Music
24.7k voters

The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers

Updated May 5, 2020 158.3k votes 24.7k voters 1.0m views173 items

List RulesShould 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 the artists repsonsible for today's biggest hip hop hits. 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.

Photo:
...more
  • Tupac1
    9,076
    1,650
    Amazon buy button

    More Tupac Shakur 

    11 Conspiracy Theories About The Murder Of Tupac Shakur#1062 of 1,172 The Best Writers of All Time

  • The Notorious B.I.G.2
    Amazon buy button

    More The Notorious B.I.G. 

    A Timeline Of How Biggie And Tupac's Friendship Turned Into An Infamous Feud#3 of 235 The Greatest Rappers Of All Time

  • Dr. Dre3
    4,221
    1,215
    Amazon buy button

    More Dr. Dre 

    The Best Songs on Dr. Dre's The Chronic#1219 of 1,355 The Greatest Minds of All Time

  • Ice Cube4
    5,485
    1,192
    Amazon buy button

    More Ice Cube 

    The Best Ice Cube Songs#856 of 1,017 The Best Actors in Film History

  • N.W.A5
    5,936
    1,748
    Amazon buy button

    More N.W.A 

    #38 of 221 Bands/Artists With Only One Great Album#372 of 541 The Greatest Live Bands of All Time

  • Wu-Tang Clan6
    4,175
    1,211
    Amazon buy button

    More Wu-Tang Clan 

    The Best Wu-Tang Clan Songs#641 of 1,891 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

  • Nas7
    2,900
    488
    Amazon buy button

    More Nas 

    The Best Nas Songs#55 of 94 The Best Singers Who Only Need to Go By One Name

  • Snoop Dogg8
    4,789
    1,428
    Amazon buy button

    More Snoop Dogg 

    Hilarious Snoop Dogg Interviews That Prove He Can Still Drop It Like It's Hot#58 of 70 The Complete List of Rappers Who've Been in Prison

  • Eazy-E9
    3,795
    1,096
    Amazon buy button

    More Eazy-E 

    #614 of 753 People We Wish Were Still Alive#66 of 525 Which Artist Would You Bring Back From The Dead To Write One More Song?

  • Method Man10
    1,326
    282
    Amazon buy button

    More Method Man 

    The Best Method Man Albums of All Time#19 of 83 Rappers with the Best Album Discography, Ranked

  • Run–DMC11
    2,412
    785
    Amazon buy button

    More Run–DMC 

    #247 of 294 The Best Pop Artists of the 1980s#45 of 95 The Best Trios Of All Time

  • A Tribe Called Quest12
    Amazon buy button

    More A Tribe Called Quest 

    The Best A Tribe Called Quest Albums of All Time#1107 of 1,728 The Best Rock Bands of All Time

  • Public Enemy13
    1,822
    666
    Amazon buy button

    More Public Enemy 

    The Best Public Enemy Albums of All Time#58 of 66 The Strangest Opening Act Bookings Ever

  • DMX14
    2,040
    741
    Amazon buy button

    More DMX 

    The Best DMX Songs#1776 of 1,883 The Greatest Actors & Actresses in Entertainment History

  • Mobb Deep15
    1,754
    499
    Amazon buy button

    More Mobb Deep 

    The Best Mobb Deep Albums of All Time#33 of 63 Rappers with the Best Rhymes, Ranked

  • Eric B. & Rakim16
    Amazon buy button

    More Eric B. & Rakim 

    #30 of 106 The Best Musical Duos#9 of 167 The Best East Coast Rappers of All Time

  • Outkast17
    2,374
    908
    Amazon buy button

    More Outkast 

    #281 of 297 The Best Duos of All Time#159 of 279 The Greatest American Rock Bands

  • LL Cool J18
    1,847
    684
    Amazon buy button

    More LL Cool J 

    The Best Songs Feat. LL Cool J#233 of 465 The Greatest Musical Artists of the '80s

  • Bone Thugs-N-Harmony19
    Amazon buy button

    More Bone Thugs-N-Harmony 

    The Best Bone Thugs-N-Harmony Albums of All Time#11 of 20 20 Otherworldly Curses in the Music Industry

  • KRS-One20
    982
    332
    Amazon buy button

    More KRS-One 

    #9 of 200 The Best Underground Rappers#11 of 104 The Best '80s Rappers

  • Busta Rhymes21
    1,855
    740
    Amazon buy button

    More Busta Rhymes 

    The Best Songs Feat. Busta Rhymes#17 of 195 The Best Rap Lyricists of All Time

  • Naughty by Nature22
    Amazon buy button

    More Naughty by Nature 

    The Best Naughty By Nature Songs#16 of 123 The Best Hip Hop Groups of All Time

  • Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five23
    Amazon buy button

    More Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five 

    #114 of 355 Musicians Who Belong In The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame#7 of 418 The Most Influential DJs of All Time

  • Ice-T24
    869
    306
    Amazon buy button

    More Ice-T 

    19 Ice-T Tweets For When You Just Need To Smile#763 of 904 Celebrity Death Pool 2021

  • Nate Dogg25
    1,232
    565
    Amazon buy button

    More Nate Dogg 

    The Best Nate Dogg Albums of All Time#21 of 136 The Dopest Rappers of the '90s