The greatest of all time, also known as the goat. It's a great honor, and a controversial one, when it comes to ranking who or what is ultimately the best, whether it's a movie, TV show, restaurant, or whatever.
Begin 2023,billboard/AndAs part of our tribute to hip-hop's golden anniversary this year, we're ranking the 50 greatest rappers of all time. (The genre dates back to 1973, when DJ Kool Herc first set up two of his turntables to rock out at a Bronx party.) The release kicked off with the 50-41 rapper debuting on Jan. 11. Since then, we've announced 10 rappers every week and the final top 10 is revealed below.
In determining these categoriesbillboardAndAndThe editors initially chose to limit the rap scene to North America. For example, British rapper Slick Rick is not on this list, despite his career being highly regarded. We also chose not to include major contributions from reggae and dancehall MCs on this list, just to keep our nominees more focused.
From there, the team considered the following criteria, in no particular order: body of work/achievements (single/album charts, gold/platinum certifications), influence/cultural impact (how an artist's work contributes to the evolution of the genre), longevity (years on the microphone), lyrics (narration skills), and fluency (voice skills).
As we all know, GOAT and similar best lists are always criticized and praised by industry insiders and the public. So it took a lot of thought and in-depth discussion to arrive at what we believe is an authentic, well-thought-out list that reflects hip-hop's founding fathers, evolutionary forerunners, and modern-day mainstays. In addition, the combination also spans the 50-year cultural milestone that was initially considered a fad and is now recognized as an industry milestone.leader in market share.
Now let's seebillboard/AndThe 50 greatest rappers of all time... Keep the debate going.
50. Rick Ross
"Hustlin" de Rozay'"The dream turned to gold when he shook up mainstream rap's prison with a song from the summer of 2006 and swore allegiance to Def Jam and their former president, Jay-Z. With his gruff and growling riffs, colorful street stories and insider observations of Miami's lavish lifestyle, coupled with his incredible ear for making, More Tasteful Than a Lemon Pepper Wingstop turns heads. His catalog reigned supreme, especially in the late 2000s and 2010s when he released titles likeTrinity,dipper and rapAndGod forgive me noRoss has racked up 58 Billboard Hot 100 entries in three decades, but his legacy doesn't end there: his Maybach music group laid the groundwork for Meek Mill and Wale to take off and become giants in the 2010s.
Joseph Simmons boasted in Run-DMC's 1984 "Rock Box" trailer, "I drive a Caddy, you build a Ford." While DMC was the voice of regalia, the late DJ Jam Master Jay was the heartbeat of the 80s rap trio, Run is the undisputed star. It took Run-DMC to an all-time high as they became the first hip-hop group to bring B-Boy minimalism to the masses ("Sucker MCs") and went gold (1984'srock koning), appeared on MTV, reached multi-platinum status (the milestone in 1986raise hell, headlining the stadium tour and signing a major endorsement deal (Adidas) with the pioneering Aerosmith collaboration 'Walk This Way'. After finding God, Pastor Run reinvented himself as a reality TV star in the 2005 MTV series.run house.
Before Melle Mel broke through with Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five, rap was still limited by his "yeah yeah y'all!" The origins of Park Jam. Then there's "The Message" (1982), a thrilling hip-hop GOAT record elevated by native rapper Melvin Glover and vividly portrayed in the ghetto. A year later, the first critically acclaimed God MC unpacks the glamor of the Big Apple ("New York, New York") and distills the crisis of the cocaine epidemic ("White Line [Don't Don't Do It]") . He became a hit on pop radio when he appeared on Chaka Khan's Grammy-winning Hot 100 #3 hit "I Feel for You" in 1984, halfway between the hip-hop and R&B worlds. Critical early crossover moments.
In 1987, MC Lyte stormed into the hip-hop boys' club with his poignant vocals and energetic lyricism, seemingly over 16 years old. The Brooklyn teen opened with "I Cram to Understand U (Sam)," a song about the dangers of falling in love with an addict. Even the title of the rap queen's 1988 debut album,wreck like a rock, The metaphor is heavy. From fighting rhymes ("Shut the Eff Up-Hoe") to soulful narration ("Poor Georgie"), Lyte roared through the '90s with three gold singles, most notably the Puffy Combs-produced "Cold Rock a Party" (XIX 96 ). ), and the then up and coming Missy Elliott.
Jadakis' signature smile and"Ah-yeahScreams have hinted for decades that a lyrical masterclass is about to take place. The LOX frontman furthered his hip-hop breakthrough with a collaboration with The Notorious B.I.G., before hitting the road to fame with his Timberlands and hard-hitting rap. His lyrical intensity and fearless aggressiveness have been put to the test, taking on 50 Cent and Beanie Sigel in the 2000s before going it alone.Dipset disassembly in 2021Delayto fight. Jada, a hip-hop Hall of Famer, has pretty much checked off all the options, though a truly classic solo album from the Yonkers legend could put him in the top 20 on this list.
Ice-T's heartbreaking "6 N the Mornin'" (1986) forever marked the west coast on the hip-hop map. For the moral majority, the godfather of gangster rap, who set the tables for West Coast MCs from N.W.A and Snoop Dogg to The Game and the late Nipsey Hussle, is a walking parental advice sticker. But like "Color," Ice's first-person account of the Crips and Bloods gang violence that gripped Los Angeles in 1988, the Street Manifestorhymes with payment(1987),power(1988) isiceberg /free speech...be careful what you say!(1989) is an eloquent recommendation from a neighbor. When his metal band Body Count's provocative song "Cop Killer" (1992) nearly derailed his career, Ice also helped to break new ground in hip-hop: performance (New Jack City, Ley Alden: SVU).
