Last Updated on March 6, 2023
Since the dawn of time, humankind’s immense longing for self-expression has always been inexplicable yet utterly astounding. People claim that this yearning is rooted in the fact that, as humans, we want to be heard and understood by others.
This school of thought is quite logical, as most people appreciate when others genuinely listen and understand their views. Human beings, in their entirety, are remarkably diverse and unpredictable. As such, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that there are many forms of self-expression unique to each individual. From music and sculpting to digital art, traditional art, and poetry, self-expression has no boundaries. As with most art forms, it is only limited by your creativity.
Today’s article focuses on one of the most notable and renowned forms of self-expression: Music! In the sublime words of famous American jazz saxophonist and composer Charlie Parker, “music is your own experience, your thoughts, your wisdom. If you don’t live it, it won’t come out of your horn.”
Parker was a firm believer that music provides an avenue to express your thoughts, ideas, and experiences. He opined that music was one of the purest art forms. Parker truly believed this because he reasoned that since music is a way of sharing your experiences, you have to live it to share it with others. That proposition, in its entirety, is utterly thrilling.
As with most concepts, not everyone agrees with this point of view. Many philosophers view music as an escape. They opine that the true purpose of music is to provide a getaway or a break from the troubles and shackles of reality. They go on to say that music offers a melodic haven, brimming with tranquility.
In my genuine opinion, both schools of thought are logical, and hence, they have merit. However, they both have one fatal misstep: they both ignore music’s power of connection! Yes, connection. Be it a connection with others, our past, cultural heritage, or our inner selves, music is the bridge that connects diverse souls. As such, any definition of music that doesn’t contain or mention the concept of this connection is utterly incomplete.
With over 300 genres, to say that the concept of music is diverse would be a drastic understatement. As such, it will be a tasking job to cover the entirety of the concept at a go.
Our article focuses on one of the most controversial and diverse genres of music and twenty individuals who utilized their talent in this genre to rise to success and immortality.
Yes, you guessed it, this article is dedicated to the pinnacle of lyricism and twenty-five artists who constantly displayed unmatched talent in all facets of lyricism and flow. Without further hesitation, here are the top twenty greatest white rappers of all time.
Marshall Bruce Mathers III, professionally known by his stage name, “Eminem,” is an American record producer, rapper, songwriter, and actor. He is widely regarded as the greatest white rapper and one of the greatest artists of his time. In fact, Rolling Stone magazine ranked him at N0. 83 on the list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.
If you’d ever heard a thing or two about rap music, then you would know that Eminem is the lyrical king atop the hill. He is the best-selling artist of the 2000s in the United States. Undoubtedly, Eminem knows how to produce quality music and market his music as well. One of his highest-selling albums, “The Marshall Mathers LP,” sold over 1.7 million copies in only its first week. This feat made cemented it in history as the fastest-selling hip-hop album of all time.
Marshall Bruce Mathers III is the greatest white rapper of all time. With 15 Grammys to his name, he is more than deserving of first place on our prestigious list.
2. The Beastie Boys
Making it all the way to second place, we have the most sensational rap group of the ‘90s, the Beastie Boys! They are regarded as one of the few bands from the 1990s who are still widely known to date. Despite not performing as a group since the death of vocalist Adam Yauch in 2014, the Beastie Boys are still highly regarded as the greatest rap group of all time.
The Beastie Boys were originally developed as a punk rock band called “The Young Aborigines,” the band decided to switch to the hip hop scene before releasing their first album, “Licensed to III,” in 1986. The members of the band, Diamond, John Berry, Yauch, and Kate Schellenbach, burst into the hip-hop scene and broke new ground for over 25 years in the industry. Their debut album sold more records than any other artist during the 1980s.
Originally formed in 1981, the Beastie Boys took over the hip hop scene in the 90s and have cemented their place on this list and in humankind’s history books. They are the first rap group to reach the prestigious No. 1 spot on the Billboard 200. As such, they are more than deserving of a spot on our list.
3. Mac Miller
Smashing his way into third place, we have the multi-faceted lyrical genius himself: Mac Miller! Malcolm James McCormick, popularly known by his stage name “Mac Miller,” was an American rapper, singer, and one of the greatest artists of his generation.
