DISCLAIMER: we’re going to get into some high-speed, low-drag conversation about rap albums here, so J.Miles, you may want to come back next week. frankly, i admit it’s poor business for me to alienate 50% of my readership here, but it is what it is. if i don’t occasionally do this, it becomes difficult to produce the 52 updates i manage to in a year.
periodically some new rap artist comes out and releases an album or a mixtape or whatever, and it’s a big deal because they’re white, and thus possessed of an evil nature and inability to rap, or so the internet would lead me to believe. and then, for years/months/days to come, we’ll debate their merits in a manner that always references this context, and overrate or underrate them accordingly. frankly, this is inefficient, so i think what i’ll do to save you, the internet, time is to simply tell you who the best 13 white rappers of all time are, and then we won’t have to worry about the debate. if they’re not on the list, they’re not on the list!
also, i’m going to try and add some feedback from some non-white guys i know who love rap music, because they tend to vary from the usual white guy analysis of “this other white guy that looks like me is the best ever at rapping.”
13 GREATEST WHITE RAPPERS OF ALL TIME
dishonorable mention: Snow (if only for “Informer” supposedly being a hit song); all the random white guy celebrities who decide at some point they’re rappers now and trick someone into releasing an album based on their whiteness (Kevin Federline, Brian Austin Green, and so on).
he’s got the internet goin’ nuts
13. Paul Wall (also of the Color Changin’ Click, Expensive Taste)
Paul Wall is, shall we say, not the most talented guy on this list; we could make any number of jokes about non-lyrical southern rappers (and man, do i love to do that), but the fact of the matter is that he’s not America’s finest lyricist. but he knows how to work his strong suits: his likability, his region’s desire to keep their local stars successful and well-fed, and not constantly referencing his skin color as a selling point. the latter’s refreshing, and ultimately i can’t hate on the guy.
best album/mixtape: well, i suppose it has to be the album The People’s Champ, which was the most successful and features some catchy tunes.
random non-white guy opinion: “what’s Paul Wall posted up on the block like in this song? he’s always posted up on the block like SOMETHING.”
12. Everlast (also of House Of Pain, La Coka Nostra)
Everlast has to show up as a representative of the Everlast/Kid Rock school of thought wherein a guy raps for a while and then just becomes a rock guy; i grant that Everlast always kind of rapped (but then again, Kid Rock did the same even after he stopped being a rapper) and that he still does with La Coka Nostra… but still, you know how you remember him. he’s the guy that made “Jump Around” way back in the day and then started playing the acoustic guitar or some shit like that.
best album/mixtape: well, “Jump Around” was on House Of Pain’s eponymous album, so i guess it’s that one.
random non-white guy opinion: “white people really do love “Jump Around,” i guess that song’s alright.”
11. Bubba Sparxxx
you may remember Bubba from that time when it seemed like since Dr. Dre had his token white protege, Timbaland was going to have to get one himself… and he got Bubba Sparxxx. (i’m not saying this isn’t a bit of revisionist history, but it’s the way many dudes i know recall it) anyway, Sparxxx was alright and that video for “Ugly” is about the most ridiculous celebration of white trash ever filmed, so he’s got to get a bit of a mention here, and, after all, he didn’t choose to rhyme, rhyming chose him. given his post-success output, i also have to acknowledge he’s a more serious devotee of his music than he probably gets credit for.
best album/mixtape: well, Dark Days, Bright Nights was the album with the hits that did well and it’s probably the best, but critics often want to argue that Deliverance (which just missed going gold like DDBN) is a much better album; they’re probably tied.
random non-white guy opinion: “Bubba Sparxxx! i liked that guy! wait, he still makes records?”
