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The Best Rap Groups Of All Time

Hip hop is a movement, and rap groups are its heartbeat. Way back in the ’70s, cats like Run-D.M.C. and Public Enemy flipped the script, rippin’ mics with revolutionary style. Then the ’90s hit: Tribe Called Quest brought the smooth vibes, N.W.A. dropped realness bombs, and the South rose with the Geto Boys and OutKast. Wu-Tang was a whole damn army, Cypress Hill pushed the limits – the scene was on fire!

Roll into the present, and groups like Migos and Brockhampton keep the flame alive. But we can’t forget legends like Bone Thugs, De La Soul, and countless others who shaped this culture.

So let’s dive in! Here our fans are rankin’ the greatest rap groups in history. Pioneers who changed the game, and the heavy hitters of today. From Geto Boys and Cypress Hill to Wu-Tang and Tribe – get ready for the most legendary crews to ever spit!

A Tribe Called Quest


Top 25 Best Hip Hop Albums Of 1991 Tribe Called Quest 1024X683

Members: Q-Tip, Phife Dawg, Ali Shaheed Muhammad, Jarobi White

Catalogue: People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm (1990), The Low End Theory (1991), Midnight Marauders (1993), Beats, Rhymes and Life (1996), The Love Movement (1998), We Got It from Here… Thank You 4 Your Service (2016)

A Tribe Called Quest is the best rap group of all time, period. They pioneered jazz rap in the early ‘90s, dissecting brilliant samples from Lonnie Smith and Roy Ayers classics to recreate the same summery and light-hearted sound in their slick brand of hip hop. Q-Tip and Phife Dawg had some of the best chemistry between any two rappers, going back and forth with one another, not as two rivals competing for the best verse, but as two close friends joining forces, combining their strengths to forge some of hip hop’s greatest songs.

From their ‘90s classics to their 2016 comeback, Tribe have proven themselves hip hop titans, and their legacy will not be forgotten. If this list was put together before Tribe dropped their last album, there’s a good chance that Wu-Tang would have taken the top spot. But We Got It from Here… Thank You 4 Your Service provided Tribe with the perfect ending to a story that was left unfinished for almost two decades.

Wu-Tang Clan


Top 25 Best Rap Groups Of All Time Wu Tang Clan 1024X683

Members: RZA, GZA, Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Inspectah Deck, U-God, Ghostface Killah, Method Man, Raekwon, Masta Killa, Cappadonna

Catalogue: Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) (1993), Wu-Tang Forever (1997), The W (2000), Iron Flag (2001), 8 Diagrams (2007), A Better Tomorrow (2014), Once Upon a Time in Shaolin (2015)

The sheer amount of talent to come out of Wu-Tang Clan is extraordinary. Rappers like Ghostface Killah, Method Man, GZA and Raekwon are often in discussions for the best rappers of all time , so for them – among a handful of other legends – to have all come from the same group instantly marks Wu-Tang as one of the greatest rap groups of all time. Though there are almost a dozen members in the group, each one of them has their moment to shine.

That is precisely what makes Wu-Tang so special: the group acts as one unit, not taking turns for their verses, but going back and forth, hyping one another up, always complementing each other’s style. Throughout hip hop history, there hasn’t been a rap group that has been as dominating or overwhelming as the Wu-Tang Clan.

Public Enemy


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Members: Chuck D, Flavor Flav, DJ Lord, Sammy Sam

Catalogue: Yo! Bum Rush the Show (1987), It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back (1988), Fear of a Black Planet (1990), Apocalypse 91… The Enemy Strikes Black (1991), Muse Sick-n-Hour Mess Age (1994), There’s a Poison Goin’ On (1999), Revolverlution (2002), New Whirl Odor (2005), How You Sell Soul to a Soulless People Who Sold Their Soul? (2007), Most of My Heroes Still Don’t Appear on No Stamp (2012), The Evil Empire of Everything (2012), Man Plans God Laughs (2015), Nothing Is Quick in the Desert (2017), Loud Is Not Enough (2020), What You Gonna Do When the Grid Goes Down? (2020)

Public Enemy are hip hop legends, renowned as hip hop pioneers, achieving mainstream success while maintaining respect within the hip hop community. While the members’ shouty style of rapping could be compared to the Beastie Boys, it’s the lively, sample-riddled production style of Public Enemy that sets them apart from all other hip hop outfits.

