Top Five: The Best Rappers Alive of 2022 - Beats, Rhymes & Lists (2023)

For ourBest Rappers Aliveseries, we take a look at the top five best rappers, year by year – ranking them on projects dropped, guest verses and overall impact.

2022 is shaping up to be one of the best years for hip hop in recent history. It’s only May and we’ve already seen a slew of incredible releases from the likes the Nas, Kendrick Lamar, Drake, Pusha T, Denzel Curry, Benny the Butcher, JID, Conway the Machine, Westside Gunn, Rome Streetz, Freddie Gibbs, Earl Sweatshirt and plenty more.

As part of , we’re going to rank the best rappers of 2022. And what a year it has been. Just like it was in 2021, putting together a list of the best rappers proved to be very challenging.

So let’s get into it, from Pusha T to Denzel Curry, Kendrick Lamar to Benny the Butcher, here are the best rappers right now of 2022.

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Before we get into the best rappers of 2022, here are the honourable mentions:

Fivio Foreign

Notable releases: B.I.B.L.E.

All eyes were on Fivio Foreign this year after a spectacular performance on Kanye’s “Off the Grid” – by far his biggest song to date – which was unanimously praised as one of the best rap verses of 2021. On an album that featured the likes of Jay-Z, Jay Electronica, Lil Baby, The LOX, and plenty other notable names, Fivio’s verse stood the tallest.

The Brooklyn drill rapper made sure to capitalise on his momentum, dropping “City of Gods” which featured a hungry Kanye returning the favour to Fivio, and turning in another scene-stealing performance on Nicki Minaj’s “We Go Up.” As a technical rapper, Fivio is as good as it gets, sporting a flawless delivery, and while he sounds most at home over drill beats, there are moments on B.I.B.L.E. that has him expanding his musical boundaries.

Conway the Machine

Notable releases: Greetings Earthlings, God Don’t Make Mistakes

I’ll be honest, I couldn’t help but feel a little disappointed after I finished listening to Conway’s Shady Records debut, God Don’t Make Mistakes. I’m not sure whether it was because the album has been hyped since 2018, or because it didn’t feel like a major label debut, or maybe just because we’ve been spoilt with so much Griselda music lately that this one didn’t hit the same. Compared to 2020’s From King to a God, which felt much bigger, this album felt like more a teaser or a mixtape.

Having said that, this is still Conway we’re talking, one of the best rappers of the past few years. With a stacked guest list that includes Beanie Sigel, Rick Ross, Lil Wayne, T.I., alongside his Griselda family, the Buffalo rapper gets deep into his storytelling bag and spills his heart over the album’s 12-tracks. Cuts like “Stressed” and “God Don’t Make Mistakes” are trademark Conway lyrical performances and rival “The Cow” when it comes to emotional depth and honesty.

Vince Staples

Notable releases: Ramona Park Broke My Heart

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Vince Staples is quietly becoming the best and most consistent rapper of his generation. Whether it was 2015’s Summertime ’06, 2017’s Big Fish Theory or last year’s Vince Staples, the Long Beach MC has continued to expand his catalogue, with a refined rapping style rarely heard these days.

There’s a stark clarity and rich detail in the way Staples delivers his bars; every line stands on its own and every hook entrancing. Backed by the likes of DJ Dahi, Kenny Beats, and Cardo, with a guest list that includes Lil Baby and Ty Dolla Sign, Vince Staples might have just dropped the best album of his career with Ramona Park Broke My Heart, and that’s saying something. One of the best rappers of 2022? Absolutely!


Notable releases: I Never Liked You

We got dragged last year when we named Future one of the very best rappers of the 2010s, putting him in the top three above J. Cole. No regrets there. Kanye said it best when he declared Future the “most influential artist of the past 10 years,” and the Atlanta rapper’s latest album, I Never Liked You, is just a showcase of why he’s the best at what he does.

Balancing fire trap bangers with heart-wrenching vocal ballads, Future’s ninth album is an amalgamation of everything that makes him great, influential, and definitely one of the best rappers of 2022.


Notable releases: Zhigeist (with Georgia Anne Muldrow)

Elzhi has been one of the best technicians in hip hop for over the past decade. Coming up in the ultra-competitive Detroit rap scene, Elzhi made his name as part of the legendary Slum Village crew when he was asked by J Dilla to take his place in the group.

