Best Rappers of All Time

Best Rappers of All Time

With male and female rap artists swooning the world with their music, it is tough to pinpoint which of these artists really tops the charts. Melodyful has attempted to make a list of artists that are truly the gems of the hip hop industry.
Melodyful Staff
Last Updated: Apr 6, 2018
Although there are many rappers out there, not many have had the privilege of being rated in the "best" category. It takes a lot of hard work, patience, rejections, and belief to make it to the top. Unlike many genres, rap music has had its ups and downs, meaning, not many people view it to be a clean industry to be in. However, with all things considered, stereotypical ideas aside, rap has earned its name and place in millions of fans worldwide. In the article, we take a look at the list of best rappers of all time, according to the hard-earned name and work they've put in.
Top Rappers till Date
Not everyone is a fan of hip hop; but for some, it defines their existence. So, whenever you ask someone who their favorite rap artist is, chances are that you'll get a different answer from each. We have tried to put a list together which includes both old and new rap artists that are truly at the top of their game.
Best Male Rappers
It's tough to choose only a handful of artists, and make a claim that they are the "best". However, their work speaks for themselves, and it won't be wrong of us to give credit to the following artists that they truly deserve.
50 Cent
Birth Name: Curtis James Jackson III
Genre: Hip hop
Years Active: 1996―present

Studio Albums:
1. Get Rich or Die Tryin' (2003)
2. The Massacre (2005)
3. Curtis (2007)
4. Before I Self Destruct (2009)
5. Animal Ambition (2014)
6. Street King Immortal (2014)
Busta Rhymes
Birth Name: Trevor Tahiem Smith, Jr.
Genre: Hip hop
Years Active: 1989―present

Studio Albums:
1. The Coming (1996)
2. When Disaster Strikes... (1997)
3. E.L.E. (Extinction Level Event): The Final World Front (1998)
4. Anarchy (2000)
5. Genesis (2001)
6. It Ain't Safe No More (2002)
7. The Big Bang (2006)
8. Back on My B.S. (2009)
9. Year of the Dragon (2012)
10. E.L.E.2 (Extinction Level Event 2) (2014)
Drake
Birth Name: Aubrey Drake Graham
Genre: Hip hop and R&B
Years Active: 2001―present

Studio Albums:
1. Thank Me Later (2010)
2. Take Care (2011)
3. Nothing Was the Same (2013)
Dr. Dre
Birth Name: Andre Romelle Young
Genre: Hip hop
Years Active: 1984―present

Studio Albums:
1. The Chronic (1992)
2. 2001 (1999)
3. Detox (TBA)
Eminem
Birth Name: Marshall Bruce Mathers III
Genre: Hip hop
Years Active: 1990―present

Studio Albums:
1. Infinite (1996)
2. The Slim Shady LP (1999)
3. The Marshall Mathers LP (2000)
4. The Eminem Show (2002)
5. Encore (2004)
6. Relapse (2009)
7. Recovery (2010)
8. The Marshall Mathers LP 2 (2013)
Ice Cube
Birth Name: O'Shea Jackson
Genre: Hip hop and Gangsta rap
Years Active: 1984―present

Studio Albums:
1. AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted (1990)
2. Death Certificate (1991)
3. The Predator (1992)
4. Lethal Injection (1993)
5. War & Peace Vol. 1 (The War Disc) (1998)
6. Laugh Now, Cry Later (2006)
7. Raw Footage (2008)
8. I Am the West (2010)
9. Everything's Corrupt (2014)
Kanye West
Birth Name: Kanye Omari West
Genre: Hip hop
Years Active: 1996―present

Studio Albums:
1. The College Dropout (2004)
2. Late Registration (2005)
3. Graduation (2007)
4. 808s & Heartbreak (2008)
5. My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (2010)
6. Watch the Throne (with Jay-Z) (2011)
7. Yeezus (2013)
Jay-Z
Birth Name: Shawn Corey Carter
Genre: Hip hop
Years Active: 1988―present