One of the greatest rappers of all time , Chuck D’s delivery is wild, matching the messy and unpredictable nature of the group’s production with limitless energy and a range of dynamic flows. What makes the group even more engaging is their powerful politics, using their music as a stand against racism and oppression in America.

De La Soul


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Members: Posdnuos, Trugoy, Maseo

Catalogue: 3 Feet High and Rising (1989), De La Soul Is Dead (1991), Buhloone Mindstate (1993), Stakes Is High (1996), Art Official Intelligence: Mosaic Thump (2000), AOI: Bionix (2001), The Grind Date (2004), Plug 1 & Plug 2 Present… First Serve (2012), And the Anonymous Nobody… (2016)

De La Soul emerged in the late ‘80s with 3 Feet High and Rising and proved their legend status further with each project thereafter. Their style fluctuated from light-hearted jazz rap to aggressive boom bap, with the group’s versatility making their discography one of the most diverse and consistent in hip hop.

The group has such a youthful energy, with upbeat lyricism and captivating chemistry between each rapper, making the darker moments in their catalogue all the more impactful. Although label disputes have made their music inaccessible to rap fans in the modern era, true hip hop heads know that De La Soul are up there with the best of the best.



Most Important Moments Events In Rap Hip Hop History Run Dmc 1024X683

Members: Run, D.M.C., Jam Master Jay

Catalogue: Run-D.M.C. (1984), King of Rock (1985), Raising Hell (1986), Tougher Than Leather (1988), Back from Hell (1990), Down with the King (1993), Crown Royal (2001)

Quite possibly the most influential rap act of all time, Run-D.M.C. defined the shape of hip hop to come when they debuted in 1984. With their high energy and hardcore style, they brought hip hop away from the safe, mainstream sounds of dance and funk, embracing a harder, more abrasive sound which became the norm for the genre.

Run-D.M.C. are legendary for their impact on music, fashion and pop culture in general, but that’s not to say the group were only worth praising for their influence. Run and D.M.C. knew how to make a crowd move, with a knack for making catchy hooks and an ear for loud and energetic beats. They matched their energy with their wild verses, putting their all into every verse. With a staggering list of achievements like being the first rap group to achieve a gold and platinum record, the Hollis, Queens trio is hip hop royalty.

The Roots


Rappers Best Worst Reviewed Albums The Roots 1024X683

Members: Black Thought, Questlove, Kamal Gray, Captain Kirk Douglas, Damon “Tuba Gooding Jr.” Bryson, Ray Angry, James Poyser, Mark Kelley, Stro Elliot, Jeremy Ellis, Ian Hendrickson-Smith, Dave Guy

Catalogue: Organix (1993), Do You Want More?!!!??! (1995), Illadelph Halflife (1996), Things Fall Apart (1999), Phrenology (2002), The Tipping Point (2004), Game Theory (2006), Rising Down (2008), How I Got Over (2010), Undun (2011), …And Then You Shoot Your Cousin (2014)

The Roots are highly regarded for a number of reasons, but most notable may be their pioneering jazzy style of production and being the most well-known hip hop bands ever. While their blend of soulful sounds and boom-bap influence would sound great for any group, the fact that The Roots perform with live instruments makes those instrumentals all the more impressive.



Most Important Moments Events In Rap Hip Hop History Nwa Platinum 1024X683

Members: Arabian Prince, DJ Yella, Dr. Dre, Eazy-E, Ice Cube, MC Ren

Catalogue: Straight Outta Compton (1988), 100 Miles and Runnin’ (1990), Ni**az4Life (1991)

The late ‘80s saw the rise of many enraged, politically-charged hip hop groups using their platform for activism, but N.W.A. defied that, embracing the violent, graphic, and aggressive side of hip hop others tried to resist. Their production style was explosive, with Dre’s crashing drums and roaring samples to match the anger in the performances of each rapper.

