41 Best Rappers Over 40

Some say you’re over the hill when you’re 30. Others say your 40s will be your most productive years.

At the end of the day, it’s a little different for everyone – especially in the topsy-turvy world of hip-hop. That said, some of the best rappers ever to exist are now in their 40s if not their 50s.

Here are the best rappers over 40.

Kanye West

Born: June 8, 1977 (age 46)

Whoever thought Kanye West didn’t belong in hip-hop got it all wrong. Not only did he become one of the best-selling artists of all time, but he’s also one of the most awarded hip-hop artists right alongside the inimitable Jay-Z.

West’s antics on social media, in public, and even at award shows have been controversial, to say the least, though it probably wouldn’t be too much of an exaggeration to say he was taking calculated risks on the way to the top. But some of his views and remarks would come back to haunt him.

West has fallen out of favor with sponsors, partnerships, and even the public to a degree in recent years, but we suspect he’s still got some fight left in him.

West’s last release was 2021’s Donda.

Kanye West

Eminem

Born: October 17, 1972 (age 51)

Eminem is considered one of the greatest rappers of all time, and his popularity had a hand in breaking down racial barriers and any stigma attached to white rappers (although it probably wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say the Beastie Boys paved the way for rappers like Eminem).

Some of Eminem’s biggest hits include “My Name Is,” “The Real Slim Shady,” “Stan,” “Lose Yourself,” “Not Afraid,” “The Monster,” and “Rap God.”

Eminem has remained prolific from 1996 to 2020 with his release schedule. Will there be more? Even if there isn’t, no one can argue that he’s already achieved more success than most rappers ever will.

Eminem

LL Cool J

Born: January 14, 1968 (age 55)

LL Cool J is among one of the first rappers to achieve commercial success. He signed with Def Jam Recordings in 1984, and released his breakthrough hit, “I Need a Beat” in 1985. He would take his career a step further with a string of releases between 1987 and 1997, ultimately wrapping up his Def Jam deal in 2008.

Along with so-called “new school hip-hop” acts like Run-DMC and Beastie Boys, LL Cool J defined an important era of hip-hop.

His last studio album was in 2013, but today LL Cool J remains far more prolific as an actor.

LL Cool J

Dr. Dre

Born: February 18, 1965 (age 58)

From the World Class Wreckin’ Cru to N.W.A. From N.W.A to solo. Dr. Dre is an unstoppable force in hip-hop. If his breakthrough success in N.W.A wasn’t enough, his solo debut, The Chronic,cemented him as a force to reckon with.

His production career began early with Snoop Doggy Dogg, but with the arrival of the 2000s, Dre focused even more intently on producing, taking the likes of Eminem and 50 Cent under his wing. Dre has an ear for talent too.

Dr. Dre’s solo releases have been few and far between, but his producing credits grow with each passing year.

Dr Dre

Snoop Dogg

Born: October 20, 1971 (age 52)

The omnipresent and ubiquitous Snoop Dogg initially found fame with Dr. Dre’s debut single, “Deep Cover” as well as on Dre’s debut album, The Chronic. Snoop Dogg’s debut solo album, Doggystyle, was certified quadruple-platinum by 1994.

Snoop Dogg has been featured on tracks almost too numerous to mention, with the likes of Raekwon, Ice Cube, Wiz Khalifa, Eminem, Kendrick Lamar, Young Thug, 2Pac, Jason Derulo, John Legend, Mariah Carey, Kid Rock, and many, many others.

And unlike some of his peers, Snoop Dogg shows no signs of slowing down, with his latest release emerging in 2023.

Snoop Dogg

Ice Cube

Born: June 15, 1969 (age 54)

Like Dr. Dre, Ice Cube originally found fame with N.W.A’s Straight Outa Compton, which played a significant role in the growth of gangsta rap and in carving out a unique identity for West Coast hip-hop. Fun fact – Cube is responsible for most of the lyrics on that album.

As with many rappers, Cube made a successful transition into film, where he keeps busy to this day.

Ice Cube’s output as a rapper spans from 1990 to 2018, but who’s to say he’s done?

Ice Cube

Jay-Z

Born: December 4, 1969 (age 53)

Jay-Z got into the music game in the late 1980s, releasing his first solo album, Reasonable Doubt, in 1996. Reasonable Doubt was critically praised, and with his subsequent 12 studio albums, he would only build on his considerable success.

Many rappers have succeeded as entrepreneurs, including Dr. Dre, but Jay-Z was the first to become a hip-hop billionaire in 2019.

Jay-Z’s most prolific period as a rapper was between 1996 and 2003 when he released albums on a yearly schedule. His latest album is from 2017.

Jay-Z

Nas

Born: September 14, 1973 (age 50)

Nas is considered one of the greatest rappers and lyricists ever to live, with his 1994 debut album, Illmatic, also becoming one of the greatest hip-hop records ever to be recorded.

And his 1996 single from It Was Written, “If I Ruled the World (Imagine That)” ultimately garnered him success in the mainstream.

He made what many consider some missteps in the ensuing years but managed to regain his standing with critics with releases like Stillmatic, God’s Son, and Street’s Disciple.

Nas’s output may have slowed somewhat between 2012 and 2018, but it has only increased in recent years, with six studio albums being issued between 2020 and 2023.

Nas

E-40

Born: November 15, 1967 (age 55)

Founding member of The Click and founder of Sick Wid It Records, E-40 got his start as an underground artist. His 1995 solo release, In a Major Way, got him in front of a wider audience, and since then, he has released an impressive 26 studio albums.

The Lil John produced 2006 single, “Tell Me When to Go” would ultimately be the key to unlocking mainstream success for E-40.

E-40’s latest release was 2023’s Rule of Thumb.

E-40

Juicy J

Born: April 5, 1975 (age 48)

Juicy J is a founding member of Three 6 Mafia, a group that largely operated as an underground act until signing with Loud Records in 2000. “Stay Fly” would help them attain the greatest level of success they would ever achieve as a group, in 2005.

In between Three 6 Mafia projects, Juicy J would go on to release multiple solo albums. Three 6 Mafia would go on hiatus in 2011, and that’s when Juicy J got further enmeshed with his solo career. His latest release was 2020’s The Hustle Continues.

Juicy J has also had a prolific producing career with the likes of Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj, Ludacris, and others.

Juicy J

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