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90s The 10 Best Rappers of the ’90s  

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It’s fashionable to say that the ‘90s were better, especially when it comes to rap. Here at Complex, we often go out of our way to catalog and defend the contemporary era because hey, we got now and we don’t care who got next. There’s no denying that the '90s yielded a huge amount of top-shelf rap music. But there’s nothing more dangerous than being blinded by nostalgia.


 This sentiment was best explained in Woody Allen’s 2011 comedy Midnight In Paris when one character said, “Nostalgia is denial—denial of the painful present...the name for this denial is 'golden age thinking'—the erroneous notion that a different time period is better than the one ones living in. It's a flaw in the romantic imagination of those people who find it difficult to cope with the present.”


 Maybe that’s why many millennials fetishize the '90s, pretending as if Saved By The Bell and Full House were actually good shows. (Try watching them today, they’re downright awful.) That same logic applies to rap listeners who are quick to point to classics like Snoop Dogg’s Doggystyle but forget clunkers like its follow-up, Doggfather.

Still, the '90s really were a golden age for rap. In the early part of the decade, the genre was ushering in its platinum era. By the end of the decade, it was a full-on commercial monster, a dominant force, the dominant force, in pop music, in all of youth culture worldwide. Maybe '90s rappers weren’t as revolutionary as their '80s counterparts—the forefathers who laid the groundwork for hip-hop. But the '90s rappers matured the form, modernizing rap to the style that’s still prevalent today. Though the era was marred by controversy, violence, arrests, coastal rivalries, and finally tragedy, the '90s stand as the heyday of the greatest, most impactful, influential artists rap has ever produced.


list ordered by

1
977 299
The Notorious B.I.G. is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The 10 Best Rappers of the ’90s
The Notorious B.I.G. Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop - http://www.complex.com/music/2013/10/best-90s-rappers/the-notorious-big

The Greatest White Rappers of All Time The Greatest Albums of All Time

2
1,015 316
Tupac Shakur is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The 10 Best Rappers of the ’90s
Tupac Shakur Hip hop music, Political hip hop, Gangsta rap

3
854 256
Nas is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The 10 Best Rappers of the ’90s
Nas Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, East Coast hip hop

4
505 151
Wu-Tang Clan is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The 10 Best Rappers of the ’90s
NickAllen added Wu-Tang Clan Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop

5
506 200
Ice Cube is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The 10 Best Rappers of the ’90s
Ice Cube Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Political hip hop

6
496 213
Snoop Dogg is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The 10 Best Rappers of the ’90s
Snoop Dogg Hip hop music, Pop music, Gangsta rap

7
391 200
Big L is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The 10 Best Rappers of the ’90s
ChrisRaudez added Big L Hip hop music, Horrorcore, Hardcore hip hop

8
178 64
Dr. Dre is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The 10 Best Rappers of the ’90s
RemyMischke added Dr. Dre Hip hop music, Rap music, Gangsta rap

9
142 48
Method Man is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The 10 Best Rappers of the ’90s
RemyMischke added Method Man Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop

10
144 52
DMX is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The 10 Best Rappers of the ’90s
RemyMischke added DMX Hip hop music, Horrorcore, Hardcore hip hop

11
283 156
Big Pun is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The 10 Best Rappers of the ’90s
NickAllen added Big Pun Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop

12
361 215
André 3000 is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The 10 Best Rappers of the ’90s
André 3000 Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Rock music

13
330 195
Redman is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The 10 Best Rappers of the ’90s
Redman Hip hop music

14
296 172
Eazy-E is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The 10 Best Rappers of the ’90s
strangecorn added Eazy-E Hip hop music, Old-school hip hop, Gangsta rap

15
433 278
Jay-Z is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The 10 Best Rappers of the ’90s
Jay-Z Hip hop music, East Coast hip hop, Gangsta rap

The Best Underground Rappers 16 Songs That Don't Mean What You Think They Do

16
239 142
A Tribe Called Quest is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The 10 Best Rappers of the ’90s
NickAllen added A Tribe Called Quest Hip hop music, Jazz rap, Alternative hip hop