Beastie Boys


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Members: Ad-Rock, MCA, Mike D, John Berry, Kate Schellenbach

Catalogue: Licensed to Ill (1986), Paul’s Boutique (1989), Check Your Head (1992), Ill Communication (1994), Hello Nasty (1998), To the 5 Boroughs (2004), The Mix-Up (2007), Hot Sauce Committee Part Two (2011)

Beastie Boys are a group who need no introduction. One of the most influential rap acts of all time, their charisma is irresistible, with the members chanting along with one another, shouting in each other’s faces to see who can spit the wildest verse. Their music is explosive, whether it be their shouty style of rapping of their abrasive production choice with heavy rock influence.

Bone Thugs-N-Harmony


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Members: Bizzy Bone, Wish Bone, Layzie Bone, Krayzie Bone, Flesh-n-Bone

Catalogue: Faces of Death (1993), Creepin on ah Come Up (1994), E. 1999 Eternal (1995), The Art of War (1997), BTNHResurrection (2000), Thug World Order (2002), Thug Stories (2006), Strength & Loyalty (2007), Uni5: The World’s Enemy (2010), The Art of War: World War III (2013), New Waves (2017)

Bone Thugs-N-Harmony are an incredible group who embraced the sound of G-Funk and pop rap to perfection in the early ‘90s. With heavy use of synths and vocal manipulation, they’re known to use the mainstream conventions of the West Coast and put a dark twist on them, fusing the glamour of G-Funk with the hard-hitting aggression of gangsta rap.

Geto Boys


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Members: Willie D, Scarface, Bushwick Bill, Raheem, Sir Rap-A-Lot, Sire Jukebox, Prince Johnny C, DJ Ready Red, Big Mike

Catalogue: Making Trouble (1988), Grip It! On That Other Level (1989), We Can’t Be Stopped (1991), Till Death Do Us Part (1993), The Resurrection (1996), Da Good da Bad & da Ugly (1998), The Foundation (2005)

While Geto Boys have seen several personnel changes over the years, their core sound and quality have remained consistent. Their most striking attribute is their lyrical content, with legendary Houston rappers Scarface, Bushwick Bill and Willie D among other members rapping with bombastic flows, detailing graphic experiences about sex, murder, drugs, and all forms of violence.

Three 6 Mafia


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Members: DJ Paul, Juicy J, Gangsta Boo, Crunchy Black, Lord Infamous, Koopsta Knicca

Catalogue: Mystic Stylez (1995), Chapter 1: The End (1996), Chapter 2: World Domination (1997), When the Smoke Clears: Sixty 6, Sixty 1 (2000), Choices (2001), Da Unbreakables (2003), Choices II: The Setup (2005), Most Known Unknown (2005), Last 2 Walk (2008)

In contrast to the party anthems and funk-influenced highlights of most Southern hip hop in the ‘90s, Memphis rap showed a darker side to the south, and at the forefront was the incredible Three 6 Mafia. Their sound is dark, with growling bass and sinister samples over looped drum machines which form a terrifying, almost cinematic, atmosphere.

Cypress Hill


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Members: B-Real, Sen Dog, Eric Bobo, Mellow Man Ace, DJ Muggs

Catalogue: Cypress Hill (1991), Black Sunday (1993), III: Temples of Boom (1995), IV (1998), Skull & Bones (2000), Stoned Raiders (2001), Till Death Do Us Part (2004), Rise Up (2010), Elephants on Acid (2018), Back in Black (2022)

Cypress Hill are among the most iconic groups in hip hop history, and justifiably so. Lead rappers B-Real and Sen Dog embody so much charisma, dominating over the messy style of production where dozens of samples are mashed together into a storm of intricate sound.



Top 25 Best Hip Hop Albums Of 1996 Fugees Cover 1024X683

Members: Lauryn Hill, Wyclef Jean, Pras Michel

Catalogue: Blunted on Reality (1994), The Score (1996)

Fugees may not have a lengthy catalogue of music, but across their two albums, they delivered some of the most colourful and gorgeous hip hop to ever grace the genre. Consisting of Lauryn Hill, Wyclef Jean and Pras Michel, they stood out from other hip hop acts of the ‘90s with a heavy R&B influence laced between their more traditional rap songs.

