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When we dropped our list for the 50 greatest rappers of all time, there was a lot of feedback about the younger generation being squeezed off the list.

To be fair to us though, the golden era of hip hop was a special time for the culture. With names like Jay-Z, Nas, Biggie, 2Pac, DMX, Redman, OutKast, Snoop Dogg, Kurupt, Wu-Tang, Tribe, Mobb Deep, Geto Boys, Ice Cube (just to name a few), I could fill up a whole list with ’90s rappers alone.

However, we’ve taken the feedback onboard and have created a separate list of the greatest rappers of the 2010s. This list is only for rappers who dropped a debut album between 2010 and 2019, so even though artists like Jay-Z, Lil Wayne and Kanye had a huge impact in the last decade, they’re not eligible to be included on this list.

So let’s get into it, Beats Rhymes & Lists presents: the top 30 best rappers of the 2010s.

Honourable mentions:

Big Sean

Albums: Finally Famous (2011), Hall of Fame (2013), Dark Sky Paradise (2015), I Decided (2017), Double or Nothing (with Metro Boomin) (2017)

Mixtapes: Finally Famous Vol. 3: BIG, Detroit

Top 10 Big Sean guest verses of the 2010s:

  1. Meek Mill – “Burn”
  2. Drake – “All Me”
  3. Lil Wayne – “My Homies Still”
  4. Juicy J – “Show Out”
  5. Eminem – “Detroit vs. Everybody”
  6. DJ Khaled – “Holy Key”
  7. Mike Will Made It – “On the Come Up”
  8. Kanye West – “Looking for Trouble”
  9. 2 Chainz – “K.O.”
  10. CyHi the Prynce – “100 Bottles”

For all the commercial success, radio smashes and mainstream recognition that Big Sean gets, I still don’t think he gets the respect he deserves from hip hop heads on his rapping skills. Bar-for-bar Big Sean can get in the booth with any of your favourite rappers from the 2010s and hold his own.

Quavo

Albums: Yung Rich Nation (2015), Culture (2017), Huncho Jack, Jack Huncho (with Travis Scott as Huncho Jack) (2017), Culture II (2018), Quavo Huncho (2018)

Mixtapes: Juug Season, No Label, Y.R.N. (Young Rich Niggas), Streets on Lock (with Rich the Kid), Streets on Lock 2 (with Rich the Kid), No Label 2, Streets on Lock 3 (with Rich the Kid), World War 3D: The Green Album (with Gucci Mane), Rich Nigga Timeline, Back to the Bando, Y.R.N 2 (Young Rich Niggas 2)

Top 10 Quavo guest verses of the 2010s:

  1. 21 Savage & Offset – “Rap Saved Me”
  2. Young Thug – “Pick Up the Phone”
  3. Travis Scott – “Oh My Dis Side”
  4. Drake – “Portland”
  5. 2 Chainz – “Good Drank”
  6. E-40 – “Chase the Money”
  7. Post Malone – “Congratulations”
  8. Young Thug – “F Cancer (Boosie)”
  9. Lil Yachty – “Minnesota”
  10. Pop Smoke – “Shake the Room”

For the later part of Quavo’s recording career, he’s primarily been known as the go-to rapper for dope hooks with his smooth voice and knack for melodies. But go back to some of the earlier Migos mixtapes like No Label 2 and Rich Nigga Timeline and listen to Quavo rap-rap so you don’t ever forget just how dope a spitter he is.

Takeoff

Albums: Yung Rich Nation (2015), Culture (2017), Culture II (2018), The Last Rocket (2018)

Mixtapes: Juug Season, No Label, Y.R.N. (Young Rich Niggas), Streets on Lock (with Rich the Kid), Streets on Lock 2 (with Rich the Kid), No Label 2, Streets on Lock 3 (with Rich the Kid), World War 3D: The Green Album (with Gucci Mane), Rich Nigga Timeline, Back to the Bando, Y.R.N 2 (Young Rich Niggas 2)

Top 10 Takeoff guest verses of the 2010s:

  1. Gucci Mane – “I Get the Bag”
  2. Huncho Jack – “Eye 2 Eye”
  3. Travis Scott – “Who? What!”
  4. Lil Yachty – “Peek a Boo”
  5. Mike Will Made It – “Gucci On My”
  6. French Montana – “Moses”
  7. A$AP Ferg – “Nasty (Who Dat)”
  8. Cardi B – “Drip”
  9. Gucci Mane – “Jackie Chan”
  10. Big Sean – “Sacrifices”

All jokes about Takeoff being left off “Bad and Boujee” aside, the most low-key and overlooked Migos member is perhaps the most consistent rapper of the trio. Often the member to have the most memorable verse on a Migos, Takeoff is also known for smoking his features, whether it’s Cardi B’s “Drip” or Gucci Mane’s “I Get the Bag,” he’s usually walking away with the best verse.

Jay Electronica

Albums: N/A

Mixtapes: N/A

Top 10 Jay Electronica guest verses of the 2010s:

  1. Reflection Eternal – “Just Begun”
  2. Big Sean – “Control”
  3. Mac Miller – “Suplexes Inside of Complexes and Duplexes”
  4. Currensy – “The Day”
  5. PRhyme – “To Me, To You”
  6. Chance the Rapper – “How Great”
  7. Talib Kweli – “All of Us”
  8. Paul Wall – “Live It”
  9. Ski Beatz – “Prowler 2”
  10. Rapsody – “Jedi Code”

Technically Jay Electronica’s debut album dropped in 2010, but there’s no way you could put together a list of the best rappers of the past decade and not include him. Despite not dropping a single project in the 2010s, the New Orleans rapper managed to consistently stay in hip hop conversations. Granted, a lot of those conversations were about when his debut was going to drop, but they also came when he blessed us with one of his incredible guest verses, like the ones he did for Big Sean, Talib Kweli and Royce da 5’9″.