44. Reina Latefa
"Who are you calling a bitch?"With those signature words of her strong 1993 statement against domestic violence, "UNI.T.Y.", Queen Latifah cut through all the misogynistic noise. This is nothing new for Dana Owens from New Jersey: she released her debut album Essential in 1989.Long live the queen, she not only sang the classic black feminist anthem "Ladies First" with Monie Love, but also got the party going ("Come to My House") and took out crazy MCs ("My Crazy Fury"). Latifah's subsequent foray into Hollywood was equally impressive, earning acclaim for her television work (single life) and Oscar nominations (2002 MusicalChicago) and made her one of the first star-powered MCs, proving how deeply embedded a rapper can become in American pop culture, even beyond the world of hip-hop.
43. Good B.
Keep an eye on Texas as legendary rap duo UGK, Bun B and the late Pimp C take on Scarface's underworld, Geto Boys. The energetic flow of Port Arthur native Bernard James Freeman ended up having more influence than his original ambitions in the underground career. A random call from Jay-Z finally broke the regional exposure barrier in 1999, when Jay's vaunted "Big Pimpin" UGK landed their first Top 40 Top 100 hit. After Bun showed his solo in prison with Pimp C, UGK got back together to make his 2007 Billboard 200 book.king of the underground,Released just a few months before Pimp C passed away in 2007 at the age of 33. The episode is fueled by the majestic 'International Players Anthem' starring OutKast. Bun is now a seasoned rap statesman eyeing the next generation of talent, providing key partners to contemporary stars like Drake and Kodak Black.
Redman's loud but fun rhymes and infectious personality have made him one of the most popular MCs in hip-hop. In fact, Reggie Noble tops the list of best MCs for Eminem's eternal play "Till I Collapse." Led by EPMD's Erick Sermon, Redman (aka Funk Doc) exceeded expectations with his first studio project in 1992That? your albumIt became an instant hip-hop classic thanks to its early use of funk samples and witty jokes. Redman's popularity soared when they teamed up with Method Man in the late '90s and released the first of their two albums:Power failure! ,Debut. 3 on the Billboard 200. Fans have a soft spot for the debauchery of the carefree pot-smoking duo, culminating in the 2001 classic,how highStarring the duo and named after one of their enduring hits from the 90s.
The San Francisco Bay Area has been a major source of unique hip-hop talent, from MC Hammer and Tupac Shakur to Too $hort. Few rappers have represented Bay longer or more strongly than E-40. With one of the deepest catalogs in hip-hop history, including 18 top 10 hitsbillboardTop rap album chart: Forty Water epitomizes the rush of building a successful indie career. When he signed with Jive Records in the early '90s, his eccentric rhymes helped him become one of the first West Coast rappers to land a big deal. Since 1993, he has not released an album for over four years. 40, including their 2006 Top 10 rap hit and hyphy movement song "Tell Me When to Go," helped make the Bay Area trendy. Main stream of hops.
40. Dr Dre
Dr. Dre will be the first to tell you that he's not a traditional MC. Over his 30+ year career, the world's best-selling producer, often regarded as the GOAT behind hip-hop, has enlisted a slew of lyricists, from Ice Cube, the D.O.C., and Snoop Dogg to Eminem, Jay-Z and Kendrick Lamar. But Andre Young's legacy as a lead rapper on three different era-defining albums: 1988Leave Compto immediatelyn with NWA and his solo studio albumchronicAnd2001--unmistakable. to existchronic,A triple platinum certified gangsta rapper in 1992, Dre also showcased his effortless performance on the mic, with a commanding voice that is one of the most recognizable in the genre. Hear his mastering double flow of the six-time platinum certified masterpiece with "Forgot About Dre" on 1999's Slim Shady.2001,It's still a shock to the system.
Ludacris became Atlanta's first crossover superstar of the 2000s, dominating the airwaves and clubs with his unique charisma and his library of Dirty South anthems. Luda's clever rhymes and witty pop culture references feel as gigantic as what he's famous for with his oversized arms in the 2004 "Get Back" video. Five number 1s on the Billboard Hot 100 and four others on the Billboard 200 album chart are nothing to scoff at, as Ludacris' chart-topping charts "can hold their own" against almost any rap artist of his generation. The co-founder of the Disturbing Tha Peace label finally found industry recognition when he won the 2007 Grammys for best rap album and best rap song, thanks to introspectionrelease therapieand his first single, "Money Maker", featuring Pharrell.
38. Gucci Melena
Gucci Mane went from teen drug dealer to Atlanta rap god in the 200s, with imperturbable rap and a Hollywood story that Spike Lee couldn't write. Guwop initially appeared alongside his former counterpart Jeezy on their 2005 collaboration "So Icy" before problems arose between them. After serving a two-year sentence in 2016 for gun possession by a convicted felon, a rejuvenated Guwop has since made headlines as if he were a new artist. The trap pioneer's workaholic mindset saw him flood the streets with over 70 mixtapes, and his hunger for greatness continued unabated as he approached his forties. In 2019 received the title of Tech N9ne. Before that, Mane scored his first Hot 100 No.1 in 2016 as a guest on Rae Sremmurd's "The Black Beatles".
