In a newly-released list that takes “a comprehensive look back at every year of rap and which MC moved the crowd the most,” has listed the best rapper alive for each year since 1979. In a preface to the list, it’s explained to the reader that best rapper alive differs from the G.O.A.T. (greatest of all time) argument since it features artists that were the “best at one particular moment.”

“It’s more about a general feeling among fans rather than any discernible facts. Best at one particular moment…Being the BRA [Best Rapper Alive] doesn’t mean you’re the biggest or the most successful; it just means you’re the Best at one particular moment,” the publication states.

Among the artists featured on Complex’s “The Best Rapper Alive, Every Year Since 1979” list are LL Cool J, Slick Rick, Eminem, Drake, Nicki Minaj, and Kendrick Lamar.

Harlem, New York rapper Kurtis Blow was one of the first featured on the list, taking the best rapper alive spot for the year 1980. That year, the New York City wordsmith released his self-titled debut album and also dropped the rap classic, “The Breaks.”

Queensbridge’s own Nas was dubbed the best rapper alive for the year 1994 by Complex. 1994 also served as the year Nas dropped his Illmatic album. Although unable to take the best rapper alive spot for 1994, The Notorious B.I.G., Scarface, and Redman did receive honorable mention.

The most recent artist featured on Complex’s list is Young Money rapper Nicki Minaj. Thanks to her newly-released album The Pinkprint, Minaj clenched the best rapper alive spot for 2014. 2014 also marked the year Minaj became the “first female rapper in 56 years to have four No. 1 singles on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.”

To view the full “The Best Rapper Alive, Every Year Since 1979” list visit

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