Best rappers of all time – who is it? Most will give tribute to the down-to-earth lyricists and poet, Tupac Shakur.
Pac is responsible for making remarkable contributions to the rap industry. He dominated the pop, RnB and rap circuit with songs that changed the perception of rap music during the ’90s. Rap music is currently one of the top-selling genres.
Why and what has happened to rap music since Tupac stopped dropping live hits in ’96? A lot! Keep reading to find out, my friends.
Tupac: Rap music icon
Although Pac left us before his style of rapping rose to the heights you see it today, we still recognize the artist as one of the best rappers dead or alive. It’s no secret, Tupac helped the industry evolve and rapping became an art.
He was phenomenal with hits like All Eyez on Me, and the video masterpiece, California Love (1996).
Dr. Dre and his collaborations with artists like Ice Cube and Snoop Dogg made the west coast vibe come alive. Whether you are considering bands or single artists, there are some from all. They are not in order of which is the best as that would be an even harder task to sort!
Below are a few song picks from the top 20 best rappers of all time, well at least during the ’90s. Still, they are some of the best lyricists relevant today.
NAS–N.Y. State of Mind–Illmatic–1994
East Coast rapper NAS has several classic rap songs. N.Y. State of Mind is from NAS’s debut studio album Illmatic (1994). With DJ Premier as the producer, NAS provides you with extreme talent and excellence in his prime years.
The flow of his lyrics and intensity of their meaning gives you time to reflect on life and still is relevant two decades later.
Tupac–All Eyez on Me–All Eyez on Me–1996
Of course, Tupac is known as one of the best rappers of all time. With his mix of gangster rap, singing and collaboration with the notable Dr. Dre, there were styles for everyone, including mothers and fathers who dared not listen to Explicit music.
His track California Love a well-known club hit, brings the west coast sunshine and relaxation through his lyrics and notable rap flow.
The Notorious B.I.G.–Ten Crack Commandments–Life After Death-1997
From gangster rap to club bangers, The Notorious B.I.G. had it all. There is no doubt that both he and Tupac, at the same time had completely different styles, yet whether a New Yorker or a Californian, you could not falter the class in The Notorious B.I.G.
The Ten Crack Commandments gives you real-life hustle on the streets of New York. This is one f the reasons why while best rappers of all time
The Notorious B.I.G.–Big Poppa–Ready to Die-1994
Everybody loved to call The Notorious B.I.G. “Big Poppa!” One of the biggest rap songs that got people moving in the club, and still plays over the speakers today. He made being big and tall cool and lovable. For me, this is why he made the list of one of the best rappers of all time.
The Notorious B.I.G.–Juicy–Ready to Die – 1994
Juicy is a classic. If attending an old-school hip-hop or rap party, this is one song you cannot go without. As well as a favorite at house parties, Juicy is a track that nobody will forget.
Snoop Dogg–Gin and Juice–Doggystyle-1993
Snoop… one of the best rappers of all time? Heck yeah! All house parties played this track! Gin and Juice is one of Snoop Dogg’s many classic club hits, produced by Dr. Dre and Suge Knight is still played alongside Tupac and the Notorious B.I.G.
The Roots–Things Fall Apart-1999
Their name says it all. From the roots of real music, their song Things Fall Apart, and self-titled album left all wanting more. The energetic and distinguishable drums played by Quest Love gave everyone what they needed.
The soulfulness of their voices and the connection of the band, still makes them what they are today, one of the best rappers of all time and the best Hip-Hop bands of all times.
Lauryn Hill–Lost Ones–The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill-1998
One of the greatest songs that everyone learned the lyrics to was from Lauryn Hill. Her style, eccentricity, and lack of vulgarity in her lyrics and songs was always something that was hard to find in everyday 90’s rap music.
Fugees–Killing Me Softly with His Song–The Score-1996
Killing Me Softly with His Song has been played repeatedly over the years. The mixture of soft music with Lauryn Hill, Wyclef Jean, and Pras singing and rapping over the track, made this song one of the greatest.
Mos Def–Ms. Fat Booty–Black on Both Sides-1999
For all those true hip-hop heads, Mos Def’s Ms. Fat Booty is a classic. Not much to say, but it is a classic!
Ice Cube – Straight Outta Compton -1998
Ice Cube has phenomenal success with everything he does! It’s easy to see why he was one of the best rappers of all time. He was born June 15, 1969, and grew up in South Central LA. Ice Cube, or rather O’Shea Jackson, is a rapper turned actor. He initially started with the group, N.W.A., but before that, he was just a little boy with hopes and dreams.
How music has changed since 1996
It’s been twenty years now that Pac was pronounced dead and since then, people can’t stop talking about the famed West Coast rapper. His untimely absence left many of the rappers you listen to today.
However, Tupac Shakur was best known for the way he shared his life, his thoughts and even fears, in his lyrics.
The prodigious rapper took rap music into another dimension, unfortunately, Suge Knight and Death Row Records lurked in the shadows. Nonetheless, rap has changed, how? Keep reading to find out!
Rap music is more than lyrics about shooting cops and gang rivals. More songs now talk about love and personal relationships and how they “came up.”
