Some say that rap is a young man’s game. But this list of iconic older rappers proves that age doesn’t stop a rapper from being great.
In the ever-changing landscape of rap music there are several standout artists who have defied age barriers and continued to thrive well into their 40s, and even their 50s. These individuals possess a rare ability to mature and adapt while staying true to their origins.
Their longevity speaks volumes about each artist’s talents and legendary status, many of whom began their careers in the 80s and 90s. These older rappers continue to command respect and admiration, not only from long-standing fan bases but also younger generations who are still discovering the breadth of their discographies.
Let’s find out more about these legendary older rappers who’ve still got it.
20. Styles P
Born: November 28, 1974
Styles P is best known as a member of hip-hop group the Lox along with childhood friends Sheek Louch and Jadakiss. He was also the founder of D-Block Records. Styles P produced multiple records and mixtapes as a solo MC.
In 2002, he released debut solo album A Gangster and a Gentleman along with hit single ‘Good Times’ which peaked at number 22 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart.
Since hitting the age of 40, Styles P has crafted eight solo projects and four collaborations including Phantom and the Ghost (2014), A Wise Guy and a Wise Guy (2015) and G-Host (2018) – with his best project 2019’s Presence.
19. Lupe Fiasco
Born: February 16, 1982
American rapper and record producer Lupe Fiasco rose to fame in 2006 following the success of his debut record, Lupe Fiasco’s Food & Liquor, which received three Grammy nominations.
He released his second album, Lupe Fiasco’s The Cool in December 2007, its lead single ‘Superstar’ becoming his first top forty hit on the Billboard Hot 100.
Fiasco also performs as the frontman of rock band Japanese Cartoon. After the age of 40 – his latest album Drill Music in Zion was released in June 2022. The record peaked at number 26 on the UK R&B album charts.
18. Conway The Machine
Born: February 16, 1982
Conway the Machine was a member of Griselda Records alongside his paternal half-brother Westside Gunn and cousin Benny the Butcher. His career began in 2012 and just five years later Griselda Records signed a deal with Eminem’s Shady Records.
No one would dispute that Conway has still got the skills. In 2017, music newsletter Complex included Westside Gunn and Conway in their list of 15 Best Unofficial Rap Duos in the Game as well as on their 17 Artists to Watch in 2017 feature.
A further seven years later the pair released their first single with DJ Premier titled ‘Headlines.’
After turning 40, Conway The Machine released his record God Don’t Make Mistakes with Eminem in 2022. The album reached number one on the US Heat Billboard chart.
Born: April 4, 1981
Curren$y founded his own label Jet Life Recordings in 2011. He is known for a laid-back style and smooth delivery.
With an extensive catalogue of mixtapes and albums, Curren$y has built a dedicated fan base with music often revolving around themes of hustling, street life, and the pursuit of success.
From the age of 40 he has released two albums to date, the first Still Stoned on Ocean and then, Pilot Talk IV towards the end of 2021. It’s fair to say his career is still flourishing, as he continues to earn respect in the rap community.
16. Rick Ross
Born: January 28, 1976
American rapper and record executive Rick Ross released his debut single ‘Hustlin’ in 2006 and his debut album Port of Miami later that year which topped the Billboard 200 with sales of 187,000 units during the first week.
In early 2012, MTV named Ross as the “Hottest MC in the Game.” His most accomplished project after the age of 40 was 2017’s Rather You Than Me which peaked at number three on the Billboard 200 – an achievement that proves age is no barrier.
15. Kayne West
Born: June 8, 1977
Kanye West’s discography includes numerous critically acclaimed albums such as The College Dropout, Late Registration and My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.
He is infamous for his thought-provoking lyrics and a genre-bending sound. Alongside his musical pursuits, West has often made the headlines for his outspoken nature and controversial statements.
Jesus Is King is perhaps West’s best record released after the age of 40, which reached number one the Billboard 200. He has also been involved in four solo albums and two collaborative efforts since turning 40 back in 2017.
