22 Greatest MCs

Mos Def & Talib Kweli are Black Star

Anyone catch MTV’s 22 Greatest MC show? The moment they announced number 22 I knew we were gonna have beef. Their list was the result of a public poll, so I have to give a little slack given all the youngsters that likely voted. (Learn your history!) And I do have to say that I didn’t have too many problems with the list as a whole. But by first issue is the name of the show. Judging by the results, it should have been called the ’22 Greatest Rappers’. Some of the people on MTV’s list just don’t qualify as MCs in my opinion. (Shock G has an excellent description of what an MC is on his site. ) Besides that, there are some glaring injustices on MTV’s list: KRS-ONE after Nelly and Lil Kim??? The fact that Foxy and Lil Kim even made the list… Chuck D at 22…

So of course I had to come up with my own list. This was a very difficult thing to do, especially after I got out of my top 15. I really wanted to just say these next 30 people are tied for the next spot. But instead, I made an honorable mention list.

But first, some quick notes:

  • KRS-ONE is still number 1. KRS is the definition of an MC. Go to a live show, and you’ll feel the power of a true MC. Crystal clear lyrics. Booming voice. Switching styles. Going acapella. Beating down wack soundmen (yes, I was at the LA show when that happened!) TEACHING! The choice is clear.
  • Rakim = skills! Check the lyrics. (“I take seven MCs, put ’em in a line/ and add seven more brothers who think they can rhyme/ well it’ll take seven more before I go for mine/ then that’s 21 MCs ate up at the same time.”) True heads will note that the name of this site is a reference to a Rakim song:

    My mind starts to activate, rhymes collaborate
    Cuz When I heard the beat I just had to make
    Something from the top of my head
    So I fell into the groove of the wax and I said
    How could I move the crowd?
    First of all, ain’t no mistakes allowed
    Here’s the instructions, put it together
    It simple ain’t it? But quite clever
    Some of you been trying to write rhymes for years
    But weak ideas irritate my ears
    Is this the best that you can make?
    Cuz if not, and you got more, I’ll wait
    But don’t make me wait too long cuz I’m a move on
    The dancefloor, when they put something smooth on
    So turn up the bass, it’s better when it’s loud
    Cuz I like to move the crowd

  • Eminem – If anyone out there doesn’t think he’s top 5, you’re just a hater. This kid is niiice. Check for some of his freestyle joints.
  • Mos Def – I can’t believe he wasn’t even on MTV’s list. What’s wrong with you people? Mos could very easily have been number 1 on my list. Talk about talent. My man writes, acts, plays instruments, sings. And like KRS and Rakim, he actually rhymes about things that matter! People are really sleeping on Mos Def.
  • Grand Verbalizer Funkin’ Lesson Brother J – Go back and listen to those old X-Clan CDs! Once again, skills, the ill flow, and actually talking about things of substance.
  • Roots Manuva – 99.9% of you don’t even know who he is, and that’s a damn shame. There’s so much good music coming out of the UK, yet most of us Americans are deaf to it. This is one of the nicest rhymers out there, plus he’s got the reggae mixed in. Wake up people!

My List
1. Tupac KRS-ONE
2. Biggie Rakim
3. Eminem Biggie
4. Nas Eminem
5. Jay-Z Mos Def
6. Rakim Big Daddy Kane
7. Dr. Dre Grand Verbalizer Funkin’ Lesson Brother J
8. Lil Kim Chuck D
9. Beastie Boys LL Cool J
10. Missy Elliot Brand Nubian
11. Bug Pun Nas
12 Nelly Tupac
13 DMX Run-DMC
14 Run-DMC Jay-Z
15. KRS-ONE D.O.C.
16. Snoop Dogg Furious 5
17. Common Snoop Dogg
18. Foxy Brown Kool G Rap
19. LL Cool J Sugar Hill Gang
20. Queen Latifah Roots Manuva
21. Method Man EPMD
22. Chuck D Doug E Fresh

Honorable Mention (in no particular order)
Ice Cube
Ras Kass
De La Soul
Black Thought & The Roots
Big Pun
Talib Kweli
Slick Rick
Busta Rhymes
Dr. Dre
Craig G
Missy Elliot
MC Lyte
Queen Latifah
Tash (Alkaholiks)
Craig Mack
Chubb Rock
Method Man
Jeru The Damaja
Kurtis Blow
Poor Righteous Teachers
Mobb Deep
Dres (Black Sheep)
Jurassic 5
Shock G
B Real (Cypress Hill)
Lauryn Hill
Roxanne Shante
Lady of Rage
Monie Love

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  1. Yo, I guess I’m just a hater then. The kid IS nice, but Eminem reminds me of a quote from back in the 80’s by Isaiah Thomas regarding Larry Bird. If Eminem were Black, he’d be just another good rapper…

  2. And another thing, MTV’s list is what I would call politically correct. As much as I love the sistas, there is not one who has the flow to deserve to be in the top twenty. And the Beastie Boys? THE BEASTIE BOYS!!! Novelty act with no flow. Gimme a break! And Mike, no Slick Rick, no Big L? Hi-Tech? Dre or Big Boi? I’m disappointed…

  3. Who is hi-Tech? You’re not talking about the DJ Hi-Tek are you? I’ve never heard Big L’s music, so I can’t list him. (must just be the West Side in me) Outkast…. eh… maybe… maybe… It was tough for me to leave them off, but you know what, I’m gonna add them to the honorable mention. And SLick Rick did get honorable mention. Like I said, it was VERY difficult for me to cut that list at 22. Many of the H.M. peep could have been top 20. Slick Rick gets mad props for his early work, but after seeing him in concert a couple of years ago, he’s fallen a bit in my eyes.

