The stereotypical attitude towards rap is that it’s music rooted in African-American culture and that all of the best rappers are black. Ask most people, and 9 out of 10 folks will automatically think of black rap artists first before white ones. In reality, however, white rap artists not only exist, but some have also been quite successful.
The below list represents 31 of the best white rappers. It’s not in an order of rank or earnings or other artificial benchmarks. Instead, it’s simply the names that have earned their places of respect for all the work and accomplishments they have achieved.
Probably one of the most well-known white rappers in the industry, and they made a movie of his life as well. Real name Marshall Bruce Mathers III, Eminem to his fans, the Detroit rapper has a well-established reputation as one of the most prolific rappers and producers. He’s been on every side of the industry and a major mover in rap after living half a century now. “Godzilla,” one of his more recent songs, has 41.1 million streams in the United States and 24,000 downloads. Eminem clearly holds the title as one of the greatest rappers ever, regardless of color.
2. Iggy Azalea
If you’ve heard her name, we’re not surprised. Iggy Azalea is a model and has been a TV face for a good amount of time before gaining her own credentials by rapping. Her name was already established through multiple channels, which has given her a nice launching pad into the singing side of things. Interestingly, Azalea’s roots are from Australia, and she moved to the United States to pursue a music career when she was 16.
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3. Paul Wall
If you’re going to go on stage with a name like Paul Gideon Manry, it’s probably not going to win over a lot of street credibility. Born in Georgetown, Texas, he changed his name to Paul Michael Slayton and used the stage name Paul Wall.
This rapper has easily nailed one of the most lucrative roles in modern entertainment. He has won over audiences with “Swangin In The Rain,” “Bizzy Body,” and “Break ‘Em Off.” His label status has been in transition. He was formerly with Atlanta records before signing with Swishahouse Records.
Once a rap artist becomes big, it’s not surprising to see them become the sponsor of other artists they believe have promise and strength. That was the case when Tech N9ne saw Rittz. Seeing a rising star, Tech N9ne’s label signed Rittz, and he showed results. Since then, some major hits have been credited to Rittz, like “Next to Nothing,” among others.
5. Kid Rock
Kid who? Yes, that is the typical question a lot of folks have, but the fact is, Kid Rock did a lot more than just rock music. He did and still does his share of rap, and he’s produced plenty of it as well.
Hailing from Michigan, Kid Rock has hit just about every major role, from being a DJ to producing the words to being the stage frontman himself. He has his own share of industry awards, such as a Detroit Music Award. Some of his popular songs are “All Summer Long” and “Rock n Roll Jesus.”
6. Brother Ali
With more than a half dozen albums to his name, eight of them being critically acclaimed, as well as partner projects and collaborations, Brother Ali has easily pushed his name into the credibility orbit. Folks might know his name from titles like “Not A Day Goes By” and “Uncle Sam Goddamn,” but nobody is going to recognize his real name, Ali Douglas Newman. No question about it, being a hit rap artist definitely requires a name change for stage presence.
Another Australian export from Melbourne, 360 has been slamming out rap songs with a solid performance angle as well as showcasing genuine talent. Signed onto Soulmate Records, he pushed out titles like “Run Alone,” “What You See Is What You Get,” and “Just Got Started.” No one would likely know who 360 was when he uses his legal name, Matthew James Colwell. However, as 360, he’s going to draw an audience left and right, easily gaining his own billing for the night.
8. Vinnie Paz
Vinnie Paz, born Vincenzo Luvineri, is Sicilian American. His hometown is Philadelphia, so it’s no surprise he’s got a strong following from here as a result. Being the word wizard behind the hip-hop movement Jedi Mind Tricks, Vinnie Paz has been a heavy player in the rap field and continues to come out with songs like “Cheesesteaks” and more.
Pitbull holds his own rank as a rap star and a white rap star at that. Interestingly, he’s had a tremendous rap singer run as well. Appearing on Kings of Crunk, Pitbull has been busy pushing a Florida-style perspective with rap singing as well as releasing album hits such as Fireball and Feel This Moment. However, more folks are likely to recognize Pitbull as the bald guy with sunglasses and a sharp suit on the latest TV special than for rap.
