Top 10 Best Rap Lyricists of All Time

Describing, and honoring, the most lyrical rappers of all time. Focusing on the mastery of lyrical skills.
The Top Ten
1 Eminem Eminem, born Marshall Bruce Mathers III, is an American rapper, actor and music producer born on October 17, 1972 in St. Joseph, Missouri. Eminem has sold over 300 million records making him the bestselling hip-hop artist of all time. In addition to his solo career, he is a member of D12 and (with Royce da 5'9") half of the hip-hop duo Bad Meets Evil. Rolling Stone ranked him 83rd on its list of 100 Greatest Artists of All Time, calling him the King of Hip Hop. Including his work with D12 and Bad Meets Evil, Eminem has had ten number-one albums on the Billboard 200 and 5 number-one singles on the Billboard Hot 100, and 13 worldwide.

Not a surprise he is my favorite rapper. Still he is a shorty we kept telling him he won't make it cause he is white. Yes Biggie is great, yes Tupac is amazing, Nas is awesome, but imagine how good Eminem had to be just to sell albums like he did and have some many fans, and just have the career he had. He could make an album just with freestyles! The words come naturally to him. No doubt. He is born to be the best. Both Slim Shady and Marshall Mathers have insane and shocking lyrics. He is definitely untouchable. I don't even think there is a single word in Lose Yourself that does not rhyme with something else. He his the only one that can make "sandwich rhymes" like he does.

Rap is about lyrics, and this guys lyrics is levels above the rest. I love all his work. relapse was good the rhymes in that album are ridiculous and even though it might be his worst album it could still be in the top 20 rap albums ever. I love his newer more motivation stuff and remember rap is music and he is the only rap artist that makes songs that can hold up with all-time greats of other genres. HE TRANSCENDS rap. his flow is the best ever and doesn't recycle lyrics like everyone else does.

Lame lyrics with no purpose. Mainstream. You think you can make words rime and your a lyricist. Give a baby a crayon, let him scribble, wow a piccasso painting. That's Eminem. Listen to k rino how many rhymes. Immortal technique dancing with the devil. That's deep. Just symphonies of perfection. Eminem ranks at a trillion. Anyone who thinks otherwise is totally brainwashed. Learn whats important in life.

Eminem's lyrics are insane. I've listened to lyrics from his songs and wrote them down. Some of the metaphors in his songs I didn't even pick up on until like a month later. And the metaphors are one thing, the rhyme is another. If you group his lyrics into rhyming categories, it's rare to find a word that doesn't rhyme with another word. The only rappers I've heard rhyme as much as him are...

Royce the 5'9"

2 Tupac Tupac Amaru Shakur, also known as 2Pac, was an American rapper and actor born on June 16, 1971 in East Harlem, New York. Tupac sold over 75 million records worldwide and has been referred to in multiple major publications such as Rolling Stone as one of the greatest music artists of all time. 2Pac was assassinated on September 1996 at the age of 25. more.

People say he is not lyrical. Meanwhile he is the most Quoted rapper of all time worldwide. His voice, flow, realness, direct delivery, beat choice, freestyle skills and diss tracks untouchable. This man was whole package he used rap music as a way to talk to people and he did it better than anyone else. If he is not at least in your TOP 5 of All Time you better do your research of what this man did for the culture, hip hop and black people. Most important figure in hip hop and biggest influence in hip hop period. Ask your favorite rapper who influenced him the most. Nas, Eminem, Andre 3000, Kendrick, J. Cole, CamRon, 50 Cent, Notorious B.I.G., Jay-Z, Big Pun, Big L, Mobb Deep.. All of them are products of Tupac Amaru Shakur.

Tupac is the greatest for lyrics, I love slim more than anything but Tupac is still the greatest for content. Slim has a couple of songs such as mocking bird, and when I'm gone, and stan are a few of his greatest content songs that display his genius for story telling and personally I think they are equal or greater than some of pacs but over all pac wins this catagory

Wow! PAC, lyrics no man just no PAC is an actor he had great relationship with the fans, and decent music a role model but LYRICs! Are you mad its Nas any day you fanboys need education! You'd have to have brain damage to not know even Eminem has better lyrics then PAC, biggie too heck Jay Z has better lyrical content, PAC had a message in his maretail that's the pro of his music not lyrics

With talent, wit and amazing rhymes, Tupac has earned his spot. Along with having deeply beautiful and emotional songs, his legacy is just astounding.