Lonnie Rashid Lynn apparently carried the hopes, dreams and aspirations of the entire Chicago rhyming community with this 1992 song.can i borrow a dollarIt took a while, but Common (then Common Sense) finally rose to national prominence after releasing one of the three most famous albums in rap history: 1994.resurrection, 1997one day everything will make sense2000like chocolate waterFew lyricists have the knack of delivering a brilliant allegory of hip-hop history to "I Used to Love H.E.R." Also knocking down the dreaded Ice Cube on "The B-ch In Yoo" before becoming a Grammy-nominated hit producer on "The Light". In 2017, Common won an Emmy ("Letter to Freedom", out13), Grammys ("Love of My Life" with Erykah Badu) and Oscars ("Gloria" with John Legend, fromselma).
36. Yasin Bey (in Most Def).
Under his now-retired name Mos Def, Brooklyn-born Bey broke into the underground scene on the influential 1997 Rawkus Records compilation.sound bombA charismatic presence reminiscent of the Busy Bee Starski rock boss days of the early '80s. However, at the milestone of the collaboration in 1998Black Star by Mos Def and Talib KweliBey proved even more: The revelation was further amplified in the gold medal-certified wireless racer's solo debut in 1999.double sided blackShe can transition effortlessly from bawdy storytelling ("Miss Fat Ass") to a deeply rooted spiritual struggle for black liberation ("UMI Says"). After restoring status in 2009ecstatic, the rejuvenated MC turned actor (Brown sugar, Dexter) changed her name to Bey in 2011.
Nicknamed the "Toxic King" of rap, Future's smooth music was the driving force behind Atlanta's ascent to the hip-hop throne in the 2010s. Pluto's epic triple-shot mixtape ofmonster, beast mode,And56 nightsFollowed by the acclaimedDS2And hiswhat a great timeJoint projects with Drake, all completed in 2015, may be the best use of 365 days of rap yet. This is just the tip of the iceberg: after launch in 2022I never liked you, with his current Grammy nomination and No. 1 single "Wait for U," starring Drake and Tems, he now has eight No. 1 albums and 10 Top 10 Hot 100 hits. After more than a decade of his prolific career, Future Hendrix is more commercial than ever: ATL trap saga becomes sole artist Appearing weekly on the Hot 100 in 2022.
34. Chuck D (Public Enemy)
Describe Chuck D asRapperLike tagging Jimi Hendrix asGuitaristOn Public Enemy's 1987 "Rebel Without a Pause," the pioneering group's powerful spokeswoman, backed by Flavor Flav's quintessential rap firefighters, made it clear that hip-hop would never be the same again. "Impeach the president, get out my RAY-GUN/Zap now, I can be your shogun," he rants over Bomb Squad's revolutionary deconstruction piece. Chuck grounds everyone: the drug dealers in the black community ("Night of the Living Gangsters"); the purveyors of systemic racism ("Fight for Power"); Company ("shut them down").
33. Busta Rhymes
Busta Rhymes' scene-stealing hit on the 1992 single "Scenario" from A Tribe Called Quest featured a Brooklyn MC who took over in the late '90s and early '00s with his punchy voice and energetic rhythms.ExpectantThere's no better name for Rhymes' explosive debut than Rhymes' major label debut in 1996. His imaginative vision also made him a hip-hop legend, as he and director Hype Williams created some of the most innovative videos in the genre, including "Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Can See" and "dangerous". Playful verses aside, Remus brings his A-game as he collaborates with R&B superstars like Mariah Carey ("I Know What You Want") and Janet Jackson ("How Would It Be?").
After a disappointing debut in 2001I was serious, T.I. retook his swagger with his 2003 hit albummusic fallAlong with other respected ATL stars such as Jeezy and Gucci Mane, Tip became one of the pioneers of trap through a vibrant street story and over-the-top production. Even as he duels superstars like Jay-Z ("Swagger Like Us"), Eminem ("Touchdown") and Kanye West ("Welcome to the World"), T.I. to his credibility as an MC. One of the pioneers of hip-hop, T.I. has won three Grammy Awards, seven top-five Billboard 200 albums, and built a successful film and television career.
Lil Kim's bawdy, brutal melodies revolutionized hip-hop. Queen Bee debuted as a member of Junior MAFIA led by the late and infamous BIG and became an icon after the release of her debut solo album in 1996.hardcore.The album was certified double platinum and had three consecutive No. 1 hits on Billboard's Hot Rap Songs chart: "No Time", "Not Tonight (Ladies Night Remix)" and "Crush on You", reaching No. 1 became. only female rapper to receive this honor. Her unashamed tone broke down barriers for women in hip-hop, allowing them to be more expressive and sexually liberated. While Kim's movie icon looks and provocative fashion sense dominate the spotlight, her raspy pronunciation and snappy rhyme command the fear and respect of rival MCs, as evidenced by her sharp characterization in classic films from . Bad Boy as "Money, Power & Respect" and "It's All About the Benjamins" from The LOX.
30. Put Laura on
The timeless Mrs. Lauryn Hill straddled the lines between Motown soul, boom bap, R&B, jazz and rap, breaking the established order and setting new standards for rappers of all genres. Be it his work on the 1996 hit album FugeesmarkingOr his revolutionary debut from 1998the rudeness of Lauren Hill, has influenced many hip-hop artists in recent decades. Her melodic rap on "Doo Wop (That Thing)" made the song the first song by a female rapper to top the Hot 100. She has been nominated for 10 Grammy Awardsbad education, Hill won five awards, including Best New Artist and Album of the Year. Even if Hill never releases a proper second album, he's still an unparalleled talent who can outshine anyone, as his haunting verse on Nas proves.KD2The gemstone of 2021 is "Nobody".