Since then, the Detroit MC has bounced around dropping projects on a semi-consistent schedule, and display his ridiculous ability to put words together. Elzhi’s latest album, Zhigeist, put together with Georgia Anne Muldrow, is just another addition to his catalogue of pinpoint bars delivered over smooth, lush production.

Che Noir

Notable releases: Food For Thought

Che Noir is one of the best female rapper in the game today. Sorry, she’s one of the best rappers in the game today, bar none. Born on the exact same day that Nas’ landmark Illmatic dropped (April 19, 1994), Che was destined for rap greatness. Ever since her collaboration album with the amazing Apollo Brown, As God Intended, dropped in 2020, the Buffalo rapper has been making huge strides in the music industry.

“I can only talk about what I’ve seen,” she said in an interview with Mic. “I’m reporting live on my surroundings for 27 years. I’ve been living in upstate New York on and off my entire life. The trauma I’ve been through has made me introspective, vulnerable, and expressive.” On her latest release, Food For Thought (an early contender for album of the year), Che Noir bares all facets of her soul over the tight 12-tracks, from aggressive braggadocio bars to vulnerable revelations about her struggles with mental health and alcohol abuse.

Billy Woods

Notable releases: Aethiopes(with Preservation)

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Along with Elucid as part of Armand Hammer and The Alchemist, Billy Woods dropped one of the best rap albums of 2021 with menacing Haram. Born in Washington, D.C. to an English literature professor for a mother, and a PhD Marxist writer and thinker for a father, you can hear the deep literary roots in the way Woods writes his lyrics.

Over minimalist, floating sampled loops, the New York rapper slings dense metaphorical raps that require multiple listenings to decipher. Death and paranoia loom large over Aethiopes, and with Woods delivering his verses in his cold flow, things appear even more menacing than they really should be.


Notable releases: No Rest for the Wicked

Even though Ransom’s been around for a few years now, the New York rapper seems to be entering into his prime right now. After a devastating 2021 that saw him decimate verses on solo albums (Heavy Is the Head), collaboration albums (Coup De Grace with Rome Streetz) and feature appearances (Conway’s “Kill All Rats”), Ransom is back for more.

Moving across his latest release, No Rest for the Wicked, like a lyrical samurai, every bar is sharp and precise, delivered with a cold, detached demeanour, even though they all feature Ransom’s trademark heart-the-sleeve lyrics.

Earl Sweatshirt

Notable releases: Sick!

Forever an enigma in the rap game, Earl Sweatshirt is content to fall back from the spotlight and come around every so often to drop an album of the year contender. He did it in 2015 with I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside, in 2018 with Some Rap Songs and again in 2022 with Sick!

Dropped just two weeks after the new year began, Earl’s fourth album has been stuck in the steady rotation required to fully absorb what the 28-year old rapper is saying in his verses. With fatherhood and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic representing the two major themes on the album, Earl flips effortlessly between life and death, as the bars come out sharply as ever.

Benny the Butcher

Notable releases: Tana Talk 4

A lot has happened since Benny the Butcher dropped his landmark Tana Talk 3 in 2018. It was around the same time that Griselda was beginning their takeover of the underground. He dropped a number of albums, including the excellent The Plugs I Met and Burden of Proof with Hit-Boy, which is also Benny’s most commercial sounding project to date. In between that, he signed a major label deal with Def Jam, and may or may not have engaged in a beef with collaborator-turned-it’s-complicated Freddie Gibbs.

So when the Griselda rapper announced that he dropping Tana Talk 4 in 2022, it was a statement. Because as all Benny fans would know, as great as his past few albums have been, that Tana Talk represents a gold standard in his catalogue. And for the most part, the fourth instalment to the series lives up to the name.

Over a solid 12-tracks with production by the always reliable Alchemist and Daringer, Benny doesn’t skip a beat as he goes from rapping alongside the likes of J. Cole and Conway, to re-creating classic Biggie tracks, and getting some shit off his chest on “Mr. Chow Hall.” Over the past few years, Benny has been one of the most consistent rappers who can always be relied upon for a solid verse, and Tana Talk 4 is another notch on his already striped belt.