10. Hush (also of Da Ruckus)
so i sort of didn’t include Hispanic rappers (who are essentially white) on this list because they don’t get SEEN as white rappers, and i wanted to focus the list on the perception rather than have a semantic battle about Hispanics (who are essentially white). that said, i’m including Hush (who’s of Lebanese/Italian descent and thus occasionally is called non-white), because he’s white AND from Detroit and i guarantee that’s why he briefly had a record deal. it’s a shame because he’s a quality rapper, but no one knows who the guy is.
best album/mixtape: it would probably have to be his sole major label, Bulletproof, which is a solid record and you should check it out.
random non-white guy opinion: “who the fuck are we talking about? that comic book Batman villain shit?”
that Necro needs drugs will never be in debate
09. Brother Ali
long story short: Brother Ali is an albino white guy who was rumored to be an albino black guy (because he raps, you see) but who is actually an albino white guy who just relates to black guys more because white people were mean as hell to him as a child. regardless, the guy can rap (that song with Jake One, “The Truth,” remains undisputedly awesome) and he’s confirmed to be white, so, guess who’s now appearing on this list?
best album/mixtape: white dudes probably most remember him from appearing on the Madden 2008 soundtrack with “Whatcha Got,” but actually, that works out because the song rules and the album it’s featured on, The Undisputed Truth, is his best.
random non-white guy opinion: “so he’s NOT a black guy? huh.”
08. JoJo Pellegrino
this may be the highest-ranked guy on the list it’s possible no one reading this will ever have heard of; there’s some other semi-obscure entries below, but i’m guessing JoJo wins that prize. he’s a salty Italian guy from Staten Island who kind of sort of seems like a cliche (if black guys can reference mob movies, it’s even more logical for Italian guys, right?)… but who can actually rap. he’s Wu-affiliated as well, but it still hasn’t done much for him at this point. seriously, though, listen to “Mambo Italiano” and tell me you don’t like it.
best album/mixtape: well, JoJo never had his album released (Violator and Loud slept on this guy), so let’s go with his Hitman For Hire mixtape.
random non-white guy opinion: “JoJo Pellegrino? i fucking love that guy! it’s fucking ridiculous they never put his album out!” (note: i think i know the only guy –white, black or otherwise– who is an actual JoJo Pellegrino fan)
07. Non Phixion/Necro (also of La Coka Nostra)
this entry is meant to encompass everyone that fits under the above headings, because they’re so interconnected: Non Phixion’s Ill Bill is Necro’s brother, and they both spit the same kind of ridiculously over-the-top death rap; this can also serve as a placeholder for Slaine (who you may remember from such films as Gone Baby Gone) and who might actually be the same exact guy as Ill Bill and Necro. i think they’re ALL the same guy, actually; attempts to prove otherwise have been unsuccessful so far. anyway, they’re like the extreme end of all that horrorcore shit, so enjoy!
best album/mixtape: Non Phixion’s The Future Is Now is probably the best; it has some songs (“Rock Stars,” “The C.I.A. Is Trying To Kill Me”) that are clearly awesome. Necro’s solo shit is not really my cup of tea, although i will forever give him credit for producing “Gihad” on OB4CL2.
random non-white guy opinion: “seriously, i cannot listen to this shit in my car driving around. it’s ridiculous.”
06. Shawn Wigz (also of Theodore Unit)
Shawn Wigz fills several functions on this list: he’s Ghostface’s protege (hence his placement in Theodore Unit), he’s Wu-affiliated (JoJo is too, but Shawn Wigz seems to have more defined credentials in that regard), and he’s got the most ridiculous name of all time. also, he’s filling the spot for every random white dude a black rap crew/label picks up as a status symbol (like, say, Lil’ Whyte). Remedy would also be located here based on his Wu-affiliation, but Shawn Wigz beats him… and come on, he’s co-signed by Ghostface! okay, maybe i ranked him too high.
best album/mixtape: i suppose it has to be the Theodore Unit album 718, because i highly doubt anyone’s giving Shawn Wigz the opportunity to front an album all by himself.
random non-white guy opinion: “what the fuck is a Shawn Wigz?”
if i was an evil genius with minions, this is what they would dress like
05. Beastie Boys
they’re also at the point where they’re not really seen as a rap group (some guys are going to claim they NEVER were, but that’s just being difficult), but that’s a bit unfair; the Beasties have always been rapping with various degrees of success, Licensed To Ill is legitimately a landmark in the history of rap albums (despite it not being very good, but that’s neither here nor there), and album’s like Paul’s Boutique are much-adored from a production standpoint. plus, there’s that over-the-top Sabotage video and their appearance on Futurama to think of! none of this will stop me from saying “fuck Mike D” to reference an ancient inside joke, however.
best album/mixtape: the Beastie Boys have always had some good songs on every release, but i have to admit i’m partial to Ill Communication, which is just a cool-sounding album. when an album opens with a dog barking “i love you,” what’s not to like?
random non-white guy opinion: “why does ever frat boy think Licensed To Ill is cool? that shit was terrible!”
