Top Five: The Best Rappers Alive of 2009 - Beats, Rhymes & Lists (2023)

For ourBest Rappers Aliveseries, we take a look at the top five best rappers, year by year – ranking them on projects dropped, guest verses and overall impact.

Hip-hop wasn’t in the best place during the mid-2000s. There was a lot of watered down shit, one hit wonders and dwindling record sales. The labels were scrambling with the music lanscape’s shifts and it was the artists who had to suffer.

2009 was an interesting year for rap. Jay-Z rose above his peers withThe Blueprint 3, Raekwon makes a worthy comeback with his Purple Tape sequel, Eminem gets his head back in the game while Kanye starts to find rapping fun again. Here are the top five best rappers alive of 2009.

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Honourable mentions:

Jadakiss

Ever since the mid-90s, Jadakiss has always been a staple rapper in the industry. Whether it’s holding down New York hip-hop as part of The LOX, dropping mixtapes non stop or jumping on guest verses left, right and centre, the raspy voice punchline king has always been around.

Despite some commercial success in the early 2000s with “Why” and the Mariah Carey-featured “U Make Me Wanna” as well as a guest spot on Jennifer Lopez’s 2002 hit single“Jenny from the Block,” Jada never managed to push into the New York A-list, alongside Nas, Jay-Z, 50 or even Cam’ron.

In 2009, he seemed content with just reliably dropping his street rhymes andThe Last Kissreflects this. Pulling out all the stops, Jada tapped producers likeThe Neptunes, Swizz, Buckwild and The Alchemist as well as Young Jeezy, Lil Wayne, Raekwon and of course his LOX brothers to assist him.

The Last Kissdebuted at number 3 on the Billboard charts, one of the best hip-hop first week openers of 2009, proving that there was still in a place for Jada’s hardcore rhymes.

Drake

Before he was the King Midas of hip-hop music, Drake was a humble rapper grinding away for his moment in the spotlight. But when he broke through, he really fucking broke through. 0 to 100, real quick.

(Video) Best Rap Beats Of Each Year [1979 - 2018]

After droppingRoom for Improvementin 2006 andComeback Seasona year later, Drake got back in the studio with 40 and crafted the masterpiece that wasSo Far Gone.

There are few rappers who can say their mixtapes changed the game. Young Jeezy can say it, Lil Wayne can say it, 50 can say it, Dipset can say it and now Drake can say it – “dropped the mixtape, that shit sounded like an album.”

After that, it was a wrap. “Best I Ever Had” peaked at number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and scored two fucking Grammy nominations.So Far Gonewas so dope that Young Money repackaged it as an EP, put it on sale and it still managed to move 73,000 copies in its first week.

No other rapper in recent history has ascended as quickly as Drake. In the same year, he was doing guest appearances for Mary J. Blige and Jay-Z in addition to rapping alongside Lil Wayne, Kanye West and Eminem. We should have all seen it coming.

Tech N9ne

There’s a reason why Tech N9ne is the greatest independent rapper of all time – he never stops working. Tech’s grind, hustle and music output is simply relentless.

Ever since debuting in 1999 withThe Calm Before the Storm, the Kansas City rapper has been killing it with his slick, machine gun flow, tireless live performances and fierce independence. After launching the Strange Music record label withTravis O’Guin, the two founders have now become the poster child for independent hip-hop.

What’s even more amazing about their independent success is the fact that Tech N9ne’s music, despite its subject matter, has been consistently successful commercially. Tech dropped two albums in 2009 –Sickology 101andK.O.D.– and both projects reached the Billboard Top 200, selling five figures in their first week.

Mos Def

Mos Def might not be one of the most prolific hip-hop artists, but don’t ever think in your life he’s not one of thebest rappers of all time. After his misunderstood 2006 albumTrue Magic, Mos Def fell back from making music, focusing on his other interests like acting.

So when Mos Def announced that he was dropping an album in 2009 that would feature production from Madlib, the hype got real.The Ecstaticis arguably one of the best albums Mos Def has dropped to date.