3 Nas Nasir bin Olu Dara Jones, better known by his stage name Nas, is an American rapper and entrepreneur born on September 14, 1973 in New York City. His album, Illmatic, is considered to be one of the best rap albums of all time. He is also considered to be one of the best rappers of all time.

Nas is probably the 2nd best lyrical rapper of all time. The only rapper I would pick over him is Tupac. But Tupac and Nas are very much alike in the way they write their songs. I would not be surprised if they were very good friends. Eminem is good but his songs are annoying to listen to. Listen to No introduction by Nas and you will see why he is great.

Nas is the greatest lyrical rapper of all time. Just listen to "It ain't hard to tell", "Halftime", well really a the whole album of Illmatic. You will need no more proof after that. If you are really stubborn just listen to his other albums. His flows and rhymes are untouchable. No question about it.

Eminem? Seriously? Above nas and pac? I can't believe this, this list is the worst I have seen. Check out the source's ranking of most lyrical emcee's, who don't know about rap music. Nas is GOAT.

Nas is a way better lyrical rapper than 2pac, only Eminem comes close.. Tupac is a good rapper, no doubt and I love him, but when it comes to technical lyricism,bending words, metaphors, simile, puns, Nas is the best, followed by Eminem.

4 Hichkas Sorush Lashkary (born May 10, 1985) better known by his stage name Hichkas (Persian: Hiĉkas - هیچکس‎‎; meaning "Nobody") is an Iranian rapper from Tehran. Hichkas is considered as one of pioneers of "Persian Rap" and "Persian Urban music.

The godfather of rap. Persian language such as English is not widely known in the world because the rapper is low. Text and style but she is amazing

Hichkas best rapper in the world... Best best best

Honestly among all the Persian rappers he is the best. In both singing and lyrics writing, but I'm not sure how we can compare him with Eminem and other rappers with different native language. Anyway, as a Persian I definitely support Hichkas.
Persian Rap

This guy is an amazing singer! I'm so so proud of him and wish the best with the way he is going on! Whoever understand his lyrics is the luckiest one! Bravo!

5 The Notorious B.I.G. (Biggie Smalls) Christopher George Latore Wallace, born May 21, 1972, better known by his stage name The Notorious B.I.G (sometimes Biggie Smalls or just simply Biggie), is an American rapper from Brooklyn, New York. On March 9, 1997, he was murdered in a drive by shooting in Los Angeles, California at the age of only 24. To this day it’s unknown who murdered him. more.

Are you kidding he is WAY better than Tupac, a founder of rap who wowed everyone with his storytelling. Enough with the Persians, they wouldn't be here without BIG.

Biggie is the best rapper of all time, and eazy e is 2nd. I mean they're complete opposites but with their trademark and unique styles you just can't beat em

As much as I love Tupac, there's no way that Tupac is a better lyricist than Biggie.

He was actually a lyrical genius. Deserves to be on the top of this list.

6 Jay-Z Shawn Corey Carter, known by his stage name JAY-Z, is an American rapper, record producer, entrepreneur and investor born on December 4, 1969 in Brooklyn, New York. He is best known for his albums Reasonable Doubt, The Blueprint, and The Black Album. He is considered to be one of the best rappers of all time.

I thought of him as the enemy, at first, then I saw how Tupac was planning to end the West coast/East coast rivalrie and I, then, started to listen to his lyrics. He seems to be a great person on the inside also! "... Song Cry " is my favorite!

Jays lyrics are laced with double entandras (sp? ) And metaphors. One verse can have meaning on the surface and on another layer. People that don't understand him can't appreciate him the same as those who do.

His style is unique, and words stay on point, with a different taste, Jay-Z can only deliver.

