I think we’ve gotten past the point where simply being a white rapper is looked down upon. Unless you’re Lord Jamar, most people have just accepted that , at this point, hip hop is music for everyone. Hell, little kids make it. Still, while wealthy kids from suburbs and urban socialites proceed in making music, completely not understanding why people might question their authenticity, there’s a bigger problem. The children of famous people. Rapping.
I’m not talking those kids who were groomed to be actors like Will smiths terrible children. They’re just following after their dads. I’m also not talking about the children of rappers who, even though they have enjoyed the spoils of being the spawn of a rich and famous musician, they still rap as if they grew up in the trap just like their dad. I get those people existing. I don’t wanna hear it, but I get it. I’m speaking of the children of actors or millionaire moguls.
The one that comes to mind immediately is Tom Hanks song, Chet Haze.
This fucking guy.
I like to imagine a thanksgiving dinner at the Hanks household. Tom and his wife are there. His successful actor son Colin is there. And Chet is there…slowly sucking the life out of everyone in the room as he regales them with amplified stories of the “moves he’s making”. Sure, his dad is a millionaire thousands of time over but Chet is probably acting like all his hard work and focus on rap singing in auto-tune is the real reason he’s been able to get music made. Not cause his dad was Forest Gump.
I also like to imagine Tom and his wife , alone in their bedroom later that night, silently weeping in each others arms asking the other where they went wrong with Chet. My guess? naming him Chet but, hey, I could be wrong.
Recently, this jewel got dropped by none other than Daniel Day Lewis’ son, Gabe Day.
(Editors note: Apparently he made the video private…which sucks. So just imagine a mac miller kinda dude rolling joints endlessly and rapping with his college buddies on the sarah lawrence campus cause that’s what this is)
Now, apparently, this is a kid from NY. I honestly thought Daniel Day Lewis was british or some shit but, honestly, who fucking knows with that guy. Regardless, Gabe is the son of possibly the most revered actor on earth. A man who can afford to make one movie ever 5 years and spend months in far away locations , whittling wood in preparation for what ever role he’s working on (I’d assume it was the role of a wood whittler). The thing about Gabe is that, just looking at him, I know him. I went to High school with 50 kids just like him. He’s a cornball. His friends are cornballs. Hell, even those wildly mediocre girls in his video are cornballs. But, at the same time, he’s also fairly harmless. Still, doesn’t stop me from wishing whoever played him hip hop when he was 9 years old had chosen bluegrass music instead.
Again, i like to imagine a family dinner where Daniel and gabe are sitting together. Daniel is brooding (I can’t imagine him any other way) and gabe is telling him about the new video he made where he raps about smoking weed and being his dads son. Cue more brooding…but with purpose.
Now, these two aren’t the first extremely well to do people from high profile families to decide rapping is their calling. No, before Gabe and Chet, there was Chilly Tee. Son of the Nike Owner Phil Knight.
He released an album in 1993 called “get off mine” that included production by the highly respected Bomb Squad member Hank Shocklee. I dunno if Hank Shocklee got paid in money or sneakers but it wasn’t the first time the Bomb Squad put their heads down and took a check from shitty white rappers (Young Black Teenagers, yall…never forget.)
Chilly Tee was exactly what you’d expect from a white rapper in 93 (Post Vanilla Ice rap was no easy time for most white rappers). He tried hard. Had good beats but, in the end, he just kinda sucked. But what he had in common with the other two dudes mentioned in this article is that he had the money to make it happen. That’s the thing. With wealth comes freedom to be an artist. All three of these dudes probably had very high expectations put on their shoulders from a young age. I’d imagine being the child of a famous/super wealthy person is not easy , in that sense. So, in a way, they were all rebelling. And what’s more rebellious that rapping? Well, probably being an actual violent criminal but, come on…these guys aren’t that dumb. Rapping is the perfect amount of rebellion. Weed and pussy. It’s ultimately safe but just dangerous enough to have Daniel day lewis quietly questioning his parenting techniques.
Now, I’m not here to say these guys shouldn’t rap. I don’t make those rules and they’re entitled to do as they please. Hell, there are people who could apply this very logic to me and most other white dudes who have made hip hop music over the last 20 years. But, in the end, talent is talent…and these dudes don’t have it. What they do is have the finances to ride it out as long as possible just in case. 5 years from now, Gabe Day (I suppose he dropped the “lewis” to keep shit extra real) might have released 2 albums and 4 mixtapes, done shows all over the country and made a plethora of uninspired videos of him rapping while rolling pinners. His situation and fan base right now could be the very same as it will be then. But, whatever it is, he’ll be okay. Once he gets over rapping, he’ll move onto the next thing he feels like doing cause…he can. Look at Chilly Tee AKA Travis Knight. He made one album that no one liked and faded away from music. Now he’s an animator and film executive. I have no idea if he’s successful in either of those ventures (it’s totally possible) but what I do know, for sure, is that he’s doing fine. He never wasn’t gonna be fine. While it must be nice to be able to do whatever you like in life , knowing there will never truly be dire consequences , I think I just wish that that kind of freedom could be given to people with actual talent and vision. Not some little dickface who’s only here cause he can be.