(Video) Best Rap Songs Of Each Year [1979 - 2018]

Featuring addition beats from J Dilla, The Neptunes, Oh No as well as guest spots from Slick fucking Rick and his partner-in-rhyme Talib Kweli, the record was spectacularly eccentric, cohesive and everything you could want from Mos Def.

Mos Def doesn’t have to regularly drop music, as long as he releases an album of this quality every now and then, I’d be good.

Gucci Mane

Ever since Lil Wayne ascended to the top of the rap game in 2008, the mixtape circuit needed a new hero. Gucci Mane was that hero. What other rapper can claim as many releases as Gucci can in one year? Even right now in 2014, Gucci is dropping mixtapes nonstop behind bars. The grind doesn’t stop for him.

2009 was the breakout year for the slurred mouth, Atlanta Trap God.The State vs. Radric Davisis pure Gucci Mane in its goofiness and randomness. Usher pop ups in the middle of the album for the hit single “Spotlight,” Cam and Weezy get stupid wild and Gucci cements his legacy with the classic “Lemonade.”

The Top 5 Best Rappers of 2009

5. Kanye West

Top Five: The Best Rappers Alive of 2009 - Beats, Rhymes & Lists (1)

Notable releases:808s & Heartbreaksingles –“Amazing,” “Paranoid.”

Key guest appearances:Keri Hilson’s “Knock You Down,” Clipse’s “Kinda Like a Big Deal,” The-Dream’s “Walkin’ on the Moon,” Rick Ross’ “Maybach Music 2,” Kid Cudi’s “Make Her Say,” Jay-Z’s “Run This Town,” Drake’s “Forever”

Kanye must have realised the extent of the backlash towards808s & Heartbreakbecause he made sure he spazzed out on all his feature appearances in 2009.

Despite the initial negative reception towards the album,808s & Heartbreakdidn’t lack hit singles. Off the strength of hits like “Heartless” and “Amazing,” Kanye entered 2009 strong.

Add to that Kanye’s carefully picked guest spots that guaranteed his presence on the charts and the streets. With Keri Hilson and The-Dream on one hand and the Clipse and Rick Ross on the other hand, Kanye was everywhere in 2009 without dropping an album.

And let’s not forget the fact Kanye murdered his big brother on his own shit. It was only a few years back when Jay-Z was regularly overshadowing Kanye on tracks like“Diamonds from Sierra Leone (Remix)” and“Never Let Me Down,” now the student was surpassing the master. This levelled playing field would set the stage for Jay-Z and Kanye’s 2011 collaborative albumWatch The Throne.

(Video) E M I N E M GREATEST HITS FULL ALBUM BEST SONGS OF E M I N E M PLAYLIST 2021

4. Eminem

Top Five: The Best Rappers Alive of 2009 - Beats, Rhymes & Lists (2)

Notable releases:Relapse,Relapse: Refill

Key guest appearances:Drake’s “Forever,” Lil Wayne’s “Drop the World,” The Alchemist’s “Chemical Warfare,” 50 Cent’s “Psycho.”

Relapse might be a distant memory for Eminem now, he famously denounced the album shortly after it dropping, but it still stands as one of the best lyrical showcases by a rapper in recent years.

Tell me who else can flow like Eminem did “Stay Wide Awake,” write a song as hard-hitting as “Déjà Vu” or spit as hard as he did on “Underground.”

Even when he’s not at his best, Eminem is still one of the greatest rappers every single time he puts out music. Plus, Relapse sold more than 5 million copies worldwide and was the best selling rap album of 2009. So I guess Em’s got that going for him.

3. Lil Wayne

Top Five: The Best Rappers Alive of 2009 - Beats, Rhymes & Lists (3)

Notable releases:No Ceilings,We Are Young Money(with Young Money)

Key guest appearances:Drake’s “Uptown,” Birdman’s “Priceless,” Gucci Mane’s “Stupid Wild,” Fabolous’ “Salute,” Missy Elliott’s “All 4 U”

After he broke the rap game withTha Carter IIIand scored his first number one hit with “Lollipop,” Lil Wayne fell back on his solo career to focus on building up his Young Money team. 2009 was grooming time for Drake and Nicki Minaj and I’m sure they’re thanking him now for that.