04. Vinnie Paz (also of Jedi Mind Tricks, Army Of The Pharoahs)
so if you ever heard of the group Jedi Mind Tricks, you know it features this hilariously furious Muslim convert Italian who basically raps about killing people, killing people and killing additional people. but like some on this list (say, Paul Wall), he knows what he does well (angry rap), he sticks to that successfully and he makes eclectic friends (see also: the guest appearances on his solo work). and i’ll admit it: i love angry rap, always have, always will. so he’s got to place well.
best album/mixtape: well, he’s only got one solo album, Season Of The Assassin, and it’s crazy but crazy good, so let’s go with that one.
random non-white guy opinion: “this guy is so angry. this is the angriest album of all time”
so Yelawolf is this country-fried white kid from Alabama; at first i wrote him off as a bit of a gimmick (this is how i handled that whole Asher Roth nonsense), but on closer inspection, the kid’s got a random but cool flow and can rap, and hopefully by being signed to Interscope he won’t end up being another label’s “answer to Eminem” or some shit like that. and like other Southerners before him, he’s got a nice regional sound and can probably continue to make local dollars once the machine is down with him. wow, that came out sort of depressing.
best album/mixtape: the Trunk Muzik mixtape, which a colleague of mine is a huge supporter of “Box Chevy Pt. 3” from; it’s not my favorite track, but it’s the best of his mixtapes.
random non-white guy opinion: “at first, when i listened to this, i was thinking “this is some bullshit,” but then i realized this white kid can, like, really rap!”
Eminem is, of course, the lyrically-gifted white guy who’s probably the only white guy in contention for “greatest of all time”; given this fact, his race is probably more divisive than anyone else on the list (white guys defend poor-quality Eminem work because of it, black guys that are jealous of him being better than their favorite rapper downgrade him because of it) and has always been a big part of the conversation about him… which is a shame, because he’s just a straight-up excellent rapper, and at his best, there’s probably no one that can touch him. he’s just prone to taking it easy and using lame accents, that’s all.
best album/mixtape: people always claim one of his first two major label releases as his best work (sometimes saying “Eminem hasn’t made a good album since MMLP), so i like to be difficult and claim The Eminem Show has his best.
random non-white guy opinion: “yeah, okay, Eminem is top 5 of all time.”
not pictured: him ripping your cunt out with spoons
01. R.A. The Rugged Man
and this is why i said “probably” above, because R.A. is possibly the illest MC ever; no less than the Notorious B.I.G. alluded to this fact. of course, he’s had the misfortune to suffer ridiculous label politics (fuck those crackers at Jive), personal problems (R.A.’s fucking insane as hell) and seems to have gotten pegged as just another underground white guy. but the guy’s lyrical as hell, has a foul sense of humor (see also: “Cunt Renaissance” featuring the Notorious B.I.G.) and can claim to have spit the greatest verse of all time: his appearance on the Jedi Mind Tricks track “Uncommon Valor.” seriously, listen to that and NOT say “well, damn.” i rest my case.
best album/mixtape: well, Die, Rugged Man, Die is probably his best ALBUM, but his best-of collection Legendary Classics Vol.1 is wonderful and probably even better … and features the aforementioned “Uncommon Valor” track.
random non-white guy opinion: “R.A. The Rugged Man? who the fuck…” (i explain his appearance in the “Old Man” video, which is my usual “this is what R.A. looks like” go-to) “oh, THAT fucking guy! he raps?”
so that’s the list. anyone else not on it sucks. that’s all there is to it!
going with the rap theme, i should entitle this section “pump it up” or “riot starter”
as always, it’s that time of the year (and by that, i mean a time of the year that happens often) when i pick up a new friend:
it’s not, you know, a REAL Winchester 1897, because i’m not one of the richest five kings of Europe, but instead, a mere Norinco copy of the riot gun model of that gun (like the kind that Josh Brolin chopped up delightfully in No Country For Old Men), albeit a fine-looking one that should still have the slam-fire feature … a feature i hope to test out on a whole pile of L. Ron Hubbard books.