Jay Z is one of my personal favorites, his style cannot be beat.

7 Rakim William Michael Griffin Jr. (born January 28, 1968), better known by his stage name Rakim Allah (or simply Rakim), is an American rapper and record producer. One half of golden age hip hop duo Eric B. & Rakim, he is widely regarded as one of the most influential and skilled MCs of all time. more.

Rakim is one of the most under-rated main stream rappers who ever picked up a mic. His multi-syllabic rhymes combined with his precise flow make him a treat to listen to. He has creative, story-telling lyrics, with strong beats, and a unique twist on words through most of his music. I am actually surprised he isn't top ten.

In terms of flow and revolution, he is by far the greatest. The problem with doing a list like this is that there need to be different aspects to be taken into consideration. I notice Busta Rhymes is not on any of these lists, and he is by far the most versatile rapper who can emcee and rap in so many genres from rock to pop to house to EDM to ragga dancehall convincingly. His discography is impeccable, and not even 2pac comes close to that aspect. LL Cool J is revolutionary in being able to go hard and then go soft for the ladies, and then when people started dissing, he let rip with Mama Said Knock You Out. Over 14 albums is astonishing and a definite top 10 rapper. A top 10 rapper has to be revolutionary in some aspect of the game of hip hop. For example, 2pac was not known for his emcee prowess, so how can he be named in the top 10 greatest? He was the greatest hip hop icon, no doubt, and was a fantastic studio writer. KRS 1 is the greatest battle rapper, hands down. How many ...more

Amazing imagery an storytelling skills. And people: this is a list ranked purely on LYRICAL skills. How is Dr. Dre so high up? He's a great artis but since when is Dre a top lyricist?

Eminem is my favorite rapper. But there's no rapper who's more lyrical than Rakim. NO ONE.

Just listen to his lyrics, so much punch lines, metaphors, word plays...

8 Kendrick Lamar Kendrick Lamar Duckworth (born June 17, 1987) is an American rapper and songwriter. Raised in Compton, California, Lamar embarked on his musical career as a teenager under the stage name K-Dot, releasing a mixtape that garnered local attention and led to his signing with indie record label Top Dawg Entertainment (TDE).

Lyrically Kendrick obviously has competition although I personally love his lyrics the most. One thing I think nobody can touch kendrick on is his never ending musical creativity. Nobody can mess with Kendrick on the way he can lead a song. In the Heart Part IV and on his album DAMN. there have never been such variance and originality. Truly a genius with the music that accompanies his words. All 14 tracks on the album DAMN. reached the top 100 leaderboard and the album secured spots 1-9 on the top streamed songs for On-Demand. How many other rappers have put every single song onto the top 100? I mean 14?!?! Like seriously the average quality of his songs I think deserve to move him up on this list. I can pick up almost any Kendrick song and enjoy it.

Kendrick Lamar is the best with his metaphors, similes and allusions. Sure Tupac may be more iconic and have deep lyrics too, but his lyrics are very simple and his lyrics could be understood after one listen easily. Kendrick Lamar is a poet. His songs get great the more you try to decipher his lyrics and analyze his works which is why I say he is the best rapper in terms of lyrics.

Honestly, definitely top 10 all time when its all said and done, but for now, I think he should be lower. Still though, his last 2 albums... The way his from-the-hood style lyricism can just merge with the hugely intelligent deeper meaning behind "To Pimp a Butterfly" is insane. I don't know of any other rappers that can do that

His lyrics personally reach me and help me these lyrics resemble me more than other rapper he reaches me and is able to help me relieve pain and anger, he has expierenced some things I have. He's incredible he keeps the beat and rhymes incredible.

9 Dr. Dre Andre Romelle Young (born February 18, 1965), known professionally as Dr. Dre, is an American rapper, record producer, and entrepreneur. He is the founder and CEO of Aftermath Entertainment and Beats Electronics, and previously co-founded, co-owned, and was the president of Death Row Records. Dr. Dre more.

The chronic... say no more

A good rapper a good person should be behind Eminem on this list

10 Shahin Najafi

Lyrics of Pain. I can hear all his lyrics from every one around me... He is one and only Persian rapper who truly respects Rap. All his lyrics are about your life, in a way...

Perfect lyrics. He is the voice of Iranian fighters for freedom

He is the best

He is the voice of our generation. His poetry is a sentence for apostasy (execution)!

The Contenders
11 J Cole Jermaine Lamarr Cole is an American rapper, singer, songwriter and record producer. Born on a military base in Germany but raised in Fayetteville, North Carolina, Cole initially gained recognition as a rapper following the release of his debut mixtape, The Come Up, in early-2007.

J.Cole and Tupac are easily the 2 most lyrical rappers with the best flow of all time. he is easily top ten. 17!?!? Who votes on this? Listen to any of his songs where he talks about serious issues in society. 2014 Forest Hills Drive! 4 Your Eyez Only! Vote him up!

J Cole deserves to be in the top 20 rappers without a doubt. The best storyteller and an absolute genius with putting his words together. Each of his albums and mixtapes connect deeply with anyone who listens and he puts real time into each of his records.

He's a beast I don't know how you could say j Cole is not one of the top ten lyrical rappers of all time. How can u put j Cole under Lamar's bum ass. In addition, the only rappers I can see being more lyrically inclined than Jermaine is Big E, Tupac, and Eminem. Not all of his songs are super catchy, but as far as true lyrics and being about the words he's spitting j Cole can't be under top 5.

One of the best storytellers this genre has seen, he deserves the top 10 or 5 even, to be honest I'd class him under Eminem and Tupac but ahead of everyone else!

12 50 Cent Curtis James Jackson III, better known by his stage name 50 Cent, is an American rapper, actor, entrepreneur, investor, record, film, and television producer.

Perfect lyrical connection, good beats, nice voice, what's not to like?

I love you mafia 50

13 Ho3ein

In the name of the Persian rap that most of the Persian young people loving it.

I proud of hos3ein because he does the best Persian rap about lifestyle outside and inside Iran he doesn't show off or he doesn't share his photos anywhere with different girls so this is the time we all stand up for this young man and keep his flag on top of the pole as best Persian rapper alive.

Kaqaz ( Hossein And Sadegh ) Are the greatest rappers about the lyrical poet. I really dare to give him 10 of 10.

He is king of rap, good beat good lyrical great sound...

Really love his lyrics! He is awesome guy!

14 K-Rino Eric Kaiser (born 9 September 1970), better known by his stage name K-Rino, is an American rapper and record producer from Houston, Texas. He is a pioneer of the Southern hip hop scene, and has been rapping since 1983. K-Rino's first release was the single "rocking It" with his group Real Chill in 1986, more.

I'm glad this guy is finally mentioned on a "best rapper list" even if it is one that is greatly biased due to popularity (which cannot be controlled and is understandable, I don't mean to complain too much). I believe he should at least be in the top 10 if not 2, I think he's the best rapper alive or dead thah I know of because of his intelligent lyrics, diversity in flow and topics, and his passion for rapping. he put out 3 albums this year and they were all good quality. He has a total of around 20 and that means you have a lot of great songs to listen to if you do enjoy K-rino.
If your looking where to start I would recommend his album "annihilation of the evil machine". And if you don't like conspiracy theories in your rap, you do not have to worry too much with K-rino he has a few which happen to be his highly viewed songs, but they make up a small minority of his songs. He has also been rapping since 88 or 83, he's been around for a while and I hope he gets recognized for ...more

#23! Seriously what the hell have you guys been smoking krino is the best emc there is he has everything he has the passion, heart, intelligence, flow, wordplay, storytelling. He raps about the truth and exposes corruption. He also has many songs that any person can relate to. This man also is very consistent and has a wide variety of topics and concepts to rap about from braggadocios to religion, storytelling, to politics and very unique concepts. He is the Shakespeare and Tesla of Hip Hop a Genius who isn't recognized for his dedication to his craft

Hardest working and most diverse man in hip hop. He usually drops 2 albums a year. I say usually, because some years hell drop 3! Very intelligent flow.