Boogie Down Productions


Ranking 25 Rappers Kool Moe Dee Rap Report Card Boogie Down 1024X683

Members: KRS-One, D-Nice, DJ Scott La Rock

Catalogue: Criminal Minded (1987), By All Means Necessary (1988), Ghetto Music: The Blueprint of Hip Hop (1989), Edutainment (1990), Sex and Violence (1992)

The frontman of Boogie Down Productions is KRS-One, one of the best rappers alive , and that fact alone should be enough to know how great the group was in their prime. They were a massively influential group in the ‘80s, helping push a wave of hardcore and political hip hop as KRS-One depicted vivid pictures of life in the streets.



Top 25 Best Rap Groups Of All Time The Lox Cover 1024X683

Members: Jadakiss, Styles P, Sheek Louch

Catalogue: Money, Power & Respect (1998), We Are the Streets (2000), Filthy America… It’s Beautiful (2016), Living Off Xperience (2020)

The LOX are a prominent group in the hardcore hip hop scene. They drove their brand of abrasive, aggressive rap music to the mainstream in the late ‘90s alongside superstars like DMX and Mase, while maintaining their street appeal. Few groups are as cold and menacing as The LOX. Their style is rough and ferocious mic.

Naughty By Nature


40 Greatest Rappers Of The 1990S Treach 1024X683

Members: Treach, Vin Rock, DJ Kay Gee

Catalogue: Independent Leaders (1989), Naughty by Nature (1991), 19 Naughty III (1993), Poverty’s Paradise (1995), Nineteen Naughty Nine: Nature’s Fury (1999), IIcons (2002), Anthem Inc. (2011)

One of the best rap groups to balance commercial and street appeal, Naughty By Nature garnered a ton of mainstream attention in the ‘90s while maintaining their certified status in the larger hip hop scene. DJ Kay Gee handles production, fusing the rough elements of boom bap with the flashier style of hardcore hip hop, with the final product being hits such as “Hip Hop Hooray” and “Feel Me Flow” which celebrate the abrasive nature of hip hop while remaining accessible and catchy.

Brand Nubian


Top 25 Best Rap Groups Of All Time Brand Nubian 1024X683

Members: Grand Puba, Lord Jamar, Sadat X, DJ Alamo, DJ Sincere, DJ Stud Doogie

Catalogue: One for All (1990), In God We Trust (1993), Everything Is Everything (1994), Foundation (1998), Fire in the Hole (2004), Time’s Runnin’ Out (2007)

Politically-charged rap group Brand Nubian rose to prominence with their acclaimed debut, All For One , in 1990. Their production style is jazzy and upbeat, contrasting the political and often controversial lyricism from rappers Sadat X, Lord Jamar, and especially Grand Puba. This contrast is part of what makes their music so interesting, embodying that same summery and carefree feeling as their contemporaries in Native Tongues, but with a dark edge to their lyricism to show that not all is what it seems on the surface.

2 Live Crew


Top 25 Best Rap Groups Of All Time 2 Live Crew 1024X683

Members: Luther Campbell, Fresh Kid Ice, Brother Marquis, Verb, Mr. Mixx

Catalogue: The 2 Live Crew Is What We Are (1986), Move Somethin’ (1988), As Nasty as They Wanna Be (1989), Banned in the U.S.A. (1990), Sports Weekend: As Nasty as They Wanna Be, Pt. 2 (1991), Sports Weekend: As Clean as They Wanna Be Part II (1991), Back at Your Ass for the Nine-4 (1994), Shake a Lil’ Somethin’ (1996), The Real One (1998)

There aren’t many hip hop groups as unapologetic and raunchy as 2 Live Crew. Their lyrical content usually revolves around sex and women, with the graphicness of their verses and their over-the-top energy resulting in music that is equally provocative and entertaining.

Goodie Mob


Top 25 Best Rap Groups Of All Time Goodie Mob 1024X683

Members: Big Gipp, Khujo, CeeLo Green, T-Mo

Catalogue: Soul Food (1995), Still Standing (1998), World Party (1999), One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show (2004), Age Against the Machine (2013), Survival Kit (2020)

Along with groups like OutKast and Geto Boys, Goodie Mob helped define the sound of Southern hip hop and are rightfully recognised as legends of the South. Their classic debut in 1995, Soul Food , encapsulates everything great about their sound – such groovy basslines, punchy drums, and animated performances from every member.