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J. Cole

Notable releases: D-Day: A Gangsta Grillz Mixtape (with Dreamville)

It’s becoming a yearly tradition now. Whether or not J. Cole is dropping an album, fans can depend on him coming through and murdering a few guest verses. Whether it was on 21 Savage’s “A Lot” in 2018, Gang Starr’s “Family and Loyalty” in 2019, or Wale’s “Poke It Out” in 2021, J. Cole is becoming the official guest verse murderer of his generation.

It’s really saying something when Cole has the best verse on the entire Tana Talk 4 which boasted a killers’ row of MCs. Like he said on “Johnny P’s Caddy” – “I’m prolly gon’ go to hell if Jesus ask for a feature.” And we ain’t even have to mention the fire he dropped on D-Day: A Gangsta Grillz Mixtape.

Rome Streetz

Notable releases: Kiss the Ring

After the year that the Griselda rapper had in 2021, all eyes were on him to continue leading the charge for the hardest rap label in the game. While Rome Streetz’s output may have not have been as voluminous in 2022 as it was in 2021, Kiss the Ring is up there with the best of his releases. With Westside Gunn executive producing and hand-picking the beats, the project is exactly what you would expect from a fearsome spitter like Rome – 17 tracks of beats from Camoflauge Monk, Conductor Williams and Daringer, and him just going off on every single one of them. There’s very little breathing room on Kiss the Ring, it’s a full-blown lyrical massacre from one of the best MCs in the game right now.

Top 5 Best Rappers of 2022:

5. Nas

Top Five: The Best Rappers Alive of 2022 - Beats, Rhymes & Lists (1)

Notable releases: King’s Disease III

The greatest rapper New York has ever produced was back again in 2022 with his 16th (!) studio album and third instalment to King’s Disease series. After three projects working with Hit-Boy (including 2021’s Magic) the Queensbridge legend manages to take his raps to yet another level in 2022. Sounding hungrier and more energetic than ever, Nas takes full control of the 17-track album and doesn’t leave any room for features.

It gets more incredible with each year that rappers like Nas, or Jay-Z, or Black Thought, or Method Man drops an album, or an incredible verse, but it just has to be said. Three decades deep in his rap career, almost 30 years to the day since his debut single “Halftime” dropped, and Nasty Nas is still rapping amongst the highest echelon of the lyrical elite.

4. JID

Top Five: The Best Rappers Alive of 2022 - Beats, Rhymes & Lists (2)

Notable releases: The Forever Story, D-Day: A Gangsta Grillz Mixtape (with Dreamville)

We all saw JID’s potential on 2017’s The Never Story, his incredibly promising-yet-lacking debut, and we all watched him progress over the years as Dreamville’s sharpest MC. But it was on The Forever Story that JID not only cemented his status as one of the best rappers in the game, but also as an extraordinary artist who knows how to craft a cohesive, engaging full body of work. JID’s most autobiographical release to date, The Forever Story finds the Atlanta rapper masterfully balance introspective storytelling joints with head-nodding bangers, all while juggling an assortment of features that never sound out of place.

3. Denzel Curry

Top Five: The Best Rappers Alive of 2022 - Beats, Rhymes & Lists (3)

Notable releases: Melt My Eyez See Your Future

According to an interview with Loud And Quiet, Denzel Curry scribbled down the words “Melt My Eyez See Your Future” in a notepad back in 2018. He didn’t exactly know what they meant, but he felt there was something in those words that he’d come back to in the future.

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In between jotting those words down and releasing the album, Curry dropped two other records – 2019’s Zuu and 2020’s Unlocked with Kenny Beats. And as great as those two albums are, there is just something different about Melt My Eyez See Your Future that makes it standout amongst his catalogue.

Curry’s rapping has always been phenomenal, and over production by the likes of Kenny Beats, he’s always guaranteed to produce back-to-back bangers. But on his latest release, the Florida rapper is intent on pushing himself artistically, as he flows over a diverse range of production, from R&B and jazz to boom-bap and funk.

While comparisons to Kendrick’s To Pimp a Butterfly are bound to happen over the next few months, Melt My Eyez See Your Future is wholly original and an album that only Denzel Curry could have created. It’s a goddamn masterpiece.