30. 21 Savage

Albums: Savage Mode (with Metro Boomin), Issa Album (2017), Without Warning (with Offset and Metro Boomin) (2017), I Am > I Was (2018)

Mixtapes: The Slaughter Tape, Slaughter King

Top 10 21 Savage guest verses of the 2010s:

  1. G Herbo – “How I Grew Up”
  2. Meek Mill – “Offended”
  3. Travis Scott – “Outside”
  4. Drake – “Sneakin'”
  5. Mike Will Made It – “Gucci On My”
  6. Post Malone – “Rockstar”
  7. Cardi B – “Bartier Cardi”
  8. Metro Boomin – “Don’t Come Out the House”
  9. Young Thug – “I’m Scared”
  10. Travis Scott – “NC-17”

21 Savage is one of those rappers where you don’t realise just how great their catalogue is, until you start going back and revisiting past tapes. With his murderous flow and monotone, dead-eyed delivery, 21 has been dropping timeless records and dope verses for the past decade, and he’s still going strong.

29. 2 Chainz

Albums: Based on a T.R.U. Story (2012), B.O.A.T.S. II: Me Time (2013), ColleGrove (2016), Pretty Girls Like Trap Music (2017), Rap or Go to the League (2019)

Mixtapes: T.R.U. REALigion, T.R.U. Jack City (with The Real University), Trap-A-Velli Tre, Daniel Son; Necklace Don

Top 10 2 Chainz guest verses of the 2010s:

  1. GOOD Music – “Mercy”
  2. Nicki Minaj – “Beez in the Trap”
  3. The Game – “Ali Bomaye”
  4. Juicy J – “Bandz a Make Her Dance”
  5. A$AP Rocky – “Fuckin’ Problems”
  6. Drake – “All Me”
  7. Travis Scott – “3500”
  8. Chance the Rapper – “No Problem”
  9. Lil Wayne – “Rich As Fuck”
  10. Travis Scott – “Upper Echelon”

“Grimming, that’s a new word, it’s a word I made up. Grimming is when you mix grinding and timing together,” 2 Chainz said on the intro of his 20111 mixtape, T.R.U. Realigion. Then he proceeded to have one of the most legendary features run in hip hop history. A superstar on some of the biggest songs of the 2010s, 2 Chainz was one of the most iconic rappers of that era, proving his uncanny ability to blend across different music worlds – from pop hits and trap bangers to street anthems and club smashes.

28. YG

Albums: My Krazy Life (2014), Still Brazy (2016), Stay Dangerous (2018), 4Real 4Real (2019)

Mixtapes: Just Re’d Up, 4Hunnid Degreez, Just Re’d Up 2, Red Friday

Top 10 YG guest verses of the 2010s:

  1. Nipsey Hussle – “Last Time That I Checc’d”
  2. E-40 – “Function”
  3. Yo Gotti – “Act Right”
  4. Future – “Extra Luv”
  5. Mike Will Made It – “Gucci On My”
  6. Gunplay – “Wuzhanindoe”
  7. The Game – “DTF”
  8. Freddie Gibbs – “Every City”
  9. A$AP Ferg – “This Side”
  10. Moneybagg Yo – “Curry Jersey”

Around the same time Kendrick Lamar was blowing up the rap world with his major label debut, good kid, m.A.A.d city, there was another West Coast rapper, who was also from Compton, getting to leave his mark. While not as lyrically-inclined or experimental as Kendrick, YG has proven time and time again that he has a strong ability to craft strong, cohesive albums, building himself a lasting body of work over the past decade.

27. Offset

Albums: Yung Rich Nation (2015), Culture (2017), Without Warning (with 21 Savage and Metro Boomin) (2017), Culture II (2018), Father of 4 (2019)

Mixtapes: Juug Season, No Label, Y.R.N. (Young Rich Niggas), Streets on Lock (with Rich the Kid), Streets on Lock 2 (with Rich the Kid), No Label 2, Streets on Lock 3 (with Rich the Kid), World War 3D: The Green Album (with Gucci Mane), Rich Nigga Timeline, Back to the Bando, Y.R.N 2 (Young Rich Niggas 2)

Top 10 Offset guest verses of the 2010s:

  1. Gucci Mane – “Met Gala”
  2. Future & Young Thug – “Patek Water”
  3. Calvin Harris – “Slide”
  4. Mike Will Made It – “Gucci On My”
  5. Lil Yachty – “Peek a Boo”
  6. Dave East – “Checc”
  7. London On Da Track – “No Flags”
  8. Huncho Jack – “Dubai Shit”
  9. Rich the Kid – “Lost It”
  10. Young Thug – “On The Run”

There was a time, around the 2016-2017 period, when it seemed like anything Offset touched was gold and it truly felt like he was the best rapper alive. If Quavo brings the melodies and Takeoff brings the flow, then Offset brings the ability to effortlessly ride the pocket and deliver some of the coldest bars of the trio.