17
260 159
Mos Def is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The 10 Best Rappers of the ’90s
СтрахињаВукић added Mos Def Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Rock music

18
256 159
Scarface is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The 10 Best Rappers of the ’90s
Scarface Hip hop music, Horrorcore, Gangsta rap

19
106 43
Rakim is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The 10 Best Rappers of the ’90s
RemyMischke added Rakim Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop

20
96 44
Bone Thugs-N-Harmony is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The 10 Best Rappers of the ’90s
TommieKitt added Bone Thugs-N-Harmony Urban contemporary, Hip hop music, Horrorcore

21
106 55
Raekwon is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The 10 Best Rappers of the ’90s
matixmc1 added Raekwon Hip hop music, East Coast hip hop, Mafioso rap

22
183 123
Guru is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The 10 Best Rappers of the ’90s
NickAllen added Guru Hip hop music, Jazz rap, Jazz

23
78 40
Gang Starr is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The 10 Best Rappers of the ’90s
RemyMischke added Gang Starr Hip hop music, Jazz rap, Alternative hip hop

24
215 183
Lauryn Hill is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The 10 Best Rappers of the ’90s
Lauryn Hill Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Neo soul

25
141 114
Common is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The 10 Best Rappers of the ’90s
NickAllen added Common Hip hop music, Jazz rap, Alternative hip hop

26
185 162
Prodigy is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The 10 Best Rappers of the ’90s
Complex added Prodigy Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop

27
117 96
Kool G Rap is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The 10 Best Rappers of the ’90s
NickAllen added Kool G Rap Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop

28
121 103
Slick Rick is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The 10 Best Rappers of the ’90s
NickAllen added Slick Rick Hip hop music, Old-school hip hop, East Coast hip hop

29
148 134
De La Soul is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The 10 Best Rappers of the ’90s
priceman.arens added De La Soul Hip hop music, Jazz rap, Alternative hip hop

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30
66 53
Raekwon is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The 10 Best Rappers of the ’90s
matixmc1 added Raekwon

31
50 38
Big Daddy Kane is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The 10 Best Rappers of the ’90s
RemyMischke added Big Daddy Kane Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop

32
18 5
Ranker Video
AlDeSouza added Busta Rhymes Hip hop music, Ragga, Dancehall

33
106 102
AZ is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The 10 Best Rappers of the ’90s
NickAllen added AZ Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, East Coast hip hop

34
43 41
Bone Thugs is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The 10 Best Rappers of the ’90s
TommieKitt added Bone Thugs

35
4 1
Ranker Video
TimmyKnight added Chuck D Hip hop music, Political hip hop, Hardcore hip hop

36
101 114
Kurupt is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The 10 Best Rappers of the ’90s
NickAllen added Kurupt Hip hop music

37
18 20
Ice-T is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The 10 Best Rappers of the ’90s
JakkiVienna added Ice-T Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, Rock music

38
3 3
Ranker Video
malmrphy added Lil' Kim Hip hop music, Dirty rap, Hardcore hip hop

39
92 111
Black Thought is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The 10 Best Rappers of the ’90s
NickAllen added Black Thought Hip hop music

40
23 33
Jeru the Damaja is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The 10 Best Rappers of the ’90s
PierreStaz added Jeru the Damaja Hip hop music

41
14 25
Lords of the Underground is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The 10 Best Rappers of the ’90s
AkiraTakagi added Lords of the Underground Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Hardcore hip hop

42
67 96
B-Real is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The 10 Best Rappers of the ’90s
PabloPerezAmoedo added B-Real Hip hop music, Nu metal, Hardcore hip hop

43
26 45
Souls of Mischief is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The 10 Best Rappers of the ’90s
JuusoVartiainen added Souls of Mischief Hip hop music, Jazz rap, Alternative hip hop

44
14 33
Del tha Funkee Homosapien is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The 10 Best Rappers of the ’90s
PierreStaz added Del tha Funkee Homosapien Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Funk

45
48 100
Mase is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The 10 Best Rappers of the ’90s
idiallo1992 added Mase Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop, Christian hip hop

46
7 37
Del the Funky is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The 10 Best Rappers of the ’90s
PierreStaz added Del the Funky