The Greatest Rappers of All Time for Their Technical Skills

best rappers of all time

Drawing up annual lists of the best rappers of all time is a favorite marketing strategy employed by music magazines and companies. Such lists allow them to reaffirm the clout of the top talents in the industry and also to introduce others who are not as widely known yet. Since most music fans love these types of lists, they will be more likely to review them and share them on social media.

It is not a simple matter, however, to determine who you ought to include in the list of the best rappers of all time. After all, everyone has their own personal taste in the hip hop music they like, and there are also thousands of talented rap musicians the world over, each with some unique feature—delivery style, cadence, beats, subject matter, message, and so on—that makes them stand apart from the others. How do you use subjective criteria to come up with objective ranking?

Determining the Best Rappers of All Time

The following parameters might help you to come up with a definitive list:

•  For how many years have they been rapping?

•  Are they consistent in their wordplay and flow?

•  What are the rapper’s album sales?

•  Have they had any number one albums on Billboard’s Top 200?

•  Have they had any number one singles on Billboard’s Hot 100 Chart?

•  Have they won any Grammy Awards?

•  Have they won any American Music Awards?

•  What other awards and recognitions have they won?

Some of the Best Rappers of All Time

Here are some of the greatest rappers who are known for their technical skills:

1.  Eminem

When it comes to commercial success, the multi-talented Eminem is in a class of his own. He has sold over 49.1 million albums worldwide, with his second album, The Marshall Mathers LP, making sales history by selling 1,760,000 copies on 23 May 2000 and becoming the fastest-selling album of all time. Additionally, he has had nine No. 1 albums, four No.1 songs, and five No. 1 hits. His ability to string words and use intricate rhyming schemes in a smooth flow is unsurpassed.

Many of his songs are reflections of his personal and professional struggles. They are, at different times, deep-felt, profound, funny, controversial, and nonchalant. He also writes about the power of music and its importance in his life.

2.  Jay-Z

With over 30.6 million album sales and 11 consecutive No. 1 albums, Jay-Z has an assured place in rap music history. His second album, Vol. 2…Hard Knock Life, debuted at the top on the Billboard 200 and went on to sell 350,000 copies in the first week. He has also had 13 chart-topping rap songs and four No. 1 hits. He is known for his poetic, witty, and impactful rhymes and flow versatility; he has an incredible ability to switch seamlessly from fast to slow and back as the beat requires.

3.  Kanye West

One of the most outstanding musicians of the rap industry, he has sold over 16.3 million albums. Between 2004 and 2012, he had eight of his albums on top of the charts, 12 No. 1 singles, and four No. 1 hits. His songs regularly took top place on the Billboard Hot Rap Songs, the Billboard Hot 100, and the Billboard Top R&B/Hip Hop Songs.

Known for being outspoken, Kanye has never shied away from difficult topics in his songs. A talented lyricist, he has written frankly about relationships, sex, social issues, political issues, and fashion. He is known for being innovative and experimental, is a talented lyricist, and is an excellent live performer as well. He has also made enormous contributions as a music producer and influenced and mentored upcoming musicians.

4.  Drake

Along with selling over 12.1 million albums, Canadian rapper Drake has had 26 songs topping the Billboard Hop Rap Songs and the Billboard Top R&B/Hip Hop Songs charts. He has also had six No. 1 hits and seven No. 1 albums. Drake’s casual charisma and low-key approach come paired with technically sound lyrics and confident delivery. His songs are mostly compelling variations about romance, fame, adversity, and the problems that come with being a celebrity.