Malcolm has always loved music, right from an early age. At the age of 15, he made his way into Pittsburgh’s dynamic music scene in the late 2000s. In 2010, he signed onto a Pittsburgh-based record label, “Rostrum Records.” Afterward, he recorded and released his debut studio album, “Blue Slide Park,” on November 8, 2011.
To date, his highest-charting project is his single, “Good News,” which was released in 2020, nearly two years after his death. Malcolm died on September 7, 2018, as a result of a drug overdose.
Michael Wayne Atha, professionally known by his stage name “Yelawolf,” is an American rapper, songwriter, and entrepreneur hailing from the beautiful city of Gadsden, Alabama.
Yelawolf is best known for his debut album “Creek Water,” which was released in the mid-2000s, 2005 to be precise. After his debut success, Yelawolf ramped up his game producing songs, mixtapes, and albums till he garnered mainstream attention. This came in 2010, with the release of his EP “Trunk Muzik.” Shortly after, he was picked up by Eminem’s record label. This marked his meteoric rise to fame with the release of popular albums like “Trunk Muzik Returns” (2013), “Love Story” (2015), “Trial by Fire” (2017), and “Trunk Muzik III” (2019).
He has received praise from notable sources such as The Guardian, who commented that “In contrast to the gilded cage of privilege inhabited by Jay-Z and Kanye West, Yelawolf depicts everyday rural poverty with the evocative precision of a master storyteller.”
Yelawolf is a lyrical expert as well as an amazing storyteller. For these reasons, he is more than deserving of fourth place on our list.
Rapping his way into fifth place on our list, we have the master of lyrical flow himself: Young Gerald! Gerald Earl Gillum, professionally known by his stage names, “G-Eazy,” or “Young Gerald,” is an American rapper, songwriter, producer, and philanthropist hailing from the beautiful city of Oakland.
He is most renowned for his debut studio album, “These Things Happen,” which peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard 200. He has also released other charting projects which made it to the Billboard’s top 10, such as “No Limit,” “When It’s Dark Out,” “Hate the Way,” and “Him and I.”
His most recent project titled “These Things Happen Too,” was released in 2021. Asides from his buzzing music career, Gerald has been involved in some other notable projects. He has starred in various movies and productions such as “Hustlers,” “Tunnel Vision,” and “The Peach Panther.”
To the public, Macklemore is regarded as one of the greatest white performers of all time. Benjamin Hammond Haggerty, popularly known by his stage name “Macklemore,” is an American singer, rapper, and songwriter hailing from Seattle, Washington.
He is best known for his projects with popular producer Ryan Lewis. These projects include his chart-topping 2013 release, “Thrift Shop,” which peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. Some of his notable projects include his 2012 chart-topper, “Can’t Hold Us,” “Gemini,” “The Heist,” and “This Unruly Mess I’ve Made.” Since the early 2000s, Macklemore has independently released a mixtape, four albums, and three EPs.
With two Grammy Awards and three MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs) to his name, Macklemore undoubtedly deserves a place on our prestigious list.
7. Machine Gun Kelly
Known for his lyrical flow and unparalleled speed, Machine Gun Kelly is the pinnacle of the rapid-fire hip-hop genre. Colson Baker, professionally known by his stage name, “Machine Gun Kelly,” or “MGK,” is an American rapper and songwriter from the illustrious city of Ohio. He is renowned for his unique lyrical flow and controversial projects.
He shot his way into the rap scene with the release of his first couple of mixtapes, “Homecoming,” “Stamp of Approval,” “100 Words and Running,” and “Lace Up.”
His first studio album debut, “Lace Up,” sold over 180,000 copies on release and peaked at number 4 on the Billboard 200. His follow-up album, “General’s Admission,” peaked at No. 4 on the US Charts.
Asides from his dynamic music career, Machine Gun Kelly has been involved in his fair share of movie productions as well as industry controversies. One of his most notable controversies was his rap beef with Eminem back in 2018.
The Ohio-born rap star has appeared in various movies and TV shows such as “The Dirt,” “Bird Box,” “Nerve,” and “Midnight in the Switchgrass.” With an illustrious career, you cannot deny that Colson Baker earned his spot on our list.