Studio Albums:
1. Reasonable Doubt (1996)
2. In My Lifetime, Vol. 1 (1997)
3. Vol. 2... Hard Knock Life (1998)
4. Vol. 3... Life and Times of S. Carter (1999)
5. The Dynasty: Roc La Familia (2000)
6. The Blueprint (2001)
7. The Best of Both Worlds (with R. Kelly) (2002)
8. The Blueprint2: The Gift & The Curse (2002)
9. The Black Album (2003)
10. Unfinished Business (with R. Kelly) (2004)
11. Kingdom Come (2006)
12. American Gangster (2007)
13. The Blueprint 3 (2009)
14. Watch the Throne (with Kanye West) (2011)
15. Magna Carta Holy Grail (2013)
Lil Wayne
Birth Name: Dwayne Michael Carter, Jr.
Genre: Hip hop
Years Active: 1994―present

Studio Albums:
1. The Block Is Hot (1999)
2. Lights Out (2000)
3. 500 Degreez (2002)
4. Tha Carter (2004)
5. Tha Carter II (2005)
6. Like Father, Like Son (with Birdman) (2006)
7. Tha Carter III (2008)
8. Rebirth (2010)
9. I Am Not a Human Being (2010)
10. Tha Carter IV (2011)
11. I Am Not a Human Being II (2013)
12. Tha Carter V (2014)
LL Cool J
Birth Name: James Todd Smith
Genre: Hip hop
Years Active: 1984―present

Studio Albums:
1. Radio (1985)
2. Bigger and Deffer (1987)
3. Walking with a Panther (1989)
4. Mama Said Knock You Out (1990)
5. 14 Shots to the Dome (1993)
6. Mr. Smith (1995)
7. Phenomenon (1997)
8. G.O.A.T. (1997)
9. 10 (2002)
10. The DEFinition (2004)
11. Todd Smith (2006)
12. Exit 13 (2008)
13. Authentic (2013)
Sean Combs
Birth Name: Sean John Combs
Genre: Hip hop and R&B
Years Active: 1989―present

Studio Albums:
1. No Way Out (1997)
2. Forever (1999)
3. The Saga Continues... (2001)
4. Press Play (2006)
5. Last Train to Paris (2010)
Nas
Birth Name: Nasir bin Olu Dara Jones
Genre: Hip hop
Years Active: 1990―present

Studio Albums:
1. Illmatic (1994)
2. It Was Written (1996)
3. I Am... (1999)
4. Nastradamus (1999)
5. Stillmatic (2001)
6. God's Son (2002)
7. Street's Disciple (2004)
8. Hip Hop Is Dead (2006)
9. Untitled album (2008)
10. Life Is Good (2012)
Snoop Dogg
Birth Name: Calvin Cordozar Broadus, Jr.
Genre: Hip hop, G-funk, Reggae, and Gangsta rap
Years Active: 1992―present

Studio Albums:
1. Doggystyle (1993)
2. The Doggfather (1996)
3. Da Game Is to Be Sold, Not to Be Told (1998)
4. No Limit Top Dogg (1999)
5. The Last Meal (2000)
6. Paid tha Cost to Be da Boss (2002)
7. R&G (Rhythm & Gangsta): The Masterpiece (2004)
8. Tha Blue Carpet Treatment (2006)
9. Ego Trippin' (2008)
10. Malice n Wonderland (2009)
11. Doggumentary (2011)
12. Reincarnated (2013)
The Game
Birth Name: Jayceon Terrell Taylor
Genre: Hip hop
Years Active: 2002―present

Studio Albums:
1. Untold Story (2004)
2. The Documentary (2005)
3. West Coast Resurrection (2005)
4. Untold Story, Vol. 2 (2005)
5. G.A.M.E. (2006)
6. Doctor's Advocate (2006)
7. LAX (2008)
8. The R.E.D. Album (2011)
9. Jesus Piece (2012)
DMX
Birth Name: Earl Simmons
Genre: Hip hop
Years Active: 1988―present