Rappers bring the competition to the stage with direct line hits and viral tweets with other rappers, however, Meek and Drake are not Tupac and Biggie or The Game and Snoop.
The later of the performers are affiliated with the Bloods and the Crips but proved the two gangs can behave and come together for a cause.
More collaborations come about as hardcore feuds declines, boundaries are reconciled and music is made with diverse genres.
The Best Rappers of All Time
Jayceon Taylor was born on November 29, 1979, in Compton, California. He was born into a life of gang-banging and hustling. When later interviewed, Taylor, aka The Game says at a young age, he recalls seeing both of his parents preparing to do drive-bys.
His father was a Nutty Block Crip and his mother a Hoover Crippelette. Drugs and guns were all around Taylor growing up.
J. Cole (Jermaine Lamarr Cole) Strategic moves root him in the best rappers of all time [since 2010]. Born in a city where dreams of made of and they came true with any “luck” at all. His first tour was in 2010 due to his mix tape, “The Warm Up” being released.
The third release for Cole is “Friday Night Lights,” which took on some popular names like Wale and Drake. Cole continues to be a force you should not underestimate.
Nayvadius Cash, aka Future Hendrix, aka Astronaut Kid, aka Nayvadius Wilburn, aka Meathead (LOL) and aka Super Future is a remarkable and talented young artist (he raps and sings). A native of Atlanta, GA, Future was born on November the 20th in 1983.
Something happened in 2010 to change Future’s life and he started to spit endlessly… he couldn’t stop. Then, he could have easily taken the title of best rapper of all time. However, his music as of late, has lost its luster.
[Is it too much Dirty Sprite or too many tabs, broads, mollies and perkys? It’s all crazy. Please, stop the madness, Hendrix. You gotta “kno the meaning.”]
Nevertheless, Future’s “true to the game” and he stayed in the studio as he knew this day would come… “perfect timing.” (He who believes in God and himself will be blessed accordingly.) It wasn’t easy for him, the rapper reveals, however, “Beast Mode” was necessary.
Lil Wayne has done the unthinkable, the unbelievable in the rap industry. The Louisiana native showed up and showed out and the heartthrob, Elvis Presley turned in his grave when a black man beat his record. Wayne has had the most hits, topping the Billboard Hot 100 and surpassing many great artists.
Kendrick Lamar is one of the most complex rappers since 1979, but for sure, he is one of the best rappers of all time. This makes him worthy of the signature, King of Compton. And if you have been around for awhile, you should recall his relationship with a group called Black Hippy.
But Kendrick advanced his career through numerous paths and took advantage of opportunities that most rappers don’t get. Only a few years ago (2015), did Kendrick Lamar meet with Barack Obama.
The now-former president wanted to meet the man who wrote “How Much a Dollar Cost.” When you impress the Commander in Chief, you have reached heights not everyone can climb, but what if, on the other hand, Kendrick Lamar really did kill a couple of people before he became rich and famous?
Is he still as impressive? Check out the video interview with MTV’s Rob Markman of MTV. Things that make you go “hmm.”
Eminem is certainly my favorite rapper, but I’m not the only one who thinks he’s the best rapper alive. He’s certainly paid his dues in the industry with a whopping 170 million in sales.
According to hotnewhiphop.com, those who use the internet voted and agreed Eminem is the “greatest emcee ever to get behind a mic … the best rapper of all time.” Yep, two million votes for Slim Shady.
His closest rival was none other than Tupac and Biggie who was listed as number three in the top 5 along with Ice Cube and of course, Nas. If you’re wondering about Kanye and Andre 3000, they didn’t make the Top 10.
Mr IDGT is mainly from Baton Rouge, LA. He and his family moved there shortly after he was born. It wasn’t until 2013 that he signed with Atlantic Records. Since then, he’s been busy with releasing mix tapes, making him one of the best rappers of all time.
“I Don’t Get Tired” made it to the US Billboard Hot 100 and it went Gold. It was certainly my anthem to grind harder… was it yours, too? Gates says that he puts his real life into his lyrics. He’s been in this rap game since he was a kid, y’all.
But it’s with interruption after legal interruption. The first time Kevin Gates was arrested he was only 13 years old.
Drake is just a little different from most Black men… just a little, which is why I think he is one of the 5 sexiest male celebrities. He certainly isn’t a slack. Aubrey Graham Drake was delivered on October 24, in 1986 to a mixed raced couple.
His father is Black and his mom is of Canadian and Jewish heritage, giving him that light skin, my-baby’s-got-good-hair, bi-racial sex appeal.
He found he had a gift for words at the age of 14 and began writing with an untamed passion of a Canadian beast that resulted in a record deal in 2009. Drake may have “started from the bottom,” but now he’s here, going “back to back.”
He is a household name now with his many “Candy Shops.” Curtis James Jackson III aka 50 Cent, made his first appearance ever on his born day, July 6, 1975. The circumstances of living in New York City surrounded Curtis with crime, violence, and drugs.
However, he changed the game when he turned to rapping and it became the money making opportunity that paved the way for his current multimillionaire-dollar deal with FRIGO Revolution Wear and his hit series, Power.
He kept going till he hit the spot… whoa! He is, without a doubt, one jaw-dropping, sensuous and creative genius who happens to be one of the best rappers of all time!