8. Lil Dicky
Professionally known by his stage name “Lil Dicky,” David Andrew Burd is a popular American rapper, comedian, and songwriter. He is renowned for his unorthodox approach to music, alongside his lyrical mastery and humor.
David’s first foray into the dynamic world of hip hop came with the release of his song “Ex-Boyfriend,” which went viral on YouTube with over a million views. He released his first studio album, “Professional Rapper,” in 2015. The album was a smashing success, but the best was yet to come.
In 2018, he released arguably the biggest song of his career, “Freaky Friday.” This smash-hit featured Chris Brown and gathered over 300 million streams on Spotify alone. Two years later, Lil Dicky released another banger, “The Earth,” which featured prominent Hollywood superstars and celebrities. The song was a smash hit as it gathered over 330 million views on YouTube.
9. Action Bronson
Born on December 2, 1983, Ariyan Arslani, popularly known by his stage name, “Action Bronson,” rose to fame for his high-octane, unique rapping style. He is a professional rapper, talk show host, and producer from the beautiful city of Queens, New York.
Action Bronson was signed by Warner Bros in 2012 and has only grown in fame and skill since then. He released his first project, “Saab Stories,” in 2013. The multi-talented rapper has worked on various projects such as the movies “Suicide Squad,” and “Game Over, Man!”
Asides from his rap career, he is the host of his variety show, “The Untitled Action Bronson Show.” With such a diverse career, Action Bronson cements his place on our list.
10. Aesop Rock
Smashing his way into tenth place, we have the versatile rapper and lyrical juggernaut, Aesop Rock!
Ian Matthias Bavitz, professionally known by his stage name, “Aesop Rock,” is an American rap artist and producer from the vibrant city. He is a member of the popular groups “Hail Mary Mallon,” “The Weathermen,” “The Uncluded,” and “Two of Every Animal.”
His debut album, “Float,” was released in 2000.
Twelve years later, his album “Impossible Kid,” peaked at No. 21 on the Billboard 200. In his lengthy career, Ian Matthias Bavitz has released nine albums and seventeen singles.
Leading the second half of this prestigious list, we have the master of storytelling himself: NF! Nathan John Feuerstein is an American rapper from Gladwin, Michigan, who goes by the stage name “NF,” which serves as the initials of his first and last name.
In my honest opinion, he is one of the most underrated rappers of his generation. Nathan Feuerstein is widely recognized for his outstanding lyrical flow and masterful lyricism. He raps majorly about relatable problems and challenges he has gone through. NF is the epitome of the concept, “connection through music.”
His most successful project was his song, “Let You Down,” which was certified triple platinum after selling over three million copies. He is a multi-faceted rapper who has charted both on the Christian hip-hop and mainstream hip-hop charts.
NF has released five studio albums, namely: “Moments,” “Mansion,” “Therapy Session,” “Perception,” and “The Search.” His most recent mixtape, “Clouds,” was released in 2021.
12. Mike Shinoda
Michael Kenji Shinoda, popularly known by his stage name, “Mike Shinoda,” is a successful American rapper, songwriter, and record producer.
Michael is from the glorious Panorama City, Los Angeles, California. He co-founded the popular band Linkin Park in 1996 and is the band’s vocalist, guitarist, and songwriter. Alongside his band members, Mike has achieved dazzling career highs and numerous achievements throughout his career.
Shinoda is a fantastic producer and has released amazing albums such as “Lupe Fiasco,” “Styles of Beyond,” and “The X-Ecutioners.” Undeniably, Michael Kenji Shinoda is a versatile and multi-talented producer and rapper who rightfully earns his place on our list.
13. House of Pain
House of Pain is one of the most popular hip-hop bands that rose to fame in the 90s. This American hip hop group dominated the rap scene in the 1990s before lead rapper “Everlast,” left the band to pursue his solo career.
The group’s name references the popular H.G Wells novel, “The Island of Dr. Moreau.” They revisited this reference by naming their 2011 tour “He Who Breaks the Law.”
14. R.A. The Rugged Man
R.A. Thornburn, professionally known by his stage name, “R.A. The Rugged Man,” is an American rapper and producer. He is renowned for his unique lyrical approach to hip hop, as well as his astounding cadence.