29. Pusha T
Virginia is a source of talent and has been a major influence on popular music. It's impossible to talk about it without mentioning The Neptunes, The Clipse and the latter duo's breakout star, Pusha T. After reaching legendary status in the 2000s with his older brother Gene (aka No Malice), Pusha developed a solo effort and drew well. In 2010, he made a cameo appearance in Kanye West's "Runaway", which began his relationship with the record label.my beautiful dark twisted fantasythe same year. Since then, Pusha has become a style icon and served as West's label president, continuing to release critically acclaimed solo albums filled with graphic depictions of his drug dealing and emotional struggles. 2022almost dryIt gave the rapper his first number 1 on the Billboard 200.
28. Black Violet
Listening to Black Thought is like signing up for a lyrical masterclass. Tariq Trotter, co-founder of the legendary Roots and long-time lead MC of Phillyband, continues to wow rap fans with his thrilling radio freestyle and spectacular live shows. If Black Thought is with Eminem (“Yah Yah”), Royce da 5'9″ (“Rap on Steroids”), Big Pun (“Super Lyrical”) or Joey Bada$$ and Russ (“Because”), the combination will The art and craft of rapping is taken to another level. Since starting rapping in 1993, Black Thought has become one of the best MCs in the genre. Crossover Duet With Erykah Badi On Roots Platinum Selling Album "You Got Me"things falling apart, remains a brilliant moment thanks to his rich baritone voice and compelling storytelling.
Q-Tip has been known for over 30 years as a co-founder of the alternative hip-hop group A Tribe Called Quest. An artistic, esoteric and philosophical rapper, he juxtaposes the humble street style of the band's late Phife Dawg. Tip's easy, easy beats add timeless lyrics to playful songs like "Pretty Applebum." His work further captures the creative connection between hip-hop and jazz. He set a new standard for blurring musical boundaries and ignoring trends, influencing the likes of Pharrell Williams, Kanye West and creator Taylor among the next generation of talent. Along with Phife, Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Jarobi White, ATCQ is also part of the Native Tongues collective (Queen Latifah, De La Soul, Jungle Brothers, Monie Love), which has reached No. 1 on the Billboard 200 twice, while ATCQ's six member band albums have been certified Gold or Platinum.
26. Awesome puns
"I'm not a player, I just love it so much," Big Pun proclaimed on the 1998 hit "Still Not a Player" from his debut album.death penaltyA remix of the album's lead single, "I'm Not a Player", turned Brenda Russell's sampler into a salsa riff, cementing Big Punisher's status as a commercial powerhouse. When the album went platinum, he became the first Latino rap solo group to sell more than one million copies.death penaltyIt also topped the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard 200, thanks to Big Pun's expert puns, lively storytelling, and ability to create catchy hooks. The late rapper went on to inspire waves of rappers, especially MCs who grew up in the Bronx, such as Fat Joe, Remy Ma and Cardi B.
25. Method Man
Method Man is a hip-hop version of build-a-player perfection. The Wu-Tang Clan member had it all: an unmistakable voice, elusive speaking skills, deft rhymes, a dark sense of humor, charisma and good looks, which translated into Hollywood success. Meth's street kicking and gut-wrenching sex appeal made him a dominant force in the '90s and '00s: he could carry his weight with his Wu brothers and spout muscular rhymes with Notorious B.I.G. Bring out your romantic side with 2Pac on Mary J. Blige's popular collaboration song "All I Need" and enjoy duet fun with Redman.how longthe moviePower failure!Neither album is missing a beat. Wu's debut for more than 20 yearsEnter 36 rooms, and it's not over yet: A killer verse from Conway the Machine's 2020 single "Lemon" finds him sharper than ever.
24. KRS Uno
KRS-One changed from The Blastmaster to The Teacher, proving their own lyrical and personal development. It's also a testament to the power of hip-hop, if you ask him. A lyrical purveyor of the violence that gripped the neighborhoods of the Bronx, KRS-One began his career in the late 1980s with classic Boogie Down Productions.criminal minds.However, after the murder of the group's DJ, Scott La Rock, he turned to socially conscious rap aimed at empowering black people and addressing the ills plaguing inner-city neighborhoods. Work like a BDPdo all that is necessaryand Stop the Violence Movement's 1989 single "Self-Destruction", composed of KRS, is one of hip-hop's most powerful moments of all time. The KRS-One has also been battle-tested: 1987's "The Bridge Is Over," recorded in response to MC Shan's "The Bridge," is one of the most revered (and quoted) diss tracks of all time.
23. Curtis Punch
Before rap became a cultural and commercial powerhouse, Kurtis Blow offers a taste of the genre's future possibilities. He was the first rapper signed to a major label, had an early hip hop hit with "Christmas Rappin'", won his first gold rap single with "The Breaks" and became the first to score a national Stage rapper hit. (and later international) tour. Blow may not have the refined rhyming skills of her offspring, but she's a star in her own right, thanks to a magnetic voice and charismatic stage presence. Plus, their songs are fun and familiar: "The Breaks" is a witty take on bad days; "Christmas Rappin'" still sounds like Christmas jam; and "If I Ruled the World" depicts rap's early aspirations. His influence is undeniable: Nas, Jay-Z, De La Soul, KRS-One and Redman are just a few of the rappers who have heard Blow's music.
22. Ghost Face Killah
With an amazing streak of solo albums and one of the most signature styles in hip-hop history, Ghostface Killah is arguably the most accomplished rapper of the Wu-Tang Clan, having already charted a chart spot for every single rap group. GOAT. The Staten Island lyricist uses unique slang, colorful characters, lavish merchandise and fluid colors to create vibrant, imaginative stories. He developed a special chemistry with compatriot Raekwon when the two featured prominently in each other's classic 1990s debut.iron ManAndOnly 4 Cuban Linx were built, respectively. Ghost extended its winning streak into the 21st century, starting with its second entry in 2000.supreme customerAnd in glorious 2006fish scalesand the 2013 Wax comics,Twelve reasons to die.
