Die hard fans, music nerds and critics love lists. But in rap, rankings like this take on a special level of import: aside from moving a crowd, MC means proving you’re the best. In no other genre do artists so blatantly express their desire to outdo competition. That made Billboard‘s editorial list a more high-stakes undertaking than usual.
Many favorites — Kanye, Drake, KRS — didn’t make it, and each of those omissions hurts deep down. Note: we’re ranking these folks as MCs, not artists. That’s why Dr. Dre and Kanye West, for example, two legendary producer-rappers who don’t match the mic skills of those listed here, were left out.
Even Tupac, perhaps the most influential rapper ever globally, is arguably known more for great songwriting than dominant bars.
Continue below to see the list of 10 Greatest Rappers Of All Times –
10. Lil Wayne
Lil Wayne’s commercial success speaks for itself — just ask Elvis, whom Weezy surpassed three years ago as the artist with the most Billboard H0t 100 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 example of quality meets quantity hip-hop has ever seen. No MC has ever rapped that well, on that many songs, for that long of a time period.
Continue on page 2 below for the rest of the list.