  4. As for the females, I wouldn’t have even put Missy on the list until I saw MTV’s break-down about her. The illest female in my mind is the Lady of Rage, but b/c she has done so little, I couldn’t put her on the list. She and RBX (both on The Chronic album) should get ‘Almost Honorable Mention’ – RBX, Rage. And while I’m thinking of it, so should MC Ren, Monie Love, Salt & Pepa…

  5. I beg to differ, Jef. You’re my man, but you’re bugging on this one! I’m not a huge Slim Shady fan either, but I have to give him mad props for his flow. Even the greatest MCs have done so, and it’s those same MCs to whom Eminem gives praise. . .as well he should. I do concur with your comment about the MTV ranking being ‘politically correct’. It was wack and inconsistent. How was DMX placed over KRS??!!?? Puhlease!! It’s just so ridicurous (that’s not a typo)…

  6. For starters… I did see the MTV2 show yesterday. The show immediately lost credibility when it began with Chuck D at 22 and LL at 19. I couldn’t help but wonder what criteria the voters were using. It would seem it’s more based on recent popularity and record sales. Anyway, LL at 19? Behind Foxy Brown, Lil’ Kim and Nelly. Give me a break. What rapper has had LL’s longevity? He may not be number 1, but he’s at least got to be in the top 10 or 15. As for the women, not much of a disagreement with the Queen being in the list, but where is MC Lyte? Her name immediately comes to mind when I think of Female rappers. I laugh at the thought of a Lil Kim trying to freestyle.

    No disrespect to Big Pun, a definite sentimental pick after his death, but he’s not in the top 22.

    Nelly? whatever. No denying his commercial success and catchy hits.

    Rakim, atleast he was in the top 10. I would put him at #1. Before him rappers had no idea of how to rhyme creatively. He is the rapper that transformed the lyrical artistry of rap.

    Mike, I’m with you in regards to Eminem. That stuff about if he were black… nonsense. Check out the way the boy flows. He has to be better just to gain respect. Especially, given the BS we get on the radio with “Like a Pimp” and “Chicken Headz”, his content and creativity is awesome.

    Tupac would not have been my choice for #1, I think a lot of his praise is a result of an untimely death. He could have
    evolved to be the best, but we’ll never know.

    Last thought. Mike, I would agree with most of your rankings. The one that sticks out is D.O.C. at 15. He’s another that had to short of a career. His stuff was bangin’. But, I couldn’t rank him based on what he did. He was sort of like 50cent. Just ridin on Dre’s beats with a little rhymin.

  7. KRS is definitely #1, but I think I’d roll Tupac up the list a bit and Slick
    Rick may slide into the Top 22.

  8. Jamal,

    You make some excellent points. The only thing I can really take issue with is on D.O.C. Yes, his body of work, with his original voice, is small. But that cat is gifted. You know he ghost-wrote a lot of the lyrics on the Chronic and the post-Ice Cube NWA albums? Perhaps I’m showing some of my L.A. bias, but D.O.C. must be on my list.

  9. Forgot to mention… Why in the hell was Missy on the MTV list. She is a great producer, but MC. That’s a real stretch.

    You know you are always biased when it comes to the west coast. I’ll never hold that same bias for my home town. The rap out of New Orleans is embarrasing.

  10. Jamal,

    Like I said earlier, Missy wasn’t even on my list until I sw the segment MTV did about her. It’s easy to forget, but she has written/rapped some ill lyrics. You know, that Busta Rhymes type sh*t.

  11. Jef, I’ll grant you one thing about Eminem – he does get more notoriety b/c of his skin color. He even says “If I was black, I would have sold half.” However, in this case he deserves the attention b/c of his skill level. And being down with the good Dr. Dre doesn’t hurt in the publicity department either. I find it interesting that you would rank Jay-Z above Em. So are you gonna tell me that Jay’s flow, and lyrics were better than Em’s on Renegade? Em put Jay to shame on that track.

    As for Hi-Tek, I’ll ask again.. isn’t he a DJ???

    I’ve never been much of a fan of Ghost Face.

  12. And yes, I would rank Jay-Z above Eminem, wack “bling=bling” lyrics aside. And I would hardly say that Jay-Z’s work on Renegade was his best. We’ll just have to agree to disagree on this one…

  13. PS, Mos Def has a 4, yes 4 disk compilation out on the Satan (ironic right) label. its a lot of remixes but cool for Mos fans since it is 60 songs. Mike, thanks for recognizing Das and Dres for their skills. Big Up.

  14. Ade,

    Thanks for the info on the Mos Def collection. Now if I could just find the damn thing. Do you have a link to the record label?

  15. Good to see the youngsters listening to ‘the oldies’. Flash was/is the man, but he’s a DJ. Note that I do have the Furious Five on the list (his group).

  16. Jay,

    Please do keep stopping by. I know I missed some people, but I did this list in haste, right after I saw the show. My point was not to be THE list, but just to put up MY list. No doubt people will have different lists. I just wanted to show how bad MTV’s list was. And, again, this was a public vote, so you can’t really blame MTV… blame your peeps. 🙂

    And EPMD is #21 on my list

  17. Jason,

    You’re welcome to your own opinion about who the top MCs are. But you’re gonna come on MY site, talking about study up on hip-hop when you don’t know Brotha J from X-Clan??? That’s just foolish. See how Bro J’s name is underlined in the list? That’s called a hyperlink. I put that there for people like you so you can click the link and learn.

  18. Jason,

    So by your logic Kane, Furious Five, Dog E Fresh, etc would not be on the list. Where did I, or MTV, say that this list was only to consist of current artists. Hey, maybe Biggie shouldn’t be on the list either. Look, it’s fine if you don’t like Brotha J. I really don’t care. This is just my own personal list. Feel free to make your own list.

  19. Hype,

    I have mad love for Jay. In fact, I play Jay’s CD way more than Em’s. That’s partially b/c I don’t necessarily care for some of Em’s content. And his voice can becoe grating. But I recognize his skill level. Having said that… Jay-Z got faded on Renegade! Deal with it. 🙂

    As for Rakim… I can’t wait for that album to drop either. I’m starting to wonder if it ever will though. Dre has a way of dropping these projects. Aren’t we STILL waiting on the Helter Skelter project with Cube? And the new NWA album? And…

  20. I appreciate all of the comments you guys are leaving. I’d love to see you all weigh in on the battle I’m waging on affirmative action. Check out the madness being said at my post here.

