Rap has gone through a lot of changes over the past 10 years. In 2017, hip-hop officially overtook rock to become the most consumed genre in the United States, and as it has risen in popularity, its sound has continued to shift. Hip-hop has become increasingly melodic, and countless subgenres have sprung out of it, pushing the possibilities of what rap can sound like. In the process, the door has been opened to new types of rap superstars.
As we narrowed our list of the decade’s best rappers to just 10 selections, it became clear just how strong this era has been. Hip-hop has reached new heights because of innumerable artists who took risks and steered the genre in exciting new directions. So, after many meetings, arguments, and staff voting sessions, several undeniably influential and important artists, like Young Thug and Rick Ross, ended up just on the outside, looking in. As we made selections, we emphasized overall impact, consistency, skill, and influence over the span of the decade. In turn, the list is intended to reflect the artists who defined the last 10 years in rap. These are the best rappers of the 2010s.