Top Ten Rappers of the Decade (2000-2010)

Choices were made based on following categories: Skill on Mic, Lyrical Quality, Uniqueness, and Public Appeal.

10. Talib Kweli

If skills were the only factor on this list,  Talib would be near the top, but unfortunately he is probably one of the best rappers no one knows about. Although far from a “nobody”, Talib does not hold the mainstream popularity of Jay-Z or Lil’ Wayne. He began his career as a member of the group Black Star, but once they broke up he began his solo career. His album Quality (2002) did not sell a huge number of copies, but he received much respect from his peers. This is best evidenced by Jay-Z’s famous Black Album rhyme: “If skills sold, truth be told/I’d probably be, lyrically, Talib Kweli.”

Best Song: Get By

Lyric to note: Places where you could get murdered over a glare, but everything is fair. It’s a paradox we call reality, so keeping it real will make you a casualty of abnormal normality”

9. The Game

Although he doesn’t have the same agility on the mic as the others on this list, his raps tell quite a gritty story. His multi-syllable rhyme schemes represent a new breed of west coast rappers, but still hold strong connections to the old-school west coast rap. When you are done listening to his albums you will feel as if you walked a mile in his shoes. The Game has a bad habit of name dropping in his albums but he has improved over time. After briefly discussing retirement, The Game has decided to release another album in 2010.

Best Song: One Blood

Lyric to note: mike tyson lost his little girl when she was only 3. she didn’t have the chance to blossom on the family tree”

8. 50 Cent

Although he has struggled in recent years, 50 Cents’ talent has helped him endure many obstacles throughout his dramatic life. 50 Cent lived everything most rappers write rhymes about but not all actually experience: drugs, crimes, imprisonments, stabbings, and most infamously of all, shootings. 50 Cent may have looked like a prototypical hardcore rapper, but he could also craft a catchy hook. He attracted individuals interested in his rags-to-riches story and those who wanted to dance to club tracks. 50 Cent also helped his G-Unit crew grow into a successful franchise, spawning many platinum-selling solo albums from his group’s members.

Best Song: Many Men

Lyric to note: “love your enemies and hate your friends / Your enemies remain the same. friends always change”

7. T.I.

Much like Lil’ Wayne, T.I. has experienced a great amount of growth over the last decade. With each album release he has grown as a rapper. His growth culminated in the release of Paper Trail, which showcased a lyrically, sonically, and artistically sharpened T.I.P. He has a cool southern draw, and a swagger that’s just a little different than everyone else on the list.

Best Song: Live Your Life

Lyric to note: “The spirit of a hussler n the swagger of a college kid. allergic to the counterfeit, impartial to the politics”

6. Lil’ Wayne

Finally, Lil’ Wayne enters the picture. Half of you are probably wondering why he isnt’t number one, while the rest of you are upset he is even on the list. Anyone who knows me knows I am not the biggest Weezy supporter, but he is (unfortunately) one of the best rappers in the game right now. If this were a pure popularity contest Wayne would be #1, but it’s not. The difference between him and everyone above him on this list is it took him a very long to become a “good” rapper or even a popular one. He released a multitude of “poor” albums before finally releasing The Carter. It is my strong belief that we will not be talking about Wayne in 10 years the way we do about Tupac and Biggie.

Best Song: N/A

Lyric to note:
“I’m headless. No mind. I can say ‘Don’t rhyme,’ and it’s gone rhyme.”

5. Kanye West

Before Kanye started producing his own albums he was the man behind the production of Jay-Z’s The Blueprint. Craving the limelight, Kanye took his immense production skills and began producing his own albums. Known as much for his egotistical nature as he is for the quality of his music, Kanye has never shied away from the spotlight, often landing himself in hot water multiple times. However, with the exception of 808’s and Heartbreak, Kanye has had a stellar album record.

