Hardcore hip hop is a subgenre of rap music that developed at the beginning of the 1980s. The genre's aggressive, angry, gangster 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 who the best hardcore rappers are. 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 bands' music (i.e. albums and songs) instead of just voting for the most popular or famous hardcore female/male hip hop artists that you might've heard of.