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The power of the word has always been golden in Hip-hop. Now in a age where lyricism is taking a back seat to celebrity, The Source bring you the Top 50 lyricists of all time in an effort to put some focus back on the art form. 

Make no mistake. This is not your hottest list. Some of the rappers you will read about haven’t had a hit record in over 20 years. Here in lies a testament to lyricism, a foundational element that MCing was built on. Truth is, it’s make a comeback, so we’ve decided to pay homage to the rappers who have shaped lyrism over the year. Judging these MC’s (who are required to have released at least two albums in their career) in the categories of sentient, scope, depth, and of course, wordplay. The Source voted on over a hundred MC’s to come up with the 50 best the game has EVER had to offer.


Pick up the latest issue of The Source (Slaughterhouse/Beastie Boys Covers) when it hits stands June 26th nationwide to find out where the following MC’s landed in slots 35-16.

Big L

Big Pun

Black Thought

Bun B





Kanye West

Kool G Rap

Pharoahe Monch 

Method Man

Mos Def 


Queen Latifah



Snoop Dogg

Talib Kweli 

The D.O.C.