Best Song: All Falls Down

Lyric to note: “Shoot for the stars, so if you fall you land on a cloud”

4. Lupe Fiasco

If Jay-Z and Nas were to have a baby, it would be Lupe Fiasco. Lupe is quite possibly the most intelligent, insightful, intriguing, and entertaining rappers of this decade. His lyrics are a double edged sword – so lyrically complex and metaphorically intricate you can’t help but be in awe, yet so complex they often fly over most listeners’ heads. This is both what makes him great and holds him back from being number one. It is impossible to catch every little detail in his music with only one listen. This stands as a breath of fresh air in industry full of “surface” rappers who’s rhymes may very well be written by a fifth grader. In a few years time Lupe WILL be number one and will forever cement his place in history. His new album Lasers drops this year.

Best Song: Little Weapon

Lyric to note:
” before I bid you a due / Do this one thing for me. outta the trillions of numbers that’s in the world / Just leave me a few that lead to you”

3. Nas

Although probably the “least” popular rapper that will appear on this list (except Talib), Nas is responsible for what is perhaps the best hip-hop album this decade – Stillmatic. His beef with Jay-Z also spawned one of the best diss songs ever in Ether (*I like Pac’s Hit ’em Up better*). Although none of his albums have been as successful as Stillmatic, they still showcase his immense talent. What Nas lacks in star power he makes up in “legend”. He is a hometown hero and is often praised for staying true to his roots, as opposed to Jay-Z who “forgot” where he came from. Check out his collaboration album with Damian Marley!

Best Song: Ether

Lyric to note:It drops deep as it does in my breath /I never sleep, cause sleep is the cousin of death”

2. Jay-Z

Jay-Z once said he “dumbed down [his] rhymes to double [his] dollars”. Regardless he has still maintained his position of one of the best rappers of this decade. Hova combines wit, lyrical agility, and street smarts into his rhymes in order to captivate his audiences. His album, The Blueprint, is a classic and arguably ranks with the best rap albums ever. Although his style has changed in recent years he still captivates audiences around the world and has established himself not only as successful rapper but label executive.

Best Song: Can’t Knock the Hustle

Lyric to note:
“I’m not a businessman. I’m a business, man”

1. Eminem

Eminem, as a protégé of Dr. Dre, emerged in 1999 as one of the most controversial rappers to ever grace the genre. Known for his biting wit and speed on the mic, Eminem used his skills to vent about everything from his lousy childhood to his hatred for the media. Although his controversy occasionally brought him trouble it brought him an equal amount of fame. He was the first white rappers in years to make a significant impact on the hip-hop industry and his message spoke to legions of “disaffected” youth who had few roles models in the rap world. While Encore and Relapse don’t match the caliber of his earlier work, Shady still proves that he is nobody to mess with on the mic.

Best Song: Stan

Lyric to note: I don’t give a f***, God sent me to piss the world off”

Honorable Mention:

  1. Andre 3000
  2. Common
  3. Ice Cube

There are 45 comments

      1. gary chan

        if you want to use that logic, then i guess avatar was the greatest movie in 2009. eminem profits off the Elvis Presley formula; an incredibly one-dimensional artist, and benefits from a hiphop demographic that is > 70% white.

        If numbers are your thing, im curious to hear what you have to say, you internet trolling dick head

  1. dude-im-cool-43

    why are you guys going, Eminem? he is insane on the mic and could probaly beat all of theese rappers in freestyle. although i like him, this list is most sucsessfull, not best

  2. MusiK

    This list is pretty legit. I agree many things you say on this list, especially the stuff about lupe. I am a huge Talib fan, but I think Andre and common are 20x better than Talib and Game, but they lack the mainstream attention that talib and game get. I am the number 1 Wayne hater, i think his rhymes are terrible, but sadly he deserves his spot solely due to his albums sold and his hype.

    I wouldn’t change a thing in this list, although NaS is my favorite rapper, his material doesnt compare to the 90’s.

    Nice work

  3. luxuriee

    i like every single person on the list except lil wayne and T.I. mostly because of recent events , but i cant fake i liked T.I. 2 years ago

  4. vaibhav

    gross! eminem has to cover all 10 places in the list. Er’one sucks in front of him. Hes the legend, the god of rap, the father of rap. I’m the biggest fan of him. Although hes the only white american rapper, hes the reputant of america. Love him.