With a voracious rhyming style and powerful recurring use of dogs as a lyrical theme, DMX has one of the most dominant raps of all time. His two classic albums in 1998,It's dark, it's hot againAndflesh in flesh, blood in blood, en de follow-up in 1999... en dan X, coping with the pain of childhood trauma and finding spiritual comfort through a grim street story to the top of the charts. When he's not baring his soul, DMX consistently proves he can hold his own against the best of rap: LL Cool J, Jay-Z, Nas, Busta Rhymes and others have all experienced X's relentless aggression for themselves. Unfortunately, the same demons that fueled his provocative art led to his untimely death: he died of a cocaine-induced heart attack in 2021.
20. Big Daddy Kane
Big Daddy Kane was one of the original rap star archetypes, thanks to his scene-stealing performances in the late '80s. A pioneer in creating fast-paced, two-rhythm rap styles with compelling masculinity, authority and his standout sense of style, he also collaborated extensively with Marley Marl's Queens-based Juice Crew, including MC Shan, Biz Markie, Kool G Rap and Roxanne. Shante. But even on those hits, Kane wasn't just his own: Songs like "Ain't No Half Steppin'," "Set It Off," and "Smooth Operator" sound as vibrant now as they did decades ago. Whether it's tackling police brutality in the 2020 version of "Enough" or guest starring on intern Busta Rhymes' song "Slap" in 2022, Kane's skills remain sharp.
19. Miss Elliot
One of hip-hop's most creative visionaries, Miss "Misdemeanor" Elliott began honing her skills as a rapper, singer, songwriter, and producer in the early 1990s as part of the R&B/hip-hop group Swing Mob. A member of , she dated a child/producer from Childhood in the early 90s. Timpani After working on projects with Aaliyah and others, the duo turned their attention to Elliott's solo career, beginning with the staggering 1997 debut,after flying soupMet hitsingles (“The Rain”, “Hot Boyz”, “Get Ur Freak On”, “Work It”) en veelgeprezen albums (Da Real World, Miss E... so addictive, under construction,This is not a test), create a unique, futuristic, funky and utterly unique style of hip-hop, find her rhyming, singing, distracting or doing anything else that can spark a beat spontaneously. Lyrically, she pushed hip-hop to the limit when it comes to female empowerment, and her bravado permeates her innovative and still influential music videos. In 2020, Elliott was ranked fifthbillboardvanTop 100 music video artists of all time.
18. Ice Bucket
Before becoming a Hollywood heavyweight and basketball league owner, Ice Cube (formerly O'Shea Jackson) played for his N.W.A bandmates (Dr. Dre, Eazy-E, Arabian Prince, DJ Yella and MC Ren) and himself instraight to Compton, the group's 1988 classic debut album. One of the pioneering platforms of gangster rap, the album, featuring the controversial songs "Fuck Tha Police" and "Gangsta Gangsta", was certified triple platinum despite some publicity. Very low ratings on the radio or on MTV. But even after making children's songs that caught the attention of the FBI and a broadcast ban, Ice Cube embarked on a more extraordinary solo career. album likeAmeriKKKa most wantedAnddeath certificateStill one of rap's most provocative works, when he's not amping up his pro-black rhetoric against systemic racism crippling communities, he's just as good at balancing witty ideas and delightful moments as his timeless 1993 hit, The Story. or "It's a Beautiful Day."
After being riddled with nine bullets after a suicide attempt, Curtis Jackson III hastened a speedy resurrection. his 2002 mixtapeGuess who's back?Driven him to sign with Eminem's Shady Records under the banner of Dr. Dre Aftermath Entertainment, followed by a Billboard 200 No. 1 debutget rich or die tryingin 2003. The album delivered unapologetic street rhythms, dark humor and some of the year's most catchy choruses, courtesy of two Top 100 hits: "In da Club" and Nate Dogg starring "21 Questions." revived gangsta rap in the process,get richIt has also earned an impressive ninefold Platinum RIAA accreditation. aheadpower- After building his television empire, 50 Cent continues to top the chartscarnageAndCurtis, while also breaking out of his roster of G-Unit partners, including Lloyd Banks, Young Buck and The Game.
16. Scar face
Name the subject your favorite rapper broaches, and Scarface might just be the first to tackle it. Rhymes about going through a mental health crisis? There's "Mind Playing Tricks on Me," his 1991 classic as a member of the Houston Geto Boys, or "I'm Dead" from his debut album that same year.Mr. Scarface is backBarriers to investing and saving money? "Safe" from their 2002 albumsolutionFrom his stint with the Geto Boys in the late '80s to his illustrious solo career in the 2010s, Scarface exposed the pitfalls of street life by demonstrating a gritty and pragmatic approach that deviated from the flashy imagery glorified by other artists. As one of the South's first true rap stars, he's done it all, showcasing complex lyrics and emotional depth in an area that was once completely off limits, while playing with legends from both ends of the spectrum including Jay-Z, Nas, and 2Pac The characters have a classic cut. .
