Music

The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers 

Ranker Music
Originally by
Updated May 5, 2020 162.4k votes 23.4k voters 1M views 173 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 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.

list ordered by
1
Tupac Shakur is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
2
The Notorious B.I.G. is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
3
N.W.A is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
4
Dr. Dre is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
5
Ice Cube is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
6
Snoop Dogg is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
7
Wu-Tang Clan is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
8
Nas is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
9
Eazy-E is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
10
Run–DMC is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
11
Public Enemy is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
12
A Tribe Called Quest is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
13
Outkast is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
14
Eric B. & Rakim is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
15
DMX is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
16
Method Man is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
17
Mobb Deep is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
18
50 Cent is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
19
LL Cool J is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
20
Busta Rhymes is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
21
Cypress Hill is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
22
Grandmaster Flash and th... is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
23
Beastie Boys is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
24
Nate Dogg is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
25
Slick Rick is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers