Updated: Aug 9
Today I will be ranking my personal top 25 rappers of all time, basing the list from many different areas including: skill, influence, classics, impact, discography and personal enjoyment of the artist. Before I start, if someone you think should be here isn't, there's a good chance I just haven't heard enough of them yet, but this list will be forever updating so definitely keep a close eye on it.
25. 50 Cent
50 Cent may not be what he used to be, and his album discography is shaky past his legendary first, but his mixtape discog is amongst the best, and despite not being the best lyricist it's clear he can definitely spit. He had hugeeee impact on the music industry with his debut 'Get Rich or Die Tryin'' and still to this day influences many.
BEST PROJECT: Get Rich or Die Tryin'
BEST SONG: 21 Questions
24. Royce da 5'9"
Royce is one of the greatest lyricists and technical rappers of all time, and he's proved it amongst some of the best on this list. I can't say he's ever made a huge splash in the music industry, but he has some gems in his discography, and is a guaranteed great feature if you want to hear pure hip hop.
BEST PROJECT: PRhyme
BEST SONG: Tabernacle
One of the UK's finest, Skepta is a machine on the mic with his witty one liners and unmatchable energy. He has shaped the UK scene to what it is today, has influenced many rappers and has even made that cross to America. His feature's are a guarantee for success and he has multiple classic songs over here.
BEST PROJECT: Konnichiwa
BEST SONG: That's Not Me
22. Danny Brown
One of the most unique rappers, Danny has proven to be a genius with his sharp concepts, whacky delivery and unique flows. He's so different yet skilled lyrically, especially in terms of his imagery, and he's on the forefront of experimental hip hop. His discography is already so strong, and it will only continue to grow (as he might up this list).
BEST PROJECT: Atrocity Exhibition
BEST SONG: Ain't It Funny
The late, great DMX is legendary in his category. His unique, barking delivery has influenced plenty of rappers through the years and he's had some proper classics under his belt. His bangers are proper bangers and he manages to do all this while sticking to a high degree of hip hop technicality. RIP to a G.O.A.T.
BEST PROJECT: It's Dark and Hell is Hot
BEST SONG: X Gon' Give It to Ya
20. Pusha T
Pusha T is one of coke raps finest. His duo Clipse is iconic in itself, but as a solo career he's managed to pump out many classic songs and great albums. He's made a splash on the music industry in his later career, and with his most recent effort 'DAYTONA', he's cemented himself in the top 20 of all time.
BEST PROJECT: Hell Hath No Fury
BEST SONG: If You Know You Know
A proper MC, arguably the most impactful and influential ever. I wouldn't say his discography has always clicked with me, but he impacted hip hop massively with the introduction of multi-syllable and internal rhyme schemes, and there's a good chance he's a key influence of your favourite rapper.
BEST PROJECT: Paid in Full
BEST SONG: Paid in Full
18. Lupe Fiasco
One of the most technically gifted rappers of all time, Lupe Fiasco knows how to use his creative flow and lyrics to create fantastic albums. Some albums aren't as good as others, but I'd definitely say he has some classics under his best. He has also had an influence on some of the more socially conscious rappers of today such as Kendrick Lamar.
BEST PROJECT: Lupe Fiasco's Food & Liquor
BEST SONG: Mural
17. Ms. Lauryn Hill
One album, one classic album, a massive ton of influence over both female and male rappers, amazing music, a legendary group - that's Lauryn Hill. She may have retired early but she left a huge impact on the music industry, mixing R&B with tight lyricism, and with a longer career she may have gone even further.
BEST PROJECT: The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill
BEST SONG: Doo Wap (That Thing)
16. Big Boi
Big Boi may not be the most skilled rapper from OutKast, but don't undermine this guy's sharp punchlines and skilled flow on the mic. His OutKast discography is unmatched and he has a solo discog to back that up further. He may not be OutKast's most influential figure, but without him OutKast wouldn't be OutKast.
BEST PROJECT: ATLiens
BEST SONG: Ms. Jackson
The UK's greatest, and most skilled rapper, JME, is untouchable on a mic. He could outrap anyone with his distinct flow and he's arguably the best punchline rapper of all time. He doesn't have the impact of his brother Skepta, but he helped him shape the grime scene, and has always stuck to his roots giving us the UK's greatest rap project in 'Integrity>'.
BEST PROJECT: Integrity>
BEST SONG: Man Don't Care
14. Ice Cube
How else can you describe this legend. He's made hip hop what it is today alongside his infamous group N.W.A, influencing the whole gangsta rap sub-genre, and being the most skilled rapper of the group. He's incredibly influential and impactful, and his solo career has also been a huge success with many classics under his belt.
BEST PROJECT: Death Certificate
BEST SONG: Straight Outta Compton
13. Black Thought
The Root's frontman Black Thought is a front-runner for the best lyricist of all time. It's easy to see, he spits bars no one can even think of while keeping it in a nice flow. The Root's have a strong discography and are fairly influential, it's also fair to say he's made a nice start to his solo career without any huge albums yet, but there's always time.