This mans creativity is un-paralleled straight up and the flow is consistent. I don't need to feel
The beat when he spits te lyrics are everything..

15 MF DOOM Daniel Dumile (July 13, 1971 - October 31, 2020), also known as MF DOOM, was a British-born hip hop recording artist who spent most of his life in the United States. He died on October 31, 2020, however, his death wasn't revealed until December 31.

He has more complex type rhymes than Em. No disrespect I love Em, was the first rapper I binge listened to. Though this guy is way better in terms of metaphors and rhyme schemes.

Trash, em is a way better lyricist. I don't know what you guys are talking about.

Real Hip-Hop heads know that DOOM is best there ever was. I doubt that even in 100 years we see someone clouse to him.

His Madvillainy album is so underrated. His rhymes and flow are by far more complex than Em's

16 Aesop Rock Ian Matthias Bavitz, better known by his stage name Aesop Rock, is an American hip hop recording artist and producer residing in Portland, Oregon.

Crazy how far they put Aesop and MF DOOM on these lists, it seems mostly based off of popularity, which is incredibly unfortunate. I recommend someone to listen to any song by Aesop, Mainstream or not, and you will be impressed by his talent. Every sentence is a story.

I've never heard an emcee use such complex rhyme schemes and a wide vocabulary. I wanna die a little simply cause Lil Wayne is higher on this list. Aesop Rock was part of a study to find the most lyrically intricate rappers, and he topped the entire list. He used a wider vocabulary than SHAKESPEARE used in his own works. He was leagues ahead of Herman Melville (the writer of moby dick) and all of wu tang, Eminem, kendrick, etc. Keep in mind, Aesop Rock is FAR from my favourite rapper, I have fallen victim to the Top Dawg Ent. bandwagon as of late. But I cannot deny that Aesop Rock is the most lyrically intricate emcee ever heard.

When compared to other rappers, he uses more words. Period. Per 35,000 words, around 7500 of them are unique words. Most rappers were found to have less than half of that. Objectively, scientifically, he has been proven to be the most unique words out of any other well known rapper.

The only reason Aesop Rock isn't up there is because he isn't as well known. I personally think his songs are terrible but he does have some of the best lyrical songs I have heard from any other rapper even above Eminem.

17 Drake Aubrey Drake Graham, known professionally as Drake, is a Canadian rapper, singer, songwriter, record producer and actor, born on October 24, 1986 in Toronto, Canada. He started his career on Canadian reality show "Degrassi: The Next Generation".

His flow is flawless and he is able to tell a story within the opening of the song, he is intelligent and uses smart word play which is very impressive, he is able to make you laugh cry and feel the emotions he feels while rapping, that's a good rapper right there, don't just push him to the side because he's signed with YMCMB, honestly that label is doing no good for him, he is much more smart and witty than anybody out there.

Drake is alright and he deserves to be higher but I don't think he deserves to be top ten. His lyrics are mediocre but he does have an impressive flow.

There are a lot of rappers on this list that may be better freestylers but the numbers and broken records speak for themselves...

He is a great rapper

18 Big Pun Christopher Lee Rios, better known by his stage name Big Pun, was an American rapper. Emerging from the underground hip hop scene in The Bronx borough of New York City, in the early 1990s, he was the first Latino rapper to have an album certified platinum as a solo act. more.

He isn't my favorite rapper because eminem is but he is the most lyrical one I can think of on the top of my head.

This is just dissrespectful! Pun is top 5 top10 lyricist of All Time! Capital punishment is an untouchable classic. End of discussion.

Big pun. I never heard anyone play with words like him. And his flow is unmatched to this day, he should be at the top of this list.R.I.P. big Punisher

Big Pun belongs 1-5 not all the way down here with the likes of Drake, or Wale.

19 Hishaam Honzo
20 Mehrad Hidden Mehrad Hidden is a Iranian singer, rapper, and producer. He grew up listening and composing rock songs. At age 18, He formed the group Zedbazi with Saman Wilson.

