Top 10 Rap Acts of All Time

Rap and hip hop have given birth to some of music's most memorable and accomplished acts. You may remember that in the past, we unveiled 2 lists: one on the greatest rappers of all time and one on the greatest rap groups of all time. Due to popular demand, we have now merged those lists and updated the ranks by taking into consideration your votes on our suggestions page and comments you’ve made. We’ve also based our new rankings on a combination of the artist’s influence, commercial success, longevity, artistic merit and fan appeal. Join WatchMojo.com as we count down our picks for top 10 greatest rap acts of all time. Special thanks to our users akt, lilhammer3991, Rj Meads, Eddie Ashley Velazquez, and Ryan Kilfeather for submitting the idea on our Suggestions Page at WatchMojo.comsuggest.
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When it comes to hip-hop, these crews and MCs are at the top of their class. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for top 10 greatest rap acts of all time.

You may remember that in the past, we unveiled 2 lists: one on the greatest rappers of all time and one on the greatest rap groups of all time. Due to popular demand, we have now merged those lists and updated the ranks by taking into consideration your votes on our suggestions page and comments you’ve made. We’ve also based our new rankings on a combination of the artist’s influence, commercial success, longevity, artistic merit and fan appeal.

#10: N.W.A.

If you looked up the word “gangsta” in the dictionary, chances are you'd see a picture of N.W.A. Often credited as the forefathers of gangster rap, they crafted the ultimate anthem against police brutality with “Fuck tha Police.” Its parent album, Straight Outta Compton, was certified double platinum and became a huge influence on west coast hip hop, despite its controversial and violent lyrics.

#9: Run-DMC

After two MCs and a DJ from Queens, New York decided to put on their Adidas sneakers, track suits and rope chains, hip hop was changed forever. Run-DMC were truly trailblazers in the genre and brought rap to the masses on the strength of their collaboration with Aerosmith, “Walk This Way.” Their impact is so great they were the second rap act to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

#8: Beastie Boys


These guys made us want to fight for our right to party. The trio's debut, Licensed to Ill, was both the first rap album to top the Billboard charts and the best selling rap album of the '80s. By infusing rap with punk rock and jazz-funk, the Beastie Boys truly created an unforgettable sound that was all their own.

#7: Wu-Tang Clan


If it's really true that there's power in numbers, then the Wu-Tang Clan ain't nothing ta fuck with. With each member contributing something different, the Clan hit the mark with their debut, Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers). The highly regarded disc has been continually named one of hip hop's greatest, which is especially telling since no other group has been able to reproduce the organized chaos that made Wu-Tang so successful.

#6: Nas


Nasir Bin Olu Dara Jones came from the U.S.' largest housing project and rose to hip-hop royalty with his debut, Illmatic. Since then, Nas has given us hit after hit, has been awarded The Source Magazine's 5 Mic rating twice and has taken on one of rap's biggest stars, Jay-Z, in a high profile feud. Thanks to his unmatchable rapping skills, Nas has truly shown us why he's the Don.

#5: Jay-Z


Since the late '90s, Shawn Carter has been a fixture of the rap game. Reasonable Doubt and The Blueprint have been hailed as classics of the genre, while his lines, verses and songs have been studied by hip hop heads worldwide. With his empire state of mind, Jay-Z has sold millions of records, topped multiple charts and won many Grammys. In addition, he's transformed himself into one of the most successful businessmen America has ever seen.

#4: Rakim


After beginning his career in the '80s with DJ Eric B, Rakim gave birth to a lyrical style that was all his own by approaching the mic with a laid back delivery. Thanks to his critically praised flow and lyrics, he's been consistently ranked among the best MCs in the game. Some have even called Rakim the greatest MC in history.

#3: Eminem

Who can forget the first time they heard the words: “Hi, my name is Slim Shady”? Marshall Bruce Mathers III forever changed our ideas about rappers' looks and lyrical content. No subject, not even his personal life, was too taboo for Eminem. And with over 90 million albums sold, it's little wonder that he's been deemed one of the greatest artists ever.

#2: The Notorious B.I.G.


All the teachers who told Christopher Wallace that he'd never amount to nothing were certainly wrong about Biggie Smalls. With his unique voice and delivery, Biggie was destined for greatness. Soon enough, this story-telling master put the East Coast hip hop scene on the map. Unfortunately, his participation in the East Coast-West Coast hip hop rivalry led the Notorious B.I.G. to pay the ultimate price in 1997.

Honorable Mentions

Public Enemy
Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five
A Tribe Called Quest
OutKast
Gang Starr

#1: Tupac


Despite being one half of the infamous '90s East Coast/West Coast feud, Tupac Shakur established himself as an insightful and poetic artist who could still maintain a party rocking, gangsta mentality. Though his star quickly rose, its light went dim way too soon: the Thug Life rapper's career came to a screeching halt when he was shot in 1996. Fortunately, Tupac left a legacy of socio-politically charged music that would forever alter the sound of hip hop.

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