The 10 best rap artists 2009, brought us range from club-rap favorites on the pop end of the spectrum to underground artists focused on emotion and lyrical dexterity. Some of the best rap artists of 2009 were big sellers and cult favorites, but each had an impact in his own way. Here they are, the best rap artists of 2009 and what they gave music listeners that year.
- Raekwon One of Wu-Tang's most consistent lyricists dropped the sequel to his debut solo joint, "Only Built 4 Cuban Linx II" late in the year, putting him atop the best rap artists 2009 gave us. It is a concept album about the coke game, filled with punishing track after track that ensure the veteran is still atop the game.
- P.O.S. The underground Minneapolis MC has a background in punk rock that informs the edginess of his hip-hop tracks. Equally comfortable rapping over Fugazi samples and plush soul-funk beats, P.O.S. broke out as one of the best rap artists 2009 had to offer.
- Mos Def The underground's illest MC returned in 2009 with "The Ecstatic," his best album length work in a decade. In bringing back his particular flair while pushing forward with modern beats, he remains one of the best rap artists in 2009 and beyond.
- Clipse These Virginia coke rappers detail the hard life of a drug dealer better than any other artist. Rousing tracks undercut with social realism dominate their work, club music that's close to art.
- Eminem Slim Shady dropped "Relapse" in 2009 and though it wasn't the return to form some hoped and expected after the disappointing "Encore," his lyrical style still dominates that of most MCs. Em is still one of the best rap artists in 2009 and beyond.
- K-Os This Canadian MC makes artful, politically conscious hip-hop in an era sorely lacking both aspects. He is equally talented over dance beats or underground boom-bap, making him one of the most versatile entries on our list of the best rap artists 2009 had to offer.
- DJ Quik & Kurupt This producer/rapper duo produced a retro-gangsta classic "Blaqkout" in 2009. For those who miss the G-funk era, this is a hard album to pass up and finds these veteran players in the rap game at their best.
- DOOM The former MF Doom, the masked master of twisted, comic-book obsessed hip-hop dropped another classic, "Born Like This," during the year, making him an easy choice for this list of the best rap artists 2009 had to offer. His verbal dexterity and off-kilter sense of humor make him unique among his peers, a true original in the land of rap.
- Jay-Z Jigga dominates every year and 2009 was no different. His "Blueprint 2" and its lead track, "Empire State of Mind," were game-changers in 2009.
- Big Boi One half of Outkast, Big didn't even release an album in 2009, but one of his best tracks ever, "Shine Blockas" with Gucci Mane, leaked along with a number of cuts from his long-delayed solo debut album. These castaway cuts, great in their own right, put him on the list of the best rap artists of 2009 on their own.
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