26. Big K.R.I.T.

Albums: Live from the Underground (2012), Cadillactica (2014), 4eva Is a Mighty Long Time (2017), K.R.I.T. Iz Here (2019)

Mixtapes: K.R.I.T. Wuz Here, Return of 4Eva, Last King 2: God’s Machine, 4eva N a Day, King Remembered In Time, See Me On Top IV, It’s Better This Way, #12FOR12

Top 10 Big K.R.I.T. guest verses of the 2010s:

  1. A$AP Rocky – “1 Train”
  2. PRhyme – “Made Man”
  3. Bun B – “Time Flies”
  4. T.I. – “I’m Flexin'”
  5. The Roots – “Make My”
  6. Tech N9ne – “That’s My Kid”
  7. DJ Khaled – “They Ready”
  8. Pimp C – “Grippin’ on the Wood”
  9. Slim Thug – “Coming From”
  10. Smoke DZA – “Gotta Get Paid”

I feel a little disappointment at the fact that I have Big K.R.I.T. down this low on the list (although top 30 of an entire decade is a worthy accomplishment in itself). Breaking into the rap game with a Def Jam co-sign, the Mississippi rapper was poised to become the next big thing coming out of the South, but he just couldn’t get enough traction to propel him into superstardom. But putting commercial success aside, K.R.I.T. has quietly amassed one of the best catalogues of his generation, ranging from his 2010 mixtape, K.R.I.T. Wuz Here, to his debut, Live from the Underground, to 2019’s K.R.I.T. Iz Here.

25. Vince Staples

Albums: Summertime ’06 (2015), Big Fish Theory (2017), FM! (2018)

Mixtapes: Shyne Coldchain Vol. 1, Stolen Youth (with Larry Fisherman), Shyne Coldchain II

Top 10 Vince Staples guest verses of the 2010s:

  1. Common – “Kingdom”
  2. Domo Genesis – “Elimination Chamber”
  3. Ghostface Killah – “Get the Money”
  4. ScHoolboy Q – “Ride Out”
  5. Earl Sweatshirt – “Hive”
  6. Boldy James – “Give Me a Reason”
  7. Mac Miller – “Rain”
  8. Dreamville – “Rembrandt…Run It Back”
  9. E-40 – “Ain’t Talkin’ Bout Nothing”
  10. Joey Fatts – “Cutthroat”

Vince Staples is the very definition of a rapper following his own path and ignoring whatever trends are popping off at the moment. Coming up as an associate of Odd Future’s Mike G and Earl Sweatshirt, Staples forged his own way, popping up every now and then to drop incredible records like Summertime ’06 and Big Fish Theory that had him rapping over some of the most interesting and avant-garde production in hip hop.

24. Jay Rock

Albums: Follow Me Home (2011), 90059 (2015), Redemption (2018)

Mixtapes: Black Friday

Top 10 Jay Rock guest verses of the 2010s:

  1. Kendrick Lamar – “Money Trees”
  2. YG – “I Just Wanna Party”
  3. Ab-Soul – “Lust Demons”
  4. Nipsey Hussle – “Army All by Myself”
  5. E-40 – “Money”
  6. Terrace Martin – “Why”
  7. Freddie Gibbs – “Krazy”
  8. Tech N9ne – “You Owe Like Pookie”
  9. Schoolboy Q – “What’s tha Word”
  10. Freddie Gibbs – “Rep 2 tha Fullest”

For a lot of rap fans, the first time they heard Jay Rock was on Kendrick Lamar’s “Money Trees”, where the Watts rapper delivered one of the best guest verses of all time. What most of them didn’t know is that Jay Rock had been grinding away for close to a decade before his big moment came. Honing his craft under the tutelage of Top Dawg and (randomly enough), Strange Music’s Tech N9ne, Jay Rock has established himself as a West Coast OG, not as flashy or quirky as his label mates, but blessed with a hard-edged flow and blunt delivery that makes him a standout rapper every time he appears on a track.

23. Travis Scott

Albums: Rodeo (2015), Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight (2016), Huncho Jack, Jack Huncho (with Quavo as Huncho Jack) (2017), Astroworld (2018), JackBoys (with JackBoys) (2019)

Mixtapes: Owl Pharaoh, Days Before Rodeo

Top 10 Travis Scott guest verses of the 2010s:

  1. 2 Chainz – “4 AM”
  2. Juicy J – “No English”
  3. Drake – “Portland”
  4. Future – “First Off”
  5. Young Thug – “Hot (Remix)”
  6. Kid Cudi – “Baptized in Fire”
  7. Young Thug – “Floyd Mayweather”
  8. Migos – “Kelly Price”
  9. 21 Savage & Offset – “Ghostface Killers”
  10. DJ Mustard – “Whole Lotta Lovin'”

Travis Scott has never been a great rapper, and I say that as a huge fan. There has rarely been a time when Travis has been a song with other rappers and come away with the best verse or most memorable bars. Where his strengths lie are in his ability to curate and pull out strong performances from his collaborators. Over the past decade, Travis Scott has been responsible for several of the best hip hop albums to come out, thanks to his producer instinct and gift for songwriting.

22. Meek Mill

Albums: Dreams and Nightmares (2012), Dreams Worth More Than Money (2015), Wins & Losses (2017), Championships (2018)

Mixtapes: Flamers 3: The Wait Is Over, Mr. Philadelphia, Dreamchasers, Dreamchasers 2, Dreamchasers 3, DC4

Top 10 Meek Mill guest verses of the 2010s:

  1. Rick Ross – “So Sophisticated”
  2. Wale – “Bag of Money”
  3. YG – “My Nigga (Remix)”
  4. DJ Khaled – “They Don’t Love You No More”
  5. T.I. – “Jefe”
  6. DJ Mustard – “100 Bands”
  7. Jadakiss – “By the Bar”
  8. Lil Baby – “Time”
  9. Rick Ross – “Walkin’ on Air”
  10. Fabolous – “Foreigners”

For all the bravado that Meek Mill inspires in his music and rapping style, he’s actually one of the more underrated rappers of his generation. If you look at the body of his work in the 2010s, with the strong albums and classic mixtapes, and factor in his highlight guest verses, Meek has been killing the game for the past 10 years without half the recognition that he deserves.