The best in the world, he is god of rappers and have special style and vocal and lyrics

Mehrad is a genius, I used to listen to other rappers out here. But right now, I'm thinking of giving a chance to Mehrad and his great abilities.

Master in all music fields, epeccially rock and rock&roll, and he's perfect voice with marvellous style,... ! He's the best!

I'll die if I have A day without mehrad's voice...

21 Lil Wayne Dwayne Michael Carter, Jr. is an American rapper from New Orleans, Louisiana. He was discovered by Brian "Baby" "Birdman" Williams at a very young age, and was signed to Cash Money Records, where he would be one quarter of the rap group Hot Boys. In the years to follow, he would go on to find his own label, Young Money, where he would sign popular artists such as Drake, Nicki Minaj and Tyga, and he would go on to be one of the most popular rappers of all time. more.

You don't understand, Lil Wayne isn't "trash" there are several raps today, lyrical, partying, dance rap, and even rap that simply is catchy, he may not be a lyrical genius, but he does make rap that appeals to others, and CLEARLY he is doing something right with a net worth of over $140 Million Dollars.

Don't listen to carter 3, listen to Krazy, 6 Foot 7 Foot, Glory, etc. He is the only rapper who can throw out 4 minutes of ILL punchlines on a track with an insane flow. His wordplay is one of the best in the game. The only thing bad about him is that his voice is wack.

He is very talented he should be higher on this list he just goes into the study and freestyle he does not even write anything down that is how talented he is.

Hate wayne all you want, when it really comes down to it, his lyrics are brilliant and clever.

22 Ben Sharpa

This guy is TRULY one of the most prolific hip hop artists to come out of South Africa. His content and delivery is second to none.

23 Yas Yaser Bakhtiari, better known by his stage name Yas, is an Iranian rapper. Yas is one of the most popular rappers in Iran and Middle East. He is also known for his Faravahar pedant, a symbol of Iranian nationalism and Zoroastrianism, that he wears most of the time.

He is like the 2 pac of Persian rap, his lyrics are raw, real, and dark, but always carry a positive message at the end of the day.

God of Persian rap

He's voice of us

Yas is the best

24 Lupe Fiasco Wasalu Muhammad Jaco (born February 16, 1982), better known by his stage name Lupe Fiasco, is an American rapper, record producer, and entrepreneur. He rose to fame in 2006 following the success of his debut album, Lupe Fiasco's Food & Liquor. He also performs as the frontman of rock band Japanese Cartoon under his real name. As an entrepreneur, Fiasco is the chief executive officer of 1st & 15th Entertainment.

I am a huge fan and have a lot of respect for rappers like Em, Jay, Nas, Dre, Rakim, etc. But as far as pure lyricism goes (discounting everything else like flow, production, rhyme scheme, etc) Lupe takes the top spot easily. With tracks like around my way, words I never said, and American terrorist to all the symbolism and complexity the cool saga there is no competition for him!

Lupe Fiasco is a wizard with words, his lyrics are deeper than Marianas Trench, he is so inspirational, and his songs have an incredible flow. He is the most unique rapper I have ever witnessed, and even though I acknowledge that Eminem, Nas, and a few other rappers are also rap geniuses, but the true lyrical king is definitely Lupe Fiasco.

It's sad to see him so low on the list. It's a shame really, when someone is as lyrical as lupe is, it's not a surprise to see no one understanding him. His lyrics are way ahead of his time to be honest. He's meant to take top spot easily here. Only competition would be Eminem, nas, rakim and MF DOOM

Four classic albums (Food and Liquor, The Cool, Tetsuo & Youth, Drogas Wave. As someone who regularly reads and goes to Shakespeare plays, I rate Lupe as highly.

Lyrically he's not on another level, he's in another dimension:

"The galleries lack the wall space
So I made a gallery of galleries, made of all space"

Mural Jr.

25 Proverb

Is one of the greatest rapper in S. A, he is doing his numbers out there I'm been for real if you don't believe me means that you've never heard him or you don't know how to write Proverb.

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