As hip hop became a more mainstream genre of music, the definition of rap music expanded, and so did the demographic of both its listeners and artists. Hip hop music gained mass popularity in the early 1990s, and thus, many white male rappers of the 2000s started expressing themselves through rap music. Here are fifteen of our favorite ones.
Best White Male Rappers from the 2000s
Often regarded as one of the best white male rappers of all time, Eminem was arguably the first white rapper to take the baton from artists like Vanilla Ice and really transform it into something deeper and more complex. Eminem began rapping at the age of 14 with one of his friends from school, and started partaking in rap battles. As he established himself into the rap scene, the renowned Dr. Dre caught wind of his music and got him a record deal. The two have collaborated many times, with Dre producing much of Eminem’s music.
Eminem has the impressive ability to rap incredibly fast, making his music intense. The instrumental work from Dr. Dre really brings out Eminem’s skill, and his discography is fierce. He often uses clever wordplay and along with his passion for rap, his intelligence shines through as well.
My Favorite Eminem Song: Mockingbird (2004).From Eminem’s fifth album, Mockingbird has a special place in my heart. It is a lullaby (in Eminem fashion) to his daughter, where he expresses everything that she was too young to understand about her upbringing as well as his own struggles. I appreciate when rappers let listeners in on their softer side, and in Mockingbird, Eminem tells his daughter that everything he’s done was for her.
Much of G-Eazy’s music exudes “unbothered” energy. It’s the perfect soundtrack for standing up for yourself, recognizing your worth, and is an all-around confidence booster. He funded his rap career all on his own—by selling most of his possessions because, as he puts it, “the creative content was worth so much more than any physical content.”
And it certainly did pay off, as he got his big break shortly after graduating college. In 2012, the rapper got the life-changing opportunity to tour with 2 Chainz and Lil Wayne. That same year, he released his first full-length studio album, “Must Be Nice,” which is what put him on the radar for many fans. Along with being featured on countless pop hits and soundtracks for franchises such as Ghostbusters and Suicide Squad, it’s safe to say that G-Eazy has been successful in his music endeavors.
My Favorite G-Eazy Song: Tumblr Girls (2014). Released during the peak of the social networking site Tumblr, this song is full of nostalgia for those who would spend hours in a dark room scrolling through Tumblr. It was a site densely populated by those who suffer with mental illnesses, and while that may be frowned upon on other social medias, Tumblr welcomed it. In the song, G-Eazy raps over a hypnotizing beat about how he finds out that these girls have the same toxic habits that he does, and they aren’t ashamed of it.
Born Austin Richard Post, but getting his stage name through a rap name generator, Post Malone has been immensely successful in his music career. He began making music during his teen years while he was a part of a heavy metal band, and eventually decided to pursue rap, after dropping out of college and moving to Los Angeles. His talent is palpable, and apparently that’s always been the case, as his high school voted for him for the “most likely to be famous” superlative.
His first single, White Iverson, blew up on Soundcloud and garnered attention from already established rappers like Wiz Khalifa and Mac Miller. From there, he got a record deal, and as he continued to create more music, his fame continued to skyrocket. He’s an easily loveable man with a friendly face, albeit covered with tattoos reading “always tired” and “stay away.” More recently, he’s gotten a face tattoo that says “DDP,” an homage to his infant daughter.
My Favorite Post Malone Song: Allergic (2019). As an avid Post Malone fan, it’s difficult to pick just one of his songs that trumps the rest of them. He often sings about the same few topics (love, drugs, betrayal), but does so in a different way each time. He isn’t afraid to be vulnerable, and certainly has a song for any occasion. But Allergic stands out due to its early-2000s pop-punk nature.
It’s about being in a toxic relationship with someone where both people are drug users, and it’s doomed to fail. Despite knowing this, it’s hard to let go, as this person is the only one who really understands Post’s struggles. The song is even complete with a nod to Metallica in its lyrics; “so sad but true,” showing that Post never strayed far from his metal roots, even if the music he makes is totally different.
Machine Gun Kelly
MGK has a unique origin story. Rap fans have likely known who he was for years, particularly through his feud with Eminem. This started in 2012 when MGK tweeted that Eminem’s teenage daughter was “hot as f***, in the most respectful way.” Since then, the two have thrown shade at each other through their songs, whether it be in verses or entire diss tracks, in MGK’s case.
Machine Gun Kelly did not see the success he’s seen recently in his rap career. Many have attributed his genre change to the beef he had with Eminem and speculate that he knew it may have been a lost cause. However, since his switch to making modern pop-punk music with Travis Barker of Blink-182, MGK has won dozens of awards and is arguably as big of a name as Eminem is.
My Favorite MGK Song: Let You Go (2017). While MGK may not have gotten colossal fame during his rap period, the music he made was still good, in my opinion. He had been experimenting with singing along with rapping, something I appreciate rappers doing.
Let You Go is about knowing a relationship is unhealthy but still wishing it could work, and reminiscing on how things used to be. The chorus sounds similar to his more recent pop music, with strong electric guitar riffs, while the verses have heavier bass like more traditional rap music.
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Jack Harlow has worked his way to becoming a household name. He grew up in Louisville, Kentucky, and has acknowledged that coming from decent money and being white have been steppingstones in his career. His honesty makes him more likeable, and his flow is undeniable. It got him signed by two of the biggest names in rap—Drake and Kanye West.
Harlow’s authenticity has gotten him many collaborations with other rappers, Grammy nominations, late night performances, and more. The app TikTok has certainly aided with his success, where people fawn over him and make videos to his biggest hits. One of his albums is even named after TikTok comments he’d receive- “come home the kids miss you.” While he’s achieved the most fame in recent years, his best work happened right before he became a social media heartthrob.
My Favorite Jack Harlow Song: Got Me Thinking (2016). When this song was released, Jack Harlow was 18 years old and seemingly still finding himself. He had a scruffy appearance, with large-framed glasses and untamed curly hair. This version of Jack Harlow produced Got Me Thinking, a chill ballad about the back-and-forth thinking he has towards a woman.
She sees through the person he pretends to be, and he’s worried she’ll find someone better. Yet, he doesn’t know if it’s time to leave her for good or stick around until he blows up.
Mac Miller was an incredibly talented, troubled soul. He passed away in 2018 due to a drug overdose, but his music is still a prominent part of fans’ lives. Instead of making trap music like many other rappers of his time, Mac Miller went for a more psychedelic, soulful vibe. It’s easy for people of all ages and walks of life to enjoy and relate to Mac’s music. He grew up in Pittsburgh, PA, and quickly became a part of the rap scene during his early teen years.
In 2010, he got himself a record deal which allowed him to release music professionally. That same year, he released his first album, K.I.D.S (“Kickin’ Incredible Dope Sh*t”), which was instantly loved by millions. He released six studio albums during his time, and has thousands of unreleased tracks, some which have been leaked. While he was alive, he only officially released about one percent of the music he’s made in total.
My Favorite Mac Miller Song: Missed Calls (2011). From his debut studio album, Blue Slide Park, this song is somehow melancholy and hopeful at the same time (a complicated feeling that Mac easily exudes). Missed Calls is about how hard it is to maintain a healthy romantic relationship whilst following your heart in other parts of life. It’s never fun having difficult conversations, but Mac stresses that they’ll both be fine on their own eventually.
Tyler Joseph, one-half of the musical duo Twenty-One Pilots, is also the songwriter and lyricist. He’s known for writing alternative music that contains fast raps, accompanied by drummer Josh Dun. The duo is from Columbus, Ohio, and started making music together in college. Tyler Joseph stands out from other white male rappers of the 2000s because he writes music for a spectrum of genres and doesn’t stay exclusive to rap.
Not only does Tyler Joseph write all sorts of music, but he has mastered the skill of genre-meshing. His flow is always cohesive, even if a song he writes could be classified as alternative, pop, and hip-hop all in one.
My Favorite Twenty-One Pilots Song: Ode to Sleep (2013). This song is from the album Vessel, which recently had its 10-year anniversary and is my personal favorite of their albums. It’s extremely versatile and speaks about mental health issues (as do most of their songs). I interpret Ode to Sleep is about a cycle people with anxiety-induced insomnia go through.
When it’s dark and quiet, you’re left alone with all your thoughts. If you stay up long enough to see the sun rise, it might make you more anxious, but you can’t help from feeling a tinge of peacefulness by watching the pitch-black sky turn to an array of colors.
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$uicideboy$ is a rap duo composed of cousins from New Orleans who go by the stage names Ruby and $crim. They settled on their name through a pact they made where they’d end their lives if they didn’t make it in the industry by age 30. Clearly, they didn’t follow through with the pact because, well, they didn’t need to.
The duo became the highest streaming independent artists of 2022, with nearly two billion streams. At the beginning of their rap journey, in addition to their pact, they decided they’d never sign to a label, as they didn’t want any part of their music to be controlled by anyone else. Not only did they stay true to that, but they have their own record label, G59.
My Favorite $uicideboy$ Song: Matte Black (2022). This song is from their most recent album, Sing Me a Lullaby, My Sweet Temptation, and their progress is astonishing. They’ve always been talented, but it seems as they’ve gotten more fans, they’ve gotten more motivation as well. Matte Black is a song about the boys’ struggles with drugs and relapsing and feeling misunderstood. Over an addictive beat, of course.
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Peep is another white rapper who successfully meshed genres. His music could easily be on a rap playlist but might also find its way to an emo or alternative one. His name came from the nickname his mother had given him. Since he was a child, she saw him as her little peep, and it just stuck. He untimely and unfortunately passed away in 2017, as his career was just kicking off, but he’ll always have a place in fans’ hearts.
It’s clear through his music that Lil Peep was a well-intentioned, but lost, being. He was bullied for many years due to his alternative style and oddball personality. Peep’s music is for people who are just like him; the outcasts trying to navigate through a world that has shut them down more times than they can count.
My Favorite Lil Peep Song: worlds away (2016). To me, Lil Peep’s music feels like a warm hug from someone who doesn’t know you, yet completely understands you. Incidentally, that’s what the song Worlds Away is about. He feels attached to someone he hardly knows, but when he looks into her eyes it’s as if they’ve always known and loved each other.
Dave Burd, who goes by the stage name “Lil Dicky,” understands that oftentimes, white people don’t have the same place in rap that Black people do. Instead of trying to emulate a culture that he doesn’t belong to, he embraces his own (or lack thereof). He’s a nerdy guy with a somehow charming awkwardness from a suburban town, and he doesn’t try, or want, to be anyone else.
This doesn’t mean he lacks talent, however. Lil Dicky is skilled at songwriting and rapping, and it’s earned him collaborations with major names like Snoop Dogg, DJ Khaled, Fetty Wap, and more. He even has a show, “Dave,” on Hulu about his venture of trying to convince other people that he has what it takes, even if he does it in a less conventional way.
My Favorite Lil Dicky Song: Molly (2015). Many of Lil Dicky’s songs are written in a comedic manner, and Molly is one of the exceptions to this. It’s about his ex-girlfriend, who he saw a long and happy future with, but his plans for rap got in the way. Her name really was Molly, and their relationship is depicted in his show as well. In Molly, Lil Dicky wishes he could let go of this girl, but his heart is torn because he knows music will always be his number one passion.
This is another rapper who rose to fame by writing songs that have heavy elements of comedy in them. Still, he takes his work seriously, and worked his way up to being able to perform at the VMAs and on Jimmy Kimmel. He blew up on SoundCloud, like many other 2000s rappers, and looked up to others who found their success on the platform, including Lil Peep.
He completed college, but while he was there, he began writing his music and putting it on the internet. This was when he realized he wanted to be a full-time musician and ended up quitting his job to pursue his dream. His music is catchy and he makes productive use of wordplay, though it is far from conventional rap music.
My Favorite Yung Gravy Song: Mr. Clean (2016). This song samples Mr. Sandman and is the one that got Yung Gravy his first dose of wide-scale recognition. If nothing else, it’s sure to put a smile on your face.
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The Kid Laroi
This Australian rapper got his start long before he had number one hits on the radio. He was friends with Juice WRLD, who took him under his wing and even on tour. Juice even gifted Laroi a feature for his birthday, something that would’ve cost hundreds of thousands of dollars at the time.
The two even lived together for a few months, and soon enough The Kid Laroi got himself a record deal, which boosted him to the level of fame and success that he has now.
My Favorite The Kid Laroi Song: So Done (2020). This is from his debut mixtape, and the Juice WRLD influence is prominent. Laroi is singing over a ukulele track about how he’d rather be alone than in a toxic relationship, even if it was important to him. He has the emotional maturity to self-reflect and wants to spend his time becoming a better person for himself.
Growing up, blackbear (stylized in all lowercase) had to find an escape from a troubling childhood, which was making music. He was in a punk band during his teenage years and quickly dropped out of school to pursue music. For years, he’d spend all day writing songs to send to big names in the music industry, hoping to get calls back.
He decided on the stage name blackbear as a tribute to Florida, where he grew up, and eventually caught the attention of producer Mike Posner. As blackbear became a more established artist, he got diagnosed with pancreatitis, and turned to drugs to cope. Years later, he’s married with a child and working on his sobriety. It’s very special to get to see his progress as a person reflected in his music.
My Favorite blackbear Song: wish u the best (2017). Over a funky beat, blackbear sings about all of the reasons he needs to get over a girl. He’s lost himself in her so much that he doesn’t recognize himself anymore. The album digital druglord, which this song is included on, makes me feel nostalgic of high school, where I’d blast the album all day in my earbuds to get through the day.
Mike Stud, who now just uses the artist name “mike.,” has an interesting come-up story as well. He was a college athlete, certain he’d go pro, before suffering a life-changing injury. In addition to ending his baseball career, he felt lost. During recovery from surgery on his arm injury, he started playing with GarageBand on his computer, despite never having had much interest in creating music.
His first song, College Humor, was mostly satirical, and was intended just for his friends at school to listen to. They liked it, and so did the Internet. He realized he had fans and decided that music wouldn’t be a bad idea to give some more time to (especially because he had recently fallen into having a lot of free time). Since then, he’s released nearly an album every year.
My Favorite mike. Song: The End (2018). This song stands out from much of his discography, it’s a slower breakup ballad. He feels discarded, and as much as he wants to fix things, he can’t let go of the fact that he’s expected to make time for someone who could never do that for him.
Admittedly, it should be noted that Logic is bi-racial, but I felt he was too talented to leave off of this list. Interestingly enough, Logic’s racial background often comes into play in his music, and he’s always been very honest about never fully fitting in with any particular community.
In fact, in many of the best Logic songs, he talks about getting backlash from both the white and black community, leaving him (at least at times) in a bit of a No Man’s Land grey area.
My Favorite Logic Song: City of Stars (2015). This song touches on Logic’s struggle with his racial identity, adjusting to stardom, and seeing how it’s impacted his relationships. Most of all, it’s a breakup song. He finally got the courage to stand up for himself, and it just happened to be as he was becoming successful in his career.
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