15. J. Cole
A definitive by-product of the rap blog era, J. Cole rose to fame with his famous 2007 mixtape.yield, 2009heat upyear 2010friday night lightsCole's story is well known: Hov signed him as Roc Nation's first artist in 2009 after he turned heads with "Lights Please" and dropped some cameo verses (Wale's "Beautiful Bliss", Kanye West). Down-to-earth and modest, Cole raps and beats with passion. He grew up in Fayetteville, North Carolina, a southerner at heart, but also a graduate of St. John's University as a representative of Queens. She can turn the ordinary into sweet ("Foldin Clothes") or rebellious ("Fire Squad"). He rapped "J. Cole Type Beat" on "Procrastination (Bankruptcy)". He also went platinum with all five of his 2010 albums, the last three (Forest Hills Drive 2014,4 for your eyes onlyAndthe code) of course has no characteristics.
14. LL Cool J
LL Cool J signed with Def Jam Records as their first artist in 1984 and released "I Need a Beat" on his studio debut,radio, produced entirely by Rick Rubin. In the golden age of rap, "I Need a Beat" opened the door to the b-boy genre, whose unparalleled energy and aggressive lyricism became the hallmark of the genre. The young label's first top 50 hit,radioIt spent 38 weeks on the Billboard 200 and reached platinum status in 1989. LL has spent his entire career with Def Jam and has become their jack-of-all-trades: hitmaker for the ladies and cross-platform pioneer of artist connections. Moved into other areas such as television and philanthropy. LL's list of accomplishments includes being the first rapper to receive the prestigious Kennedy Center award. In 2022, he revived the Rock the Bells festival in Queens, with performances by the likes of Rick Ross, The Diplomat and Ice Cube.
If you look at the evolution of hip-hop, Rakim is the source material that pioneered the use of intra- and multisyllabic rhymes, writing complex lyrics, and shifting common use from simple flow to more complex delivery. When he teamed up with Long Island native Eric B., they became the powerful DJ/MC duo Eric B. & Rakim, producing classics like 1987.Paid1988follow the leaderTimeless singles like 'Eric B. Is President', 'Paid in Full' and 'Microphone Fiend'. Rakim's influence can be felt in every corner of hip-hop: A$AP Rocky, formerly known as Rakim Mayers, is named after him, DMX and Eminem are self-proclaimed fans and rappers as big as 50 Cent (of The Game's "Hate It or Love It ") and Lil Wayne (on Lloyd's "Girls Around the World") pay tribute to her unique vocals.
12. André 3000
“The South has something to say,” André 3000 refuted the New York crowd who booed OutKast for best new rap group at the 1995 Source Awards. He's right, OutKast certainly played a key role in this. The two debuted in 1994,south playalisticadillacmuzik,Atlanta's many nuances and identities are introduced with a gospel-influenced track (produced by Organized Noize). The group has three number 1 hits on the Hot 100, album sales of 25 million and represents the latest rap album of the year at the Grammys. Andre emerged as the star of the band with his unique style; sadly, the two have parted ways and fans still yearn for a solo album. Still, Andre's stamina and lyrical enthusiasm surpassed Jeezy ("I Do"), DJ Unk ("Walk It Out") and UGK's "Int'l Players Anthem". The eclectic, quirky and exciting rhymes of 3000 prove that you can be out of this world and still go your own way.
11. Kanye West (Gij)
In the early 2000s, Kanye West began producing hits for Jay-Z, Beanie Sigel, and Talib Kweli. In 2003, Kanye West made the mic with his solo debut "Through the Wire" and achieved his first Hot 100 ranking. 1 "Slow Jamz" with Twista and Jamie Foxx. Then came a string of beloved albums (Graduation, 808 and heartbreakAndmy beautiful dark twisted fantasyWhile his rise from producer to recording artist has been remarkable, West's pursuits as a fashion and business mogul, especially his Yeezy empire, have made him one of the genre's most influential pioneers. In the late 2010s, West (legally known as "Ye") became one of the most divisive artists in the world for his political views and provocative (and sometimes hostile) social commentary. From his "slavery is a choice" remarks in 2018 to his recent oneantisemitism(This began during a global spate of hate crimes against Jews.) Sadly, amid constant reports of mental health problems, Ye's demise is as monumental as his artwork.
10. Nicki Minaj
From southern Jamaica to Queens to Trinidad and Tobago, Nicki Minaj has taken the crown as the modern day rap diva with her fierce, boastful spirit. his 2009 mixtapesend me scottyShortly before she became Young Money's first lady, her establishment as a lyrical powerhouse cemented the label's trinity with the unspeakable chart hits of Lil Wayne and Drake.
Among the many genre-bending albums (Pink Friday, Pink Friday: Rome Reloaded, Pink Prints) and great cameo verses (most notably on Kanye West's "Monster"), Nicki has been defending her titles for over a decade, from pink-haired, sweet-natured Harajuku Barbie to volatile Roman Zolansky. With a British Cockney accent. There's no doubt she's paving the way for the next generation of female MCs as she builds a legacy that extends beyond the world of hip-hop: Nicki is one of the few artists to have topped 100+ Billboard charts. Top 100 entry and a 2022 MTV Video Vanguard Award for the provocative music video.
9. Snoop Dogg
Snoop Dogg. Secret investigation. Snoop Dogg. Regardless of the nickname, the influence of Calvin Broads Jr. being one of the founders of West Coast is undeniable and gangster rap has been immeasurable. Together with his mentor, Dr. Dre, the lanky Long Beach rapper showcased his cool demeanor and laid-back flow as a guest on 1992's first solo single, "Deep Cover."chronic, Dre's multi-platinum-certified G-Funk classic (influenced by the psychedelic sound of Parliament-Funkadelic) came out later that year, featuring one of the signature songs, "Nuthin' But a 'G' Thang", which was titled took over. The project was the springboard for Snoop and G-Funk's solo debut on Death Row Records in 1993 to top the Billboard 200.on all foursThe Dre-produced album cemented the West Coast's status as a major player in the rap game, anchored by enduring hits like "Gin and Juice" and "Who Am I? (What's My Name?)", becoming one of the most catchy singles in west coast hip-hop history.
