Back to Music and Movies

Tell a friend:



Buy e-books


Greatest Rap Artists of All Time
 by: Gary Whittaker

This list is based on lyrical ability, album sales, and longevity. Producers are not counted in this list. While we must give honourable mention to groups like RUN DMC who were breakthrough artists, and P.Diddy who is arguably the most powerful rap mogul (with Suge Knight perhaps the most dangerous), we are focusing on individuals who have each brought a unique style and message to the rap world. You may also noticed that the list is testosterone driven, but letís face it, other than an argument for Queen Latifah, there simply are no great female rappers.

10. Talib Kweli

For someone who has never ďmade itĒ, no one is more respected in the rap industry for his lyrical ability than Talib Kweli. If he has not made it into the mainstream, itís because he has more to talk about than just guns, bitches and money.

9. Ludacris

Luda is one of the hottest rappers out there today, but then so are a bunch of other young rappers like Nelly. Why we put Chris miles ahead of the pack for the simple reason that Luda is just plain FEARLESS! He spends his time not just trying to perfect the right rhyme, but the pitch and rhythmic tones for his speech patterns as well. He is also not afraid to take on movies with actual significant speaking parts and was part of the best movie of 2005 in Crash. Look for Ludacris to overtake LL by end of 2007.

8. LL Cool J

His rap career is basically over. He is reduced to Will Smith like rap status with his one hit per album these days, as he concentrates on his TV and movie career. That being said, LL was the first rapper to break into TV and kept the ball rolling after 2 Pacís death for rappers to be considered seriously in movies. And for a guy who everyone complains about his lack of lyrical ability, nobody has squashed more beef than LL as well.

7. Chuck D

Fear of a Black Planet. Nuff said? Maybe. If I need to say more, than I will simply say that Chuck is to the underground what Emimem is to mainstream.

6. Busta Rhymes

>From his Leaders of the New School origins, to his recently re-invented shaved head self, Busta Rhymesí ugly mug can be seen blasting at you in videos everywhere. Fortunately for him, talent is not based on looks. Bustaís in your face style, and crazy videos make him the Rick James of the Rap World.

5. Notorious B.I.G

Ok, ok, before you click on the refresh button to make sure that you are reading this right, let me just say that had the Notorious One not been killed during his prime, he may well be in the top 3, and I would even argue best ever. I will also concede that he was the best of his time, but compared to the overall careers of those we put ahead of him, his limited time in the rap game has him falling short.

4. Nas

Godís Son is next, since you canít beat B.I.G on album sales alone. Nas has got the talent to be one of the best ever, and consistently shows his range on every album. While there is some controversy over some favourable comments he made about Hitler, we choose to give him the benefit of the doubt until it is proven otherwise. Nasí ability is such that even if the beat is whack, you will listen to the song just to hear what he has to say.

3. Emimem (Marshall Mathers)

Speaking of squashing beef, can only one do it better than Slim Shady? We donít think so. From Moby, to Benzino, to his own mother, Marshall has absolutely destroyed all those that sought to take him down. This man even simulated killing his own wife on wax, and had you feeling like she deserved it! What we love about Em is that he writes about what he knows. As his life changes, so do his songs. You may say that he gets away with all his crap and makes so many sales because of his skin color, but I defy you to find anyone that is even willing to take him on now lyrically. If Curtain Call truly does become his last album, then he will undoubtedly fall from this list, but at this time, there is only 1 person alive that can be considered better than him.

2. Jay Z

From his debut in 1996 until his ďfinalĒ solo album in 2003, no live rapper has sold more hit platinum albums than Hov. Jay Z also went from co-founding Roc-A-Fella records to becoming the president of Dej Jam, and is responsible for launching the careers of many other now platinum artists. Jay Z has done everything a rapper can do in the business industry without getting shot or going to jail.

1. Tupac (2 Pac) Shakur

Whether you believe in the Man or the Muth, Tupacís status has gone beyond iconic to legendary. More albums have been released and gone platinum after his death, than when he was alive. Through his words, you can hear his spirit and his passion for both his people and the direction they were headed. People of all colors respond to his music becomes he teaches hope. He is the only rapper to say that he will rap about guns and violence in order to reach his audience. Once they are listening, only then can he capture their hearts by his more peaceful message of peaceful co-existence by ending struggle through action.

About The Author

Gary Whittaker is the editor of, a blog with balls! You can go there to check out or comment on the article, or you can drop him a line at

This article was posted on December 12, 2005


© Copyright MyMusicFiles 2007, All rights reserved.