2. Pusha T

Top Five: The Best Rappers Alive of 2022 - Beats, Rhymes & Lists (4)

Notable releases: It’s Almost Dry

Consider this for a second: Clipse’s debut single, the GOAT coke rap anthem “Grindin'” dropped May 14, 2002. Pusha T’s fourth solo album, It’s Almost Dry, dropped April 22, 2022.

That’s almost 20 years to the exact date of Pusha performing at the highest level of street rap. It’s just never been done before. With his latest release, Pusha has entered the upper echelon of rappers who have been managed to balance out longevity with refreshed, new music that appeals to their core fanbase.

Content-wise, It’s Almost Dry is exactly what you would expect from a Pusha T album: high level, luxury drug rap. But this time, the Clipse rapper is playing around more with different flows and cadences – peep the way he raps like Slick Rick on the casually menacing “Call My Bluff” or the rhyme scheme he employs on “Neck & Wrist.”

Compared to Daytona, an already classic record in Pusha’s catalogue, It’s Almost Dry has more colours, more dimensions, and is just a testament to a rapper who’s dedicated to perfecting his craft. The best rapper of 2022? YEUGH!

1. Kendrick Lamar

Top Five: The Best Rappers Alive of 2022 - Beats, Rhymes & Lists (5)

Notable releases: Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers

Y’all knew this was coming right? I mean, how could you not. The last time Kendrick Lamar dropped an album, XXXTentacion was just blowing up, Nipsey Hussle was getting ready to drop Victory Lap and Pop Smoke was still trying to get in the rap game. Five years later and those three rappers, representing a spectrum of the hip hop community, have passed, while Kendrick was in self-imposed exile going through some shit.

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Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers is perhaps Kendrick densest and most complex listen. It lacks the vivid cinematic quality of good kid, m.A.A.d city, the musicality of To Pimp a Butterfly and pop sensibilities of DAMN., but what you get in return is his most honest and soul-baring album to date. However, while storytelling and brutal truths are at the forefront of the album, make no mistake, Kendrick’s rapping talents are still on full display here – his innate ability to twist his flow around words, dense delivery and various vocal cadences make the album an incredible listening experience.

Listen, Pusha T is my favourite rapper of all time and he might have just dropped his best solo album to date, but there’s no denying it: Kendrick Lamar is the best rapper of 2022.


Who are top 5 2022 rappers? ›

Drake, YoungBoy Never Broke Again, Ye, Lil Durk, Future, Rod Wave, Eminem, Kendrick Lamar and the late Juice WRLD make the cut. The top 100 most-streamed artists of 2022 is experiencing a rap takeover. Sitting at number one is Drake, who is now this year's top-streamed artist so far with at 6.7 billion in streams.

Who is the greatest rapper alive 2022? ›

Top 20 Best Rappers in 2022: List of Famous Musicians
  • MF Doom – British-American Rapper.
  • Royce Da 5'9″ – American Rapper.
  • Kool G Rap – American hip hop artist.
  • Nas – American Rapper.
  • Playboi Carti.
  • Jay-Z – American Rapper.
  • Chali 2na – American Painter and Rapper.
  • Tech N9ne – American Rapper.
10 Oct 2022

What is the most popular rap song right now 2022? ›

1. Pushin P – Gunna, Future & feat. Young Thug (124 million streams)

Who is the No 1 rapper in world? ›

1. Eminem. Eminem introduced rap listeners to a unique style. The metaphors and wordplay Eminem uses are the best in the world, and his lyrics are also one of the finest of all time.

Who is the best rapper alive today? ›

Beats, Rhymes & Lists
  • Drake (It's boring, but his 10th week album sales are comparing with everyone's first week LOL)
  • Tyler (classic album)
  • Kanye (Donda is a masterpiece and will be appreciated 10 years from now)
  • J. Cole (Not a big Cole fan but his album was cool)
  • Don Toliver (Great sophmore album)

What rapper is number 1 on Billboard 2022? ›

The Billboard Music Awards named Drake top artist, male artist, rap artist, rap male artist and rap album for "Certified Lover Boy."

Who is the king of rapper 2022? ›

1. Kanye West (Net Worth: $6.6 billion)

Is NBA YoungBoy number 1? ›

YoungBoy Never Broke Again's 'Last Slimeto' Takes First Place on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums Chart. The prolific rapper earns his second No. 1 of 2022 and third in the last 12 months.