Thornburn has always loved the world of rap music. As such, he began his career at the tender age of twelve. He signed to his first major record label, “Jive Records,” when he was eighteen. His debut album, “Night of the Bloody Apes,” has not been released.
The masterful producer has worked with the likes of “Mobb Deep,” “Wu Tang Clan,” “Kool G Rap,” and “Notorious BIG.”
Smashing his way into fifteenth place, we have the ever-vibrant lyrical powerhouse: Rittz!
Jonathan Matthew McCollum, popularly known by his stage name “Rittz,” is an American rapper previously signed to Tech N9ne’s record label, “Strange Music.” His first project, titled “The Life and Times of Jonny Valiant,” was released in 2013.
While at “Strange Music,” Rittz released many songs, the most popular of which included “Next to Nothing,” “The Last Call,” and “Put a Crown On It.”
16. Brother Ali
Ali Douglas Newman, best known by his stage name, “Brother Ali,” is a successful American rapper and activist. He is one of the most prominent members of the Rhymesayers Entertainment group.
Ali is renowned for his unique rap style and lyrical flow. His music is heavily rooted in acceptance, spirituality, tolerance, and everyday vices.
Brother Ali has released six albums, four EPs, and various singles and collaborations in his lifetime.
His first major exposure to the dynamic rap industry came with his 2003 album, “Shadows on the Sun.” Brother Ali is a versatile rapper and dedicated activist who spreads his views through the gift of music. As such, he is worthy of a spot on our prestigious list.
Making his way into seventeenth place is the face of the “House of Pain” rap group: Everlast!
Erik Francis Schrody, professionally known by his stage name, “Everlast,” is a renowned American singer, rapper, and songwriter. To date, one of his most popular songs is his collaboration with Carlos Santana, “Put Your Lights On.”
In 2000, Erik won a Grammy for Best Rock Performance by a Duo for his collaboration with Latin Rock artist Carlos Santana.
In eighteenth place, we have Jaime Meline, popularly known as “El-P.” Jaime is an American record producer, rapper, and entrepreneur from Brooklyn, New York.
His first foray into the rap industry came with his debut single, “Juvenile Technique,” in 1994. He released this song with his friend turned business partner, Len.
He is most renowned for his role as a member of Company Flow. In addition, Jaime Meline is the owner and co-founder of a record label called “Definitive Jux.” The American is also a member of “The Weathermen,” and “Cardboard City.”
19. Kid Rock
We have Robert James Ritchie in nineteenth place, popularly known by his stage name, “Kid Rock.” Kid Rock is from the blissful city of Romeo, Michigan. He is a singer, rapper, songwriter, DJ, and record producer.
He is best known for his studio album “Devil Without a Cause,” which sold thirteen million copies worldwide. As a result, he was Soundscan’s bestselling male solo musician of the 2000s.
Kid Rock has received over five Grammy nominations, selling over twenty-five million albums in the US alone. In 2001, he won the American Music Award for Favorite Pop/Rock Male Artist. This was his first major mainstream award.
20. Post Malone
Closing off our prestigious list, we have one of the most sensational artists of the 21st century: Post Malone!
Austin Richard Post, professionally known by his stage name, “Post Malone,” is a successful American singer, songwriter, rapper, and record producer. He came into the limelight in 2015 with the release of his hit single, “White Inversion.”
Afterward, he signed with the renowned music label “Republic Records,” where he dominated the music scene. To date, his most popular record is “Congratulations,” which peaked at number 1 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and gathered over 1.3 billion views on YouTube.
This multi-faceted powerhouse of a rapper continuously shows us his drive and passion through his music. For that reason, he deserves his spot on our prestigious list.
Ultimately, it is irrefutable that music is a binding force that fosters connections between diverse people. It provides a medium for connection as well as self-expression.
These lyrical geniuses and outstanding performers are proof that you can utilize the gift of music to not only make a name for yourself but bring thousands of people together. They constantly inspire people to develop themselves, learn from their mistakes, and live their best lives all through the gift of music. That, in its entirety, is worthy of praise.
To this end, I leave you with the exquisite words of Henry Ward Beecher. “Music cleanses the understanding; inspires it and lifts it into a realm which it would not reach if it were left to itself.”