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

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108.1k votes 17.4k voters 818.3k views 206 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.
list ordered by

1
4,685 1,491
Eminem is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
Teyparmrui added The Marshall Mathers LP, The Slim Shady LP, The Eminem Show

2
4,436 1,187
N.W.A is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
sebiesback added Straight Outta Compton, Niggaz4Life, Greatest Hits

3
2,911 699
Snoop Dogg is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
but chickens double d added Doggystyle, Tha Doggfather, Tha Last Meal

4
2,144 330
Dr. Dre is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
Coolza added The Chronic, 2001, Nuthin' but a 'G' Thang / Let Me Ride

5
1,798 759
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
6,340 1,266
Tupac Shakur is listed (or ranked) 6 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

7
4,431 829
The Notorious B.I.G. is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
CalebMongan added Ready to Die, Life After Death, Born Again

8
4,144 988
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
2,437 633
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
2,936 925
Wu-Tang Clan is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
danman082200 added Enter the Wu-Tang: 36 Chambers, Wu-Tang Forever, 8 Diagrams

11
1,154 339
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
1,332 479
Cypress Hill is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
Cypress Hill, Black Sunday, III - Temples Of Boom

13
385 72
Nate Dogg is listed (or ranked) 13 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

14
1,242 469
Busta Rhymes is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
NanceyFlowersHarris added When Disaster Strikes…, The Big Bang, The Coming

15
491 147
Redman is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
Coolza added Muddy Waters, Whut? Thee Album, Doc's da Name 2000

16
207 65
D12 is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
jens46a added Devil's Night, D12 World, Return of the Dozen

17
1,774 758
Outkast is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
GabrielDylanArteaga added Stankonia, Aquemini, Speakerboxxx/The Love Below

18
137 43
G-Unit is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
1512300481851 added Beg for Mercy, No Mercy, No Fear

19
218 55
Xzibit is listed (or ranked) 19 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

20
1,545 619
Eric B. & Rakim is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
Paid in Full, Let the Rhythm Hit ’em, Don’t Sweat the Technique

21
99 24
Royce da 5'9
Matt1345 added Rock City, Street Hop, Death Is Certain

22
1,923 641
Run–D.M.C. is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
Raising Hell, Run-D.M.C., King of Rock

23
1,449 534
Public Enemy is listed (or ranked) 23 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

24
1,391 559
LL Cool J is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
Radio, Mama Said Knock You Out, Mr. Smith

25
1,455 227
Nas is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
Coolza added Illmatic, Life Is Good, Untitled Nas album

26
971 441
Slick Rick is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
The Great Adventures of Slick Rick, The Art of Storytelling, The Ruler's Back

27
1,142 529
Beastie Boys is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
Paul's Boutique, Licensed to Ill, Check Your Head

28
1,127 342
Mobb Deep is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
PedroManuelFroisCampagnolo added The Infamous, Blood Money, The Infamous Mobb Deep

29
859 456
De La Soul is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
3 Feet High and Rising, De La Soul Is Dead, Buhloone Mindstate

30
996 389
Grandmaster Flash and the Furi... is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
The Message, The Message, The Adventures Of Grandmaster Flash

31
1,146 347
A Tribe Called Quest is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
GabrielDylanArteaga added The Low End Theory, Midnight Marauders, People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm

32
563 256
Big Daddy Kane is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
Long Live the Kane, It's a Big Daddy Thing, Daddy's Home

33
742 396
The Sugarhill Gang is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
Rapper's Delight, Sugarhill Gang, Jump on It!

34
606 192
KRS-One is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
nathan-endless added Hip Hop Lives, Return of the Boom Bap, Criminal Minded

35
564 332
Dj Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh ... is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
GabrielDylanArteaga added

36
655 101
Method Man is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
Coolza added Tical, 4:21... The Day After, The Riddler

37
548 327
EPMD is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
Strictly Business, Business Never Personal, Unfinished Business

38
411 129
Ice-T is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
Coolza added Power, O.G. Original Gangster, Home Invasion

39
314 160
Chuck D is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
but chickens double d added Autobiography of Mistachuck, Rock da Funky Beats / Dance With You, An Interview With Chuck D

40
789 307
Gang Starr is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
Hard to Earn, Daily Operation, Moment of Truth

41
446 225
Boogie Down Productions is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
paulgag04 added Criminal Minded, By All Means Necessary, Ghetto Music: The Blueprint of Hip Hop

42
392 179
Lauryn Hill is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, MTV Unplugged 2.0, Ms. Hill

43
440 294
T.I. is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
King, Urban Legend, Trap Muzik

44
493 259
Westside Connection is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
sebiesback added Bow Down, Terrorist Threats, The Best Of: The Gangsta

45
246 178
Afrika Bambaataa & Soulsonic F... is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
Planet Rock, Planet Rock: The Album, Return to the Planet Rock

46
452 269
Kurtis Blow is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
Kurtis Blow, The Best of Kurtis Blow, America

47
334 81
Big L is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
austin-pezzello added The Big Picture, Lifestylez ov da Poor & Dangerous, Children of the Corn: The Collector's Edition

48
318 284
Marley Marl is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
Hip Hop Lives, In Control, Volume 1

49
261 198
Whodini is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
NanceyFlowersHarris added Escape, Back in Black, Funky Beat: The Best of Whodini

50
389 225
Common is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
danman082200 added Resurrection, Be, Like Water for Chocolate