  21. Completely missin out on the Big L. BIG L is one of the hottest MCs of all time. Should be in the Top 5.No arguement, no discussion,thats how it should go down.

  22. I like your list, Mike. Anybody else like Slug from Atmosphere? He’s one of my favorites, though maybe not “greatest MC ever” material.

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  24. Thanks Pete. Surely I’ve missed many MCs. I’ve never even heard of Slug, but I’ll try to find some of his music & check him out.

  25. Devon,

    That’s what I keep hearing about Big L. So if I get 98 more votes for him, I’ll add him to the list. 🙂

  26. For his time, Ice put it down. You’re making me dig in the crates now… some of my favorite Ice-T songs:

    6 ‘N the Mornin’
    Rhyme Pays
    I’m Your Pusher
    High Rollers
    Squeeze the Trigger
    Make It Funky
    Lethal Weapon
    You Played Yourself
    Peel Their Caps Back
    The Hunted Child
    Mind Over Matter
    New Jack Hustler
    Bitches 2
    O.G. Original Gangster
    Lifestyles of the Rich & Infamous
    The Tower

  27. Yes I agree..No one has ever came close to the skill of Notorious B.I.G., he is a name I will never forget. Rest In Peace…Big Up to Brooklyn

  28. Lets play a game…We name a rap song, then the last letter of the name of the song, someone names another song…ex. Jump Around–>Dead Wrong…got it?

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  31. Again, Mike…I’m IMPRESSED! Well done! Ok, so now u know…DON’T DOUBT! It may have taken me a while 2 visit site, but “better late than never”! SMILES!

  32. Xavier,

    You make some good points, and you have a good list. But I’ll assume that you’re a bit younger than me since you don’t know D-Nice and Chubb Rock. But you SHOULD know Treach, the lead rapper of Naughty By Nature.

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  35. Alright im back, Has anyone ever heard the song TIll I Colapse by Eminem. He has his own list. Here is the exact lyrics. “I got a list here’s the order of my list that it’s in.
    It goes, Reggie, Jay – Z, Tupac and Biggie, Andre from Outcast, Jada, Kurupt,
    Nas and then me.” I just have one question, who is Reggie? Xavier, old school i think is better than most new stuff. start listenin…

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  38. oh no, I dissed Tupac… what am I gonna do? I’m so sick of you Tupac fans crying about this. He was aight, but he’s not top 5 material.

  39. I just posted this comment to a copy of this post over at BlogCritics.org and thought I’d post it here as well:

    In my opinion KRS gets a slight edge over Rakim b/c of his live performance skills. Of course I know that and every other Rakim lyric. But I can throw an equally ill KRS line at you for each Rakim one. And don’t forget that Kris rock many different styles, including that reggae ish! I was just digging through some old Source magazines and came across their January 1998 issue. They had a ‘Best of the Best’ section in there. The results of three of their categories shows why Kris is #1 to me:

    Greatest MC
    1. Rakim
    2 KRS-ONE
    3. Biggie
    4. Tupac
    5. LL Cool J

    Most Influential Rapper
    1. Tupac
    2. KRS-ONE
    3. Rakim
    4. Chuck D
    5. LL Cool J

    Best Live Performer
    1. KRS-ONE
    2. LL Cool J
    3. The Roots
    4. Puff Daddy
    5. Tupac

    Now to me, the fact that Kris came in at #1 or # 2 in each of those categories makes him clearly #1 overall. Again, to me, live performance is a HUGE part of being an MC. Note that Rakim didn’t even make the top 5 there. Mind you, I’m in no way trying to slight Rakim. After all, I do have him ranked #2 on my list.

  40. No doubt hip-hop has changed greatly since 1998. My point in posting that was to show why I picked KRS-ONE at #1 over Rakim. I think both of them will always be judged by their work before that time, so in that respect the Source’s list is still valid. Are you disputing Rakim and KRS-ONE’s rankings at that time?

  41. Sorry Oak for flippin out on u, no beef, you guys wanna just make a list of the greatest old school (beginning-1995ish) rappers/mcs/groups? im in search for as many old school songs as i can find…this list would help. Everyone just put 5 old school rappers at the end of every post. ill start:
    Big Daddy Kane
    Biz Markie
    Snoop Dogg
    Wu-Tang Clan

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  45. I thought MTV’s ranking was pretty bogus as well, but I did agree with their no. 1 rank, which was 2Pac. I know many people out their think that he’s very overrated, especially, because he died dramatically. In my opinion, a great MC is not someone who can only rhyme, but, a person who can rhyme and at the same time is conveying something deep and meaningful. I think 2Pac had all those ingredients. Aside from a few songs, each and every one of his songs was packed with material. If you think about it, that’s really hard to do, because, there’s a million rappers out there who can rhyme but the ones who are actually saying something…you can count them on your fingers.

    Secondly, I would not rate Eminem even at number three, for the same reason as Jef. He’s a very good rapper, but I can think of at least 10 other MCs who come before him. His content is a bunch of petty problems and finger pointing (or dissing) that flow. In his first mainstream album, he was making fun of homo’s, lesbo’s, boy/girl bands, his mother. Then second album, again, it was boy/girl bands, his mother, and some low-end rappers. His last album and unreleased songs are same as before but now he is dissing bigger names in the industry. And you will continue to see the pattern. It seems like he’s dissing anybody and everybody he possibly can, to gain negative attention, call it controversial lyrics. He’s the only white rapper who can rap at any good (not great) black rapper’s level. This makes him very important and very listened to because now there’s someone that white kids can listen to and relate to. Since majority is white in this country, obviously, he sells more. But, if he were black, his sales wouldn’t even be half of what they are. This is evident, even in his movie. How much money did 8 mile make? How popular was it? You can see the numbers for yourself. I went to see DMX’s ‘Never Die Alone’ this weekend (on a Friday night). There was a total of 30 people watching it, out of which 20-25 were black. The movie wasn’t the greatest, but compared to 8 mile, it was much better. You can compare it to other great movies as well, ‘Poetic Justic’, ‘Boyz N The Hood’, ‘Juice’, etc. One thing is guaranteed, if Eminem was in ‘Never Die Alone’, the show would’ve been sold out.

