Tupac or Biggie? J. Cole or Kendrick Lamar? Nas or Jay-Z?
These are just a few of the rapper vs rapper comparisons that hip-hop fans have made over the years. Whether it’s because artists come up in the same era, have the same core group of fans, or simply seemingly don’t like each other, comparisons and rankings are as much a part of the culture as anything else.
Every few years we get newly compiled lists that rank the greatest rappers of each generation. This year, Billboard and Vibe have come together to drop an extensive, top 50 list of the greatest rappers of all time.
Here are a couple of highlights that stood out to me. For a link to the full list, keep reading.
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#50 Rick Ross
To say that Rozay needs to be a part of the top 50 emcees, in my opinion, is probably accurate. While the man’s first album was a classic, he seems to have been chasing that perfect vibe with each ensuing project. Still, Rick Ross has certainly given us enough hits over the years to warrant him cracking this compilation.
‘J to the Muah’ has had one of the sharpest pens in hip-hop since his shiny suit wearing days of the 90s. Not only does he hold his own as an emcee, but when you check out his writing credits you’ll probably agree that he’s one of rap history’s most important emcees.
#40 Dr. Dre
Interesting pick, for sure. While Dre is undoubtedly someone you can’t tell the story of hip-hop without mentioning, he’s never really been considered a top-flight emcee. Also, and no disrespect, but after he signed Eminem did he ever write a rap again?
#38 Gucci Mane
Gucci is absolutely deserving of being on this list, as he had one of the most incredible mixtape runs in the history of the genre. He’s also succeeded in crossing over from street rap to mainstream, and helped kick the door down for artists in Atlanta to not-so-quietly move to the forefront of hip-hop.
#31 Lil Kim
It’s not hard to tell that the ladies have jumped into the driver’s seat of mainstream rap music, and Lil Kim, for those who don’t know, is one of, if not the sole pioneer of that change. Before Nicki and Cardi and whoever else you want to mention… there was Lil Kim.
#17 50 Cent
50 Cent has been a bully his whole career, and it’s seemed to work out for him. Long before the days of him publicly calling out Starz in relation to his Ghost and BMF cable TV series, he was calling out Ja Rule and Murder Inc. in a manner that, at some points, was almost overkill. Still, his first album is a classic, and he has more hits than you can probably remember off the top of your head. Top 20 though? I don’t know about all that.
#15 J. Cole
Jermaine Cole’s ranking on this list is probably way too low for his stans, and I would have to agree with them. Once you see who made the top 5 you may be asking for a recount.
#11 Kanye West (Ye)
Hate him or love him (or just think he acts like an ass sometimes), Kanye West is not only one of rap’s greatest artists, but he’s one of America’s most important musicians. Yeah, I said it. And yeah, he certainly acts like an ass more than a normal person can probably digest.
The Top 10 rappers on Billboard and Vibe’s list, which you can see [by clicking here], goes as follows:
10 – Nicki Minaj
9 – Snoop Dogg
8 – Drake
7 – Lil Wayne
6 – The Notorious B.I.G.
5 – Eminem
4 – Tupac
3 – Nas
2 – Kendrick Lamar
1 – Jay-Z.
How do you feel about the Top 50 Rappers list put together by Billboard and Vibe? Hit one of those emojis and let us know what’s on your mind!
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