But before a businessman, before an executive, Weezy is a pure rapper at heart. After killing the mixtape circuit between 2006 and 2008, Lil Wayne was back withNo Ceilings, another notch on his belt.

Taking current hits like Jay-Z’s “D.O.A. (Death of Auto-Tune),” Gucci Mane’s “Wasted,” Fabolous’ “Throw It in the Bag,” classic hip-hop joints like Noreaga’s “Banned from TV” as well as pop smashes like Black Eyed Peas “I Gotta Feeling” and Beyonce’s “Sweet Dreams,” Lil Wayne continued to prove one thing – he could flow on whatever the fuck he wanted.

2. Jay-Z

Top Five: The Best Rappers Alive of 2009 - Beats, Rhymes & Lists (4)

Notable releases:The Blueprint 3

(Video) 50 Cent - In Da Club (Official Music Video)

Key guest appearances:N/A

Ever since making his comeback in 2006, Jay-Z struggled to find his proper footing in the rap game. Hov’s dominance between ’98 and ’03 is still unmatched to this day but albums likeKingdom ComeandAmerican Gangsterfailed to reassert his position.

Meanwhile rappers like Lil Wayne and Kanye West, both students of Jay-Z, were killing the game. Hov had to figure how to get back on top.

The answer came in the form of his eleventh studio album. Led by the trunk-rattling “D.O.A. (Death of Auto-Tune),” Hov pushed himself back into the hip-hop conversation, making himself a staple topic on the internet and barbershops alike.

Then he dropped “Empire State of Mind,” scored his first number one hit and reached a new level.The Blueprint 3became Hov’s eleventh number one album, crushing Elvis in the process, and began Jay-Z’s rise from hip-hop’s CEO to Presidential BFF.

1. Raekwon

Top Five: The Best Rappers Alive of 2009 - Beats, Rhymes & Lists (5)

Notable releases:Only Built 4 Cuban Linx… Pt. II, Cuban Revolution, Blood on Chef’s Apron, Staten Go Hard Vol. 1

Key guest appearances:Method Man & Redman’s “Four Minutes to Lock Down,” Fat Joe’s “Ice Cream,” Warren G’s “100 Miles and Runnin’,” Jadakiss’ “Cartel Gathering,” U-God’s “Coke.”

I’ll be honest, I was seriously doubting Raekown’s ability to deliver on the promises. The original Only Built 4 Cuban Linx… was a fucking masterpiece, a landmark of New York crime rap and one of the most influential records in hip-hop history.

Ever since he released it in ’95, Rae has had that record hang over his head like a shadow. Despite consistently putting out good music as part of Wu-Tang, every time Chef put out another solo album, fans were screaming for the Cuban Linx shit.

Rae has been talking about the sequel ever since 2005, in between record deals with Dre’s Aftermath and several delays. It got to a point where fans were questioning whether it was even coming out.

But then it happened. A new track“New Wu” started making the rounds and suddenly an actual release date was looking possible. Chef droppedOnly Built 4 Cuban Linx… Pt. II September of 2009 and shut everybody the fuck up.

(Video) Top 100 - Best Rap Songs Of All Time

Only Built 4 Cuban Linx… Pt. IIachieved the impossible. It was another masterpiece that actually lived up to the original. It would have been like if Nas or Jay-Z dropped a sequel that was lived up toIllmaticorReasonable Doubt.

The album’s production credits was the stuff of legends – Dr. Dre, RZA, J Dilla, Erick Sermon, Pete Rock, Marley Marl, The Alchemist, like fuck!

The rest of the Clan were all on point – Deck and Ghost especially killed their appearances – but it was Raekwon who steered the ship right with his gritty crime tales and undecipherable slang.