BEST PROJECT: Things Fall Apart
BEST SONG: You Got Me
12. Ghostface Killah
Consistency is key, not only is he in arguably the greatest rap group ever in Wu-Tang clan, making one of hip-hops best albums - he also has one of the most consistent solo discographies in all music. Multiple classics with great energy throughout, he isn't Wu-Tang's most skilled - but don't underestimate his pen game because of that.
BEST PROJECT: Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)
BEST SONG: Wu-Tang Clan Ain't Nuthing ta Fuck Wit
11. MF DOOM
Hip-Hop's supervillain, MF DOOM is one of the most skilled to touch a mic with his abstract lyricism, complex rhyme schemes, amazing flow and super-strong front end of discography. I think he slightly fell off before the end of his career, yet he was still good. He influenced many rappers you wouldn't even think of from Drake to Trippie Redd. RIP to a legend.
BEST PROJECT: Madvillainy
BEST SONG: Strange Ways
It's harsh on Havoc, because without him Mobb Deep wouldn't be what he it is now, but Prodigy is clearly the most skilled of the rap duo with his iconic verses, dark lyricism and smooth flow. Prodigy has influenced a lot of the New York rap scene all the way back to his debut, and is one of the most skilled with the pen in the game. 'The Infamous' is one of the best hip hop albums ever, full stop.
BEST PROJECT: The Infamous
BEST SONG: Shook Ones Part II
9. Lil Wayne
Some may be surprised to see him so high, but let's break it down. He's influenced almost everybody that's come after him, spawning so many clones in the process. The guy can rap his ass off with a relentless flow, and some of hip hops most iconic and hilarious punchlines. His discography may be shaky but he has some classics under the belt and an underrated collection of mixtapes - a clear legend, deserves a top 10 place.
BEST PROJECT: Da Drought 3
BEST SONG: 6 Foot 7 Foot
Arguably hip hops icon, Tupac is the definition of a legend. While I don't find him as skilled a lyricist as some others around him, but he's made the biggest impact on hip hop and has possibly influenced the most. He took over the world, he dropped so many classics before his untimely death and is one of the most recognizable rappers to walk the Earth. Legendary, iconic and an all time great.
BEST PROJECT: Me Against the World
BEST SONG: Dear Mama
Another icon, JAY-Z has it all really. His lyricism, especially wordplay, makes him so unique and skilled, and his impact is untouchable. His discography is strong, maybe a few duds but he has timeless classic albums/songs, has influenced many and can go toe to toe with anybody on a mic.
BEST PROJECT: The Blueprint
BEST SONG: Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)
6. Kanye West
Kanye is the least skilled in the top 10 in terms of technicality, but, he makes up for it in every other category. One of hip hops strongest and most consistent discographies, he is an incredible artist who is one of the most innovative of our time, he's influenced so many and impacted so much - and he has multiple contenders for best hip hop album ever. What a legend in the game, truly a G.O.A.T.
BEST PROJECT: My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
BEST SONG: Runaway
5. Kendrick Lamar
Despite being a relatively new rapper, Kendrick has proved he can stand amongst the greats. His storytelling is out of this world, and his ability to piece together albums only results in masterpieces. He's the best of this generation, and one of the best ever already - it's scary how much he still has left to give, his discography is already stacked and it can only grow.
BEST PROJECT: good kid, m.A.A.d city
BEST SONG: Sing About Me, I'm Dying of Thirst
4. The Notorious B.I.G.
Another icon of hip hop, Biggie Smalls is everything you want in a rapper. A cold delivery, one of the greatest flows of all time, impeccable storytelling and smooth lyricism have all helped him create 2 of hip hops greatest albums in his lifetime, unfortunately cut short. In his short time he impacted so many and became one of the faces of hip hop.
BEST PROJECT: Ready to Die
BEST SONG: Juicy
3. André 3000
Big Boi is amazing, but his counter-part in OutKast is out of this world. His flow is one of the best ever, his lyricism is absolutely untouchable whether it be his wordplay or his storytelling, and like many this high up he's impacted and influenced a whole load of people. Despite no solo discography, his OutKast discography is so consistent in such high quality it doesn't matter. Plus his feature's are always goated, proving he's amongst the greatest ever.
BEST PROJECT: ATLiens
BEST SONG: Ms. Jackson
Nas, another icon and another face of hip hop, is everything an MC should be. Complex lyricism, storytelling of the highest degree, a mean delivery and a gritty sound to match with his smooth flow. Nas has a large discog and it's fairly consistent, but the highs are some of the highest in this genre - including 'Illmatic' which is even known as the bible of hip hop. He's one of the best in every category, and 20+ years into his career is still dropping great music with 'King's Disease'.
BEST PROJECT: Illmatic
BEST SONG: It Ain't Hard to Tell
It may be an unpopular opinion in 2021, but Eminem has everything. He's a once in a lifetime rapper when it comes to technical skill with his complex rhyme schemes, flows and lyricism. He's made some of hip hops best albums and I'd argue his discography is fairly strong and consistent. He's impacted hip hop and changed the shape of it in a way no one could, and has influenced nearly every rapper to come after 2000. He's also my favourite rapper of all time, so it's not a bad shout to put him this high.
BEST PROJECT: The Marshall Mathers LP
BEST SONG: Sing for the Moment