10. Beastie Boys
A massive shift happened when the Beastie Boys arrived. The trio absolutely established the fact that rap was not distinct to just one demographic. Instead, these urban campy goofs rapped about just about every odd thing they could come up with, and their songs went extreme on the hit charts.
While the Beastie Boys hit their zenith, they are still a household name in rap as well as among a number of artists who came after them years later. “Sabotage” is probably their most familiar title, but they have “Hey Ladies” and “Sure Shot” as well.
11. Asher Roth
Do songs and albums like “I Love College” and “Flowers on the Weekend” sound like dippy titles? You might not think so, but for Asher Roth’s fans, they are the words that ring. First discovered by Steve Rifkind, Asher Roth launched high and easily gained rank and status with his singing and rap style. Additionally, he’s released other albums like Asleep in the Bread Aisle. Granted, he uses creative titles, but hey, they work. No one can argue with that.
12. Hoodie Allen
Yes, the name is a spoof on the well-known movie producer and quirky comedian, Woody Allen, but Hoodie Allen is anything but a cheesy movie producer and humor writer. Instead, utilizing his references from his home neighborhood of Long Island, New York, he has been pushing rap since he amazingly jumped into it full-time from a career at Google of all places. Hitting the mainstream with the album titled, People Keep Talking, Hoodie Allen has been a resident player in the rap world for years. And he’s still going.
13. R.A. The Rugged Man
Among rap artists, R.A. the Rugged Man is probably closer to his actual legal name than most rappers. R.A. Thorburn has been on stage in New York and the East Coast since he was at least 18. Signed with Jive Records, he put out the knockout album, Night of the Bloody Apes but, interestingly, it never got to distribution. His skill was so notable that R.A. the Rugged Man became successful anyway. By aligning with bigger players like Notorious B.I.G., he started getting noticed, and things took off from there.
14. “Weird Al” Yankovic
Known for a ton of spoof songs and videos, “Weird Al” Yankovic actually, or technically, counts as a rap artist. Even crazier, he was and is actually very popular. Gaining fame from spoofing some of the most famous hit songs, he went after rap hits as well. Nothing was spared. And his versions became extremely popular as a result. He even spoofed Star Wars, leaving no stone unturned.
15. Danny Boy O’Connor
The House of Pain was easily a solid unit in terms of rap notoriety, and Danny Boy O’Connor was one of them. Once they were signed by Tommy Boy, Danny Boy became a rap household name. This group stuck together with three different albums, but Danny Boy ultimately went solo.
Erik Francis Schrody, known better for his stage name Everlast, has been a solid name in rap but, unknown to some fans, he’s also a solid singing name in two other genres: rock and country. Like others from New York, his style is definitely East Coast and old-school rap. But his crossover style then influences it into a new angle that makes him a bit more distinct.
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Alabama has produced a lot of things in terms of country music; no one expected the same state to be the home of one of rap’s more interesting singers, Yelawolf. Michael Wayne Atha has been a solid producer in rap, both on collaborations as well as short distributions (i.e. EPs). Big titles like “Pop the Trunk” and “Till It’s Gone” are some of his hit music. Even as a rapper, he still stays connected to his southern roots.
18. Lil Dicky
Known for a mix of rap and humor, Lil Dicky has wordsmithed his way into fans’ funny bones while still retaining solid credibility for his singing abilities and production. Moving to fame with his song, this professional rapper then punched out an amazing and huge following on Spotify, numbering well into four million monthly listeners of his work. Let’s just say he’s a bit popular, at the Hollywood level.
19. Tyler Joseph
Both a musician and a rapper, Tyler Robert Joseph has been half of the very famous band, Twenty-One Pilots, pushing out a flurry of songs that have captured their audience’s tastes and more. Pushing an odd but successful mix of rap and drumming with his band partner, Josh Dun, Joseph gains a title on this list simply because he’s made his music work. Sometimes, that’s all it takes.
20. Chris Webby
An odd exception coming out of Norwalk, Connecticut, Chris Webby made at least onto the Billboard 200 halfway up the rank, and he continues to register interest with rap fans. Songs and albums like “Chemically” as well as Jamo Neat have registered genuine demand and approval. No surprise, Christian Walcott Webster aka Chris Webby pulls a solid audience presence as a result when put on the billboard.