    Eminem does posses great talent in killing rappers out there, lyrically. So, in that area of rapping, I would rate him number two, because he still hasn’t made a song like “Hit ’em up” yet.

  46. This is my top 5, top 10 is messy so im gonna stick with 5:

    5. Biggie (Klassic Kreativity)
    4. Eminem (Too nice to leave out, not famous stuff better than famous stuff)
    3. Rakim (I don need to defend him here, lol)
    2. Nas (The greatest lyricist of all times, even Rakim said he would step back for him)
    1. Pac (Greatest voice to come out of Rap music, Nas could make you feel bad about a war 50 miles away, Pac could make you pick up a gun and fight)

  47. wow, even if eminem was black he’d still be nuts. his lyrical monster, and most of these cats on the mainstream ain’t got shit. personally, after hearing his shit that he does with clue and the others, this kid is hype

  48. I don’t at all like beatie boys. Eminem is all right. but DMX diserves a spot in the top 5 not top 15 he is way better then Jay Z. And Though Tupac and Biggie are awesome I think that DMX could be put into that spot. People just don’t like all the anger in his music. But I would rather listen to X then Eminem.
    DOG 4 LIFE

  49. I agree with Ricky, but I wouldn’t rate DMX number 1. I would definitely put him in top 5, and definitely before Eminem.

  50. hey i am a fifteen year old kid, im really into rap but i hate all this nelly, chingy crap and i noticed you all knew alot can u guys maybe help me out gimme artists as well as there best songs. thanks

  51. What about Talib Kweli I think he is the greatest. He rhymes better than BIG and meaningful things

  52. Am I the only person that think Kool Moe Dee was smoking that LA LA LA when he put himself a #5? Also, for the record I think that all of you have jipped Jay-Z out of his just-due!

  53. I totally agree with Nathi Qhawe why would u put Mos in youre list but leave out Kweli hes just as good and everyone knows they work alot together. If i could make an adjustment tot the list i would remove Mos Def and put Blackstar in place, that would give Kweli what he deserves.

  54. Hey guyz,

    I’m 16 years old and a tupacfan for over 2 years now…i think 2pac should top the list!!

    Tupac is @ 13th or something while Eminem and even Nas ar ranked higher than Pac. Totally bullshit. Eminem his rap is full of shit. Nothing meaningfull!! I must give him credit for his developments but that doesn’t make him better than pac. Pac his lyrics were the illest!! His live performance was just perfect. His voice is the bombbb…!! And i aint crying cuz pac is listed so low but its just that the rest of the list isnt that good…!!

    Peace out,


  55. where is mc ren on ur mentions then???? dr dre is nothing compared to his mic skills fo sho dre is a dope producer but ren & cube made the nwa

  56. ok just wondering if anyone’s every heard the Mountain Brothers. I think Chops should be mentioned as a good MC. the Mountain Brothers haven’t gotten much hype, but if u can, listen to some of Chops verses.

    “Hated havin to wait, can you relate,
    the man’s got a hand in your plate
    From the date you hand him a tape,
    understand that that’s the breaks
    Gots to take your chances and gamble the stakes
    Cause I’m about expandin my fate
    like Alexander the Great
    I got handsome advances
    to make with jams that I create
    Dates in France and hands to shake
    with fans that can’t even translate,
    Damn straight!
    But we await the chance to take a stand
    and enhance the debate
    Yeah, mad brains to emancipate.”

    Now some of his lyrics don’t really relate to real topics and problems in the world, but
    Im just saying i admire his ability as a producer and the way he can use the same rhyme in every line in a verse. i have never heard him freestyle, but i still think he is a good MC. ok peace.

  57. MA NiggA Eazy Muthaphukkin E ain’t on the list …!



  58. This list is trash in a damn can. Some of them deserve to be there, but some don’t. I mean come on, Dr. Dre? He doesm’t write half of his rhymes. What about Scarface, Andre 3000, and for the females Mia X. You damn New Yorkers are ridiculous. Foxy Brown? Missy Elliot? Big Pun? There are artists out there that don’t get their due such as MJG, Bun B, and Kurupt who would slaughter half of your so called best ever. This is sad. The South never gets love from you cats. So coming from the South, a big FUCK YOU!!!!

  59. First of all, I know everyone’s list is going to contain different MC’s, but for any of you to omit MC Lyte is downright funny to me. In her day she could rhyme better than most male MC’s(and this was during the “Golden Age” of hip-hop) and any female that followed her. No disrespect to Missy, Mia X, Lil Kim, Queen Latifah, e.t.c. but Lyte was the illest female to ever touch a mic. I don’t need a list to know that. And for those who don’t know that, I’m sorry you missed that talented female and her music. And oh, by the way the discussion of who’s the greatest MC didn’t even start ’til Rakim started dropping his bombs, so for him not to be on top of everyone list is criminal minded, and yeah he wrote that and most of the Blastmaster KRS-One’s career also(for those who didn’t know). Rakim was so dope, he had to be TWO MC’s, who you know can top that? PEACE!!

  60. I just wanted to say respect for your list. The MTV list is just a commercial/pollitical list. Nelly above KRS-ONE? My top 5 would be:
    1. KRS-ONE (hope he ever comes to the netherlands)
    2. Rakim (can’t deny his skills)
    3. Treach
    4. LL cool J
    5. Jay z


