Billboard’s 10 Greatest Rappers of All Time


Trying to crown the Greatest of All Time (G.O.A.T) is not an easy feat. It is subjective by nature and there is no plausible way to please the masses. Yet, Billboard attempted the challenge and created a list of the Greatest Rappers of All Time. The list is as follows:

  1. Biggie Smalls
  2. Jay-Z
  3. Eminem
  4. Rakim
  5. Nas
  6. Andre 3000
  7. Lauryn Hill
  8. Ghostface Killah
  9. Kendrick Lamar
  10. Lil Wayne

The exclusion of Tupac alone ruffled many feathers in the hip hop community. Considering that Tupac is one of the best selling music artist of all time and one of the most influential artists of all time, the lack of his presence on the list is questionable if not infuriating. Snoop Dogg and Swift D agreed and fumed about Tupac not being included.

The fact that Tupac is not included was enough for the list to be discreditable to me. However, another issue is the inclusion of Kendrick Lamar, Lil Wayne and Lauryn Hill. While Good Kid, M.A.A.D City and How to Pimp a Butterfly are beautiful works that cement his skill, the key aspect missed with including new artists is longevity.

If this list was created in 1999, DMX would have been on it with no one refuting it. It was the height of his career and his growling raps were all the rage. In 1996, Lil Kim was killing it and was continuously doing so. Yet when Hard Core released in 2014, it showed that that ship had unfortunately sailed. While I am not refuting the masterful works created by Lil Wayne or Kendrick Lamar, I am slow to give rank when they have yet to show if they can survive the test of time with like Tupac, Biggie Smalls, Nas and Jay-Z effortlessly do.

The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill is great. I love it. Accolades and awards are deserved. Nonetheless, it’s not a rap album. It consisted mostly of singing and is the only reason that Hill didn’t get a Grammy nomination for Best Rap Album. Lauryn Hill can sing and rap but she mostly sings. This does not diminish her rap verses that have a soulful flow but it does correctly categorize her as a singer who happens to rap. For that reason alone, Hill has no business on the list.

The purpose of the list was likely only made to incite some conversation and if it was, then good job. The nonsensical rank, disrespectful exclusion and eyebrow-raising inclusions will definitely have the hip hop community reopening the never ending discussion of the G.O.A.T while possibly ridiculing Billboard. Do you agree with the list?


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