More groundbreaking million-selling albums followed, such asTha Doggfather, Da Game is sold, not counting; R&G (Rhythm & Gangster): MasterpieceAndlast mealAs Snoop transitioned from the G-Funk days to making albums with No Limit, collaborating with The Neptunes for crossover hits and even becoming an early adopter of Auto-Tune. The rapper further showed his versatility by turning to reggae in 2013 as Snoop Lion.reincarnation, before reprising his Snoop Dogg role in 2018love bible,Debut. 1 of the best gospel albums. Snoop Dogg is a serial entrepreneur and activist who turned his career around by taking over his alma mater, Death Row, in 2022.
Drizzle Drake RogersHis superstardom was predicted when he played Jimmy in a wheelchair on the popular 2000s teen showDegrassi: the next generation.From his 2009 classic mixtape,so farDrake flitted through genres, and his knack for mixing luscious croons with pointy bars made him an unwavering force: his Midas touch went platinum and gold.
With his indelible streak of commercial success (he's currently the all-time Hot 100 leader with nearly 300 hits), he refuses to rest his naysayers and steadily releases projects each calendar year, including the ensemble that launched This Generation in 2011. defined as one. .carefullyyear 2013nothing is exactly the sameWhether singing your pain and suffering to timeless gems ("Marvin's Room" and "Jaded") or attacking hapless MCs ("5 AM in Toronto" and "Omerta"), Drake's virtuosity makes him the most talented (and most successful) artist ever) break out into music.
7. Little Wayne
"Take the crowd, I'm loud in vibrant colors / It's Weezy F-kin' baby, I got these rappers in my stomach," Lil Wayne opens on his 2005 deep cut, "Best Rapper Alive," heralding these years. Wayne wields words like a sword and is one of the preeminent lyricists of our time, delivering rousing verse over the past quarter century. After five years under the tutelage of Birdman, co-founder of Cash Money Records, the former honors student dropped out at the age of 14 to focus on his music career. Around that time, Wayne joined Hot Boys along with fellow teen rapper B.G. and Turk, who topped Billboard's Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart in 1999guerrilla warfareIt will be the first of Wayne's twelve chart-toppers, including his iconic albumcarterseries, with a plethora of platinum records in the process.
with million sellers in the first weekCarter IIIAlong with 2008's smash hits "A Milli" and "Lollipop", the latter his first Hot 100 No. 1 and three weeks at No. 1, Wayne's successful breakthrough into the mainstream set the stage for Rap admirers and peers alike.billboardStarring all-time stars Drake and Nicki Minaj, Wayne helped create the global icons they are today through his Young Money/Cash Money label. But despite his crossover success, Weezy continues to feed his Mixtape Weezy fanbase with favorite series likeit gives dryness and no roofAndsorry 4 wait, and fearlessly reinvented themselves in rap rock with the 2010 albumreproduction,It inspired new school rappers like Lil Uzi Vert and Playboi Carti. Through his talents as an artist and A&R, Lil Wayne's cultural, sonic, and lyrical influence will forever be embedded in the fabric of hip-hop music.
6. The infamous B.I.G.
Christopher "The Notorious B.I.G" Wallace is the latest rap phenomenon. Beginning with the 1993 rave "Parties and Crap," the Brooklyn, New York frontman later signed with Diddy's Bad Boy Records. Biggie has a reputation for telling gritty stories in a laid-back style, accentuated by a deep, booming voice and signature dark sense of humour. Biggie scored 16 Top 100 hits, including a two-time No. 1 hit with "Mo' Money". Mo' Problems" and "Hypnosis". Big completed two classic solo albums, 1994ready to dieand the 1997 double albumlife after death– the latter spent four weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard 200. His status as an executive producer grew as he created his Junior Mafia clique - his 1995 writing and producingconspiracyalbum, later released JM's rising star Lil Kimhardcoredebuted in 1996.
Six months after Tupac Shakur's death, Biggie was killed in a drive-by shooting in Los Angeles in 1997. So we'll never know what he would have accomplished had he been allowed to attack the then 24-year-old, as old and legendary as his peers. But with just two studio albums still resonating nearly 30 years later, Wallace proved that a charismatic mogul could blend lyrical street rhythms with heart and humor and imbue the mainstream with style.
After entering freestyle rap competitions, Eminem has always used the mic as his weapon of choice and knocked out anyone who got in his way, as evidenced by the numerous feuds he's gotten into over the years. With irrefutably controversial and eerie (yet often hilarious) bars and unparalleled rhyme schemes and syncopation, he enjoys playing the role of rap supervillain. Em was also shown spitting at a mile per minute, breaking the Guinness World Record for the fastest rap on the hit "Godzilla" where he rapped 225 words in the 30 second segment.
With 15 Grammy Awards, 10 Billboard 200 No. 1 albums and three RIAA certified Diamond singles ("Lose Yourself", "Love the Way You Lie" and "Not Afraid"), his unprecedented commercial success made Success his most notable. Homemade stories in popular music. his award-winning 2002 biopic8 milesHe even described the Detroit-raised MC's real-life struggle to become a white rapper in hip-hop, a genre created and dominated by blacks. But with his unparalleled technical skills, otherworldly personality and string of classic turn-of-the-century albums, Slim Shady has rightfully earned a place in the upper echelons of the GOAT rapper chart.