21. Nipsey Hussle

Albums: Victory Lap (2018)

Mixtapes: The Marathon, The Marathon Continues, TMC: X-Tra Laps, Crenshaw, Mailbox Money, Slauson Boy 2, Famous Lies And Unpopular Truths, No Pressure (with Bino Rideaux)

Top 10 Nipsey Hussle guest verses of the 2010s:

  1. YG – “FDT”
  2. Rick Ross – “Fountain of Youth”
  3. YG – “Snitches Ain’t”
  4. Childish Gambino – “Black Faces”
  5. YG – “I Want a Benz”
  6. Rockie Fresh – “Life Long”
  7. Rapsody – “Never Know”
  8. T.I. – “About My Issue”
  9. Jadakiss – “Ain’t Nothin New”
  10. Rick Ross – “Rich Nigga Lifestyle”

Even with only one album to his name (and a bunch of classic mixtapes), Nipsey Hussle’s name as an independent artist has been hugely influential over the past decade. When Nipsey raps in his direct and urgent style, it’s almost as if he’s urging the listener to go out there and make some moves, instead of sitting around waiting for hand-outs.

20. Westside Gunn

<> on April 15, 2018 in Indio, California.

Albums: Flygod (2016), Supreme Blientele (2018), WWCD (with Griselda) (2019)

Mixtapes: Hitler Wears Hermes, Hitler Wears Hermes II , Hitler Wears Hermes III, Hall & Nash (with Conway The Machine), Hitler Wears Hermes IV, Hitler Wears Hermes V, Hitler Wears Hermes VI, Flygod is an Awesome God, Hitler Wears Hermes VII

Top 10 Westside Gunn guest verses of the 2010s:

  1. Conway the Machine – “Rex Ryan”
  2. Benny the Butcher – “Echo Long”
  3. Conway the Machine – “Tito’s Back”
  4. DJ Premier – “Headlines”
  5. Conway the Machine – “Gold Pots”
  6. Benny the Butcher – “Fifty One”
  7. The Alchemist – “Ray Mysterio”
  8. Benny the Butcher – “Tom Ford Socks”
  9. Conway the Machine – “Air Holes”
  10. Skyzoo – “Luxury”

Similar to Travis Scott, Westside Gunn’s strengths lie, not so much in his ability to deliver dope bars (although he can do this extremely well), but rather in crafting fully-realised, cohesive projects. With Benny the Butcher and Conway the Machine as his muscle, Westside plays the position that 50 Cent did back in 2003 – a CEO-rapper masterminding his industry takeover. From deals with Shady Records to co-signs from Jay-Z, Griselda had the whole world falling back in love with gritty, boom-bap hip hop, and a lot of that is thanks to Westside Gunn.

19. Chief Keef

Albums: Finally Rich (2012), Bang 3 (2015), Dedication (2017)

Mixtapes: The Glory Road, Bang, Back from the Dead, Bang 2, Almighty So, Back from the Dead 2, Nobody (with 12 Million), Big Gucci Sosa (with Gucci Mane), Sorry 4 the Weight, Almighty DP (with DP Beats), Almighty DP 2 (with DP Beats), Finally Rollin 2, Two Zero One Seven, Mansion Musick , The Cozart, Back from the Dead 3, GloToven (with Zaytoven)

Top 10 Chief Keef guest verses of the 2010s:

  1. Lil Reese – “Traffic”
  2. Mac Miller – “Cut the Check”
  3. Fredo Santana – “My Lil Niggaz”
  4. Waka Flocka Flame – “Murda”
  5. Fat Trel – “Russian Roulette”
  6. Vic Mensa – “Down for Some Ignorance (Ghetto Lullaby)”
  7. Mike Will Made It – “On It”
  8. Kanye West – “Hold My Liquor”
  9. Travis Scott – “Nightcrawler”
  10. G Herbo – “Catch Up”

If we were just talking about the impact of Chief Keef’s influence on this generation of rappers, then there’s a very strong argument for him being in the top spot. Everything, from his rapping style – an auto-tuned, melodically inclined warble – to his independent business moves – to his DIY aesthetics has inspired later generations of internet artists to move differently in the industry.

18. Roc Marciano

Albums: Marcberg (2010), Reloaded (2012), Marci Beaucoup (2013), Rosebudd’s Revenge (2017), RR2: The Bitter Dose (2018), Behold a Dark Horse (2018), Kaos (with DJ Muggs) (2018), Marcielago (2019)

Mixtapes: The Pimpire Strikes Back 

Top 10 Roc Marciano guest verses of the 2010s:

  1. Action Bronson – “Modern Day Revelations”
  2. Ka – “Iron Age”
  3. GZA – “Short Race”
  4. Conway The Machine – “Rex Ryan”
  5. Westside Gunn – “Omar’s Coming”
  6. Ghostface Killah – “The Black Diamonds”
  7. Random Axe – “Chewbacca”
  8. Busta Rhymes – “The Heist”
  9. PRhyme – “Respect My Gun”
  10. Westside Gunn – “Ric Martel”

While Westside Gunn and the Griselda team get most of the credit for revitalising New York ‘90s boom-bap (understandably so), most rap fans don’t realise that Roc Marciano has been putting on that gritty, underground sound for most of his career. After a brief stint on Busta Rhymes’ Flipmode Squad, Marciano left to pursue his own career and has become one of the most prolific, respected and consistent rappers of his generation. 

