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

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102.9k votes 16.7k voters 794.6k 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.
list ordered by

1
4,440 1,369
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
1,965 273
Dr. Dre is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
Coolza added The Chronic, 2001, Nuthin' but a 'G' Thang / Let Me Ride

3
2,734 626
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
4,268 1,130
N.W.A is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
sebiesback added Straight Outta Compton, Niggaz4Life, Greatest Hits

5
6,087 1,240
Tupac Shakur is listed (or ranked) 5 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

6
4,247 809
The Notorious B.I.G. is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
CalebMongan added Ready to Die, Life After Death, Born Again

7
1,694 683
50 Cent is listed (or ranked) 7 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

8
4,002 971
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
2,320 607
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
2,842 897
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
1,094 305
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
1,282 455
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
1,190 449
Busta Rhymes is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
NanceyFlowersHarris added When Disaster Strikes…, The Big Bang, The Coming

14
325 46
Nate Dogg is listed (or ranked) 14 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

15
1,729 734
OutKast is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
GabrielDylanArteaga added Stankonia, Aquemini, Speakerboxxx/The Love Below

16
452 129
Redman is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
Coolza added Muddy Waters, Whut? Thee Album, Doc's da Name 2000

17
1,382 219
Nas is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
Coolza added Illmatic, Life Is Good, Untitled Nas album

18
1,879 632
Run–D.M.C. is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
Raising Hell, Run-D.M.C., King of Rock

19
1,505 604
Eric B. & Rakim is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
Paid in Full, Let the Rhythm Hit ’em, Don’t Sweat the Technique

20
1,403 527
Public Enemy is listed (or ranked) 20 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

21
182 28
Xzibit is listed (or ranked) 21 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

22
1,348 548
LL Cool J is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
Radio, Mama Said Knock You Out, Mr. Smith

23
1,076 336
Mobb Deep is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
PedroManuelFroisCampagnolo added The Infamous, Blood Money, The Infamous Mobb Deep

24
162 38
D12 is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
jens46a added Devil's Night, D12 World, Return of the Dozen

25
941 431
Slick Rick is listed (or ranked) 25 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

26
1,113 516
Beastie Boys is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
Paul's Boutique, Licensed to Ill, Check Your Head

27
1,109 339
A Tribe Called Quest is listed (or ranked) 27 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

28
973 381
Grandmaster Flash and the Furi... is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
The Message, The Message, The Adventures Of Grandmaster Flash

29
843 443
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
99 22
G-Unit is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
1512300481851 added Beg for Mercy, No Mercy, No Fear

31
583 185
KRS-One is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
nathan-endless added Hip Hop Lives, Return of the Boom Bap, Criminal Minded

32
612 98
Method Man is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
Coolza added Tical, 4:21... The Day After, The Riddler

33
536 249
Big Daddy Kane is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
Long Live the Kane, It's a Big Daddy Thing, Daddy's Home

34
723 389
The Sugarhill Gang is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
Rapper's Delight, Sugarhill Gang, Jump on It!

35
65 8
Royce da 5'9
Matt1345 added Rock City, Street Hop, Death Is Certain

36
543 323
Dj Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh ... is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
GabrielDylanArteaga added

37
387 121
Ice-T is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
Coolza added Power, O.G. Original Gangster, Home Invasion

38
772 302
Gang Starr is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
Hard to Earn, Daily Operation, Moment of Truth

39
536 323
EPMD is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
Strictly Business, Business Never Personal, Unfinished Business

40
303 154
Chuck D is listed (or ranked) 40 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

41
434 221
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
308 79
Big L is listed (or ranked) 42 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

43
373 176
Lauryn Hill is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, MTV Unplugged 2.0, Ms. Hill

44
472 254
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
423 287
T.I. is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
King, Urban Legend, Trap Muzik

46
274 76
Naughty by Nature is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
Coolza added Nineteen Naughty Nine: Nature's Fury, Anthem Inc., Poverty's Paradise

47
295 102
Salt-N-Pepa is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
Coolza added Very Necessary, Hot, Cool & Vicious

48
439 266
Kurtis Blow is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
Kurtis Blow, The Best of Kurtis Blow, America

49
378 220
Common is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
danman082200 added Resurrection, Be, Like Water for Chocolate

50
236 173
Afrika Bambaataa & Soulsonic F... is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
Planet Rock, Planet Rock: The Album, Return to the Planet Rock