Who are the top 5 most popular rappers? ›

fame is defined by the % of people who have heard of a rap & hiphop music artist. Find out more
  • 1 Snoop Dogg97%
  • 2 Kanye West96%
  • 3 Eminem94%
  • 4 Ice Cube94%
  • 5 Jay-Z93%
  • 6 Vanilla Ice92%
  • 7 MC Hammer91%
  • 8 50 Cent90%

Who is the king of rap in the world? ›

King Of Rap is a highly honorable title that is hard to associate with only one hip-hop artist as there are countless hip-hop artists and enthusiasts today. However, there is one name that is respected and appreciated by almost all different branches of hip-hop; Eminem.

What are the top 10 rap songs right now? ›

Rap Songs 2022
  • Twin (feat. Lil Durk)Roddy Ricch, Lil Durk.
  • Do It RightDon Toliver.
  • Do It Again (feat. 2Rare)NLE Choppa, 2Rare.
  • 300 BlackoutKodak Black.
  • Robbery Part 5Tee Grizzley.
  • Stop BreathingRoddy Ricch.
  • Rich FlexDrake, 21 Savage.
  • Just Wanna RockLil Uzi Vert.

What's the top 10 rap songs out right now? ›

Made by SoundCloud
  • Tomorrow 2 (with Cardi B) GloRilla. 6.4M. ...
  • Nut Quick. GloRilla. 1.5M. ...
  • Unh Unh. GloRilla. 1.4M. ...
  • Drake, 21 Savage - Rich Flex. octobersveryown. 5M. ...
  • Blessed. GloRilla. 1.8M. ...
  • NLE Choppa - Do It Again (feat. 2Rare) NLE Choppa. ...
  • Lil Uzi Vert - Just Wanna Rock. Lil Uzi Vert. 5.8M. ...
  • bank account (feat. Lil Uzi Vert) Baby Keem.

What's the top rap songs right now? ›

Rap Songs 2022
  • Just Wanna Rock. Lil Uzi Vert. Lil Uzi Vert. ...
  • Aston Martin Truck. Roddy Ricch. Roddy Ricch. ...
  • 300 Blackout. Kodak Black. Kodak Black. ...
  • Poland. Lil Yachty. Lil Yachty. ...
  • Robbery, Pt. Tee Grizzley. Tee Grizzley. ...
  • First Class. Jack Harlow. Jack Harlow. ...
  • Cardigan. Don Toliver. Don Toliver. ...
  • Too Much (feat. Moneybagg Yo) Freddie Gibbs.

Who has most fans in rapper? ›

It should come as no surprise that one of the most successful recording artists of all time is also one of the most followed rappers on Instagram. Eminem, who has amassed five No. 1 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 and 10 No. 1 albums on the Billboard 200, boasts 36.3 million followers on the platform.

Who is the top 3 best rappers in the world? ›

Top 10 Best Rappers of All Time
PositionRapperTop Strength
2Tech N9neFlow
3Chali 2naMultisyllabic Rhymes
6 more rows
4 Aug 2022

What is #1 song right now? ›

The chart of today's current hit top pop songs 2022 on iTunes is several times daily and was last updated: Pacific Time. The current number one pop song on iTunes right now is Made You Look by Meghan Trainor.

Who has #1 album right now? ›

Make It Merry Harry Connick, Jr. The current #1 album in the USA on the Billboard 200 chart.

What song was #1 the longest? ›

"Old Town Road" holds the record for the longest stretch at No. 1 with 19 weeks. It also became the fastest song in history to be certified diamond.

Who made rap famous? ›

DJ Kool Herc is widely credited with kicking off the genre. His back-to-school parties in the 1970s were the incubator of his burgeoning idea, where he used his two record turntables to create loops, playing the same beat over again, and extending the instrumental portion of a song.

Who is the Queen of Rap of 2022? ›

Nicki Minaj: Queen of Rap (2022) - IMDb.

Who is the best male rapper in 2022? ›

The crown is for the taking and Lil Baby has walked away with it in the category of Male Rapper of the Year for the XXL Awards 2022. The Atlanta rapper beat out fellow nominees Drake, J. Cole, Kanye West, Moneybagg Yo, Nas and Tyler, The Creator for the award, announced today (Jan.

