Top 20 Greatest Rappers of All Time

Top rappers of all time

Top 20 Rappers of All Time

by Ted the Toy Collector

@tedthetoycollector My Top 20 rappers of all time. Definitely a few people on here that will surprise You. Huge thanks to @BandPioneer for allowing me to talk about something I love on their platform. #rap#rapper#raptok#hiphop#hiphopmusic♬ original sound - Ted The Toy Collector
Ted the Toy Collector's reviews of the Top 20 Greatest Rappers of All Time

I'm Ted the Toy Collector, and these are my top 20 rappers of all time. But before you jump in and get upset about my list, try remember that music tastes are subjective. So, if you don't like what I like, that's okay! Drop us a comment below to let us know what you'd change.

Even though list expands 4 decades of music, with some modern artists, a lot of the top 20 rappers I'm about to talk about are older and well-established, and no longer need support to be stable financially. Band Pioneer on the other hand exists for up-and-coming independent artists that are trying to make it in this highly competitive industry. If that describes you, or you just like supporting independent music, make sure to bookmark this site and check back often.

With that being said, jumping into my list of the top 20 rappers of all time, I have to give the number 20 spot to Tech N9ne!

20. Tech N9ne

16 Studio Albums: 1999-2023

Tech N9ne on 2006 11 06

I promise this list won't be filled with a bunch of obscure underground artists you've never heard of, but Tech N9ne deserves a spot on my list. There's no way I couldn't give him the number 20 spot. He's renowned for his rapid-fire flow, intricate rhymes, and a unique blend of genres that span hip-hop, rock, and horrorcore, as well as for co-founding the independent record label Strange Music.


6 Studio Albums: 1999-2020

MF Doom Hultsfred 2011 cropped

Again, I promise you all, this won't be one of those lists of names you've never heard of, but I had to include MF DOOM. Fans love his intricate wordplay and comic book villain persona; he is celebrated for his underground status and influential albums like "Madvillainy," contributing to his cult-like following within hip-hop.

18. DMX

8 Studio Albums: 1998-2021

DMX rapper cropped

If you're in the hip-hop trenches, then you already know, and I don't even need to talk much about my number 18 spot. If you think this is a little low, I can completely understand because DMX is a legend.

DMX is known for his gritty lyrical themes and raw energy, carving out a niche with his distinctive bark and introspective storytelling that made him a pivotal figure in hip-hop's late '90s and early 2000s era. And that should give you a hint of what the rest of my list is about to look like.

17. Ice Cube

12 Studio Albums: 1988-2018 (Solo & N.W.A)

Ice cube c

At my number 17 spot, I've got Ice Cube. Man, I feel like there's an entire generation of children out there right now that don't even know that this man used to rap. They think he's just an actor, and that's mind-blowing to me.

Ice Cube has one of the greatest diss tracks of all time. "No Vaseline" is one of the top diss songs ever invented! There's like "Hit 'Em Up" by 2Pac, and then "No Vaseline" is right up there with it. To go at all the members of N.W.A the way that he did should tell you who this man is!

16. Missy Eliot

6 Studio Albums: 1997-2005

Missy Elliot Main December 2015 Copy

Whenever I think about my childhood, I can literally hear this woman in the background. And if you think about the history of hip-hop, not a lot of people have more hits than Missy Elliott. She revolutionized hip-hop with her innovative production style and groundbreaking use of futuristic beats, becoming an icon for her musical talents as well as her contributions to female empowerment in the genre.

15. Drake

8 Studio Albums: 2007-2023

Drake Summer Sixteen Tour

You all might think that I have my next rapper extremely low, but I promise you I can justify it! At 15, I've got Drizzy Drake, and here's why he's so low on my list. His fourth album was titled "Nothing Was the Same," and after that, literally, nothing was the same!

I just haven't felt compelled to listen to a Drake album in an extremely long time. But I can acknowledge greatness! I heard somebody say once that Drake doesn't have any bad songs. So just because you don't like it doesn't mean that the masses won't like it. There's no arguing that Drake is one of the greats.

Make sure to also read our ranking and review of the Top Drake Songs & Best Drake Albums.

14. 50 Cent

5 Studio Albums: 2003-2014

Val Kilmer and 50 Cent

I've got 50 Cent at number 14, first and foremost, because he's one of the only top 20 rappers of all time to go completely undefeated in every single rap beef he's ever been involved in, and he's been involved in a lot!

The second reason is that his first couple of albums are almost untouchable, marking an incredible run when he first came into the game. I haven't seen many rappers do that. When 50 Cent hit the streets, he hit them hard. This dude had everybody walking around in muscle shirts and headbands, bro.

13. Snoop Dogg

20 Studio Albums: 1993-TBA

Snoop dog 02

At the number 13 spot, I've got Snoop Dogg. And do I really even need to elaborate on this one? Snoop Dogg is Snoop Dogg! With his laid-back flow and unmistakable smooth, conversational style, Snoop became a defining figure of West Coast hip hop and is largely responsible for the genre's mainstream success.

12. Nas

17 Studio Albums: 1994-2023


At number 12, I've got another rapper that you'll probably say I have ranked too low, and that's Nas. My reason for not placing him higher is that, outside of "Illmatic" and "Stillmatic," I'm not too crazy about his other albums. But I have to put respect on his name as a hip-hop legend. He stands out for his intricate storytelling and lyricism, which have cemented his reputation as one of hip-hop's greatest intellectuals.

11. Future

9 Studio Albums: 2012-2022

Future rapper 2 2014

This is where a lot of people might get upset and disengage, but in the number 11 spot, over even Nas, I have Future. Just hear me out on this... For the most part, nobody has more hits and has been relevant in the rap game longer than Future. I can remember being in middle school and hearing Future's hits on the radio. Now, I'm a grown man with a career, and Future is still putting out hits on the radio, showing no signs of slowing down.