21. Action Bronson
Like something out of a B-rate movie, Action Bronson is all stage presence. However, skill-wise, he knows both sides of the industry as a rapper as well as a producer. He worked solidly with a well-known record label, Warner Bros, for years, and he continues to win fans with songs like “Game Over! Man” in addition to working on the Suicide Squad movie soundtrack.
22. Lil Peep
It’s okay to be known by a diminutive name in rap, as long as you have a large stage presence. Lil Peep is exactly that, no question. Claiming roots from the iron town side of Pennsylvania, he has been deep into music since he was a kid. And, unlike a lot of children, his parents actually supported his efforts instead of telling him to be quiet and get back to his homework. He had big hits like “Drugz” and “4 Gold Chains,” and the rap singer probably would have produced a lot more. However, Lil Peep passed away from a drug overdose.
23. Zack De La Rocha
A west coast rapper, Zach de la Rocha has been a well-known name as a rap singer with his own albums like Inside Out. However, his most solid credential is being part of Rage Against the Machine, a hybrid rap band that easily broke barriers and audience sizes.
24. Mac Miller
Another name that made it big as a rap singer but he also has passed, Mac Miller was a solid hip-hop name in Pittsburgh. Ironically, his best song hit the top of the charts after he passed. Also having died from a drug overdose, he was a rising star early on, starting as a teenager. However, he isn’t around now to enjoy the fruits of his labor. The business got the best of him.
As a songwriter, NF has easily stood out from the crowd with a skillful play of words as well as something other rap artists don’t automatically take advantage of, storytelling. By full legal name, Nathan John Feuerstein was born in Michigan, and he is an extremely talented rapper. Anyone who truly appreciates rap art has recognized NF for his abilities. However, he hasn’t seemed to skyrocket as fast as other rappers. His topics are social issues, and audiences resonate with the words repeatedly. That was proven with the release of “Let You Down,” a platinum record label.
His real name sounds like a character in World Wide Wrestling or a cable TV show event. But Mike Viglione actually has a heavy-duty rap stage name known as Ubiquitous or Ubi. Partnered with Godemis in a well-known rap duo, CES Cru, the two have been a solid presence in the rap circuit, punching out songs like “Seven Chakras” and “When Worlds Collide.”
A mid-range rap artist in the history of the movement, EI-P produced solid Brooklyn rap for years. He cranked out his first short album, Juvenile Technique, which gained significant and immediate attention, and since that time, he’s also been a notable producer of artists as well under his own label, Definitive Jux.
28. Mike Shinoda
Another west coast rapper, a Japanese heritage is not what people immediately think of, but Michael Kenji Shinoda has easily hit the high end of the fame trajectory in the rap business, namely being a co-founder of a very famous hybrid team, Linkin Park. The band has been suspended due to the death of its singer, but Shinoda continues to be a solid name in the industry.
29. Lil Xan
Redlands, California might not be seen as the primary hub of rap, but that is exactly where Lil Xan started from. Born Nicholas Diego Leanos, this rapper gained a unique and distinct style with mumble rap. Some folks might not be familiar with it as a recent style, but it is one of the more cutting approaches. And Lil Xan has become one of the leading artists in the style. Drawing a huge demand on Spotify, he continues to push out titles regardless of traditional perspective, focusing on a new style in his terms versus anyone else’s.
30. Machine Gun Kelly
He’s gotten more fame after the public found out about his relationship with Megan Fox, but technically, Machine Gun Kelly is a bona fide rapper. He pushed into the limelight with his first album, Alice in Wonderland, and the artist also gained some fame by starting a beef with Eminem. While no one took it seriously, it did give Machine Gun Kelly more exposure.
31. Aesop Rock
The name is an interesting throwback to a kids’ collection of stories, Aesop Fables. However, in rap, Aesop Rock is also from the core of East Coast singers, in New York City. First coming onto the radar with his album, Float, he continues to pump out solid work such as Spirit World Field Guide in 2020. It adds yet another to his collection of albums, nine in all with 17 singles.
Again, like most things in modern life, people easily have their stereotype of what a rapper is, but these 31 artists break that mold and have been professionally successful doing so as well, proving rap is clearly skill and talent, not a genetic output.