Music

The Best Hardcore Rappers  

Reference
Originally by
34k votes 4.4k voters 195.5k views 180 items

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.

Ranker may collect a commission from links on this page.
list ordered by
1
Eminem is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Hardcore Rappers
Marshall Bruce Mathers III, better known by his stage name Eminem, is an American rapper, record producer, songwriter, and actor. In addition to his solo career, he is a member of the group D12, ...more
2
D12 is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Hardcore Rappers
D12, an initialism for The Dirty Dozen, is 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
3
Bad Meets Evil is listed (or ranked) 3 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
4
N.W.A is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Hardcore Rappers
danman082200 added
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
5
Proof is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Hardcore Rappers
Krystal Soo-jeong Oh added
DeShaun Dupree Holton, better known by his stage name Proof, was an American rapper and actor from Detroit, Michigan. During his career, he was a member of the groups Goon Sqwad, 5 Elementz, ...more
6
DMX is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Hardcore Rappers
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
7
Hopsin is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Hardcore Rappers
-1453909370488 added
Marcus Jamal Hopson, better known by his stage name Hopsin, is an American rapper, record producer, director and actor from Los Angeles, California. In 2007, he was signed to Ruthless Records, ...more
8
Redman is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Hardcore Rappers
RuffRugged added
Reginald "Reggie" Noble, better known by his stage name Redman, is an American MC, rapper, DJ, record producer and actor. He came to fame in the early 1990s as an artist on the Def Jam ...more
9
Royce da 5'9
Ryan Daniel Montgomery, better known by his stage name Royce da 5'9", is an American rapper from Detroit, Michigan. He is best known for his longtime association with Eminem as well as his ...more
10
Tech N9ne is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Hardcore Rappers
groucho9395 added
Aaron Dontez Yates, better known by his stage name Tech N9ne, is an American rapper. In 1999, Yates and Travis O'Guin founded the record label Strange Music. He has sold over two million albums ...more
11
Nas is listed (or ranked) 11 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
12
Slaughterhouse is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Hardcore Rappers
Krystal Soo-jeong Oh added
Slaughterhouse is a hip hop supergroup consisting of rappers Crooked I, Joe Budden, Joell Ortiz, and Royce da 5'9". They are currently signed to Shady Records under Interscope. They have ...more
13
Feloni is listed (or ranked) 13 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. In ...more
14
Xzibit is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Hardcore Rappers
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
15
The Notorious B.I.G. is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Hardcore Rappers
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
16
Obie Trice is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Hardcore Rappers
Obie Trice is an American rapper and songwriter. He began rapping at the age of 11, and is most known for his time spent signed to Shady Records. Since leaving the label Obie has formed his own ...more
17
Young Buck is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Hardcore Rappers
David Darnell Brown, also known as Young Buck, is an American rapper, actor, entrepreneur, and producer. Buck is a former member of the hip hop group UTP Playas. As a music executive, he is ...more
18
Trick-Trick is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Hardcore Rappers
Christian Mathis, better known by his stage name Trick-Trick, is an American rap artist and member of hip-hop group Goon Sqwad.
19
Bizarre is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Hardcore Rappers
Bizarre was born Rufus Arthur Johnson on July 5, 1976 in Detroit, Michigan. Bizarre grew up living with his single mother. He started rapping when he was in fifth grade. His teacher thought he ...more
20
Yelawolf is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Hardcore Rappers
Matt1345 added
Michael Wayne Atha, better known as Yelawolf, is an American hip hop recording artist from Gadsden, Alabama. He is currently signed to Shady Records, Interscope Records, and has since founded ...more
21
Ol' Dirty Bastard is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Hardcore Rappers
Russell Tyrone Jones, better known under his stage name Ol' Dirty Bastard, was an American rapper and occasional producer. He was one of the founding members of the Wu-Tang Clan, a rap group ...more
22
Mobb Deep is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Hardcore Rappers
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
23
Rakim is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Hardcore Rappers
William Michael Griffin, Jr., 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 one of the most ...more
24
Method Man and Redman is listed (or ranked) 24 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
25
Ludacris is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Hardcore Rappers
Christopher Brian "Chris" Bridges, better known by his stage name Ludacris, is an American rapper, entrepreneur and actor. Along with his manager, Chaka Zulu, Ludacris is the ...more