Let me just preface this cause I know how sensitive people can get about subjects like this. Judging how people have reacted to far less taboo topics that I’ve written about , I felt this might be necessary. Obviously, this is a joke and over the top. Sure, I do feel what I’m saying has some validity, but I’m also fully aware that this topic isn’t black and white (punny pun pun!!!). So, take this all with a grain of salt. And don’t get your panties in a bunch. Nothing worse than an salty white rapper.
Dear white rappers,
What’s up dudes?
How you been? I’m good. Same old same old. Anyway, seeing that I used to be one of you (I bet you didn’t know that, but it’s true) and I know a great deal of you personally, I figured it might be a good time to write you this letter. Now, by no means is this aimed at ALL White rappers. In fact, this isn’t even directed at most of you (Certainly none that I know in real life). As a failed rapper myself, I’m the last person that should be calling out anyone about rapping. But, on the same note, as a failed rapper, I feel it’s my duty to perhaps let my fellow terrible rappers know what’s really good. This is for a few particular brands of white rappers that seem to refuse to fade to black (no pun intended) , even in the face of the music industry ceasing to exist.
It’s been a while since being white in hip hop really has been an issue. The days of “that white boy raps?!?!?!” are long gone. Nowadays, it seems like every crew has a white dude in it, whether it be some low-fi basement rap group to people who roll with Gucci Mane. But back in the 90’s (outside of the beastie boys, 3rd bass , Co-flow and House of Pain) it was a rough time for you guys. Then, the indie rap explosion happened in the late 90’s and by 2004 , you guys were golden (not just in skin tone). I’d like to think many of the acts that helped make being white not a laughable offense in hip hop during those years actually did so with talent and a real love for the music. I was a blip in that scene but I can definitely say , regardless of race, the people I was around during that era were coming from a very genuine place. Just kids wanting to make good music. Seems idealistic and corny but , if there ever was a time for that, it was then.
But here’s where things went awry. Because the internet became the driving force of music and recording and putting your music out there became something anyone with basic equipment could do, the flood gates were opened. Now, this goes way beyond just white rappers and the effect this had on music spanned far and wide , certainly beyond any one race or one genre of music. But this explosion created the sub-genre of “Backpackers”. While this wasn’t a strictly white thing at all, the term “backpacker” certainly lent itself to the visual of a dorky white kid, with baggy jeans, a baseball hat and backpack. However, the reign of the Backpacker didn’t last forever and that eventually broke off into even more sub-genre’s. Which leads us to the present day debacle that is “white rappers”.
Some notable offsprings of the backpacker movement are:
1)The Thuggy Whig
Nothing leaves a worse taste in my mouth than some tough talking white dude rapping about shit he has no clue about while surrounding himself with as many black people as he can find (street cred!). Granted, I’m in no way saying there aren’t tough white dudes who happen to rap well (Necro and Action Bronson are a couple I like). Anyone who’s ever met a crew of Albanians can attest to the fact that whigz can be just as crazy and rugged as anyone. Hell, I know wealthy sons of jewish doctors who will fuck up anyone for no reason. Some people are just born thugged out. But the majority of the thuggy whig mc’s are simply cornballs caught in a deep and soul crushing identity crisis. The worst offshoot of these guys are the petite whig’s cause, at least , the really fat ones are mildly intimidating. You pipsqueek thugs really need a wedgie. Bear in mind , this sentiment is coming from someone who is neither tough nor hard. I’m pretty much a pussy. But, hey, at least I know it. Why do you think I make beats? (Btw, making beats is the white rap nerds refuge)
1A) Soft Thuggy Whigs
These are the guys who are content just rapping in a “street” accent without all the violence but heavy on the swagger, even though they’re usually from some shitty city or the suburbs of a shitty city. While they make no claims to be tough guys, they do draw their whole persona from those who do. It’s pretty embarrassing. While this type is pretty harmless ,I always like to imagine these guys at their thanksgiving family dinner asking their moms to pass the parsnips. I defy anyone to be thugged out asking someone to pass parsnips.
This is a variation of the Thuggy whig. While still equipped with all the wiggardry of their thuggy counterparts, this is a more introspective being. The problem with this type is they carry the worst traits of both whigs and emo rap dudes. They speak in embarrassing forced ebonics yet still find a way to be “spiritual” and “deep”. These guys would fight, but they’d rather just talk it out and relate it to planets , quasars and things of a “Lyrical/Mental” nature. These types will often also eventually drift into other sub genre’s of rap depending on what kind of asian girl they happen to be dating at the moment.
