hip hop artists The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers  

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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.
list ordered by

1
3,945 688
2Pac & Nas is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
sebiesback added Tupac

The Greatest White Rappers of All Time The Best Dogs for City Living

2
2,888 683
N.W.A is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
sebiesback added N.W.A Hip hop music, Political hip hop, Gangsta rap

3
2,773 465
The Notorious B.I.G. is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
CalebMongan added The Notorious B.I.G. Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop

4
2,875 698
Ice Cube is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
greencactusdude added Ice Cube Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Political hip hop

5
2,649 839
Eminem is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
StasKogan added Eminem Hip hop music, Horrorcore, Hardcore hip hop

6
1,941 570
Wu-Tang Clan is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
danman082200 added Wu-Tang Clan Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop

7
1,536 325
Snoop Dogg is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
but chickens double d added Snoop Dogg Hip hop music, Pop music, Gangsta rap

8
1,402 298
Eazy-E is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
nathan-endless added Eazy-E Hip hop music, Old-school hip hop, Gangsta rap

9
1,276 478
Outkast is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
GabrielDylanArteaga added Outkast Alternative hip hop, Dance-pop, Jazz

10
1,466 469
Run–D.M.C. is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
Run–D.M.C. Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Hardcore hip hop

11
1,004 101
Dr. Dre is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
Coolza added Dr. Dre Hip hop music, Rap music, Gangsta rap

12
1,151 415
Eric B. & Rakim is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
Eric B. & Rakim Hip hop music, Jazz rap, Old-school hip hop

13
780 293
Busta Rhymes is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
NanceyFlowersHarris added Busta Rhymes Hip hop music, Ragga, Dancehall

14
1,110 373
Public Enemy is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
Public Enemy Hip hop music, Political hip hop, Hardcore hip hop

15
1,024 392
LL Cool J is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
LL Cool J Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop

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16
980 471
50 Cent is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
sebiesback added 50 Cent Hip hop music, Gangsta rap

17
806 240
A Tribe Called Quest is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
GabrielDylanArteaga added A Tribe Called Quest Hip hop music, Jazz rap, Alternative hip hop

18
620 163
DMX is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
hannan-ibrahim added DMX Hip hop music, Horrorcore, Hardcore hip hop

19
679 83
Nas is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
Coolza added Nas Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, East Coast hip hop

20
682 344
De La Soul is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
De La Soul Hip hop music, Jazz rap, Alternative hip hop

21
922 324
Cypress Hill is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
Cypress Hill Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Nu metal

22
844 371
Beastie Boys is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
Beastie Boys Hip hop music, Pop punk, Alternative hip hop

23
697 221
Mobb Deep is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
PedroManuelFroisCampagnolo added Mobb Deep Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop

24
724 323
Slick Rick is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
Slick Rick Hip hop music, Old-school hip hop, East Coast hip hop

25
709 268
Grandmaster Flash is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
Grandmaster Flash Hip hop music, Old-school hip hop, Electro

26
580 302
The Sugarhill Gang is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
The Sugarhill Gang Hip hop music, Old-school hip hop, Disco

27
400 165
Big Daddy Kane is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
Big Daddy Kane Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop

28
381 116
KRS-One is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
nathan-endless added KRS-One Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Hardcore hip hop

29
312 45
Method Man is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
Coolza added Method Man Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop

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30
291 120
Grandmaster Flash and The Furi... is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers

31
430 244
EPMD is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
EPMD Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop

32
582 228
Gang Starr is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
Gang Starr Hip hop music, Jazz rap, Alternative hip hop

33
399 235
Dj Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh ... is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
GabrielDylanArteaga added Dj Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince

34
337 162
Boogie Down Productions is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
paulgag04 added Boogie Down Productions Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop

35
356 183
Westside Connection is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
sebiesback added Westside Connection Hip hop music, Gangsta rap, G-funk

36
225 60
Redman is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
Coolza added Redman Hip hop music

37
238 106
Lauryn Hill is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
Lauryn Hill Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Neo soul

38
361 209
Kurtis Blow is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
Kurtis Blow Hip hop music, Old-school hip hop

39
210 101
Chuck D is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
but chickens double d added Chuck D Hip hop music, Political hip hop, Hardcore hip hop

40
291 163
Common is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
danman082200 added Common Hip hop music, Jazz rap, Alternative hip hop

41
192 59
Ice-T is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
Coolza added Ice-T Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, Rock music

42
161 121
Afrika Bambaataa & Soulsonic F... is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers

43
194 143
Whodini is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
NanceyFlowersHarris added Whodini Hip hop music, Electro

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44
274 225
T.I. is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
T.I. Hip hop music, Atlanta hip hop, Gangsta rap

45
215 133
MC Lyte is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
MC Lyte Hip hop music, Contemporary R&B, Rhythm and blues

46
261 229
Marley Marl is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
Marley Marl Hip hop music

47
336 198
Pete Rock & CL Smooth is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
Pete Rock & CL Smooth Hip hop music, Jazz rap, Alternative hip hop

48
147 39
Naughty by Nature is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
Coolza added Naughty by Nature Hip hop music, East Coast hip hop

49
155 57
Salt-N-Pepa is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
Coolza added Salt-N-Pepa Hip hop music, Girl group, Pop rap

50
177 126
Kool G Rap & DJ Polo is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers