A wise man by the name of JAY-Z once said that rap is basically just the marriage of poetry and boxing. Ask a fan: Great rappers aren’t just entertainers, they’re sages, storytellers, philosophers, and prophets, people who hold an illuminating torch to the everyday. Mixing marquee names and underground kings and queens, this playlist captures the best lyricists in contemporary hip-hop—because they don’t call it rap for the dancing. Our editors update picks here regularly, so if you hear something you like, add it to your library.

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