17. Nicki Minaj

Albums: Pink Friday (2010), Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded (2012), The Pinkprint (2014), Queen (2018)

Mixtapes: N/A

Top 10 Nicki Minaj guest verses of the 2010s:

  1. Kanye West – “Monster”
  2. Drake – “Up All Night”
  3. Young Thug – “Danny Glover (Remix)”
  4. Ludacris – “My Chick Bad”
  5. Trey Songz – “Bottoms Up”
  6. French Montana – “Freaks”
  7. Wale – “Clappers”
  8. Rae Sremmurd – “Throw Sum Mo”
  9. Yo Gotti – “Down in the DM (Remix)”
  10. 2 Chainz – “I Luv Dem Strippers”

The biggest and quite possibly most influential female rapper of all time, the Queen Nicki Minaj has been holding down the rap game for the past 10 years with strong albums and a handful of killer guest verses, including the most legendary of all feature appearances – her “Monster” verse. Just that appearance alone would garner her a position on this list.

16. Earl Sweatshirt

Albums: Doris (2013), I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside (2015), Some Rap Songs (2018)

Mixtapes: Earl

Top 10 Earl Sweatshirt guest verses of the 2010s:

  1. Danny Brown – “Really Doe”
  2. Frank Ocean – “Super Rich Kids”
  3. Mac Miller – “I’m Not Real”
  4. Domo Genesis – “Elimination Chamber”
  5. Boldy James – “Reform School”
  6. The Alchemist – “E. Coli”
  7. Freddie Gibbs – “Robes”
  8. Mac Miller – “Polo Jeans”
  9. Casey Veggies – “PNCINTLOFWGKTA”
  10. Tyler, the Creator – “Rusty”

Just on pure lyrical ability alone, Earl Sweatshirt is up there as one of the best rappers of his generation. With a monotone delivery and incredible way of putting together words in a mesmerising flow, it’s clear that Earl’s most notable influence is the late, great MF Doom. If you haven’t listened to it yet, do yourself a favour and go stream Some Rap Songs and really listen to what and how he’s rapping and you’ll see why he’s one of the best rappers of the 2010s.

15. Danny Brown

Albums: The Hybrid (2010), XXX (2011), Old (2013), Atrocity Exhibition (2016), uknowhatimsayin¿ (2019)

Mixtapes: Detroit State of Mind 4, It’s a Art (with Johnson&Jonson), Browntown

Top 10 Danny Brown guest verses of the 2010s:

  1. Ab-Soul – “Terrorist Threats”
  2. Joey Fatts – “Choppa”
  3. The Alchemist – “Flight Confirmation”
  4. A$AP Rocky – “1 Train”
  5. Run the Jewels – “Hey Kids (Bumaye)”
  6. J Dilla – “Jay Dee’s Revenge”
  7. Ghostface Killah – “Six Degrees”
  8. Mr. Muthafuckin’ eXquire – “The Last Huzzah!”
  9. Childish Gambino – “Toxic”
  10. RZA – “Tick, Tock”

Like Vince Staples, Danny Brown is another artist who refuses to conform to any trends or hop on any hype cycles. Sometimes I get the feeling that the Detroit rapper hates being called a rapper, as if that term would somehow box him in artistically. But flamboyant looks and piercing voice aside, Danny Brown has been dropping dope record after dope record for the better part of a decade.

14. Conway the Machine

Albums: WWCD (with Griselda) (2019)

Mixtapes: Physikal Therapy, The Devil’s Reject, Reject 2, Hall and Nash (with Westside Gunn as Hall ‘N Nash), Hell Still On Earth (with Prodigy), G.O.A.T., Reject on Steroids (with DJ Green Lantern), Blakk Tape (2018), Everybody Is F.O.O.D, EIF 2: Eat What U Kill, Everybody Is F.O.O.D 3, Look What I Became

Top 10 Conway the Machine guest verses of the 2010s:

  1. Westside Gunn – “Brutus”
  2. Benny the Butcher – “All 70”
  3. Benny the Butcher – “Dirty Harry”
  4. Westside Gunn – “Kool G”
  5. Westside Gunn – “Undertaker vs. Goldberg”
  6. DJ Premier – “Headlines”
  7. Westside Gunn – “Dunks”
  8. Westside Gunn – “Free Chapo”
  9. Westside Gunn – “Omar’s Coming”
  10. Skyzoo – “Eastern Conference All-Stars”

A veteran in the rap game, Conway has been through enough shit to make movies about, and this life experience reflects in the weariness and pain of his rhymes. Even with a strong catalogue of mixtapes and feature appearances during the 2010s, it really felt like Conway the Machine was only approaching his peak as a rapper as 2019 was wrapping up.

13. Benny the Butcher

Albums: Butcher on Steroids (with DJ Green Lantern) (2017), A Friend of Ours (2018), Tana Talk 3 (2018), The Plugs I Met (2019), WWCD (with Griselda) (2019)

Mixtapes: Benny Montana, Married 2 Da Game: The Mixtape, The White House, Best Ever n’ New York, B.E.N.N.Y. Best Ever, Black Soprano Family, 1 on a 1, My First Brick, Stabbed & Shot (with 38 Spesh)

Top 10 Benny the Butcher guest verses of the 2010s:

  1. Westside Gunn – “Sensational Sherri”
  2. Westside Gunn – “Gods Don’t Bleed”
  3. The Alchemist – “Sand Castles”
  4. Westside Gunn – “Brutus”
  5. Conway the Machine – “Tito’s Back”
  6. Westside Gunn – “Shower Shoe Lords”
  7. DJ Premier – “Headlines”
  8. Westside Gunn – “Brossface Brippler”
  9. Westside Gunn – “GiGis”
  10. Smoke DZA – “7:30”

Like his cousin and label mate, Conway, it feels like Benny was only entering the peak of his rapping prowess and commercial success by the end of the 2010s. Even then, in the latter half of the last decade, any song that had a hint of ’90s gritty boom-bap, the Butcher was there slinging dope verses with his gruff, no-nonsense delivery.

12. Mac Miller

Albums: Blue Slide Park (2011), Watching Movies with the Sound Off (2013), GO:OD AM (2015), The Divine Feminine (2016), Swimming (2018)

Mixtapes: K.I.D.S., Best Day Ever, I Love Life, Thank You, Macadelic, Faces 

Top 10 Mac Miller guest verses of the 2010s:

  1. Ab-Soul – “The Law”
  2. Freddie Gibbs – “Piñata”
  3. Big Sean – “Hundred Dollar Bill Skyscraper”
  4. Consequence – “I’m V.I.P.”
  5. Currensy – “Money Shot”
  6. Sir Michael Rocks – “Great”
  7. Michael Christmas – “Grab Her Hand”
  8. Murs & 9th Wonder – “No Shots”
  9. Rapsody – “Generation”
  10. Thundercat – “Hi”

When Mac Miller broke through with his 2010 mixtape, K.I.D.S., rap fans had no idea that the white rapper from Pittsburgh would evolve in front of their eyes to be one of the most beloved and complete artists of his generation. While his debut album, Blue Slide Park, was a slight stumble straight out the gate, Mac continued to work on his sound, finding his lane with 2013’s Watching Movies with the Sound Off and refining his craft as a rapper, songwriter and producer for the rest of the 2010s.

11. A$AP Rocky

Albums: Long. Live. ASAP (2013), At. Long. Last. ASAP (2015), Testing (2018)

Mixtapes: Live. Love. ASAP

Top 10 A$AP Rocky guest verses of the 2010s:

  1. Schoolboy Q – “Hands on the Wheel”
  2. A$AP Ferg – “Work” (Remix)
  3. A$AP Ferg – “Shabba”
  4. Fat Joe – “Yellow Tape”
  5. Tyler, the Creator – “Who Dat Boy”
  6. Justin Timberlake – “T.K.O. (Remix)”
  7. 2 Chainz – “Crib in My Closet”
  8. Frank Ocean – “Chanel (Remix)”
  9. Vince Staples – “Prima Donna”
  10. The Weeknd – “Reminder (Remix)”

What A$AP Rocky lacks in output quantity, he has more than made up with his dedication to crafting cohesive, full bodies of work. While Rocky has no problem hopping on big singles or club bangers and dropping a quick 16 bars, it’s on his albums where you really see his artistry manifest. All of his projects, from his 2011 mixtape, ​Live. Love. ASAP, to his latest album, Testing, reward repeat listening – you really need to sit down and let the music digest for a few weeks, or even months before you can truly appreciate it.

10. Joey Bada$$

Albums: B4.DA.$$ (2015), All-Amerikkkan Bada$$ (2017)

Mixtapes: 1999, Rejex, Summer Knights

Top 10 Joey Bada$$ guest verses of the 2010s:

  1. A$AP Rocky – “1 Train”
  2. Statik Selektah – “Bird’s Eye View”
  3. Kota the Friend – “B.Q.E.”
  4. XXXTentacion – “Infinity (888)”
  5. PRhyme – “Golden Era”
  6. Capital STEEZ – “Talking Shit”
  7. Smoke DZA – “Gotham Fuckin’ City”
  8. Mick Jenkins – “Jerome”
  9. Kirk Knight – “5 Minutes”
  10. Termanology – “Top Shotta”

At the young age of 26 years old, Joey Bada$$ is already a certified OG in this rap game. Ever since his 2012 mixtape, the revelatory 1999, which featured the 17-year old Brooklyn lyricist rapping over MF Doom, Lord Finesse and J Dilla instrumentals, Joey Bada$$ has been a leader for the independent, DIY hip hop movement. 

9. Tyler, the Creator

Albums: Goblin (2011), The OF Tape Vol. 2 (with Odd Future) (2012) Wolf (2013), Cherry Bomb (2015), Flower Boy (2017), Igor (2019)

Mixtapes: Radical (with Odd Future)

Top 10 Tyler, the Creator guest verses of the 2010s:

  1. Pusha T – “Trouble on My Mind”
  2. Earl Sweatshirt – “Whoa”
  3. Domo Genesis – “Go (Gas)”
  4. Frank Ocean – “Biking”
  5. Schoolboy Q – “The Purge”
  6. Mac Miller – “O.K.”
  7. A$AP Mob – “Telephone Calls”
  8. The Game – “Martians vs. Goblins”
  9. Earl Sweatshirt – “Sasquatch”
  10. Casey Veggies – “DTA”

The greatest glow-up of a rapper in the 2010s. Crow-barring his way into the music industry with a black-and-white video of him eating a cockroach, Tyler, the Creator has had one of the greatest artist evolutions in recent history. As the 2010s wrapped up, the Odd Future leader dropped an album that was as far away from Goblin as you could imagine, with its far-reaching emphasis on jazz, funk and lots of melodies.

