Music

The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers  

Ranker Music
Originally by
150.9k votes 22.1k voters 961.7k views 199 items

List Rules Should be rappers and hip hop artists who rap in the style that emerged from New York in the late '70s to early '90s.

If you're a fan of rap music, you should have at minimum a base knowledge in old school rap. If not for old school rappers, it's highly unlikely that rap would have evolved into the popular artform that it is today. Many of old school rappers are widely respected by today's biggest hip hop artists. For the sake of this list, all of the classic old school hip hop artists featured became popular during the rap's golden age, which occurred during the 1980s through the mid-1990s. The diversity, innovation and ultimately, the influence of of these old school rappers cannot be stated enough.

So, who are the best old school rappers? If you know old school rap, you know that the likes of Run DMC, De La Soul, Eric B & Rakim, Gang Starr, Grandmaster Flash and the Beastie Boys. These names are widely recognized as some of the best old school rappers. If not for the contributions of these artists, old school rap, and thus, good rap music would cease to exist.  Who are your favorite old school rap artists?

That said, it's to you to determine the best old school rap. If you are familiar with old school rap and old school rappers, feel free to chime in with your vote. 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 old school hip hop bands of all time?" and "who is the greatest old school 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 old school hip hop bands that you might've heard of.

list ordered by
1
Dr. Dre is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
Coolza added
The Chronic, 2001, Nuthin' but a 'G' Thang / Let Me Ride
2
Snoop Dogg is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
but chickens double d added
Doggystyle, Tha Doggfather, Tha Last Meal
3
N.W.A is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
sebiesback added
Straight Outta Compton, Niggaz4Life, Greatest Hits
4
Tupac Shakur is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
sebiesback added
All Eyez on Me, Me Against the World, The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory
5
50 Cent is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
sebiesback added
Get Rich or Die Tryin', Get Rich or Die Tryin' / The Massacre, Street King Immortal
6
The Notorious B.I.G. is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
CalebMongan added
Ready to Die, Life After Death, Born Again
7
Wu-Tang Clan is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
danman082200 added
Enter the Wu-Tang: 36 Chambers, Wu-Tang Forever, 8 Diagrams
8
Ice Cube is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
greencactusdude added
AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted, The Predator, Death Certificate
9
Eazy-E is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
nathan-endless added
Eazy-Duz-It, It’s On (Dr. Dre) 187um Killa, Eternal E
10
Nate Dogg is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
Krystal Soo-jeong Oh added
Music & Me, Welcome To The Dogg House, G-Funk Classics
11
DMX is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
hannan-ibrahim added
It's Dark and Hell Is Hot, Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood
12
Busta Rhymes is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
NanceyFlowersHarris added
When Disaster Strikes…, The Big Bang, The Coming
13
Cypress Hill is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
Cypress Hill, Black Sunday, III - Temples Of Boom
14
Outkast is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
GabrielDylanArteaga added
Stankonia, Aquemini, Speakerboxxx/The Love Below
15
D12 is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
jens46a added
Devil's Night, D12 World, Return of the Dozen
16
Redman is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
Coolza added
Muddy Waters, Whut? Thee Album, Doc's da Name 2000
17
Run–DMC is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
Raising Hell, Run-D.M.C., King of Rock
18
G-Unit is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
kostastsikri64 added
Beg for Mercy, No Mercy, No Fear
19
Public Enemy is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, Fear of a Black Planet, Apocalypse 91… The Enemy Strikes Black
20
Royce da 5'9" is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
Matt1345 added
Rock City, Street Hop, Death Is Certain
21
Eric B. & Rakim is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
Paid in Full, Let the Rhythm Hit ’em, Don’t Sweat the Technique
22
Xzibit is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
Krystal Soo-jeong Oh added
At the Speed of Life, 40 Dayz & 40 Nightz, Restless
23
LL Cool J is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
Radio, Mama Said Knock You Out, Mr. Smith
24
Nas is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
Coolza added
Illmatic, Life Is Good, Untitled Nas album
25
Beastie Boys is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
Paul's Boutique, Licensed to Ill, Check Your Head