FAQs

Who was the best rapper of 2009? ›

Even when he's not at his best, Eminem is still one of the greatest rappers every single time he puts out music. Plus, Relapse sold more than 5 million copies worldwide and was the best selling rap album of 2009.

Who is the top 5 rappers? ›

Best Rappers of All Time
  1. 2Pac. Tupac Amaru Shakur also known by his stage names 2Pac and Makaveli, was an American rapper. ...
  2. Eminem. ...
  3. The Notorious B.I.G. ...
  4. Jay-Z. ...
  5. Nas. ...
  6. Rakim. ...
  7. Kendrick Lamar. ...
  8. Lil Wayne.

Who is the best living rapper? ›

The Game names the 10 best living rappers:
  • Jay-Z.
  • NAS.
  • Lil Wayne.
  • Eminem.
  • Kendrick.
  • Snoop Dogg.
  • Drake.
  • Andre 3000.
Nov 29, 2021

What was the number one rap song in 2009? ›

"Blame It" topped the chart for fourteen consecutive weeks, and it ranked as the number one song on Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs year-end list.

Who was the best rapper in 2010? ›

There's nothing else to – Kanye West was the best rapper alive in 2010.

Who is the best rapper in 2008? ›

50 Cent is #1 on Forbes' 2008 Hip-Hop Cash Kings, making $150 million last year for his Vitamin Water deal, his sales of Curtis, and his G-Unit clothing, and his record label. Following behind is Jay-Z at #2, Diddy at #3, and Kanye West at #4. Common, Akon, & Lil Wayne made first time showings on the list.

Who are the big 3 rappers? ›

Ranking the 'Big 3' (Kendrick Lamar, Drake, J. Cole) Every Year Since 2010 | Complex.

Who is the No 1 rapper in world? ›

Top 10 Best Rappers of All Time
PositionRapperTop Strength
1EminemCharisma
2Tech N9neFlow
3Chali 2naMultisyllabic Rhymes
4Jay-ZAuthenticity
6 more rows
Aug 4, 2022

Who is the goat of rap? ›

Chance The Rapper has been dubbed the goat of rap by Drake. This assertion has been made by The Rapper, Kendrick Lamar, and Lil Baby. Do they have a point? To be clear, G.O.A.T. is for best of all time, therefore “greatest” when it comes to rappers means talents, longevity, as well as importance.

Who is the baddest rapper ever? ›

Marshal Bruce Mathers, professionally known as Eminem is on the top of this list of best rappers in the world. You might be knowing him from his all-time epic – Rap God, and trust us he literally owns the title. In the Billboard list of the best all-time rappers, he is the top one who is alive.

Who is the fastest rapper? ›

Twista is commonly considered the fastest rapper of all time, both officially and unofficially. In 1992 he became the Guinness Fastest Rapper Alive, able to drop 11.2 syllables per second. That's right – 11 syllables in just one second.

What was the most played song in 2009? ›

2009 Top 10 Most Played Songs
  • You Belong With Me. Taylor Swift. ...
  • I'm Yours. Jason Mraz. ...
  • Knock You Down. Keri Hilson featuring Kanye West & Ne-Yo. ...
  • Boom Boom Pow. The Black Eyed Peas. ...
  • Just Dance. Lady Gaga featuring Colby O'Donis. ...
  • Blame It. Jamie Foxx featuring T-Pain. ...
  • I Gotta Feeling. The Black Eyed Peas. ...
  • Poker Face. Lady Gaga.
Feb 11, 2017

Which single won the 2009 Grammy Award for best rap? ›

Lollipop

Who was the most popular rapper 2007? ›

Popular Now

It was the year Lil Wayne was announcing his immediate arrival as the Best Rapper Alive, it was the year 50's run was finally over, it was the year Jay-Z truly made his comeback and it was also the year of Kanye West.

Who is the best rapper in 2012? ›

Kendrick Lamar was the best rapper of 2012 because he truly is the best rapper of the year.

Who was the best rapper in 2015? ›

Complex just declared that, in 2015, Drake was the best rapper alive.