8. Schoolboy Q

Albums: Setbacks (2011), Habits & Contradictions (2012), Oxymoron (2014), Blank Face LP (2016), Crash Talk (2019)

Mixtapes: N/A

Top 10 Schoolboy Q guest verses of the 2010s:

  1. A$AP Ferg – “Let it Bang”
  2. A$AP Rocky – “PMW (All I Really Need)”
  3. The Alchemist – “Flight Confirmation”
  4. A$AP Ferg – “Work (Remix)”
  5. E-40 – “All My Niggas”
  6. YG – “I Just Wanna Party”
  7. A$AP Rocky – “Electric Body”
  8. A$AP Rocky – “Brand New Guy”
  9. Joey Bada$$ – “Rockabye Baby”
  10. Ab-Soul – “Hell Yeah”

Kendrick gets a lot of credit for crafting thematically cohesive albums (understandably so), but I think Schoolboy Q is right up there with him. Whether its his 2012 breakthrough album, Habits & Contradictions, or 2016’s Blankface LP (which was the best rap album of 2016), Q puts a lot of care into creating his albums, and it shows in the results. Then on the other hand, he has no problem with jumping on another rapper’s track and completely blacking out like he did on “Let it Bang”, “Work (Remix)” and “Rockabye Baby.”

7. J. Cole

Albums: Cole World: The Sideline Story (2011), Born Sinner (2013), 2014 Forest Hills Drive (2014), 4 Your Eyez Only (2016), KOD (2018)

Mixtapes: Friday Night Lights, Truly Yours, Truly Yours 2

Top 10 J. Cole guest verses of the 2010s:

  1. Kanye West — “Looking For Trouble”
  2. 21 Savage — “a lot”
  3. JID — “Off Deez”
  4. Wale — “Beautiful Bliss”
  5. Royce da 5’9″ — “Boblo Boat”
  6. Jay-Z – “A Star Is Born”
  7. Drake — “Jodeci Freestyle”
  8. Gang Starr — “Family and Loyalty”
  9. Bas — “My Nigga Just Made Bail”
  10. Moneybagg Yo – “Say Na”

While his closest peers, Kendrick and Drake, found their footing in the rap game fairly soon after their debut album, it took J. Cole a few years before he found his lane. While Cole World: The Sideline Story and Born Sinner were both solid albums that established Cole as one of the top rappers of his generation, it wasn’t until his third album, 2014 Forest Hills Drive, that the Dreamville head honcho cemented his legacy. The success and momentum from that album has carried him into the 2020s as one of the leading hip hop OGs. 

6. Freddie Gibbs

Albums: ESGN (2013), Piñata (with Madlib) (2014), Shadow of a Doubt (2015), You Only Live 2wice (2017), Freddie (2018), Fetti (with Currensy and The Alchemist) (2018), Bandana (with Madlib) (2019)

Mixtapes: Str8 Killa No Filla, Str8 Slammin’, Fuckin’ wit Fred, Str8 Slammin’ 2, Str8 Slammin’ 3, Cold Day in Hell, Baby Face Killa

Top 10 Freddie Gibbs guest verses of the 2010s:

  1. Currensy – “Scottie Pippen”
  2. Young Jeezy – “38”
  3. Phonte – “Change Of Mind”
  4. Currensy – “Stash House”
  5. The Alchemist – “Welcome to Los Santos”
  6. Danny Brown – “The Return”
  7. The Game – “Hit Em Hard”
  8. Sean Price – “Remember”
  9. BJ the Chicago Kid – “B.A.M.”
  10. Jon Connor – “F’N Right”

Freddie Gibbs may not have realised it at the time, but the whole failed label situation with Jeezy’s CTE World was the best thing that ever happened to Gibbs. The Gary, Indiana rapper was destined to do this rap shit independently, and after linking up with Madlib, he found a lane he could own. Since then, Gibbs has firmly established himself as the best rapper alive, time and time again, whether it was on Shadow of a Doubt, You Only Live 2wice, Freddie or his follow-up album with Madlib, Bandana, which was the best rap album of 2019.

5. Pusha T

Albums: My Name Is My Name (2013), King Push – Darkest Before Dawn: The Prelude (2015), Daytona (2018)

Mixtapes: Fear of God, Wrath of Caine

Top 10 Pusha T guest verses of the 2010s:

  1. Freddie Gibbs – “Palmolive”
  2. Kanye West – “So Appalled”
  3. Benny the Butcher – “18 Wheeler”
  4. Future – “Move That Dope”
  5. Kanye West – “Runaway”
  6. Cyhi the Prynce – “No Dope On Sundays”
  7. Fabolous – “Life Is So Exciting”
  8. RZA – “Tick, Tock”
  9. No Malice – “Shame The Devil”
  10. Shyne – “Meyer Lansky”

There isn’t a rapper who had a better 2010s than Pusha T. Sure, there were plenty of rappers who put up bigger numbers, or even dropped better albums, but from 2010 to 2019, Pusha was winning every step of the way. After splitting up with his brother and breaking up the Clipse (a move that would have been the end for a lot of other rappers), Pusha linked up with Kanye and dropped two standout guest verses on quite possibly the best hip hop album of the 2010s.  

Then he started his solo run, dropping three albums (two of which can be considered classics), two mixtapes and going on a legendary features run that saw him bodying tracks with Benny the Butcher, Freddie Gibbs, Cyhi the Prynce and Future. To top it all off, he got into a beef with the biggest rapper in the world and came out relatively unscatched and smiling. Who had a better 2010s than Pusha T? 

