Hip Hop Artists The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers  

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95.7k votes 15.7k voters 768.7k views 207 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 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.

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Tupac Shakur is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
sebiesback added Tupac All Eyez on Me, Me Against the World, The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory

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N.W.A is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
sebiesback added N.W.A Straight Outta Compton, Niggaz4Life, Greatest Hits

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Eminem is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
Teyparmrui added Eminem The Marshall Mathers LP, The Slim Shady LP, The Eminem Show

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The Notorious B.I.G. is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
CalebMongan added The Notorious B.I.G. Ready to Die, Life After Death, Born Again

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Ice Cube is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
greencactusdude added Ice Cube AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted, The Predator, Death Certificate

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2,176 561
Eazy-E is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
nathan-endless added Eazy-E Eazy-Duz-It, It’s On (Dr. Dre) 187um Killa, Eternal E

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2,704 863
Wu-Tang Clan is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
danman082200 added Wu-Tang Clan Enter the Wu-Tang: 36 Chambers, Wu-Tang Forever, 8 Diagrams

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2,506 569
Snoop Dogg is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
but chickens double d added Snoop Dogg Doggystyle, Tha Doggfather, Tha Last Meal

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1,766 229
Dr. Dre is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
Coolza added Dr. Dre The Chronic, 2001, Nuthin' but a 'G' Thang / Let Me Ride

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Outkast is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
GabrielDylanArteaga added Outkast Stankonia, Aquemini, Speakerboxxx/The Love Below

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Nas is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
Coolza added Nas Illmatic, Life Is Good, Untitled Nas album

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1,803 610
Run–D.M.C. is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
Run–D.M.C. Raising Hell, Run-D.M.C., King of Rock

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Eric B. & Rakim is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
Eric B. & Rakim Paid in Full, Let the Rhythm Hit ’em, Don’t Sweat the Technique

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50 Cent is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
sebiesback added 50 Cent Get Rich or Die Tryin', Get Rich or Die Tryin' / The Massacre, Street King Immortal

The Best Hip Hop Groups of All Time

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Public Enemy is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
Public Enemy It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, Fear of a Black Planet, Apocalypse 91… The Enemy Strikes Black

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1,095 418
Busta Rhymes is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
NanceyFlowersHarris added Busta Rhymes When Disaster Strikes…, The Big Bang, The Coming

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1,287 524
LL Cool J is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
LL Cool J Radio, Mama Said Knock You Out, Mr. Smith

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DMX is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
hannan-ibrahim added DMX It's Dark and Hell Is Hot, Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood

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Mobb Deep is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
PedroManuelFroisCampagnolo added Mobb Deep The Infamous, Blood Money, The Infamous Mobb Deep

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1,201 425
Cypress Hill is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
Cypress Hill Cypress Hill, Black Sunday, III - Temples Of Boom

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Slick Rick is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
Slick Rick The Great Adventures of Slick Rick, The Art of Storytelling, The Ruler's Back

The Best Dr. Seuss Books

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Beastie Boys is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
Beastie Boys Paul's Boutique, Licensed to Ill, Check Your Head

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A Tribe Called Quest is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
GabrielDylanArteaga added A Tribe Called Quest The Low End Theory, Midnight Marauders, People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm

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Grandmaster Flash and the Furi... is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five The Message, The Message, The Adventures Of Grandmaster Flash

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803 432
De La Soul is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
De La Soul 3 Feet High and Rising, De La Soul Is Dead, Buhloone Mindstate

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KRS-One is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
nathan-endless added KRS-One Hip Hop Lives, Return of the Boom Bap, Criminal Minded

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Method Man is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
Coolza added Method Man Tical, 4:21... The Day After, The Riddler

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Big Daddy Kane is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
Big Daddy Kane Long Live the Kane, It's a Big Daddy Thing, Daddy's Home

Hip Hop Stars You Most Wish You Could Sound Like

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The Sugarhill Gang is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
The Sugarhill Gang Rapper's Delight, Sugarhill Gang, Jump on It!

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508 311
Dj Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh ... is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
GabrielDylanArteaga added Dj Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince

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Gang Starr is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
Gang Starr Hard to Earn, Daily Operation, Moment of Truth

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Ice-T is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
Coolza added Ice-T Power, O.G. Original Gangster, Home Invasion

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Redman is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
Coolza added Redman Muddy Waters, Whut? Thee Album, Doc's da Name 2000

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EPMD is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
EPMD Strictly Business, Business Never Personal, Unfinished Business

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Nate Dogg is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
Krystal Soo-jeong Oh added Nate Dogg Music & Me, Welcome To The Dogg House, G-Funk Classics

Songs That Were Total Ripoffs

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Chuck D is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
but chickens double d added Chuck D Autobiography of Mistachuck, Rock da Funky Beats / Dance With You, An Interview With Chuck D

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Boogie Down Productions is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
paulgag04 added Boogie Down Productions Criminal Minded, By All Means Necessary, Ghetto Music: The Blueprint of Hip Hop

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349 172
Lauryn Hill is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
Lauryn Hill The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, MTV Unplugged 2.0, Ms. Hill

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453 244
Westside Connection is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
sebiesback added Westside Connection Bow Down, Terrorist Threats, The Best Of: The Gangsta

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Big L is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
austin-pezzello added Big L The Big Picture, Lifestylez ov da Poor & Dangerous, Children of the Corn: The Collector's Edition

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T.I. is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
T.I. King, Urban Legend, Trap Muzik

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Kurtis Blow is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
Kurtis Blow Kurtis Blow, The Best of Kurtis Blow, America

The Best Hip Hop Collaborations of 2018

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Naughty by Nature is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
Coolza added Naughty by Nature Nineteen Naughty Nine: Nature's Fury, Anthem Inc., Poverty's Paradise

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Salt-N-Pepa is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
Coolza added Salt-N-Pepa Very Necessary, Hot, Cool & Vicious

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Common is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
danman082200 added Common Resurrection, Be, Like Water for Chocolate

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Afrika Bambaataa & Soulsonic F... is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
Afrika Bambaataa & Soulsonic Force Planet Rock, Planet Rock: The Album, Return to the Planet Rock

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268 173
MC Lyte is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
MC Lyte Lyte as a Rock, Seven & Seven, Act Like You Know

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242 188
Whodini is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
NanceyFlowersHarris added Whodini Escape, Back in Black, Funky Beat: The Best of Whodini

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398 236
Pete Rock & CL Smooth is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
Pete Rock & CL Smooth Mecca and the Soul Brother, The Main Ingredient, Good Life: The Best of Pete Rock & CL Smooth

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302 274
Marley Marl is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
Marley Marl Hip Hop Lives, In Control, Volume 1