Poet, actor, activist and rapper Tupac Amaru Shakur was the polymath of the 1990s. Once a partner in the Digital Underground, the legendary act of the 'Pac became too big to protect. After the scene-stealing verse of his 1991 hit "The Same Song," Pac's duality as a solo artist is remarkable: One minute he's sympathetic, writing empathetic classics like "Dear Mama" and "Keep Your Mind"; His combat boots, ready to ride on his enemies ("Hit 'Em Up" and "Hail Maria"). He doesn't have to be the best copywriter, or have the craziest traffic. But in reality, it's his limitations that make the 25-year-old prodigy one of the best MCs God's Green Earth has touched: He knows his flaws, but trusts his voice and motivational message to resonate and beat gang members. .
After his release in 1995, he signed with Death Row and formed the most powerful Big Three in hip-hop, with himself, Dr. Dre and the up-and-coming Snoop Dogg at the helm. His most influential project came when he released a two-disc album.all eyes are on menext year. Their fourth studio album has what it takes to become a true classic, with incredible singles ("How Do You Want it", "California Love" and "I Ain't Mad at Cha") and great production, and reigned eight for weeks. . Cafe. No. 1 on the Billboard 200. Despite his flashy wins, the Mercurial MC had his fair share of fights, most notably against Brooklyn giant The Notorious B.I.G, and became a heartthrob on both coasts. When 'Pac was shot dead in Las Vegas in '96, their lyrical skirmish ended in tragedy that shocked the music world. Even after his death, Pac's legacy continues: seven posthumous albums (including three that topped the Billboard 200), induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and even a spot on the Music Library's National Recording Registry. Congress ("Dear' Mama") - Despite his short life and career, Pac's legacy continues to resonate today like any rapper -vinylchloride
By now, hip-hop purists know Nas's road to success well. In 1991, the Great Professor gave him an alley-oop on Main Source's collective version, "Live at the BBQ," and Escobar delivered a groundbreaking performance. He was drafted from the start and had to exceed expectations, similar to LeBron. But like King James, he reveled in the pressure and released his rock-inspired debut album.Irmat1994—A typical hip-hop hit that transcends genre and becomes the bible for all aspiring lyricists. The album remains an undisputed classic to this day and he continues to evolve and remain relevant, with his first album released in the 2010s.
Her lively storytelling (“Black Girl Lost” and “I Gave You Power”) and precocious elocution (“Nas Is Like” and “Made You Look”) have been stunning so far, and her staying power has proven Hall of Fame. level, especially when he scored a TKO against Jay-Z and added a new verb to the hip-hoplexicon in 2001 with his devastating comeback "Ether". Even with this glorious performance, Nasir Jones' longevity and adaptability make it a one-of-a-kind specimen of reality. Since his hugely popular debut with Hit-Boy in 2020king diseaseFollowing the series, Nas released three more projects and won his first Grammy, proving his lyrical blade is as sharp as ever.
2. Kendrick Lamar
The Compton native has become one of music's most influential performers with his vibrant, thought-provoking and at times controversial lyrics, intrepid genre experimentation and deft, masterful fluidity. Lamar first gained local attention as teen rapper K.Dot through several mixtapes before releasing his first studio album in 2011 on indie label Top Dawg Entertainment.Article 80After signing a contract with Dr. Dre's Interscope label Aftermath Entertainment, Lamar began working on his second studio album.Good boy, m.A.A.d City- Be an instant creative and cultural force. His critically acclaimed second project marked a major renaissance for West Coast and gangster rap, spawning several commercial successes: "Pool" (Drunk), "Backseat Freestyle" and "Bitch, Don't Kill Me Vibes". than jazz in 2015pimp a butterfly, his first Billboard 200 No. 1.
The evolution continued with R&B, psychedelic soul and infused pop.swearThe album, featuring Lamar's first single, "HUMBLE", won the 2018 Pulitzer Prize in Music, the first non-jazz or classical composition to win the honor. That year also marked his foray into filmalbum of the black panther.Last year released Lamar's latest TDE album and the latest addition to his conscious rap repertoire,mister morale and the great climber.is now the 17th Grammy winner (high moraleRecently crowned Best Rap Album) and Emmy winner of last year's Super Bowl Halftime Show, his entrepreneurial vision has centered on pgLang, whose film, TV and music collective has found success with next-generation rapper Baby Keem. Meanwhile, his enduring blend of lyrical prowess, classic albums and pushing boundaries continues to support the broad consensus that he is the greatest rapper of his generation.
1. Jay Chou
“i will not loseBrooklyn's Sean "Jay-Z" Carter's defiant yet confident statement has proved true throughout his storied career. History is on his side, too: Hov has 14 Billboard 200 No. 1 albums (the most of any solo artist), has sold more than 140 million records, co-founded Roc-A-Fella Records, won 24 Grammys, was president of hip-hop legend Def Jam Records, led the Na and Ye to become billionaires, founded a major sports/entertainment company in Roc Nation, and the best brand - selling wine D'usse and Armand de Brignac... Even today he still has time to give up the internet for long four minute rap lines (like he did on DJ Khaled's "God Did"). Beyonce Knowles-Carter's husband has been successful throughout the ages, speaking of struggles and self-made prosperity with royal rhymes.
Jay-Z, the first rapper to be inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, believes everyone has genius. Fortunately, Jay found her early on and has since become your favorite rapper's favorite rapper. Perhaps there are other rappers who can boast that they are comparable to Jay Chou in his prime. But no one can match his entire career: his longevity, the scope of his achievements, and what he has meant to hip-hop music, culture, and the economy over the past three decades.