French Montana once said...

It Is Harder To Make It as a Rapper Than in the NBA

Think about it: the NBA has a draft every single year to introduce new players, while rap only has about five to ten relevant artists at any given time. Despite this, Future has found ways to remain relevant as one of them.

10. J. Cole

7 Studio Albums: 2011-TBA

J.Cole WDMC Tour Cole

Next, I've got J. Cole, and I don't feel like that needs a long explanation. Originally from Fayetteville, North Carolina, J. Cole stands out for his raw honesty, drawing directly from his own life experiences. His rise from a college-educated rapper to founding Dreamville Records showcases his entrepreneurial spirit and commitment to uplifting new artists, distinguishing him uniquely among the top 20 rappers of all time.

9. Eminem

11 Studio Albums: 1996-2020

Eminem backstage in Munich, Germany 10-31-10-1999

At number 9, I've got Eminem, another one many may say I have ranked too low on this list, but hear me out. After Eminem's first three or four albums, there were a couple of hits here and there, but I'm just not sitting down and listening to any of his albums all the way through anymore.

I think everybody goes through an Eminem phase at one point in their lives, but I've been out of mine for a very long time. 

It's like Gucci Mane said...

I ain’t playing Eminem in my car, you play him in yours?… you sliding around playing Eminem in your car, you and your old lady?

I don't think so.

8. Kendrick Lamar

5 Studio Albums: 2011-2022

Kendrick lamar 1360479601

I can honestly say that I believe Kendrick Lamar is the most talented artist of the most recent rap generation. He also has my favorite hip-hop album of all time, "Good Kid, M.A.A.D City." Additionally, he made history by being the first rapper to win the Pulitzer Prize for Music in 2018, a testament to the significant impact he's had on American culture and the hip-hop genre.

7. Scarface

19 Studio Albums: 1991-2015 (Solo & Geto Boys)

Scarface rapper

My next rapper, you may think I have ranked way too high, but I don't care. I will die on this hill any day! Scarface is a top ten rapper of all time, and it's not just because I'm from Houston. It's hard to touch Scarface, bro. The Geto Boys have some of the best albums of all time, and Scarface's individual work should not be slept on either. He has some of my favorite songs of all time like "Smile" and "On My Block." He has hits, bro!

6. 2Pac

5 Studio Albums: 1991-1996

2Pac Grafitti Art

At number 6, I've got 2Pac. His legacy extends beyond music, as he was also an accomplished actor, starring in films like "Poetic Justice" and "Juice," showcasing his versatility and depth as an artist. But once you see my top 5, I think you'll understand why he's outside of it.

5. Lil Wayne

13 Studio Albums: 1999-2020

Lil Wayne

I've got Lil Wayne at number 5. He literally changed the entire culture of rap by pioneering the mixtape game, releasing a prolific amount of mixtapes that significantly influenced the way artists promote their music and connect with fans outside of traditional album releases. For that you have to include him as one of the top 20 rappers of all time.

4. Andre 3000

7 Studio Albums: 1994-2006 (Solo & Outkast)

Outkast Andre 3000

I want you to know that it really broke my heart leaving Big Boi off this list. If I had a 21st spot, it definitely would have gone to him. But right now, we're talking about 3 Stacks!

One of the greatest lyricists to ever bless a microphone. He's part of one of the top rap groups of all time, Outkast. And he's a feature killer! Anytime he's featured on a song, you know he's going to snap! Andre 3000, just 3 Stacks, put the South on the map.

3. Kanye West

10 Studio Albums: 2004-2021

Kanye west dec 2008

Whether you like him or hate him, you have to acknowledge that Kanye is one of the GOATs. His first five albums are almost perfect. No other rapper can claim they've released music that consistently, with that many hit albums in a row. Kanye had "College Dropout," "Late Registration," "Graduation," "808s & Heartbreak," and "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy." That five-album run is untouched!

2. The Notorious B.I.G

2 Studio Albums: 1994-1997

The Notorious B.I.G 5pointz

The reason I think Biggie belongs so high up on this list is because he was murdered at only 25 years old, after releasing just two albums, yet he's still considered one of the top rappers of all time. Think about that. If he had lived into his thirties or forties, who knows what kind of music we would have received from him! It truly breaks my heart any time I think about what he could have achieved. Being one of the top rappers of all time at only 25 years old, after just two albums... I think that says a lot.

1. Jay-Z

13 Studio Albums: 1996-2002

Jay Z 02 mika

And my top number 1 rapper of all time is Jay-Z. I've always been a huge fan of super lyrical rap. Whoever your favorite rapper is, they don't have bars to compete with Shawn Carter. He's the king of double and triple entendres.

What's really cool is that you can go back and listen to his music from the early '90s, and then listen to one of his more recent albums, and hear the growth. The lyricism has always been there, but he's not rapping about nonsense anymore. You can hear how he's evolved from a young kid in the streets with a vision to now being a grown man who has enacted change. That's one of the coolest things ever.

Embracing Evolution in Music

Wrapping up my top 20 rappers of all time with a versatile, evolving artist like Jay-Z, reminds me of my biggest complaint about many popular artists. Very few of them ever seem to grow or change throughout their careers. The stuff they released when they were just starting out at 19 years old, sounds pretty much the same as what they're putting out in their 30s. I guess I'm just tired of the same old club pop songs being played over and over again. I think we should be pushing for more evolution, creativity, and depth in the music we celebrate.

But that's my list. Whether you agree or disagree, we'd love to hear from you. Who are your top rappers of all time? Drop a comment below to let us know!

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Outkast is the goat, but I aint never seen Scarface on no top rapper list.

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