Studio Albums:
1. It's Dark and Hell Is Hot (1998)
2. Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood (1998)
3. ...And Then There Was X (1999)
4. The Great Depression (2001)
5. Grand Champ (2003)
6. Year of the Dog... Again (2006)
7. Undisputed (2012)
T.I. Birth
Name: Clifford Joseph Harris, Jr.
Genre: Hip hop
Years Active: 1996―present

Studio Albums:
1. I'm Serious (2001)
2. Trap Muzik (2003)
3. Urban Legend (2004)
4. King (2006)
5. T.I. vs. T.I.P. (2007)
6. Paper Trail (2008)
7. No Mercy (2010)
8. Trouble Man: Heavy Is the Head (2012)
Gucci Mane
Birth Name: Radric Davis
Genre: Southern hip hop
Years Active: 2001―present

Studio Albums:
1. Trap House (2005)
2. Hard to Kill (2006)
3. Trap-A-Thon (2007)
4. Back to the Trap House (2007)
5. Murder Was the Case (2009)
6. The State vs. Radric Davis (2009)
7. The Appeal: Georgia's Most Wanted (2010)
8. Trap House III (2013)
9. The State vs. Radric Davis II: The Caged Bird Sings (2013)
J. Cole
Birth Name: Jermaine Lamarr Cole
Genre: Hip hop
Years Active: 2007―present

Studio Albums:
1. Cole World: The Sideline Story (2011)
2. Born Sinner (2013)
Macklemore
Birth Name: Ben Haggerty
Genre: Hip hop
Years Active: 2000―present

Studio Albums:
1. The Language of My World (2005)
2. The Heist (with Ryan Lewis) (2015)
Method Man
Birth Name: Clifford Smith
Genre: Hip hop
Years Active: 1992―present

Studio Albums:
1. Tical (1994)
2. Tical 2000: Judgement Day (1998)
3. Tical 0: The Prequel (2004)
4. 4:21... The Day After (2006)
Kendrick Lamar
Birth Name: Kendrick Lamar Duckworth
Genre: Hip hop
Years Active: 2003―present

Studio Albums:
1. Section.80 (2011)
2. Good Kid, M.A.A.D City (2012)
Rakim Birth
Name: William Michael Griffin Jr.
Genre: Hip hop
Years Active: 1985―present

Studio Albums:
1. The 18th Letter (1996)
2. The Master (1999)
3. The Seventh Seal (2009)
Rick Ross
Birth Name: William Leonard Roberts II
Genre: Hip hop
Years Active: 2001―present

Studio Albums:
1. Port of Miami (2006)
2. Trilla (2008)
3. Deeper Than Rap (2009)
4. Teflon Don (2010)
5. God Forgives, I Don't (2012)
6. Mastermind (2014)
2Pac
Birth Name: Lesane Parish Crooks
Genre: Hip hop
Years Active: 1988―1996

Studio Albums:
1. 2Pacalypse Now (1991)
2. Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z. (1993)
3. Me Against the World (1995)
4. All Eyez on Me (1996)
5. The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory (1996)
6. R U Still Down? (Remember Me) (1997)
7. Still I Rise (with Outlawz) (1999)
8. Until the End of Time (2001)
9. Better Dayz (2002)
10. Loyal to the Game (2004)
11. Pac's Life (2006)
The Notorious B.I.G.
Birth Name: Christopher George Latore Wallace
Genre: Hip hop
Years Active: 1992―1997

Studio Albums:
1. Ready to Die (1994)
2. Life After Death (1997)
3. Born Again (1999)
Best Female Rappers
Although hip hop is depicted as a young man's game, many talented women are stealing the spotlight; and with good reason. Old or new, the crop of female MCs is giving the men a run for their money.
Azealia Banks
Birth Name: Azealia Amanda Banks
Genre: Hip hop
Years Active: 2008―present

