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 10. LL Cool J



 9. Eminem


 8. Ice Cube



 7. Big Daddy Kane



 6. KRS-One



 5. Nas



 4. Rakim



 3. Notorious B.I.G.



 2. Tupac



 1. Jay-Z



  50 Cent, Nas, Mary J. Give Their 'Greatest MCs'



  MTV Hip-Hop Brain Trust 2006



  Honorable Mentions



  Back to Intro


Have a problem with our choices? Got a better list? Let us know, and check back later for our readers' hip-hop top 10 lists.

Kanye, 50, Diddy, Jay-Z, Tupac? Think your list is better than ours? Make your voice heard in our Greatest MCs poll.




  The Greatest Hip-Hop Albums Of All Time



  The MTV Hip-Hop Brain Trust 2005




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Rank: 1

estimonial
Is Jay really not just "the best rapper alive," but the greatest of all time? Just look at what Hov's done for the game: He has headlined several major hip-hop tours and brought along his peers, rapped alongside a Beatle at the Grammys and thugged out Madison Avenue, emphasizing that a rapper's clothing line or brand of sneaker can be successful. Now Jay is proving that a "retired" MC can get focused and rep hard as the prez of major record company.

So what about Jay's life on the mic? Well, since 1998, Jigga has been the most consistently excellent MC in the game, and it seems like he's at his apex every year. He is one of only a handful of MCs whose flow is so potent that his tongue can effortlessly glide over any track and still destroy a verse with line-for-line firepower.

Hov's first-hand narratives have become a thing of legend, whether he told us about his resentment and ultimate forgiveness of his father, his brushes with love, his endless nights of partying, or riding dirty with cocaine in his trunk. Jigga’s influence is beyond question: If he does it or wears it, chances are his fans and peers will do the same. With S. Dot hinting about stepping back into the vocal booth for another LP, chances are good that his legacy has not yet seen its zenith.  

Co-Signer: Kool G Rap
"That dude is a genius with his craft. He's got all the qualities that it takes for somebody to blow up to superstardom. He's got character, he's got lyrics, he knows how to put songs together. His wittiness. I'm the type of rapper that I try to make my stuff as witty as possible. Jay-Z comes up with some real clever lines to say. From the time he came out up till now, he grew musically — not so much lyrically. He was crazy lyrical on his first album. He grew musically as far as what plays on that radio and what bumps in that club. I think he just mastered that sh--. Dude is in a class by himself. Dudes ain't even touching him as far as I'm concerned."

100 Percent Proof
"Saw the devil in your eyes/ High off more than weed/ Confused, I just closed my young eyes and squeezed/ What a sound/ Opened my eyes just in time to see ya stumbling to the ground/ 'Damn? What the f--- I done now?'... Like a stranger, damn!/ I just shot my n---a/ And ran off into the night as if it was not my n---a."

— from "You Must Love Me" (from In My Lifetime, Vol. 1, 1997)

Selected Catalog
*Reasonable Doubt (1996), In My Lifetime, Vol. 1 (1997), *Vol. 2: Hard Knock Life (1998), Streets Is Watching (soundtrack, 1998), Vol. 3: Life and Times of S. Carter (1999), *The Dynasty Roc la Familia (2000), *The Blueprint (2001), Unplugged (2001), The Blueprint 2: The Gift & the Curse (2002), The Best of Both Worlds (2002, with R. Kelly), The Black Album (2003), Unfinished Business (2004, with R. Kelly), Collision Course (2004, with Linkin Park).

* = undeniable classic

You Tell Us
Have a problem with our choices? Got a better list? Let us know, and check back later for our readers' hip-hop top 10 lists.





Are you FURIOUS that your favorite MC isn't in the Top 10? Look at the 'Honorable Mention' list, then You Tell Us ...
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