Lil Wayne Reveals His Own Greatest Rappers List: See His Top Five

After being featured in the top 10 of Billboard and Vibe‘s Greatest Rappers of All Time list, Lil Wayne has decided to share his own ranking.

In his new Billboard cover story that was published Wednesday (Aug. 2) in honor of hip-hop’s 50th anniversary this month, Weezy shared the top five from his G.O.A.T. rappers list (in “no specific order,” he clarified): Missy Elliott, Jay-Z, UGK, Goodie Mob and The Notorious B.I.G. “It’s because I organically grew up on [them]. You know, when you’re asked, ‘How’d you start listening?,’ there’s a story for everybody … like, someone I know told me to start listening or whatever. But like I said, every decision I make is organic,” he told Gail Mitchell, Billboard‘s executive director of R&B and hip-hop.

Weezy himself ranked No. 7 on our list, for being “one of the most masterful lyricists of our time, delivering mind-boggling verses for the last quarter century,” and for “setting the stage for rap hopefuls and fellow Billboard all-time chart stars Drake and Nicki Minaj, both of whom Wayne helped develop into the global icons they are today by way of his Young Money/Cash Money record label.” When asked during his Billboard cover interview about his placement on the list, Tunechi responded, “That’s awesome. You would be happy to be anywhere on that list.”

Billboard broke down Wayne’s relationships with each rapper and rap group from his G.O.A.T. list below.

Even if Weezy says his list is in “no specific order,” he previously said Missy was “always going to be first” during Fox Sports’ What’s Wright? With Nick Wright podcast last year. “She’s a huge influence of everything I’ve ever done.” Missy retweeted the clip and relayed her gratitude by writing, “Whenever @LilTunechi says my name in his interviews twitter don’t have enough space for my tosay my GRATEFULNESS because he is a LEGEND himself who birthed many emcees after him & as a man to acknowledge me as a big influence 4 him I send you love WAYNE.”

Weezy’s 35-minute track “10,000 Bars” from 2002 marks the last time the MC wrote down lyrics before hopping in a booth, after he discovered that Hov spits whatever comes to him, he said during The Pivot Podcast last month. “Like Biggie, love Biggie, love Jadakiss, I love all that sh–. But Jay…. the moment I heard it, I stopped. You could ask my boy. ‘I heard that n—a Jay-Z don’t write no more,’” he said. “We went in the studio, and we did ‘10,000 Bars.’ And that was the last time I rapped anything off of a paper.”

In 2020, during a conversation with Lil Baby for Rolling Stone‘s Musicians on Musicians series, Wayne discussed how Jay’s 1999 album Vol. 3… Life and Times of S. Carter changed his life. “It was the first album where I actually [got] the car that the rapper was talking about. That was my album,” he said. “Also, Jay talked so crazy. He went bananas on that album. I got lyrics from the album tattooed on me and s–t. I have songs that are remakes of spinoffs of songs from that album, you know?”

In 2007, Wayne appeared on “Hello Brooklyn 2.0” from Jay’s American Gangster album. The following year, Jay appeared on “Mr. Carter” from Wayne’s Tha Carter III album, and the two co-starred on “Swagga Like Us” (with Kanye West) from T.I.’s album Paper Trail. DJ Khaled brought Weezy and Hov together again last year (alongside Rick Ross, John Legend and Fridayy) for the God Did title track, which was nominated for three Grammys this year — song of the year, best rap song and best rap performance.

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