3)”Hip hop is my life” guy
Arguably the least tolerable of the white rap explosion is the die hard white hip hop guy. In his eyes, everyone is a sell out , break dancing is still relevant , people who don’t use vinyl should be put to death and the 4 elements are the driving force behind everything in life. You simply cannot have a real conversation with these guys. I met a 43 year old version of one of these dudes recently and he literally asked me 7 times if the place we were both in was “Hip hop”. It was a bar. I had no clue what the fuck he was babbling about but , rest assured, if he knew I performed on a laptop he’d probably strangle me for owning Serato.
And forget about the music they create. For one, they’re all way to old to still be rapping (and not have made any buzz yet). Secondly, the last thing the world needs is more rap songs about rap and how fucked up it is. Yeah, we get it bro…I was around in the late 80’s/early 90’s too..shit was awesome. how bout you fix it by not adding to the shit storm?
This name gets thrown around a lot but I want to clarify. If you can rock a crowd (a real crowd, not a group of your drunk friends), you’re not a nerd rapper. I think that’s the most basic separation between what is and isn’t nerd rap. Nerd rappers are true and living nerds who rap. They didn’t skate in high school. They didn’t play sports. They were very likely into theater or poetry. somehow, rap got in the mix and they took to it.
Honestly, I can’t stand most of these types but they’re the least of our worries. Fact of the matter is that most nerd rappers are not in it for the long haul and will be making electro banjo music and singing within a few years. It’s such a flash in the pan variation that I’m wasting my time even mentioning. See? as I just typed this, nerd rap is already obsolete.
So, all those bring us to the present time. A time where this exists:
Now, this guy isn’t famous. I honestly know nothing about this guy. I bet he’s a nice dude and means well. Unfortunately, he’s a shining example of wrong. I don’t even know what group he fits in (i’d say a crossbreed of #1 and #2). Whenever I come across rappers like this, the first thing that pops into my head is “How does this happen?”. To get from “never rapping” to “I made a non-camcorder video for my rap song” takes many, many steps. So, keep in mind, in order for this guy to get to the “I made a video” part, he must have done most, if not all of these steps:
1)Learned about the existence of hip hop.
2)Became enamored and wanted to be a part of this culture
3)Started writing raps for fun.
4)Learned to kick them (this , by the way, takes a LONG time for your average whig and the success rate is staggeringly low)
5)decided to take this hobby to the next level and actually record himself.
6)Recorded himself (very likely involving outside producers, engineers, all sorts of equipment. Meaning, he spent money on this process)
7)Made multiple songs.
8) Put his music out for the world to hear (Via any of the thriving sites available to unsigned artists)
9) Did shows? (it’s very possible he didn’t do any shows but performing live is a very important part to most budding mc’s)
10) Decided to make a video
11) Made a video (That’s a lot more $ unless he goes to film school or something)
12)Uploaded the video to Youtube.
Okay. All those steps. The process could take anywhere from 1 to 10 years. You never know. But the fact remains, this dude made a video for a song he created. And there’s the problem, white rappers.
How did anyone let this happen? How did it get this far? The same has been asked of hitler’s rise to power (Hyperbole, yo). I can’t imagine anyone truly likes this dudes music. I mean, I’m sure much of the blame can be put upon the american way and how we’re taught to follow our dreams ,regardless of actual talent or realistic chances of said dream coming true. But, aside from that, It all leads me to believe he did it cause he could. And there’s nothing wrong with that. My point, to all you white rappers who fit the bill, just stop. Save yourself the money and the time and just remove yourself from the equation. People need to except that it’s ok to just be a fan of things without having to throw your creative hat in the ring. This isn’t aimed at people casually recording music for their own enjoyment. This is to the guys who are actively trying to “make it” (Good luck , bro! The music industry is dead like WOAH!). Just remove yourself from the equation. Again, this issue isn’t strictly a “white rapper” problem. It’s a “worldwide everyone making music” problem. The reason I’m speaking to all my whigs out there is more selfish. Basically, you guys are making the rest of us look bad. There are tons of good white rappers out there right now. But the amount of shitty ones overshadows the good ones to the point where its damning to all of us. Keep in mind, shitty rap music is not just a white rapper problem. I don’t feel like I’m in any position to be doling out this kind of advice to just anyone making shitty music. But, white rappers, I am you. I understand. Also , know that there is nothing wrong with being wrong with being a white rapper. It’s just when you start rapping yourself into a corner and becoming one of those sub-genre’s, you really cease to be of any use to anyone (musically. You’re mom still love you no matter what). There are a million people doing the exact same thing and, chances are, a good 900, 000 are better than you (and even those people are still wasting away within their played out sub-genre).
So , do me/us a favor and just leave it alone. Trust me , it for the betterment of the art form. For yourself! For everyone!
Then again, you could just play like me and fake it till you make it. eh…forget it. Do you.
Blockhead The III Esquire