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

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116.6k votes 18.5k voters 855.9k 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.
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list ordered by

1
5,062 1,668
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
4,733 1,281
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
3,199 789
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
2,433 414
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
1,992 862
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
6,736 1,295
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
4,717 864
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
4,369 1,023
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
2,609 682
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
3,100 966
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
1,253 392
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
1,422 532
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
1,328 510
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
470 112
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
553 190
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
259 124
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
1,861 790
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
268 89
Xzibit is listed (or ranked) 18 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

19
175 91
G-Unit is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Old School Hip Hop Groups/Rappers
kostastsikri64 added Beg for Mercy, No Mercy, No Fear

20
1,616 645
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
146 65
Royce da 5'9
Matt1345 added Rock City, Street Hop, Death Is Certain

22
1,996 654
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
1,504 553
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
1,466 582
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
1,588 243
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