Who is the king of rap of all time? ›

Eminem has been crowned the King of Hip-Hop by Rolling Stone. The magazine took a look at solo rappers who released albums from 2009 to the present, taking into account album sales, rankings on the R&B/hip-hop and rap charts, YouTube video views, social media, concerts grosses, awards and critics' opinions.

Who is the best selling rapper of all time? ›

With over 200 million records sold, and 227 million units nationwide, Eminem is the number one selling rap artist in history and the 6th best-selling solo music artist of all time. Marshall Mathers, a.k.a. Eminem, was born on October 17, 1972. He started his rap career at age 16 in Detroit, Michigan.

What was the number one rap song in 2008? ›

Ludacris - "I Do It for Hip Hop" (feat. Nas and Jay-Z)

Who is better Tupac or Biggie? ›

Biggie came on the scene and took East Coast rap to the next level. His sick flow, storytelling and freestyle skills made him a legend overnight. Tupac might have the edge in regards to lyrical ability, but Biggie dropped tracks with the kind of polished technical skills no one had heard before.

Who was bigger Tupac or Biggie? ›

However, for what Biggie lacked for time in the spotlight prior to his untimely demise, he roughly matched 2Pac in overall album sales (Biggie hovers at 22 million while Tupac sits pretty at 24 million overall) over a career that was, while alive, three years and three albums shorter.

Who is the best rapper of the 21st century? ›

However, the 21st century has been a different kind of beast. Sure, Jay-Z and Nas, along with Eminem and others, dominated early on. But then came the likes of Kendrick Lamar, Drake, Future and Chance the Rapper.

Who is a famous rapper? ›

When it comes to the most popular rappers, Kanye West is certainly going to find himself toward the top of the list. However, plenty of current hip-hop artists and top new school rappers who may not have his credentials could still be considered just as famous.

Who is the king of rap 2022? ›

1. Kanye West (Net Worth: $6.6 billion)

Who is female rapper? ›

The chart success of rappers like Lizzo, Nicki Minaj, Cardi B, and Iggy Azalea meant that female rappers had the biggest breakthrough in over 10 years.

Who is fastest female rapper? ›

Here are 8 of the fastest female rappers out there.
  • Nikki Minaj. Nikki Minaj is a popular rapper from New York City. ...
  • Megan Thee Stallion. Megan Thee Stallion is a force to be reckoned with, breaking records and boundaries with her music since 2017. ...
  • Doja Cat. ...
  • Flo Milli. ...
  • Roxanne Shanté ...
  • Cardi B. ...
  • Saweetie. ...
  • CupcakKe.

Who is the most talented rapper? ›

  • Eminem.
  • Rakim. ...
  • Nas. ...
  • Andre 3000. ...
  • Lauryn Hill. ...
  • Ghostface Killah. ...
  • Kendrick Lamar. ...
  • Lil Wayne. Lil Wayne's commercial success speaks for itself — just ask Elvis, whom Weezy surpassed as the artist with the most Billboard Hot 100 hits of all time in 2012. ...
Nov 12, 2015

Who is the best rapper in the world 2022? ›

The 15 Most Popular Hip-Hop Rappers in the World (2022)
  • Eminem.
  • Kendrick Lamar.
  • Kanye West.
  • Travis Scott.
  • J. Cole.
  • Drake.
  • Snoop Dogg.
  • Jay-Z.
Apr 19, 2022

Who is the richest rappers? ›

Kanye West

Who is the best freestyle rapper? ›

  • Big L.
  • Black Thought.
  • Canibus.
  • Cassidy.
  • Daylyt.
  • Eminem.
  • Jadakiss.
  • Lloyd Banks.
Oct 7, 2021

Who's the bestest rapper? ›

List
No.RapperAverage ranking (mean)
1.Nas1.3
2.Rakim2
3.The Notorious B.I.G.3.6
4.2Pac4.0
65 more rows

How do you rap fast? ›

These 7 Steps Will 100% Make You Rap Faster | How To ... - YouTube

Who has the fastest rap verse? ›

Eminem's New Track 'Godzilla' Just Broke the World Record for Fastest Rap Verse. The controversial artist spits bars at 10.65 syllables per second on the track's third verse. Rapper Eminem made his surprise comeback this month with his 10th studio album, Music to Be Murdered By.