How many #1 does Kanye have? ›

His Billboard Hot 100 history reads; 107 entries, 56 top 40s, 18 top 10s, and four number-one singles.

How many #1 hits does YoungBoy have? ›

(WVUE) - YoungBoy Never Broke Again has reached the No. 1 spot on the Billboard 200 for the fourth time with his latest release, “Sincerely, Kentrell,” dethroning Drake's “Certified Lover Boy.”

Does juice wrld have a number 1 song? ›

Led by the singles "Robbery" and "Hear Me Calling", it debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 with 165,000 album-equivalent units.

Who is the best selling rap? ›

1. Eminem. Interestingly enough, the top selling rapper of all time sold just 1,000 copies of his first studio album, Infinite, in 1996. Just a few years later, though, The Marshall Mathers LP and The Eminem Show sold a combined 52 million copies worldwide to boost Eminem's sales.

Who is the father of hip hop? ›

The location of that birthplace was 1520 Sedgwick Avenue, and the man who presided over that historic party was the birthday girl's brother, Clive Campbell—better known to history as DJ Kool Herc, founding father of hip hop.

Who is the rap queen? ›

Who Is Currently The Queen Of Rap? Today, The Queen Of Rap is considered to be Nicki Minaj, who has been the most famous female rapper for more than a decade. She has won plenty of awards, released countless hit songs, and inspired and still inspires many new artists, making her one of the most famous faces in music.

Who is the best rap? ›

  • #1 Jay-Z.
  • #2 Lil Wayne.
  • #3 Kanye West.
  • #4 Kendrick Lamar.
  • #5 Notorious B.I.G.
  • #6 Tupac Shakur.
  • #7 Dr. Dre.
  • #8 Snoop Dogg.

Who is the #1 rapper on Apple music? ›

Drake: No. 1 Rap Songs on Apple Music.

What are the top 5 songs trending right now? ›

Today's Top Hits
  • Anti-HeroTaylor Swift.
  • Unholy (feat. Kim Petras)Sam Smith, Kim Petras.
  • CUFF ITBeyoncé
  • As It WasHarry Styles.
  • Calm Down (with Selena Gomez)Rema, Selena Gomez.
  • Rich FlexDrake, 21 Savage.
  • Miss YouOliver Tree, Robin Schulz.
  • I'm Good (Blue)David Guetta, Bebe Rexha.

Who has the most #1 rap songs? ›

1 Hits. Drake has tallied 11 No. 1 hits on the Hot 100 in his career, the most among rappers.

Who has the best rap flow? ›

We ranked the top 50 best rappers according to flow, only.
Top 50 Best Rapper Flows Of All Time
  • TUPAC. ...
  • RAKIM. ...
  • RAEKWON. ...
  • FUTURE. ...
  • ROYCE DA 5'9″ ...
  • BIG BOI. ...
26 Nov 2019

Who is best rapper? ›

  • #1 Jay-Z.
  • #2 Lil Wayne.
  • #3 Kanye West.
  • #4 Kendrick Lamar.
  • #5 Notorious B.I.G.
  • #6 Tupac Shakur.
  • #7 Dr. Dre.
  • #8 Snoop Dogg.

Who is the most successful rapper? ›

1. Eminem. Eminem is the best-selling rapper in history. With over 200 million records sold, he is also the 6th best-selling solo music artist of all time.

Who is rap king? ›

King is from New Delhi originally. The 2019 MTV Hustle fame Rapper and singer King, also known as King Rocco, and aka Badnaam Raja, is well-known in India. King's real name is Arpan Kumar Chandel.

Which rapper has the most hits? ›

1 Hits. Drake has tallied 11 No. 1 hits on the Hot 100 in his career, the most among rappers.

Who is the top 20 rappers of all time? ›

Best Rappers of All Time
  1. 2Pac. Tupac Amaru Shakur also known by his stage names 2Pac and Makaveli, was an American rapper. ...
  2. Eminem. ...
  3. The Notorious B.I.G. ...
  4. Jay-Z. ...
  5. Nas. ...
  6. Rakim. ...
  7. Kendrick Lamar. ...
  8. Lil Wayne.


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