14. Big Boi
Born: February 1, 1975
Big Boi formed one-half of the innovative duo OutKast. He has been instrumental in shaping the sound of Southern hip-hop with iconic albums like Aquemini and Speakerboxxx/The Love Below.
He produced two solo projects after the age of 40, one solo effort and one collaborative album including Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty which only went on to further his reputation. Big Boi’s record Boomiverse peaked at number twenty-eight on the Billboard 200.
13. Roc Marciano
Born: February 11, 1978
Roc Marciano is an American rapper, producer and songwriter. He has been a prominent figure in underground hip-hop for over a decade and known for his distinctively raw and introspective lyricism.
Marciano has released several critically acclaimed records such as Marcberg, Reloaded and Rosebudd’s Revenge.
His style blends gritty street tales with intricate wordplay. Marciano has a unique approach to storytelling and atmospheric production which has truly solidified his place as a respected figure in the rap game.
His finest work after the age of 40 is the album Pimpstrumentals.
12. Method Man
Born: March 2, 1971
Member of legendary hip-hop group Wu-Tang Clan, Method Man emerged during the early 1990s with the release of his solo debut album Tical in 1994. It became a classic in the genre and cemented his status as a rap icon.
With his charisma and dynamic stage presence, Method Man remains an enduring figure in hip-hop culture. Since the age of 40 he has produced a total of five projects including two solo efforts.
His best record during this time period was A Better Tomorrow (with Wu-Tang Clan) which peaked at number 29 on the Billboard 200.
One of the few rappers on this list to be over 50, Method Man is the third-oldest rapper on this list.
Born: March 2, 1975
Co-founder of independent hip-hop label Definitive Jux, El-P is known for his avant-garde approach to production. With complex and socially conscious lyrics, he has been a driving force in pushing the boundaries of the hip-hop genre.
His solo albums Fantastic Damage and I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead showcase a unique style, blending industrial sounds, dense rhymes and futuristic beats. As a member of the rap duo Run the Jewels alongside Killer Mike, El-P has gained widespread acclaim for the pair’s politically charged and hard-hitting music.
Since reaching 40, he has been involved in three solo efforts including Run the Jewels 3, which peaked at number thirteen on the Billboard 200.
Born: December 4, 1969
The oldest rapper on this list, Jay-Z is iconic in the world of American rap with an illustrious career spanning over three decades so far.
He is widely regarded as one of the greatest rappers of all time. Jay-Z has released numerous critically acclaimed albums including Reasonable Doubt and The Blueprint.
After turning 40 however, he introduced the album 4.44 to the world in 2017, receiving critical acclaim with the record reaching number one on the Billboard 200.
Jay-Z’s lyrical prowess, versatile flow and unique storytelling abilities have secured his legacy as a rap legend, and one of the greatest rappers over 40 on the planet today.
9. Andre 3000
Born: May 27, 1975
As one-half of the iconic hip-hop duo OutKast, Andre 3000 consistently pushed the boundaries of creativity and artistry within the genre. His memorable style, witty wordplay and eclectic fashion choices have made him a beloved figure in the genre.
Andre 3000’s contributions to albums such as Aquemini and Stankonia have confirmed his place as an innovative artist.
In 2018 and at the age of 42, he crafted the two track EP Look Ma No Hands, to widespread critical acclaim. The legendary rapper remains an undisputed icon to this day.
8. Royce Da 5’9”
Born: July 5, 1977
Royce Da 5’9″ is a skilled American rapper, songwriter and record producer. He has earned immense respect in the hip-hop and rap community. Royce Da 5’9″ is currently one half of the rap duo Bad Meets Evil with fellow Detroit rapper Eminem.
Alongside his recording career, Royce Da 5’9″ also served as a ghostwriter for Puff Daddy and Dr. Dre.
After the age of 40, Royce Da 5’9″ produced three projects including Book Of Ryan that charted on the Billboard 200 at number twenty-four.