    I agree that MTV’s list was off base. Foxy Brown, Lil Kim,and Nelly have as much business being on the list as George Bush at a Black Panther Reunion.
    However, I have some problems with your list as well (although you are a lot closer than MTV ever will be). First of all, big ups to you for including Eminem, white or not, he is one of the wittest rappers ever. That’s why I disspointed that you left out rappers like Mad Skillz and Tame One from Artifacts. I will look up that uk cat you are talking about, but in turn, I’d like for you to check out the albums of the rappers I mentioned. DMX?!?!? what makes him one of the best’ hmmmmmmm Ok so he can out bark all the others, outside of that he is garbage. If you heard one song by X, you heard them all.
    Why is Tupac #19? How can you rank Run DMC over Jigga? I am a Run DMC fan, but let’s be honest, THEY WERE NOT GREAT MCs. They were influential, but not great lyricist. I like what you are doing, and I respect your list. Your opinion is at least valid and you have my respect, but I think you are overlooking some people.
    I do wish you would add one other category. The Best Battle Rapper’ here’s my list: 1) Canibus (the freestyle King, honestly who can beat him in a battle) 2) Chino XL (the King of Metaphors, he even dissed PAC and Pac’s only response was “Fuck You Too) 3) Mad Skillz (check his resume of mixtapes) 4) Eminem (he is an even better underground MC than a mainstream one) 5) LL Cool J (ask anyone who went to the Old Music Seminars in NY, son is Sic wit it; ya heard; yeah most of his fans wear skirts, but that doesn’t mean he can’t battle)
    Big Pun and Ice Cube should have made your list, forget honarble mention. Furious 5, (ok you are showing respect to the old school, but seriously, THEIR lyrics??? Come on, be real, I’ve heard better nursery rhymes. As for Brand Nubian; damn I don’t know what to say except, you must be joking right??? Brand Nubian wouldn’t even agree with that. I’m 31 and I grew up on Old School and I’m not one of these young cats who don’t know. But honestly, Brand Nubian is so-so , but have no right being on the list of top 100 MC,s not to mention the top 22. Why put Dougie Fresh in the list but only give Slick Rick honarable mention??? Dougie without Slick Rick was like the Source with no quotables. But Slick Ricks career kept going without Dougie. And both of your lists slept on Big L. Are you a true hiphop head???

  62. Hey drew, I think you can´t make a top 22 mc of all time.Everybody has his own taste for music and what makes a good mc? Is it his/her battle skills, his/her live performance or how influential the mc was? About chino xl, I ain’t no hater, but that guy is just low. The only reason he disst pac was to get noticed by the people, if pac had dissed him back chino only would become more famous. And if you diss tupac while he passed away 2 years ago,that is just low(chino disst him in a track in 1998 don’t know how the track called anymore). I don’t deny he got skills,because he has them.But in my eyes he is just another fake rapper. The rest of your list I can agree with, eminem and LL are just dope.Mad skillz I never heard of, can you tell me a dope track of him,so I can download it.Tash is great too.

    greets Jay

  63. I’m cool with your whole list except for how far you drop tupac. The man became the poster child for gansta rap. When the west coast needed a leader, he was the natural choice. You seem to favor rappers that talk bout somethin real, wull tupac told the lifestory of all those kids that are just tryin to make it. He is the single greatest rapper at putting emotion into every single word he spit. In his death he did become more powerful, however, his knowledge, intelligence, and his ability to live his life without any fear made him almost a prophet while alive. You also missed atmosphere on your honorable mention, half their show is a freestyle, anyone wanna hear a sick flow, listen to some of slug’s lyrics. And outkast, them kids need to stop makin these pop songs, what happened to them, they used to be damn influential. Last note, this is a sick site, im glad i found this, you got dope ideas, and a tru understandin. Payce

  64. Your list is good, but you messed up too. First off and I think we can agree on this, get Missy Elliot, Nelly and Lil Kim of that list fast. They are garbage. They are not mcs. They are commercial artists. You can pick a kid off the street in any hood in america and they will rip all three, that was a dissappointment. They also put Missy Elliot right before Big Pun, and all I can do is laugh. Pun and everybody behind him will shit on Missy, she is garbage as a lyricist, listen to what she says. I was mad that you didn’t even mention how they messed up by putting her on there. You shoulda caught that. You also shoulda caught how the hell they gonna put Lil Kim and Dre on there when they don’t even write their own lyrics. Listen to Hardcore, when Big was alive, and listen to Kim now. Big difference, no need to explain. Did you also forget that Dre doesn’t even write his own shit. When he was in NWA, the DOC wrote most of his shit and DOC and Snoop wrote most of the Chronic. Look at the liner notes for Niggaz4Life and you see the DOC listed on almost every song, but yet he didn’t rap on one song. Any mc that does not write his own lyrics does not deserve to be in any top list, and does not deserve to be in honorable mention either. What the hell were you thinking putting him there and you didn’t even put Outkast? You took a blow on that one guy. In addition, Mos Def should not be in the top 5. He only has one solo album and while he is nice, I don’t know what you thinking saying hes better than Pac, Nas and Jay, you lost on that one. How you gonna forget Big L and not even put him in honorable mention. You lost on that one. Listen to 7 minute freestyle with Jay and Big L, that nigga spits fire, he crushes Jay. You also forgot Pun, you lost on that one. Pun is nice, do me a favor and download all the Pun freestyles, all the unreleased shit, and you will know what I’m talking about. And there is no way you can’t tell me he had one of the hottest deliveries in history. Listen to the 2nd verse of Captial Punishment on Capital Punishment.
    Top ten in no particular order,
    Pac, Biggie, Nas, Jay-Z, Big Pun, Big L, Rakim, KRS, Andre 3000,Eminem. And don’t give me that black white shit with Em, I know hes nice, but he is not that nice. He is not in the top 5. EMINEM IS NOT BETTER THAN PAC OR NAS, WHAT WERE YOU THINKING? It is also hard to put Em that high when he puts out bullshit like D12. Em was nice when he first came out, listen to the freestyles, the rap olympics, Slim Shady LP, but he does not rap like he used to. His flow has changed, it is too fun and whopty doo. Lately he has not said shit. He’ll hit you with cuts here and there but come on, if you analyze his shit, he doesn’t spit fire like he used to, he is losing it. Well thats all i gotta say, take it or leave it.
    I leave you with fire from a true MC that you forgot to put on there
    I’ve seen it all up close, shit out the movies you’d be buggin
    My cousin JuJe, barely a juve’, lost it and turned on the oven
    He wasn’t playin, blew out the flame and started inhalin
    Barin a secret too deep to keep on the street for sharin
    Wearin the virus, Acquired Immune Deficiency
    Dishin his dick in every thick promiscuous fish in the sea
    Listen to me, shit is rough in the ghetto
    You bluff, blow your head off, fuck a snuff, we bust lead off!
    Get off your high horse, or die off like an extinction
    Boriquans are like Mohicans, +The Last of the Po’Ricans+
    We need some unity, fuck all the jeeps and jew-el-ry
    The maturity, keeps me six feet, above obscurity
    The streets are deadly and everybody’s a desperado
    I guess the motto we promise to let you homage in death your motto
    Like Zorro, I mark my territory with a symbol
    Not with a Z, but a P, cause Punishment’s what I resemble!
    I lend you this if it expands yours, for you and yours
    A real man can’t fall, he stands tall
    The Man’s claws are diggin in my back, I’m tryin to hit him back
    Time to counteract, where my niggaz at?
    Big Pun, Capital Punishment – 1 year before the death of hip hop.

  65. how can you leave the beastie boys out of your list ? And jef, you called them a novelty act ???
    this is a great list and stuff, but you can’t ignore the beastie boys. their old school beats are real hip hop (hip hop as in: hip hop music/ graffiti/ breakdancing/ MCing). ok; the content of their lyrics is crazy bullshit, but you can’t deny that they’ve got skills.

  66. Jay-z is the best of all time, name a rapper with more classic records, thats right you can’t! Jay-z is the M.J. of rap, and the black album is him beating the Jazz with the shot!

    And Nas is no top 4! He had one of the best albums(only ten songs) and one of the best battle raps of all time, aside from that he is garbage!

    “you went from top ten to not mension at all..”
    Jay-Z on nas

    and even eminem said jay-z was better than him.

  67. oh and top 10 goes

    6.krs one
    7.Jadakiss(maybe just hype on my part)
    8.mos def

  68. yo bros

    da original ranking is pretty much okay, and as niggaz keep suggesting for an emcee to be 5 ranks up or down doest not count, becuz da masses think otherwise…every1 has a personal opinion,,,in my opinion canibus should be in da top 10 great rappers, but hes not. you guyz should understand da a top 22 mc list cannot cover every MC alive


  69. Hi. I think there are a lot of points of view to make the top 22, so all you guys have a part of reason making your own tops. I could make another and go on the argue but I´ll not. I only wanted to say that I´m from Spain and because of that the comercial thing doesnt afect me cause here nobody listen to hiphop and is realy not spreaded; as well I dont know so much of the life of the MC´s so neither afect me the death of some of them and all that; I only listen to hiphop and dont give a fuck about the comercial thing, dramatical life, race, etc…

    Then here in Spain, out of the way that rounds the game, we all think that the greatest rapper in all of the facets is 2pac, he got the skills, he rap about things that could put him on blast like when he wrote about his mather, love, women keep ya head up thing, and also ganster thing and all of that with so much pasion, he make you realy feel what he´s saying, he changed the game move it to another level, he is the one who has influeded the most and so he is the best.

    Like I talk before there are a lot of points of view but I realy think that there wont be another 2pac never. If you think that he´s not the #1 maybe you dont feel his lyrics, what a same baby! keep feeling some lyrics of other greatest Mc´s like Krs-one, Mod Def, Rakim, Nas… or maybe listen to a crazy lyrics with funky style Snoop did on 90´s, or maybe listen to the Mobb-phonics, old school classics MC´s, etc… that makes imposible! making a top.

    Have anice day and sorry for my English.

  70. i think 2pac may not be the greatest ‘MC’, guys liek rakim, krs one, biggie have better lyrical delivery and flow,

    but 2pac is definately the greatest ‘rapper’, by a mile, pac is a differnt level to any other rapper wiv his lyrics, his meaning that just makes him untouchable,

  71. Hands Down….Chino XL should be mentioned. He is considered the top rated Jersey Underground emcee and has a wicked flow.

  72. 2pac is the greatest rapper of all times. and always be..his flow is amazing…and if he was still alive 50 cent and all of the other stiffs wouldnt be up there….soo no one should mess with pac! -rip-

  73. if you guys had any idea to break down a bar and analyze it you’d realize rakim eminem and canibus are the best
    eminem if black would not just be another ‘good rapper’…listen to his fucking rhymes!!

    heres one of ems rhymes…

    bash you over the head with a 2 by four-board and smash into your honda with a four door-ford
    but im more-towrd an -acapella- to chop-a-fella to -mozzerella- worst than a helicopter-propella, got you locked-in-a-cellar

    heres one of krs’ rhymes

    look i can only rhyme one word in a line
    so this is the end of this example rhyme

    skills are based off multisyllables, wordplay, metaphors, vocab and such
    krs1 and nas are so far behind em and rakim its funny
    and btw that ‘seven cats’ line was NOT EVEN a clever example of wordplay or rhyming at all, thats a very simple rhyme(seriously), go check canibus or some of rakims GOOD shit
    u can argue with this if you want but i already know these things trust me


  74. Big Pun is definitly in the top 22..Here is mine

    Big Pun
    Big Daddy Kane
    Mos Def
    Immortal Technique
    Aesop Rock
    Chino Xl
    Busta Rhymes
    Method Man
    Beastie Boys
    Obie Trice
    Jada Kiss
    Styles P
    Joe Budden
    Not in Order

  75. Big Pun is definitly in the top 22..Here is mine

    Big Pun
    Big Daddy Kane
    Mos Def
    Immortal Technique
    Aesop Rock
    Chino Xl
    Busta Rhymes
    Method Man
    Beastie Boys
    Obie Trice
    Jada Kiss
    Styles P
    Joe Budden
    Not in Order

  76. Bone!!!!!!!! Come on, they took they the world by storm.

    Karupt- anyone that can say “deadly as jason on friday the 13th” gets my vote

    Dj Quik- Best diss song ever “dollaz and centz”

    For mtv not to put Ice cube on the list by himself was just insanity. Actually all of NWA with exception of DJ yella could been on there.

