Greatest rappers in the history of Hip Hop – You’ve had this argument with your buddies a million times, “Who are your top 5 rappers?” You decide on some rules: “Are we talking most classics or biggest influence?” “New-school or old-school?” “Favourite or greatest?” You laugh, you talk, and it gets heated up with comments like “Big’s got nothing on Pac!” and “Top 3!? Kanye’s not even top 5!” It’s an intense back-and-forth before one of you rolls the window down and shuts things down with a “…that’s just like, your opinion, man.” Truth is, the criteria for the greatest rapper of all time isn’t as easily defined as “most classic albums” or “most multi-platinum records.”
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The GOAT is all about embodying the medium. They have to live, bleed and breathe hip-hop. The candidates have to be so deep into the music that they have touched the outcome of the genre in one way or another. A rapper can’t call themselves great if they haven’t carved their own path and had others follow. It’s a matter of influence; trends aren’t born from mediocrity.
The rappers on this list are not necessarily the most prolific, most technical or best-selling. The greatest rappers of all time all took the musical style they know and love and redefined an aspect of it. These are trailblazers, innovators and icons. Without further ado, here are the 12 Greatest Rappers Of All Time.
12. Kendrick Lamar
King Kendrick has come to be known as the new king of the West Coast, and with good reason. Since his underground classic mixtape Section.80 dropped in 2011, Kendrick’s gone nowhere but up. His blend of conscious lyrics with sounds moulded from the the streets of Compton make him an all around threat on the mic, not to mention he can rap his ass off.
When his major label debut good kid, m.a.a.d. city dropped, Kendrick was unstoppable (I mean who didn’t hear Swimming Pools at every single house party in 2012). Following that up with what is considered one of the greatest albums of the decade in any genre, To Pimp A Butterfly had him not only loved by fans but lauded by critics.
Getting a cosign from Dr. Dre, and having West Coast legends The Game and Snoop Dogg say that they were passing the torch to him means that Kendrick is up and he’s not coming down for a long, long time. For being in the game roughly five years, Kendrick is headed closer to GOAT status by the day.