Studio Albums:
1. Broke with Expensive Taste (2014)
2. Fantasea II: The Second Wave (2014)
Eve
Birth Name: Eve Jihan Jeffers
Genre: Hip hop
Years Active: 1998―present

Studio Albums:
1. Let There Be Eve...Ruff Ryders' First Lady (1999)
2. Scorpion (2001)
3. Eve-Olution (2002)
4. Lip Lock (2012)
3D Na'Tee
Birth Name: Samantha Davon James
Genre: Hip hop
Years Active: 1994―present

Street Album:
1. The Coronation (2013)
Missy Elliott
Birth Name: Melissa Arnette Elliott
Genre: Hip hop and R&B
Years Active: 1991―present

Studio Albums:
1. Supa Dupa Fly (1997)
2. Da Real World (1999)
3. Miss E... So Addictive (2001)
4. Under Construction (2002)
5. This Is Not a Test! (2003)
6. The Cookbook (2005)
7. Block Party (TBA)
Nicki Minaj
Birth Name: Onika Tanya Maraj
Genre: Hip hop, R&B, and Pop
Years Active: 2004―present

Studio Albums:
1. Pink Friday (2010)
2. Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded (2012)
3. The Pink Print (2014)
MC Lyte
Birth Name: Lana Michele Moorer
Genre: Hip hop
Years Active: 1986―present

Studio Albums:
1. Lyte as a Rock (1988)
2. Eyes on This (1989)
3. Act Like You Know (1991)
4. Ain't No Other (1993)
5. Bad As I Wanna B (1996)
6. Seven & Seven (1998)
7. Da Undaground Heat, Vol. 1 (2003)
Angel Haze
Birth Name: Raykeea Angel Wilson
Genre: Hip hop
Years Active: 2010―present

Studio Albums:
1. Dirty Gold (2013)
Dessa
Birth Name: Margret Wander
Genre: Alternative hip hop and Underground hip hop
Years Active: 2005―present

Studio Albums:
1. A Badly Broken Code (2010)
2. Castor, the Twin (2011)
3. Parts of Speech (2013)
Jean Grae
Birth Name: Tsidi Ibrahim
Genre: Hip hop
Years Active: 1996―present

Studio Albums:
1. Attack of the Attacking Things (2002)
2. The Bootleg of the Bootleg EP (2003)
3. This Week (2004)
4. The Orchestral Files (2007)
5. Jeanius with 9th Wonder (2008)
6. The Evil Jeanius (with Blue Sky Black Death) 2008)
7. Dust Ruffle (2013)
8. Cake or Death (TBA)
Iggy Azalea
Birth Name: Amethyst Amelia Kelly
Genre: Hip hop and Electronic dance
Years Active: 2011―present

Studio Albums:
1. The New Classic (2014)
K. Flay
Birth Name: Kristine Flaherty
Genre: Hip hop
Years Active: 2004―present

Compilations and Mixtapes:
1. Suburban Rap Queen (2004)
2. Mashed Potatoes (2009)
3. I Stopped Caring In '96 (2011)
4. West Ghost (2013)
Lauryn Hill
Birth Name: Lauryn Hill
Genre: Hip hop, R&B, Soul, Neo Soul, Hip hop soul, and Reggae fusion
Years Active: 1991―present

Studio Albums:
1. The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill (1998)
Lil' Kim
Birth Name: Kimberly Denice Jones
Genre: Hip hop
Years Active: 1994―present

Studio Albums:
1. Hard Core (1996)
2. The Notorious K.I.M. (2000)
3. La Bella Mafia (2003)
4. The Naked Truth (2005)
Rapsody
Birth Name: Marlanna Evans
Genre: Hip hop
Years Active: 2007―present

Studio Albums:
1. The Idea of Beautiful (2012)
These gifted artists have shaped the industry to what it is right now. And I can bet no one can take the place they have created for themselves. If you feel that the list of rappers is incomplete, why not add some more artists of your choice.