  77. Over 60 mcs and no GZA? I just can’t get that. At least your list didn’t have MASE and Mystikal on it though. My favourite that I aint seen gettin a mention is Too Poetic aka Poetic aka Grym Reaper (Gravediggaz) – sickest voice ever, and no-one sounds quite like him. Hottest shit I heard recently is Shabazz The Disciple – check out Hip-Pop to hear a flow.

  78. 1. Biggie
    2. Poetic (aka Grym Reaper – Gravediggaz)
    3. GZA
    4. Method Man
    5. Slick Rick
    6. Rakim
    7. Doitall
    8. Inspectah Deck
    9. Sticky Fingaz
    10. Prodigy
    11. Masta Killa
    12. Mr Funky
    13. Raekwon The Chef
    14. Shabazz The Disciple
    15. Havoc

    Something like that anyway – I’m posting it before I change my mind again. I’d probably have the whole Wu-Tang in there though really (except maybe U-God and Cappa).

  79. I know lists are fun and great for debate but in art where there is no scoreboard can their really be a #1? We all have our favorites and some artists had great albums, or great singles or great verses or long careers or whatever. To make a sports analogy, not every “All Star” player is a “Hall of Famer” and I think we have MC’s and rappers who may have had “All Star” moments but not “Hall of Fame” careers. Well, that said, here’s my list of “My top 25 MC’s” of all time…

    #25 – Lauryn Hill
    #24 – Q-Tip
    #23 – Jadakiss
    #22 – Ras Kass
    #21 – Big L
    #20 – Andre 3000
    #19 – Pharohe Monch
    #18 – Big Daddy Kane
    #17 – Scarface
    #16 – Big Pun
    #15 – Mos Def
    #14 – DMX
    #13 – Snoop
    #12 – Eminem
    #11 – Chuck D
    #10 – Kool G Rap
    #9 – Redman
    #8 – Ice Cube
    #7 – Nas
    #6 – LL Cool J
    #5 – Jay-Z
    #4 – KRS
    #3 – Tupac
    #2 – Biggie
    #1 – Rakim

  80. 1. Nas
    2. Rakim
    3. KRS-One
    4. GZA
    5. Notorious B.I.G
    6. Big Daddy Kane
    7. Big L
    8. Slick Rick
    9. (early) Snoop Dogg
    10. 2Pac
    11. Ras Kass
    12. Mos Def
    13. Eminem
    14. Jay-Z
    15. ODB (bwahaha)

    Oh man I love rap…

  81. well i personally am happy tupac got #1. besides that i just don’t care. dislike eminem, beastie boys, nelly, jay-z and a few others but whatever doesn’t matter. i just want to brign a certain MC to peoples attention. his name is DL Incognito. he’s better then anything i’ve heard. just tryin listyen to some of his stuff. go to http://nineplanetshiphop.com/ just try it

  82. “and btw that ‘seven cats’ line was NOT EVEN a clever example of wordplay or rhyming at all, thats a very simple rhyme(seriously)”

    are you serious? you got to be kidding me…that lyric is fire even today, but imagine what it meant back then…rakim changed the landscape of hip-hop…

    “i used to roll up, this is a hol-up…aint nuthin funny/cash rules still dont nothin move but the money”

    and Pac is my favorite rapper of all time, and i love nas, jay, em, l, pun…anyone you can think of to death…but trust me when I say in a battle…NO ONE…is touching KRS-1…everyone…(repeat that word again)…gets destroyed…

  83. Jay-Z is alright but Nas owns. and eminem on the other hand killed Jay-Z on his own shit like nas said in his song ether which was against Jay-Z. and thank god that nas is alive or the name would be changed to Hip-Pop because no one is making real rap except him. nas kills. and no one should put lil flip or obie trice. lil flip definetely sux and obie trice is ok and his fame is good because of D12 and Eminem. i think Royce da 59 and D12 could be good comepetitors to the list. Think about it. Royce in his song “Hip Hop” and D12 in their WHOLE album “devil’s night” and i agree that D12 world had some whacked out songs like “my band” and fat joe will be a good competitor

  84. yeah,nas is better than jay-z,

    2.Big Daddy Kane
    3.Poetic/Grym Reaper
    5.Tech N9ne
    8.Big L
    9.Big Pun
    11.Mos Def
    13.Method Man
    14.Chuck D
    15.Slick Rick
    16.LL cool J

  85. Can someone tell me the name of the song used as background music in the Top 22 MCs special? It uses horns and sounds like an old sample from a ’60s cowboy movie.

  86. 1 2pac
    2 krs one
    3 rakim
    4 public enemy
    5 big daddy kane
    6 run dmc
    7 BIG
    8 nas
    9 jay z
    10 emimen
    11 big l
    12 ll cool j
    13 mos def
    14 DMX
    15 Big Pun

  87. NAS is the illest MC of all time, I don’t give a fuck what U say his style alone sticks with hip hop, hov is aight he may be just the best hit maker but lyrically he’s not fucking with NAS.

    Here’s my list
    7.Big L
    8.Big PUN
    9.Slick Rick
    11.Method Man
    14.Andre 3000
    15.Ludacris (don’t get it twisted that nigga can spit)
    16.Styles P
    17.KRS ONE
    18.Talib Kweli
    20.Snoop Dogg
    21.Busta Rhymes
    22.Foxy Brown
    25.Mos Def

  88. It’s hard to really make a list. there are so many hallof famers most have never heard of; who straight spit. here’s my list, you put them in order:

    KRS 1
    Talib Kweli
    Mos Def
    Rass Kass
    Brother Ali
    Jay Z
    Black Thought
    LL Cool J
    Sadat X
    Immortal Technique
    Public enemy

  89. What happened to the YAY area mc’s y’all forgot about them huh? Talk about sleepin damn!

    Richie Rich
    Dre Dog
    Mac Dre
    Mac Mall
    E-40 (that style is hella original)
    Too Short
    Rappin 4-Tay
    Digital Underground
    Andre Nikatina (haha)

    Chigago [playas}
    Twista (fastest rapper)

    Dont sleep peeps!

