Billboard Names The 10 Best Rappers of All Time And They Almost Got It Right

Scoot your chair up really close to your screen, music bloggers — I’m about to share the key to a successful blog post:

Make a list ranking the things people love, then watch them share said post on social media so they can publicly shame you for leaving their favorites off the list. — Pissing off music fans since 2008 


Billboard knows what’s up.

So if you dipped your toe into the shark-infested waters of Facebook yesterday you probably saw an image listing  Billboard’s 10 greatest rappers of all time. At least five of my FB friends shared it. Most times these lists are completely ridiculous, filled with flavor-of-the-month rappers or crippled by regional biases.

But this list isn’t bad. Not bad at all.

top 10

Not ONE mention of Drake. I’ve taught you well, Billboard.

The top five is almost spot-on. Biggie’s pre-death discography is flawless, arguably because he died before he had a chance to stumble, but regardless, he’s the king. I’d move Nas to No. 2, simply because he’s been the most consistent rap artist of the past 20 years. Yes, people are STILL whining about the Nastradamus album (which really wasn’t THAT bad) but besides that hiccup, his catalog is legendary.

Jay has been slowly losing credibility for years, even before he was eating Beyonce’s breasteses for breakfast, but he likely will always be the measuring stick for rap success. He’s top five for sure.  I’d swap Rakim and Eminem just for history’s sake — Rakim has influenced pretty much every rapper to emerge since 1993 or so. And bar for bar, Em’s lyricism is unmatched.

Outside of the top 5, the list gets shaky, especially near the end with the odd inclusions of Kendrick Lamar (whose career is still much to young to be ranked among legends) and Lil Wayne (who was only good for about three years max and has been deteriorating since 2006). KRS-One, Kanye West, Black Thought all could be in the conversation.

And yes, Stans, even 2pac.

2pac may be the most overrated human being to walk terra firma but his influence can’t be denied. He’s no lyricist, and a lot of his “innovations” have been absurdly overplayed but he undoubtedly had a huge hand in hip-hop’s mainstream success. That’s enough to give him a top 10 slot.

But I love that Billboard trolled y’all and left him out.

Share your personal top 10s below. Just don’t make Pac your No. 1 cuz that would just be incorrect.




  1. Excellent commentary. Agreed with everything said.

  2. I 100% disagree with Eminem being below Jay-Z and Lil Wayne being on the list at all. Jay can’t hold a candle to Em. And, if you know like I do that Eminem’s verse on Renegade wasn’t performed live but taken from an old Bad Meets Evil song by the same name, you’ll hear the song differently. Jay is a business man that also happens to rap. Eminem is hip hop nerd that can rap circles around anyone in a few lines.

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