Born: May 27, 1975
Jadakiss is a highly respected American rapper and member of influential hip-hop group The LOX. Known for his gritty and street-oriented lyric base, Jadakiss has built a reputation as an impressive wordsmith.
With solo albums like Kiss Tha Game Goodbye and Top 5 Dead or Alive, Jadakiss has showcased his immense talent whilst remaining a revered figure in hip-hop and embodying the essence of New York rap.
Into his 40s, Jadakiss best work featured the record Ignatius which peaked at number thirty-one on the Billboard 200.
6. Black Thought
Born: October 3, 1973
Lead vocalist of famous hip-hop group The Roots, Black Thought is often hailed as one of the greatest rappers of recent times.
With his commanding stage presence and thought-provoking verses, his recordings on albums like Things Fall Apart are simply immense.
After releasing five works after the age of 40, his most notable in this era was tenth studio album Undun on Def Jam records.
Turning 50 in 2023, Black Thought’s reputation as a true master of his craft has inspired many aspiring MCs worldwide.
Born: May 13, 1977
With his razor-sharp lyrics and gritty delivery, Pusha-T has made a significant impact on the rap scene. As one-half of hip-hop duo Clipse and as a solo artist, he has consistently delivered themes of street life and social commentary in his lyrics.
After the age of 40, he released his solo record Daytona, which debuted at number three on the Billboard 200, receiving widespread critical acclaim for its incredible production and lyrical genius.
Pusha-T continues to be recognised as a powerful force in the world of hip-hop.
4. Jay Electronica
Born: September 9, 1976
The enigmatic Jay Electronica is amongst the greatest rappers and producers over 40. Known for his poetic lyrics, Electronica’s music has both a spiritual and philosophical undertone.
He gained a cult following with mixtape Act I: Eternal Sunshine (The Pledge) and his acclaimed single ‘Exhibit C.’
At the age of 44, Electronica finally released his debut album A Written Testimony, which peaked at number twelve on the Billboard 200, showcasing emotive content and leaving a lasting impact on the rap scene.
Born: October 17, 1972
Iconic rapper, songwriter and record producer Eminem is renowned for his unparalleled lyrical skill, rapid-fire delivery and provocative lyrical themes.
He has achieved god-like status in the rap genre with albums like The Slim Shady LP, The Marshall Mathers LP and The Eminem Show.
Eminem has also smashed records, won numerous awards and influenced a whole generation of artists. The rapper’s ability to forge compelling narratives with controversial exploration of personal struggles have connected him with audiences worldwide.
At the age of 41 he introduced Music To Be Murdered By to the world which peaked at number twenty-one on the Billboard 200.
Turning 50 in 2022, Eminem is certainly one of the most famous older rappers in the world.
Born: September 14, 1973
Nas emerged on the scene in the early 1990s with his ground-breaking debut album Illmatic. He has since evolved into an iconic figure in hip-hop with an inspiring discography including albums It Was Written, Stillmatic, and Life is Good.
He is famed for an ability to blend introspective lyrics with street narratives. Nas’ profound impact on rap culture makes him one of the greatest rappers of all time.
He released The Lost Tapes 2 after turning 40 and it charted at number ten on the Billboard 200.
1. Ghostface Killah
Born: May 9, 1970
Ghostface Killah is a member of hip-hop group Wu-Tang Clan, known for his complex rhyme schemes and distinctive voice. His solo albums include Ironman, Supreme Clientele, and Fishscale which are all critically acclaimed for their soulful production.
Born in 1970, Ghostface is the second-oldest rapper on this list.
Ghostface is able to paint vivid pictures with his words and deliver raw emotion. His contributions to hip-hop culture shouldn’t be underestimated along with his status as a true rap icon.
Ghostface Killah released an impressive eight solo projects after the age of 40 with his best effort proving to be the album The Brown Tape.
You might also like: