Hip-hop has been going through a constant evolution since its inception. While primarily a genre dominated by Black musicians, the late 80s and early 90s saw their white counterparts take a swing at the genre. And while some of the best white male rappers have been overshadowed by some of the worst, here is my list of white male rappers that deserve major respect.
Best White Male Rappers
Let’s of course begin with Eminem, who will always be near the very top of any list of white rappers (or perhaps rappers of any skin color).
Marshall Matthers opened up the door for white kids around the world aspiring to be rappers. Arguably one of the best rappers of all time, Eminem holds down the top spot for white male rappers. Race and ethnicity aside, Eminem is a major contributor to the global expansion of hip-hop culture. He’s simply that good.
My Favorite Eminem Song: “Superman” – The Eminem Show, 2002. This song can easily be confused with just another song bashing Eminem’s ex-wife, Kim. Take a deeper listen to uncover a song about Em’s self-realization reaffirmation of values post-divorce.
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While he is most recently known as one half of the group Run the Jewels, El-P has been a prominent figure in hip-hop since the 90s. He is an accomplished producer and lyricist that has released several successful solo albums along with his work with various artists and groups.
My favorite El-P song: “Close Your Eyes (And Count To ****)” – Run the Jewels 2, 2014. Killer Mike and El-P trade hardcore bars and complement each other’s energy perfectly
3) Post Malone
Since he first arrived on the scene, Post Malone has ascended to the top of the music industry. This genre-bending artist can blend hip-hop, r&b, rock, and country themes to create his own brand of pop music that has resulted in multiple top-ten hits, multi-platinum singles, and popular albums.
My favorite Post Malone song: “Sunflower feat. Swae Lee” – Hollywood’s Bleeding, 2022. The title song from Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse. This uplifting song just makes you feel good listening to it.
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4) Mac Miller
It’s incredibly unfortunate that we lost Mac Miller at the height of his popularity. The Pittsburgh artist pens his life journey on ten projects that are each unique in their own way. His laid-back, self-conscious flow, gained him the admiration of his fellow artists and adoring fans across the globe.
My favorite Mac Miller song: “Self Care” – Swimming, 2018. It’s hard not to find deeper meaning in this song given the album’s release just a month before the artist’s tragic passing.
5) Action Bronson
Action Bronson has one of the most unique personalities on this list. The multi-faceted rapper also doubles as a chef, an occasional wrestler, and a TV host. The Queens rapper is heavily influenced by the greats of New York City, which shines through in his rap style filled with equal parts bravado and stylistic lyrics.
My favorite Action Bronson song: “Dmtri” – Lamb Over Rice, 2019. The Albanian Bronson states in this song, “My grandparents learned English watching Martin.” That one lyric explains a lot about this artist’s upbringing and influence.
6) Riff Raff
It’s hard to ignore the adoption of Black culture by white men who chose to rap. Riff Raff aka Jody Highroller is an artist who might border appropriation with his fashion and demeanor. Some debate that Riff Raff is continuing a character created for the VH1 show, from “G’s to Gents”. Regardless of his persona, Riff Raff has some of the most unique (and ridiculous) bars in the industry
My Favorite Riff Raff Song: “Tip Toe 3” – (2019). This song is technically part 3 (of 4 so far) of Riff Raff’s single, “Tip Toe Wing in My Jawwwwdinz”. Let’s see how far he takes this.
7) Jack Harlow
Since his listing on XXL Mags 2020 Freshman List, Jack Harlow has skyrocketed to the top of the pop and urban charts with many catchy singles. It’s still early in the career of this artist so time will tell if his body of work lives up to the hype of his singles.
My favorite Jack Harlow song: “Movie Star” – Come Home The Kids Miss You, 2022. Can’t beat Pharrell’s production. It sucks that songs like the cringe-worthy “First Class” make radio play and not this dope song.
8) Beastie Boys
Before Eminem, the Beastie Boys were the prominent White rappers, holding their own in the rap industry. Debuting in the late 80s, this New York trio from middle-classed Jewish families, fused hard rock and hip-hop to create raucous anthems for the youth like “No Sleep Til Brooklyn” and “Fight For Your Right”. Despite their background, these three have cemented their place in hip-hop history.
My favorite Beatie Boys Song: “Intergalactic” – Hello Nasty, 1998.
9) House of Pain
Beastie Boys weren’t the only white rappers causing riots with their music in the early 90s. House of Pain, led by leader Everlast, were a group of Irish-Americans whose ill-mannered behavior was part of their initial appeal, but ultimately prevented them from any true major success.
My favorite House of Pain song is: “Jump Around”- House of Pain,1992. The 1992 debut song for the group made them a certified one-hit-wonder.
Before signing with Columbia Records in 2017, Russ made a name for himself as a hard-working independent musician. He released 11 mixtapes between 2011 and 2014 and famously would release a new single a week on SoundCloud. He has continued to grow as an artist and independent mogul. He has taken steps to launch his own label and will continue to build on his over $10 million in revenue from his independent catalog.
My favorite Lil Peep song: “What They Want” – There’s Really A Wolf, 2017. Russ has multiple flows that he will use in his songs. He can sing nearly as well as he can rap and showcases his skills on this song.
11) Paul Wall
The early 2000s saw the rise of Houston as a major hub for a new era of rappers. The People’s Champ, Paul Wall was well known in the Houston music scene as an understudy of the legendary DJ Clue. After his feature on Mike Jones song “Still Tippin”, Wall took off on a successful solo career of his own. Thank this man (and Nelly) for making grillz so popular.
My favorite Paul Wall song: “N Luv With My Money” – Get Ya Mind Correct (Chopped & Screwed), 2002. Houston introduced a new cast of rappers in the early rappers and Chamillionaire and Paul Wall are two of the most notable rappers to come out of the Houston resurgence of the early 2000s. The chopped-n-screwed version of this song captures the essence of Houston rap during the time.
12) Bubba Sparxxx
When Timbaland introduced the world to Bubba Sparxxx, the world had never seen an artist quite like him. Bubba Sparxxx brought new meaning to “dirty south”. He hails from LaGrange, Georgia, and literally grew up off a dirt road. That didn’t stop the influence of hip-hop and Black culture from inspiring him to pursue rap music after his football career ended. The result is one of the most unique rappers of all time.
My favorite Bubba Sparxxx song: “Ugly”- Dark Days, Bright Nights, 2001. From the insane Timbaland beat, to the equally crazy music video which features Bubba and his country cousins rapping in a big slop, this was one hell of a debit for Sparxxx.
13) Aesop Rock
Aesop Rock is an accomplished rapper and producer, most known for his abstract lyrics and wordplay. Aesop is more than just a rapper. He is an incredible artist across multiple mediums spanning albums, movie scores, video games, and even children’s stories and toys.
My favorite Aesop Rock song: “Rings” – The Impossible Kid, 2016. This song is about Aesops introspection into his previous dream of being a visual artist. It’s interesting that he sees this as a failure when the video and much of his work can be considered successful visual art.
Much like the rapper Big Krit, Yelawolf represents a different side of the dirty south, hailing from Alabama. Signed to Shady records, Yelawolf shares Eminem’s relentless rap style and vicious flair. He is an artist that is constantly recording quality rap music. He has even branched out into Rock & Roll.
My favorite Yelawolf song: “Pop the Trunk” – Trunk Muzik 0 -60, 2010. This early Yelawolf song is a menacing song that displays his ability as a rapper.
15) Lil Wyte
This lightening fast Memphis MC caught the ears and attention of Three 6 Mafia leaders, Juicy J and DJ Paul, who quickly signed him to the Hypnotized Mindz record label. Wyte has maintained a core following on the underground street level of southern rap and still works closely with Juicy-J as his main producer.
My Favorite Lil Wyte Song: “Oxy Cotton” – Doubt Me Now , 2003. Lil Wyte’s debut single could never be played on the radio but that doesn’t take away from how hard the song is. It still bangs just as hard, two decades (and one opioid crisis) later.
16) Chris Webby
This might be your frat bro’s favorite rapper. Webby (not to be confused with Louisiana rapper Webbie) has built a loyal following of fans throughout his 15-year independent career.
My favorite Chris Webby song: “Twist Again (La La La)” – Wednesday, 2017. Chris Webby shares his affinity for the wonders of cannabis.
The fact that this man could pull this off is reason enough to make this list. The 90s were a time before the “wokeness” we see today, otherwise, this artist might not have been able to pull off his recognizable act. A Canadian rapper that raps with a Jamaican patios accent is pure entertainment. What a time.
My favorite Snow song: is “Informer” – 12 Inches of Snow, 1993. I’m not sure what is more ridiculous, this song or the album’s title. Can’t even lie, this song is extremely catchy.
18) Vinnie Paz
The second Sicilian on the list, Vinnie Paz (Russ is the other) was born in Italy but raised in Clifton Heights, PA. Paz is one of the original members of the group Jedi Mind Tricks of the mid to late 90s. After spending the first part of his career associated with various groups, Vinnie would take his aggressive rap style solo with his 2010 album, Season of the Assassin.
Vinnie’s grimy energy and unfiltered lyrics about everything from government corruption to conspiracies surrounding the pyramids make him an artist you must listen closely to. He is an underground legend that shows no sign of slowing down any time soon.
My favorite Vinnie Paz song: “Design in Malice” – Violence Begets Violence by the Jedi Mind Tricks, 2011. Vinnie still records with the Jedi Mind Tricks nearly 30 years since its inception. This is one of their best tracks.
19) Lil Dickey
Now known primarily as just Dave (much thanks to his hit TV show), Lil Dickey blurs the reality between his real-life persona and the character he portrays in his music and on TV. While this goofy dude from outside Philly originally started rapping to help promote his comedy career. He eventually started taking the game seriously and has developed into an actually legitimate rapper.
My favorite Lil Dickey song: “Molly” – Professional Rapper, 2015. A lot of Dave’s songs can be taken as jokes or spoofs of rap. This is one of his more serious songs that shows he has the talent to be a truly serious rapper if he should choose to be.
This list of white rappers definitely contains some rough around the edges individuals. G-Eazy is a smooth and stylish artist known for his slicked-back hair and songs filled with self-indulgent lyrics about the usual themes of sex, drugs, and rock & roll (hip-hop in this case).
G-Eazy has seen a steady rise in his popularity due to his ability to adapt and fine-tune his sound along with a number of well-known collaborations and features.
My favorite G-Eazy song: “No Limit” – The Beautiful & Damned, 2017. The hit single was a massive success for the artist.
Like others on the list, he was heavily influenced by Eminem and his rapid speed rapping style. Recently, the artist has denied early influences, leading to beef with his former idol, and a departure from rap into Rock & Roll.
My favorite MGK song: “Let You Go” – Bloom, 2017.
This article was written by Justinian and edited by Michael.