Diehard fans, track nerds and critics love lists. But in rap, rankings like this take on a exclusive level of import: aside from shifting a crowd (shouts to Rakim), MC skill proving you’re the best. In no different style do artists so blatantly express their desire to outdo competition. That made Melobeam’s editorial list a more high-stakes assignment than usual. Many favorites — Kane, Drake, KRS — didn’t make it, and each of those omissions hurts deep down. Note: we’re ranking these of us as MCs, now not artists. That’s why Dr. Dre and Kanye West, for example, two legendary producer-rappers who don’t suit the mic skills of these listed here, were left out. Even Tupac, possibly the most influential rapper ever globally, is arguably recognised more for excellent songwriting than dominant bars.
- Lil Wayne
Lil Wayne’s commercial success speaks for itself — just ask Elvis, whom Weezy surpassed three years in the past as the artist with the most Melobeam Hot one hundred hits of all time. But leaving that aside, his dizzying run of mixtapes, albums and guest spots from around 2004 to 2009 is arguably the most prolific instance of nice meets volume hip-hop music has ever seen. No MC has ever music rapped that well, on that many songs, for that lengthy of a time period.
- Kendrick Lamar
Unlike many of the Eighties legends, the biggest music rappers of the ’90s — from Jay Z to Andre 3000 — maintained relevance into the next decade and the one after. One motive why is that no matter the genre’s ever-shifting sounds, rapping didn’t exchange lots as a craft since the quit of the golden era; the techniques were generally the same, just over different beats. Until Kendrick Lamar got here along. From triple and quadruple-time rhythms, his layered adlibs, and his multiple-personality voices, the Compton rapper is arguably the biggest rap craftsman to emerge this millennium, however his lyrical content material never suffered. His remaining three albums — Section.80, Good Kid Madd City and To Pimp a Butterfly — are three of music rap’s most vivid and topical.
- Ghostface Killah
Wu-Tang Clan installed itself as one of the toughest, culture-moving crews in hip-hop in the 1990s, with each member bringing a specific vibe to RZA’s dusty sonic template. Ghostface Killah stood out amongst them as the most lyrically dexterous, his rhymes coded in slang and threaded collectively like a carried out needlepoint. It used to be on his solo information the place he was at his most comfortable, taking part in with rhyme schemes like a pro to craft some of the previous two decades’ fine music rap releases.
- Lauryn Hill
As one of the most versatile musicians in hip-hop, Lauryn Hill buoyed her team The Fugees in the ‘90s with professor-level raps and velveteen vocals. It was once with her 1998 debut, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, though, that she grew to be absolutely realized, boiling down a bad breakup into a venture equal components grit and vulnerability. Her potential to hit a ferocious nerve (“Lost Ones”) and then transition right into a gushy ballad (“Ex Factor”) used to be simply one mark of her artistic genius on the project, some thing that few have matched on report since.
- Andre 3000
As the higher 1/2 — no offense to the also terrific Big Boi — of Outkast, Andre 3000 was once the limber anchor behind the group’s impeccable five-album run, one unmatched with the aid of any other hip-hop act in terms of quality, success and innovation. Of course, that closing music album, Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, was once virtually two solo sets, and Andre’s 1/2 was once arguably one of the most influential of the twenty first century, displaying subsequent stars like Drake, Lil Wayne and Kanye that you ought to be an eccentric emo crooner and one of hip-hop’s elite at the identical time.
Before Nas’ debut album, 1994’s seminal Illmatic, early hype had critics and followers calling him the 2d coming — of Rakim, not Jesus, however still. 20 years later, Illmatic is widely seen as the high-quality hip-hop music album ever, a flawless combination of vivid avenue poetry and dream-team producers — and sets like Stillmatic and It Was Written are super in their very own right. Even Nas’ B-sides compilation, The Lost Tapes, is higher than most MCs’ albums. Need greater proof Nas belongs here? He defeated none different than Jay Z in the nice music rap war of all time, with possibly the most scathing diss music of all time, “Ether.”
The dividing line between old-school and new-school isn’t a year, it’s a person: Rakim. His 1987 debut with Eric B, Paid in Full, was once a quantum bounce in phrases of mic techniques, from its complex inside rhyme schemes to his soft-spoken delivery. The street-conscious tightrope he walked in his lyrics — criminal, intellectual, everyman, god, all at the same time — set a blueprint that music rappers from Nas to Kendrick Lamar nevertheless follow today.
Shock rap normally stays relegated to the underground, where music rappers like Ill Bill and Necro have flourished. But Eminem is one of the few who broke through to the mainstream, thanks to censor-stoking rhymes about rape, homicide and drug abuse delivered in a tongue-twisting, thought-provoking way. It may want to all be considered attention-grabbing for the sake of keeping a fruitful career — if it weren’t so technically impressive.
- Jay Z
Jay Z’s nimble flow used to be a lot less relaxed, as evidenced by means of the rapid transport on his 1996 debut Reasonable Doubt. But almost each and every yr since, the Brooklyn music rapper developed his craft, enhancing with each album via tightening his flows and creating his wordplay. Since then, he’s developed a super discography with rhymes that consistently wow, turning in countless classics along the way.
- Notorious B.I.G.
Death at a younger age can regularly increase a rapper from cutting-edge superstar to bona fide legend. But Notorious B.I.G. already attained the latter reputation early on his career. His storytelling rhymes mined straight from his experiences in the Brooklyn streets materialized on 1994’s insta-classic Ready to Die, a wild mosaic of vividly visual rhymes delivered with the information of a linguistic master. By the time his group music album with Junior M.A.F.I.A. dropped the following year, and his formidable sophomore double-disc album Life After Death bowed simply six days after his passing in March 1997, he’d already earned his title as the greatest rapper of all time. Unlike all and sundry else on this list, Biggie in no way dropped a single awful song, or a single errant bar.