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The Best Hardcore Rappers

Updated June 21, 2020 34.0k votes 4.8k voters 204.0k views161 items

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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.

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  • 1
    Eminem is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Hardcore Rappers
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    Marshall Bruce Mathers III (born October 17, 1972), known professionally as Eminem (; often... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 2
    DMX is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Hardcore Rappers
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    Earl Simmons (born December 18, 1970), known professionally as DMX, is an American rapper and... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 3
    N.W.A is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Hardcore Rappers
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    N.W.A (an abbreviation for Niggaz Wit Attitudes) was an American hip hop group from Compton,... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 4
    Feloni is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Hardcore Rappers
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  • 5
    The Notorious B.I.G. is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Hardcore Rappers
    Christopher George Latore Wallace (May 21, 1972 – March 9, 1997), known professionally as The... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 6
    Ol' Dirty Bastard is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Hardcore Rappers
    Russell Tyrone Jones (November 15, 1968 – November 13, 2004), better known by his stage name... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 7
    Nas is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Hardcore Rappers
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    Nasir bin Olu Dara Jones, better known as Nas, is an American rapper, songwriter, record... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 8
    Mobb Deep is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Hardcore Rappers
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    Mobb Deep was an American hip hop duo from Queensbridge, Queens, New York. The group consisted... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 9
    Method Man and Redman is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Hardcore Rappers
    Method Man & Redman, are an American hip hop duo, composed of East Coast rappers Method Man... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 10
    Rakim is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Hardcore Rappers
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    William Michael Griffin Jr. (born January 28, 1968), better known by his stage name Rakim, is... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 11
    D12 is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Hardcore Rappers
    465
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    D12, an initialism for the Dirty Dozen, was an American hip hop group from Detroit, Michigan.... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 12
    Big L is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Hardcore Rappers
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    Lamont Coleman (May 30, 1974 – February 15, 1999), known professionally as Big L, was an... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 13
    Prodigy is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Hardcore Rappers
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    Albert Johnson (November 2, 1974 – June 20, 2017), better known by his stage name Prodigy, was... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 14
    Geto Boys is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Hardcore Rappers
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    Geto Boys is a rap group from Houston, Texas, currently consisting of Scarface, Willie D, and... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 15
    Big Pun is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Hardcore Rappers
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    Christopher Lee Rios (November 10, 1971 – February 7, 2000), better known by his stage name... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 16
    Onyx is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Hardcore Rappers
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    Onyx is an American hardcore hip hop group from South Jamaica, Queens, New York City,... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 17
    Proof is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Hardcore Rappers
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    DeShaun Dupree Holton (October 2, 1973 – April 11, 2006), known professionally as Proof, was... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 18
    Xzibit is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Hardcore Rappers
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    Alvin Nathaniel Joiner (born September 18, 1974), better known by the stage name Xzibit... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 19
    Bad Meets Evil is listed (or ranked) 19 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... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 20
    Eric B. & Rakim is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Hardcore Rappers
    Louis Eric Barrier (born November 8, 1965 in East Elmhurst, Queens, New York) is the former... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 21
    Ludacris is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Hardcore Rappers
    248
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    Christopher Brian Bridges (born September 11, 1977), known professionally as Ludacris (), is... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 22
    B-Real is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Hardcore Rappers
    158
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    Louis Mario Freese (born June 2, 1970), better known by his stage name B-Real, is an American... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 23
    Three 6 Mafia is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Hardcore Rappers
    Three 6 Mafia is an American hip hop group from Memphis, Tennessee formed in 1991. Emerging as... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 24
    Mystikal is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Hardcore Rappers
    165
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    Michael Lawrence Tyler (born September 22, 1971), known professionally as Mystikal, is an... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 25
    Redman is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Hardcore Rappers
    285
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    Reginald Noble (born April 17, 1970), better known by his stage name Redman, is an American... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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