CNN Names Nas The ‘Greatest Lyricist Of All-Time


Who's the greatest emcee ... of all-time? That's a never-ending debate within the hip-hop world, but recently, CNN hopped into the discussion, declaring Nas the reigning champ.

In a recent piece by journalist Eliott C. McLaughlin, the Queensbridge rap legend is named the "greatest lyricist of all time," while interviewing him about the title.

"It's wayyyyyy, way, way too early in our lives," Nas tells the network. "It's great to put a list together, but don't take it too seriously because your list won't matter 10 years from now or 15 years from now. It'll be a different list."

Would you agree with CNN's declaration? Is he the greatest?

Read the entire piece over at

  • WooDro

    Definitely Nas out of the 5 names...

  • Where is Rakim and Kool G rap?

  • why does cnn care and why does anyone care what cnn has to say about anything hip hop related?

  • @facebook-100001237198842:disqus I feel you in this, Rakim is definitely GOAT status, but Nas really gets the ball rolling on this one in terms of delivery and is good all around. Rakim is an inspiration to Nas and I give him props for that

  • Pretty much, can't front bout who should get album of the yr ? Nas or Kendrick Lamar ? Hmmm...

  • AZ should be a choice on this list

  • Votes say it all! Nas GOAT!

  • Supdawg

    Guru is underrated... he should def be on that list

  • RAKIM. Clearly.

  • CSalt

    Boooooo. It's not about cnn. Eliott C. McLaughlin wrote an incredible and informative missive that has caused a whirlwind of responses. Stop the hating and liven up Chris.

  • Phan

    Nas is nice, but seriously!? Over Tupac!? I don't think so. No dis to Nas. I'm a fan, but Tupac was the best lyricist/poet of my generation.

  • Where is My G Guru

  • knowitall

    lyricist > Rapper

  • thetruth

    I have ❤ed Nas for many many years. I'm so glad that he is getting the recognition that he deserves!

  • Alex

    non of these Canibus should be on the list ... reason he's not controlled.... by the industry

  • An authentic Hip-Hop Lyricists list would include (in no particular order):

    1. Rakim

    2. Big Daddy Kane

    3. Kool G. Rap

    4. KRS-One

    5. Chuck D

    6. Grandmaster Caz

    7. Melle Mel

    8. Kool Moe Doe

    9. Guru

    10. (and perhaps LL Cool J)

    I would not deny that Illmatic Nas is talented, but he could never be considered the greatest of all time, nor could any other individual rapper. I appreciate he acknowledges the fact the list will be ever evolving based on the times, but I believe emcees/lyricists of the 80's as a collective established a foundation that could never be matched in terms of the wisdom, versatility, originality, entertainment, and cultural awareness in content.


    Listen to Life Is Good! No other Mc have made records lyrically like Nas. Just listen to songs Stay and World's An Addiction...and that it is all I have to say... Dude is a lyrical monster.

  • Seriously much disrespect to the father of it all, tupac, he is who planted thy seed and made the world dream, always will be the most talented lyrical poet /rapster always always and forever. If u wanna hear some of his essence still lingering around Jazflow is the next best lyrical poet I've found thus far, he reminds me of Pac, with his intellectually intoxicating lyrical capabilities, he by far super exceeds all expectations on what the rap industries are producing these days, he can devour the saying "I want em to Luv me like they Luv Pac" yet he has got his own, and he's got it good.

  • Dan

    Look!! all of you are gonna complain about who should be on this list. It's not just about lyrics. Its Lyrical superiority, longevity, net-worth, net-income, international recognition, and sell-ability. Kool G. Rap is nice, but can't sell, Lyrically Guru was not that nice, AZ is nice but his first album is the only thing that sold and that dude is local, Rakim is nice, but old and put out 1 album in like 16 years. It will be between Nas, Eminem, and Jay point blank because they've been in the game for decades (which is rare in hip-hop) and if they dropped an album tomorrow, it will see a million sold. So stop just naming broke nice dudes that had a classic album back in '92. It's not enough to be on this list.

  • One word ... Scarface

  • Verybody sayin pac.. sure he had skill but was he really anything he portrayed? ...NO that right there is why i dont pput him in top 5

  • Momowonthis

    Not hip-hop but lyricist. Please put Pac and Face in the discussion.

  • Chief SOSA

    Big Daddy Kane and The Notorious B.I.G. are best lyricists, rakim is a little overrated

  • Chief SOSA

    People talking about tupac and biggie, but biggie was a better rapper; tupac was more of an inspiration.................O'BLOCk

  • Yeah really Nas seem to be the greatest lyricist of all time but Pac remains evergreen,He established the foundation most rappers are building upon today.Though he ve gone below but his works are still alive.Nas lyrics are full of inspiration and he is 2Pac's runner up.

  • ra

    2pac forevee 100%proof

  • dj bentley

    Ok ok all those name that have been mention are great names and we could argue all day about it bur the fact of the matter is the greatest lyricist has not yet been born and even then all his or her material will still be plagiarized from all that came before him. Cause man or woman can make the statement that their material are solly original. We will always strive to make it original it will never be. Bless

  • cyril godson

    this obvious nas is the greatest mc ever!!

  • john

    wheres macklemore, grieves, brother ali, and slug all better lyricist then any of these guys could of dreamed to be.

  • john

    exactly, but also need to add in macklemore and half the rhymesayers roster. Make these these guys raps look like child's play.

  • Joe

    has this kid listened to anyone? Nas was good back in the day, after illmatic he dropped off hard. His verses are ill but the "Greatest" Mc of all time? The greatest rhymes and flow of all time? There's only 1 choice, someone who's been in the game for so long, someone who was rapping in street battles (and winning) and gaining street cred, someone who sold the most albums in a decade, someone who raps with feeling like the great Pac, someone who is still a name in rap and someone who came up into the rap game even though he was white. That'll be Eminem for all you non hip-hop fans who think ur the shit. Someone mentioned Rakim, I respect him as a rapper and as an icon but his lyrics just don't cut it. Biggie's verses were good when he was alive, sadly he died too long to be named "greatest" Mc. Jay-Z has fallen off after blueprint. Lamar is 1 too new without letting us get an accurate feel for his rap skills. Like Nas said it's still evolving but Em4lyfe.