Charlamagne’s Top 5 Rappers Of All Time

A never ending debate and one that will forever be with us is who are the top 5 rappers of all time. It’s an unending debate for many reasons, one being that the top 5 rapper list is swayed with the person’s personal preference for an artist.

That is why we decided to give you a specific person’s top 5 rappers of all time list. That person’s list is Charlamagne’s. He is the co-host of the nationally broadcasted radio morning show The Breakfast Club.


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When Charlamagne was asked who should be on the top 5 greatest rappers of all time list he answered: “You can do Jay Z, Nas, Pac, Biggie, Wayne.”

Charlamagne continued, “That’s a well balanced top 5. That’s good. That’s solid. That’s New York. That’s West Coast. That’s Down South. That’s a top 5 that you, you really can’t even debate. Like, you not mad if you see any of those top, those 5 people in your top 5.”

Let’s highlight the artist’s Charlamagne placed in his top 5 rappers of all time. We’ll go in no particular order:

TUPAC (1971 - 1996)


Rapper Tupac, to many, he is the most legendary figure in the rap genre. Tupac’s legacy is prominent in America, but it reaches the world as well. 

Tupac’s music, he’s sold over 75 million records worldwide, is listened to and he is an idol to many all over the world from Africa, Europe, Asia and everywhere in between.

Though Tupac’s untimely death came in 1996, multiple posthumous albums were released. You can get a full list of Tupac’s albums, posthumous ones as well.

BIGGIE SMALLS (1972 - 1997)


On this list of top 5 rappers of all time, arguably the most lyrical one is Biggie Smalls. Though the Notorious BIG released only two studio albums in his life, his work is unmatched.

Charlamagne refers to Biggie Smalls and his two living albums, “You listen to those albums now, he still sounds like he’s the best to ever do it.”

And to many, Biggie is the best to ever do it. Born in Brookly, NY, Biggie signed to Puff Daddy’s newly created record label, Bad Boy Records. He would go on to launch successful hit singles that included Juicy and Big Poppa.

Biggie would also go on to lead his rap group Junior M.A.F.I.A to success on the music charts. He recorded his second studio album, a double album, Life After Death, that was released posthumously in 1997. The album debuted at number one and would go on to reach diamond status.

JAY Z (12/4/1969)

Jay Z

Brooklyn born rapper Jay Z is undoubtedly one of the greatest to pick up the microphone in the hip hop genre. It’s almost impossible to contest that.

Jay Z has dropped classic albums that range from his debut album, Reasonable Doubt to The Blueprint and many others. It’s completely feasible that Charlamagne places Jay Z in the top 5 rappers of all time.

In addition to being a force in Hip Hop culture with over 140 million records sold and 24 Grammy awards, Jay Z is a force to be reckoned with in other mediums as well. He is a businessman and his net worth spans over a billion dollars.

Jay-Z was the first rapper honored in the Songwriters Hall of Fame, and the first solo living rapper inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, at the time of his inauguration.  In 2013, Time named him one of the 100 most influential people in the world.

NAS (9/14/73)


Nas has been a central figure in hip hop from the onset of his classic debut album, Illmatic.

An album considered to be a classic one by most people with any liking or association to Hip Hop.

Almost 30 years later after his debut album, Nas continues to be an unmatchable force in Hip Hop music. He has released 14 studio albums and has sold over 20 million records worldwide.

In addition to being a legendary rapper, Nas has transcended into the business world. Nas was one of the first investors in Rap Genius, and his firm has also invested in Dropbox, SeatGeek, Lyft, and Walker & Company Brands.

LIL WAYNE (09/27/1982)

Lil Wayne

Lil Wayne has, to many, earned the right to be among the top 5 rappers of all time, if not top 3 rappers of all time.

Lil Wayne started his music career when he signed to Birdman and Slim’s Cash Money Records in 1995 at the age of only 12. That same year he went on to collaborate with label mate BG to release the studio album, True Story, though Lil Wayne is only on 3 of the songs.

In 199 Lil Wayne released his solo studio album Debut, The Block Is Hot. Since his debut album Lil Wayne has released a large number of albums. He has released a total of 13 studio albums. In addition he has released a collaborative album, 3 compilation albums, 5 extended plays and 29 mixtapes.




When Charlamagne was asked if rapper Drake should be considered as a top 5 rappers of all time, his response was: “No, not yet.”

Charlamagne states that Drake can’t be considered a top 5 rapper because, “It’s too early. You gotta have 15 to 20 years in to start talking about getting mentioned with the all time greats.”



And as always we like to close with a saying, quote or adage and today’s is from Les Brown: YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE GREAT TO START, BUT YOU HAVE TO START TO BECOME GREAT.

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