4. Young Thug

Albums: Slime Language (with YSL Records), So Much Fun (2019)

Mixtapes: 1017 Thug, Black Portland (with Bloody Jay), Young Thugga Mane La Flare (with Gucci Mane), 1017 Thug 2, 1017 Thug 3: The Finale, Tha Tour, Pt. 1 (with Birdman and Rich Homie Quan, as Rich Gang), Slime Season, Slime Season 2, Barter 6, I’m Up, Slime Season 3, Jeffery, Beautiful Thugger Girls, Super Slimey (with Future)

Top 10 Young Thug guest verses of the 2010s:

  1. Travis Scott – “Maria I’m Drunk”
  2. T.I. – “About the Money”
  3. Travis Scott – “Skyfall”
  4. Jamie xx – “I Know There’s Gonna Be (Good Times)”
  5. Drake – “Sacrifices”
  6. Travis Scott – “Mamacita”
  7. Rae Sremmurd – “Throw Sum Mo”
  8. Rick Ross – “Trap Trap Trap”
  9. Chance the Rapper – “Mixtape”
  10. Meek Mill – “Offended”

Young Thug was one of the best rappers of the 2010s just off of his legendary mixtapes and guest appearances alone. Coming into the rap game off a Guwop co-sign with the incredible 1017 Thug, the Atlanta alien represented a major shift in hip hop with his distinct style of blending melodic rapping and ability to switch up his flows multiple times within a song. As the decade drew to an end, Thugga finally found the commercial success that had been alluding him for most of the 2010s – So Much Fun debuted at the top of the charts, representing a new phase in his recording career. 

3. Future

Albums: Pluto (2012), Honest (2014), DS2 (2015), Evol (2016), Future (2017), Hndrxx (2017), The Wizrd (2019)

Mixtapes: Astronaut Status, Monster, Beast Mode (with Zaytoven), 56 Nights (with DJ Esco & 808 Mafia), What a Time to Be Alive (with Drake), Purple Reign, Super Slimey (with Young Thug), Beast Mode 2 (with Zaytoven), Wrld on Drugs (with Juice Wrld)

Top 10 Future guest verses of the 2010s:

  1. Travis Scott – “3500”
  2. Lil Wayne – “Love Me”
  3. Ace Hood – “Bugatti”
  4. Rocko – “U.O.E.N.O.”
  5. Chance the Rapper – “Smoke Break”
  6. Drake – “Grammys”
  7. Young Jeezy – “Way Too Gone”
  8. 21 Savage – “X”
  9. Travis Scott – “High Fashion”
  10. Pusha T – “Pain”

Future came into the game as a crooning trapper from Pluto, and has evolved into one of the most complete and iconic artists of the 2010s. After the disappointment of his sophomore album, Honest, which saw the industry try to turn him into a popstar, Future took matters into his own hands, linking up with Metro Boomin and DJ Esco to go on a mixtape run that can only be rivalled by Lil Wayne. The holy trinity of Future tapes – Monster, Beast Mode, 56 Nights – revitalised the trapper-rapper and since then, he hasn’t stopped churning out quality releases, from the classic DS2 to his R&B/pop masterpiece, Hndrxx.

2. Drake

Albums: Thank Me Later (2010), Take Care (2011), Nothing Was the Same (2013), Views (2016), Scorpion (2018), Certified Lover Boy (2021)

Mixtapes: If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late, What a Time to Be Alive (with Future), More Life

Top 10 Drake guest verses of the 2010s:

  1. Rick Ross – “Stay Schemin’”
  2. Lil Wayne – “Believe Me”
  3. DJ Khaled – “I’m on One”
  4. 2 Chainz – “No Lie”
  5. Kendrick Lamar – “Poetic Justice”
  6. Migos – “Versace (Remix)”
  7. Lil Wayne – “It’s Good”
  8. A$AP Rocky – “Fuckin’ Problems”
  9. Big Sean – “Blessings”
  10. Travis Scott – “Sicko Mode”

Hip hop has never seen a commercial force like Drake before. There have been rappers who have had higher peaks (50 Cent), rappers who have sold more records (Eminem), rappers who have been successful for longer (Jay-Z), but to stay at the top of the rap game for 10 years straight like Drake, has never been done before. But even if you want to put aside sales and commercial impact, Drizzy has proven to be one of the most lyrically-adept rappers of his generation, even if those bars don’t fit in the same parameters as traditional hip hop heads might see them. Just check out our list of the 15 most lyrical Drake songs if you need examples.

1. Kendrick Lamar

Albums: Section.80 (2011), Good Kid, M.A.A.D City (2012), To Pimp a Butterfly (2015), Untitled Unmastered (2016), DAMN. (2017)

Mixtapes: Overly Dedicated

Top 10 Kendrick guest verses of the 2010s:

  1. Pusha T – “Nosetalgia”
  2. Big Sean – “Control”
  3. The Game – “The City”
  4. Lil Wayne – “Mona Lisa”
  5. A$AP Rocky – “Fuckin’ Problems”
  6. Future – “Mask Off (Remix)”
  7. Tech N9ne – “Fragile”
  8. Flying Lotus – “Never Catch Me”
  9. DJ Khaled – “Holy Key”
  10. Kanye West – “No More Parties in LA”

It was a tough match-up between Kendrick and Drake for the number-one spot, but at the end of the day, it was a no-brainer. Kendrick Lamar is not only the best rapper of the 2010s, he’s making a strong case for being one of the greatest rappers of all time. From his humble debut, to the film-like storytelling precision of good kid, m.A.A.d city to the genre-bending To Pimp a Butterfly to the perfection of DAMN., the Compton rapper has proven time and time again why he’s the greatest rapper of the 2010s.  

6 comments
  1. This shit is foul. NAHHH. Meek in the 20’s??? LLOYD BANKS AINT EVEN ON HERE?!?! Y’all make me fuckin sick. Someone need to get beat up for this. Word.

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