  90. I will always think Nas will be number 1 always. If Pac was still alive he wouldent be as poupular as he was, he would probebly be at the same level as dre or snoop. Wat happen to The fresh prince, he makes the best party music. Mc Lyte is the best female rapper, fuck missy and lil kim. Jeru the damaga, A tribe called quest and Cypress hill all forgotten but I still think thier some of the best rappers of all time. The rest of these new rappers are possers.

    3)Big daddy cane
    4)Public enemy
    6)Slick Rick
    7)Ice T
    8)Mc lyte
    9)Run Dmc
    10)Cypress Hill
    11)Snoop Dog
    12)Wu tang clan
    13)Beastie boys
    14)LL cool Jay
    15)Jeru the damaga
    16)Mobb depp
    17)Sugaer hill gang
    21)The Fresh Prince
    22)A tribe called quest


    1) NAS

    Every one else ( including new cats) suck rhino cock

    Nas And Rakim is the Best eva

  92. Why am hearing Jay-z, Tupac, Bigge, and Jadakiss, the real MCs are Nas, Slick Rick, Rakim, KRS-0ne and Big daddy Kane. And wats with Outkast, they aint Rap no more, but I liked them when they was. I aint tryin to hate, im just truth talking Pac is OKay but number one, if he waz still alive he wouldent be popular, I dont think he would be on the top 22 list, if KRS one is on 15 why the hell u think Pac would be on the list. Yes, Nas only did one popular LP, but this list aint about top 22 popularist or succesfullist,its Greateat Mcs, besides every song in the ILLMATIC CD counts as one.Todays hip hop aint real hip hop, thats RwP (Rap with POP)


    1. 2PAC
    4. LL COOL J
    6. DMX
    8. JAY Z
    9. NAS
    11.RUN DMC
    12.ICE CUBE
    16.KRS 1
    17.MASTER P
    21.MC. LYTE


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  95. Couple MCs not mentioned that should be in the top 25 and not slept on at the very least….. MC Shan-The Bridge, Down By Law, Project Ho, People used to hate on his voice, but nowadays that don’t seem to be a problem. Schooly D- PSK, Sat Nite= lyrical masterpiece, King Sun- Be Black, Hey Love, In Pursuit Uptown, Ultra Magnetic MCs, Kool Keith- Ego Trippin, Funky, Funkmaster Wizard Whiz-Bellevue Patient Who can forget that “AND IF YOU DONT LIKE IT THEN HEY PHUCK YOU”, 183 GC, I’m Funky, nuff said. Whodini-Freaks, Friends, etc… UTFO, HELLO!!! Large Professor of the Main Source!!!- Looking out the back door, Friendly Game of Baseball, Just Hanging Out,, Master Ace, Freddy Foxx, Masters of Ceremony=Brand Nubians,Come on now no Jungle Brothers? Supernatural-Bless the mic with the Gods, ED OG and the Bulldogs, JVC Force, Luke Skywalker, Fat Boys had skills fa reel, Biz Markie= Rap Legend, Pharoah Monche, Pete Rock and CL Smooth, AZ, Big L rest in Peace… That LA cat with the jam that goes like this- “Yeah Boy 1984 was the year my peers didnt know what was in store” Pharycide, Stetsasonic, Busy Bee=Suicide, 3xDope the Aknickulous one possibly the most slept on MC ever. All these cats put out smoking traxx, ripped the mics, and cant be denied by no one who considers themselves a rap fan. Check your history if ya dont know, now ya know. Personal top MCs 1. Rakim 2. KRS One 3. Big Daddy Kane 4. MC Shan 5. Kool G Rap 6. LL Cool J 7. Large Professor 8. Biz Markie 9. Cool Keith 10. Doug E Fresh 11. Slick Rick 12. Schooly D 13. 14.Mike G Jungle Brothers 15. Roxanne Shante 16. Chuck D 17. Ice T 18. Guru 19. Craig G 20. the whole Wu Tang Clan! 21. King Sun 22. Nas cuz I love that “on the reel, all you crab !@# know the deel” 23. Chubb Rock 24. Lord Finesse 25. Grand Poobah Maxwell. Special Props out to Marly Marl, Mr.Magic, and Cool DJ Red Alert For blowing up the scene back in the day!

  96. Man, I forgot Greg Nice and Smooth B, Heavy D, Just-Ice The Hip-Hop Gangster, K-Solo, Kwame, The Mighty Mic Masters, King T, Salt-n-Pepa, Bushwick Bill, Spoonie G, Mc Serch from 3rd Bass, Shabba, and The Blastmasters arch-nemesis, The Poet.

  97. ayo da best rapper Alive iz Eminem no doubt he da best fo sho with him rapping about his life and flowin at da same time he can play around and rhyme reall good at da same time you kant say he iz weak because he will kill N.E body in a rap battle not because i seen his movie 8 mile but i downloaded sum of his freestlyes and there juss killin flowin he is the best so my top 10 Greatest Mc’s are

    1) Eminem
    2)50 Cent
    4)Ice Cube
    5) Jay-z
    8)Bone Thugs n Harmony
    10)Master P

    dats my List and its da truth to no arguin about it Eminem iz da best rapper alive and how da Hell Jay-z kould be da best rapper on B.E.T oh yea because Eminem aint Black thats da only reason why Eminem wasnt voted da best cuz he aint black basically B.E.T cant do Best rapper cuz dere are White rappers to dey got to do best rappers on M.T.V not B.E.T and hell nahh i aint white im black but stickin up fo em he got flowz jay-z weak he got nothing all he rap about is pimpin and hustlin and sum songs about his life eminem raps about his life and plays around sumtimez in his songs but Eminem da best Period and if u think Crime Mob iz go0d dass bullshit Crime Mob iz Pathetic dey got a chunky ass voice u kan barely here dem but da girls are flowin in dey songz but Eminem da best Period

  98. Damn dog, you’re really showing your youth with that list (and with your non-punctuating, non-spelling ass). And Master P in the top 10??? LMAOROTFL!!!!!

  99. DAMNNNNNN wheres have u guys been at?

    my list:

    even if would go with an 11 and a 12 u gotta put in Quan and DMX

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