Black Moon


Top 25 Best Rap Groups Of All Time Black Moon 1024X683

Members: Buckshot, 5ft, DJ Evil Dee

Catalogue: Enta da Stage (1993), War Zone (1999), Total Eclipse (2003), Rise of da Moon (2019)

Coming up in the early ’90s New York scene at a time when the West was dominating, Black Moon are an underground group who need no introduction. Their grimy style fuses elements of jazz rap with hardcore hip hop, distinguishing themselves from other East Coast acts of the ‘90s with their abrasive rapping and equally hard-hitting beats.

Slum Village


Top 25 Best Rap Groups Of All Time Slum Village 1024X683

Members: T3 , Young RJ, J Dilla, Baatin, Elzhi, Illa J

Catalogue: Fan-Tas-Tic (Vol. 1) (1997), Fantastic, Vol. 2 (2000), Trinity (Past, Present and Future) (2002), Detroit Deli (A Taste of Detroit) (2004), Slum Village (2005), Villa Manifesto (2010), Evolution (2013), Yes! (2015), Vol. 0 (2016)

Hailing from Detroit, Michigan, Slum Village have a summery and jazzy sound similar to A Tribe Called Quest, but with a tightness and polish to their production crafted by the legendary J Dilla. While J Dilla later left the group, he helped define their sound with Fan-Tas-Tic followed by the classic Fan-Tas-Tic, Vol. 2 .



Top 25 Best Rap Groups Of All Time Hieroglyphics 1024X683

Members: Casual, Del the Funky Homosapien, Domino, DJ Toure, Pep Love, A-Plus, Opio, Phesto, Tajai

Catalogue: 3rd Eye Vision (1998), Full Circle (2003), The Kitchen (2013)

Hieroglyphics is an underground collective formed by Del the Funky Homosapien, otherwise composed of a number of rappers and producers, such as the group Souls of Mischief. The group has become a staple in the underground, making some of the most creative and hard-hitting hip hop of the ‘90s and 2000s.



Most Important Moments Events In Rap Hip Hop History Salt N Peppa 1024X683

Members: Salt, Pepa, DJ Spinderella

Catalogue: Hot, Cool & Vicious (1986), A Salt with a Deadly Pepa (1988), Blacks’ Magic (1990), Very Necessary (1993), Brand New (1997)

The legendary Salt-N-Pepa paved the way for female MCs in hip hop, breaking down the stereotype that rap music was for men alone. Their iconic hit “Push It” helped bring the genre into the mainstream in the late ‘80s, combining elements of hip hop and dance into an instant earworm of a song.



Top 25 Best Rap Groups Of All Time Onyx 1024X683

Members: Fredro Starr, Sticky Fingaz

Catalogue: Bacdafucup (1993), All We Got Iz Us (1995), Shut ‘Em Down (1998), Bacdafucup Part II (2002), Triggernometry (2003), #WakeDaFucUp (2014), Black Rock (2018), SnowMads (2019), Onyx 4 Life (2021), 1993 (2022), Onyx Versus Everybody (2022)

Onyx pioneered the sound of hardcore hip hop in the early ‘90s, driving a rough and aggressive style of rap music into the mainstream with iconic hits like “Slam.” The group consisted of Fredro Starr, Sticky Fingaz, Sonny Seeza, and the late Big DS, and they made sure to represent their brand of slamming hip hop to the fullest. Their music is incredible for the sheer amount of passion they can convey, spitting each verse and bouncing off each other like a shouting match.

The Pharcyde


Top 25 Best Rap Groups Of All Time Pharcyde 1024X683

Members: Fatlip, Slimkid3, Imani

Catalogue: Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde (1992), Labcabincalifornia (1995), Plain Rap (2000), Humboldt Beginnings (2004)

One of the most energetic and unique groups to come out of the West Coast, The Pharcyde’s enthusiasm from each member’s performance is what made their music so captivating. The group originally consisted of rappers Imani, Bootie Brown, Fatlip, and Slimkid3. Their production style is distinctly jazzy, full of groovy basslines and steady drums which make their music irresistibly danceable.

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