What is the fastest rap song? ›

Top 10 Fastest Rap Songs
  • Break Ya Neck by Busta Rhymes.
  • Rap God by Eminem.
  • Worldwide Choppers byTech N9ne.
  • Creep Fast by Twista.
  • The Evergassin Gobstopper by Twisted Insane.
  • From Da Tip of My Tongue by Twista.
  • Can You Keep Up by Busta Rhymes.
  • Midwest Choppers 2 by Tech N9ne.
Aug 9, 2022

What was popular 2009? ›

Top 10 Gadgets
  • Motorola Droid.
  • The Nook.
  • Dyson Air Multiplier.
  • iPhone 3GS.
  • Canon EOS-1D Mark IV.
  • Dell Adamo XPS.
  • FinePix Real 3D W1.
  • Casio G-Shock GW7900B-1.

What were the top 5 songs in 2009? ›

Top 100 Hits of 2009/Top 100 Songs of 2009
  • Boom Boom Pow - The Black Eyed Peas.
  • Poker Face - Lady Gaga.
  • Just Dance - Lady Gaga featuring Colby O'Donis.
  • I Gotta Feeling - The Black Eyed Peas.
  • Love Story - Taylor Swift.
  • Right Round - Flo Rida.
  • I'm Yours - Jason Mraz.
  • Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It) - Beyoncé

What was the #1 song of 2010? ›

At the number-one position was Kesha's "Tik Tok", which stayed atop the Hot 100 for nine weeks.

Who got the first rap Grammy? ›

Recognizing that both categories were continuing to receive numerous entries, the Best Rap Album recognition was established for the 38th Grammy Awards in 1996—the inaugural award was presented to Naughty by Nature for Poverty's Paradise.

Who was the first female MC? ›

Sharon Green (born 1962), considered the "first female rapper" or emcee, known by the rap moniker MC Sha-Rock. Born in Wilmington, North Carolina, she grew up in the South Bronx, New York City during the earliest years of hip hop culture.

What was the #1 rap song in 2007? ›

T.I. - Big Things Poppin'

Who was the most popular rapper 2007? ›

Popular Now

It was the year Lil Wayne was announcing his immediate arrival as the Best Rapper Alive, it was the year 50's run was finally over, it was the year Jay-Z truly made his comeback and it was also the year of Kanye West.

Which single won the 2009 Grammy Award for best rap? ›

Lollipop

Who is the goat of rap? ›

Chance The Rapper has been dubbed the goat of rap by Drake. This assertion has been made by The Rapper, Kendrick Lamar, and Lil Baby. Do they have a point? To be clear, G.O.A.T. is for best of all time, therefore “greatest” when it comes to rappers means talents, longevity, as well as importance.

What was the #1 rap song in 2007? ›

T.I. - Big Things Poppin'

Who is the king of rap of all time? ›

Eminem has been crowned the King of Hip-Hop by Rolling Stone. The magazine took a look at solo rappers who released albums from 2009 to the present, taking into account album sales, rankings on the R&B/hip-hop and rap charts, YouTube video views, social media, concerts grosses, awards and critics' opinions.

Who is World Best rap Song? ›

Marshal Bruce Mathers, professionally known as Eminem is on the top of this list of best rappers in the world. You might be knowing him from his all-time epic – Rap God, and trust us he literally owns the title. In the Billboard list of the best all-time rappers, he is the top one who is alive.

Who got the first rap Grammy? ›

Recognizing that both categories were continuing to receive numerous entries, the Best Rap Album recognition was established for the 38th Grammy Awards in 1996—the inaugural award was presented to Naughty by Nature for Poverty's Paradise.

Who was the first rapper? ›

Coke La Rock is known for being the first rapper to ever spit rhymes after teaming up with DJ Kool Herc in 1973 and both are recognized as the original founding fathers of Hip Hop.

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