lilD: The opposite of Hip-HopWritten by lilD | | firstname.lastname@example.org
You’re standing, biting your nails, beads of sweat running down your face, anxiously waiting. You hear name after name, and as the list of suitable candidates dwindles, you realize that no one is looking in your direction. You’re simply an afterthought.
It sucks to be picked last for kickball.
This is a well-known feeling for Toledo Hip-Hop artists with a lack of melanin in their skin. But before we go any further, let’s take a deep breath. Now say it with me … white people. Now that the awkward silence has been replaced with uncomfortable gasping, we can move on.
This is not the 1960s. No longer are people praising others by saying things like “That colored sure can catch a football!” Michael Jordan is not known as the greatest black basketball player; he’s just the greatest basketball player.
So why is there such a thing as a “white rapper?” Is this some type of reverse discrimination from the predominately African-American Hip-Hop community? As long as African-Americans have had to fight for equality, I hope not.
Atomic doesn’t mind being called a “white rapper.” Noting that Hip-Hop started in black culture, he said, “any white rapper has grown up listening to, or is inspired by, a black artist.” But rapper Mike Flamez asserts that the moment people hear “white rapper,” they either think of Eminem, or a wannabe from the movie “Malibu’s Most Wanted.” Big J the White Wonder sums up the term best: “To hold someone back by a racial term is the exact opposite of Hip-Hop.”
There are Hip-Hop artists spread all across the city, but the majority of “white rappers” seem to be in another world, over a body of water, on the East Side. And while it may sometimes seem that many white artists are only supported by fans of the same race, rappers don’t necessarily see it that way.
Cody Hize, a rapper from Morenci, Mich., who claims to have only seen “one black family” in his city, said a lot of people were hesitant to accept him. They felt that a white person rapping is “acting black.” East Toledoan Low-E thinks it’s just a cultural misconception, pointing out that “in the beginning, there was Run DMC and the Beastie Boys,” and no one made a big deal out of it. However, fellow East Toledoan Atomic points out that in his experience, it seems that white people are “more willing to accept local artists [and] black people only support their friends.”
I’ve seen that happen too many times to deny it.
So how can a “white rapper” lose the label and gain the respect of his African-American counterparts? East Toledoan Bre.Weez feels that while it may be harder to be taken seriously, once people hear the music the label disappears. Ghifted said, “black people are his strongest supporters,” and Sixx Digit almost confirms that claim, admitting that even though he’s a white artist, when he sees a CD with a white artist on it, he’s apprehensive about listen to it. And while rapper Alaz feels “you might never get the respect you deserve,” Dasit, contestant on VH1’s White Rapper Show and protégé of MC Hammer, says that with the emergence of more white artists in the mainstream, “the public is seeing there are more than just a few [white] rappers who have talent.” Tempestt says regardless of race, it’s all about standing out from the crowd.
So what have we learned? While ignorance may still be present in a small percentage of people, the Hip-Hop community is willing to embrace talent, regardless of race. There just has to be more people, both artists and supporters, willing to move beyond stereotypes and judge Hip-Hop artists not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their lyrics.