  5. zach

    listen i dont know what any of you think. its not about who could beat who on the mic, its not about how popular any artist is. its about the lyrics, the metaphors, the flow, the context and what the rap consists of. all of you over look the entire reason for this list. When you rap your suppose to put your heart, soul and body into it everything you’ve been through to express your emotions entirely with a witty and clever all within rythem. All’s i see right now from you guys is some personal reason that you dislike any one of this artists an for what reason is further beyond mine or your understanding from some deep concealed reason in your mind maybe your mom didn’t hold you enough when you were a baby maybe she held you too much, or maybe your uncle had that late night touchy feely. Or maybe whichever artist contributes there piece says something you dislike either or you guys have a grudge grow up see the talent an admit when some one can do something you can only dream of doing because when it all comes down either you cant rap and hate the best for it or really are incapable an cannot see rap for what it is.

  6. Kendzi Peter

    D list is good. Tho I assure u, Kanye’s d guy U’d stil b listenin 2 in 20 yrs tym. I kno there were sum real gud rappers who arent popular, but 2 me, tis realy b/w, Kanye, Eminem, Jay-z nd Lil wayne. But where d hel is Luda nd Busta?

    1. james gann

      your probably a goddamn nigger aren’t you? whats wrong pissed off because everyone would rather here marshell than all your little gangster brothers rapping about guns rape and selling crack? fuck you, bring back slavery

  7. igo

    monik is igo

    the list makes total sense
    but person who said eminem is the father/god of rap is mildly retarded

    at least name sombody like tupac dr.dre bigger you idiot

  8. joseph

    even if i can’t gather ma’ words into basketin’, i know that even in the next world of trap setting, this category will have the same settings.

  9. ghost

    quicck question .. wheres fab at ?? i agree with most of da shid you got up here both concept and rappers but if dats da case fab need to be near da top .. not dick riding cuz its other rappers i got in mind .. but fab has da popularity and bars and along with da real niqqa complextiy that should put him in da top 3.. did yall forget da number’s losos way put up .. like wassup lol.

  10. clifford

    Where is nelly???? Where is birdman???? And get your talib there put lupe. Drake #1 don’t care when he came coz he came to change tha game. Wayne is two and emmy is 3. Then nas and then all those assholes.

    1. Pat

      You are fucking stupid and dont know rap, all these guys on this list could fuck drake up. Auto tune rap shit fuck all the rappers u just named. 90’s is were its fucking at.

  11. Cody Tatro

    Eminem is not the best rapper of the Decade (2000-2010) i say the best rapper is probably Lil Wayne just cause of his Songs How to Love and Drop the World

    1. idiot^

      Youre stupid, How to love is an RnB pop song, I swear nobody on this page even listens to rap. the best rapper of the decade is Blu, best rapper of the 90’s was NaS. point blank period. You dimwitted faggots are basing this off of commercial success, which is exactly what killed the perceived image of hip-hop. Fuck yall

      1. K.C

        Eminem was the best rapper of the decade, from his crazy Slim Shady ego, to his deep-saddened Eminem ego, nobody did it better then eminem

  12. siphesihle mkhwanazi

    well i like this shit bt one thing that i hate is that eminem is number 1 i mean that white boy must atleast be number 3 and jay-z must be number 1

    1. Big Rob

      Being white has nothing to do with it, Open your eyes, Rap isnt about being Black, It is about what the person has experienced in their life and how they show it in their songs. Jay is a good rapper but he lost alot of what rap is actually about over time while Em has held on to it. But where is TECH N9NE that dude has worked harder than anyone and he doesnt get near enough respect!

  13. graham

    Eminem is the best. he would destroy all these guys. I actually agree with whoever said he is the god of rap. Every rapper has mad respect for em (except for the one’s he has destroyed their career personally) lyrics, flow, message, everything about him is how he got the whole nation to embrace him. (yes i know that is a lyric from fight music) tupac and big are GREAT rappers actually big is my all time favorite, However if they had not “died for hip-hop” then i honestly don’t think they would be remembered the way they are today. They would still be some of the best rappers out there. They would not have accomplished what eminem has. And yes he is white and that gives him a lot of fan base, but that has no effect on his lyrics or any of that. weather he was black or Asian or Mexican anybody who comes up with the shit he comes up with would be considered a great rapper. But thats only one opinion.

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