever #93 of 146 The Best Young Rappers and New School Rappers

6
D12 is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Hardcore Rappers
D12, an initialism for the Dirty Dozen, was an American hip hop group from Detroit, Michigan. D12 has had chart-topping albums in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia. D12 was formed ...more

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7
Mobb Deep is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Hardcore Rappers
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

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The Best Mobb Deep Albums of All Time #742 of 1,043 The Best Singers of All Time #1,491 of 2,040 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

8
Nas is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Hardcore Rappers
PaulCooper-1 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

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9
Ol' Dirty Bastard is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Hardcore Rappers
Russell Tyrone Jones (November 15, 1968 – November 13, 2004), better known by his stage name Ol' Dirty Bastard (often abbreviated as O.D.B.), was an American rapper and producer. He was one of ...more

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#71 of 501 The Greatest Rappers Of All Time #107 of 183 The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Bandlisted on The Complete List of Rappers Who've Been in Prison

10
Method Man and Redman is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Hardcore Rappers
Method Man & Redman, are an American hip hop duo, composed of East Coast rappers Method Man and Redman. They are signed to Def Jam Recordings as both solo artists and as a collective. While ...more

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The Best Method Man And Redman Songs #11 of 138 The Dopest Rappers of the '90s #46 of 125 The Best Hip Hop Groups of All Time

11
Xzibit is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Hardcore Rappers
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

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12
Rakim is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Hardcore Rappers
William Michael Griffin Jr. (born January 28, 1968), better known by his stage name Rakim, is an American rapper. One half of golden age hip hop duo Eric B. & Rakim, he is widely regarded as ...more

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13
Big L is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Hardcore Rappers
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

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14
Tech N9ne is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Hardcore Rappers
groucho9395 added
Aaron Dontez Yates (born November 8, 1971), better known by his stage name Tech N9ne (pronounced "tech nine"), is an American rapper, singer, songwriter, record producer, actor, and ...more

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The Best Tech N9ne Albums of All Time #899 of 2,040 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #36 of 501 The Greatest Rappers Of All Time

15
Bad Meets Evil is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Hardcore Rappers
Bad Meets Evil is an American hip hop duo consisting of rappers Royce da 5'9" and Eminem. Bad Meets Evil was formed in 1997 thanks to the duo's mutual friend, Proof. It was formed after ...more

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16
Onyx is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Hardcore Rappers
Onyx is an American hardcore hip hop group from South Jamaica, Queens, New York City, consisting of Fredro Starr and Sticky Fingaz. Founded in 1988 by Starr, Sonny Seeza, and the late Big DS, ...more

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#56 of 138 The Dopest Rappers of the '90s #24 of 192 The Best Underground Rappers #30 of 125 The Best Hip Hop Groups of All Time

17
Big Pun is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Hardcore Rappers
Christopher Lee Rios (November 10, 1971 – February 7, 2000), better known by his stage name Big Pun (short for Big Punisher), was an American rapper. Emerging from the underground hip hop scene ...more

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18
Immortal Technique is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Hardcore Rappers
Felipe Andres Coronel (born February 19, 1978), better known by the stage name Immortal Technique, is a Peruvian American hip hop recording artist and activist. Most of his lyrics focus on ...more

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The Best Immortal Technique Songs #812 of 1,043 The Best Singers of All Time #116 of 501 The Greatest Rappers Of All Time

19
Redman is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Hardcore Rappers
RuffRugged added
Reginald Noble (born April 17, 1970), better known by his stage name Redman, is an American rapper, DJ, record producer, and actor. He rose to fame in the early 1990s as an artist on the Def Jam ...more

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20
Geto Boys is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Hardcore Rappers
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

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21
Hopsin is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Hardcore Rappers
-1453909370488 added
Marcus Jamal Hopson (born July 18, 1985), known professionally as Hopsin, is an American rapper, singer, songwriter, record producer, music video director and actor from Los Angeles, California. ...more

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22
Ludacris is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Hardcore Rappers
Christopher Brian Bridges (born September 11, 1977), known professionally as Ludacris (), is an American rapper and actor. Ludacris is the founder of Disturbing tha Peace. Ludacris has won ...more

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The Best Songs Feat. Ludacris #723 of 2,040 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #63 of 501 The Greatest Rappers Of All Time

23
Prodigy is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Hardcore Rappers
Albert Johnson (November 2, 1974 – June 20, 2017), better known by his stage name Prodigy, was an American rapper, author, and entrepreneur who, with Havoc, was one half of the hip hop duo Mobb

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24
Proof is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Hardcore Rappers
Krystal Soo-jeong Oh added
DeShaun Dupree Holton (October 2, 1973 – April 11, 2006), known professionally as Proof, was an American rapper and actor from Detroit, Michigan. During his career, he was a member of the groups ...more

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25
Jedi Mind Tricks is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Hardcore Rappers
Jedi Mind Tricks (JMT) are an underground hip hop group founded by two high school friends, rapper Vinnie Paz (Vincenzo Luvineri) and producer Stoupe the Enemy of Mankind (Kevin Baldwin). In ...more

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