Are you from a mostly white town? Have you noticed a pattern of men from predominantly white communities who love weed, and have a “way with words” and whiteness often flock to hip-hop as a hobby, and “way of life”?  It can’t be just my hometown. I know in my heart it’s a nationwide, maybe global issue. We need to come together and do everything we can to make white people quit rapping.

We have taken so much from black people. Let’s not steal money or social capital by mimicking their artform in 2020. 

And, perhaps more urgently, you look stupid as fuck. You’re from a 90% white town. Your voice is not needed in hip-hop. Try something else. Learn an instrument.

Of course, there are exceptions. And people who are already famous aren’t going to listen to me even if I wanted them to. But if I can convince one white person to never rap again, I will feel I have done my job.

Maybe someday I can live in a world where white people quit rapping altogether. I mean I live in a world where weed is essential and church service is not, why not shoot for the moon, right?

The Moment I Snapped

White rappers have been bothering me for years. It came to fruition recently. The inciting event occurred on Facebook, of course, because I am a full-blown masochist who regularly uses and works on that godforsaken website. 

A person I have known since childhood posted a picture of himself and a friend, both tall, lean, blonde-haired blue-eyed, straight, cis-gendered white men. They were on his dad’s sizeable boat with Native American decals on it. The white people loved it. 

Let’s give them the benefit of the doubt and say that the decals on that vessel were commissioned by a local tribal artist. It still just seems like a double whammy of cultural misappropriation. Sailing the Salish Seas on your white dad’s tribal-decal laden boat just living that luxurious hip-hop lifestyle. 

Some people, probably of many races, are going to see that and say ‘wow that’s pretty lame and kinda racist.’ So why do it? Why not pivot to another, adjacent but more culturally appropriate genre? Or do a 180 and start a New Grass band? Equally annoying and inexplicably popular.

Rap and hip-hop are rad and I love them. The music is mine to consume, I think, but not mine to try and profit from in any way. And I’m happy to be corrected about my right to consume it.

 But it took me fucking up more than most to find this out.

My Horrible History
Trigger Warning: Talking about my past culturally misappropriating behavior.

Maybe I’m so passionate about this subject because I used to want to be a “white rapper,” mostly in my first couple of years of college. I also matted my hair in an attempt at dreadlocks, although I wouldn’t call them that, ages 15-17. If I could take it all back I would.

Not going to get into details, but I will say that any recorded evidence of that is hopefully on some forgotten Myspace server no one knows about and will never assault someone’s eardrums and racial identity again. 

I’m sorry I did it, and know better now. And feel I have to come clean and try to educate the other whites.

Exceptions to the Rule

What about [insert popular white rapper here]???!!!! There are exceptions, of course. It’s not my place to list them here, however, I can lay down some ground rules. 

  • You Collaborate with Black People

If you grew up with black people, and you make music together, that’s different. Rapping with black people who invited you to is acceptable, in my opinion. If you rap with a group that is majority white, that is problematic and silly. 

EL-P has Killer Mike. Eminem had Dre. Locally, EvergreenOne has UglyFrank and Khris P. If Kyle and Jason only have each other’s mayonnaise-loving asses to rap with, that’s a problem.

If you grew up in the culture, I think it’s fair to participate up to a point. It’s not my call, obviously, but I generally go by that rule for what media I’m willing to consume.

  • You’re Especially Good at It

Haha, this one is a joke. You’re probably not that good anyway. Just stop. 

  • You Produce

It’s not that I think white should producers rap, they probably shouldn’t. But they can still produce hip-hop. Just make room for black producers, don’t take up all the space. And if you find yourself only producing for white rappers, halt production immediately. 

  • You’re Under 25

Who am I to tell kids these days what to do? Not that I think white kids should rap, of course, they probably shouldn’t. I was under 25 when I did it, and I certainly don’t give myself a pass because I don’t fit any of the other criteria. But I’m not going to try and pretend to know youth code. 

  • If you don’t meet any of those criteria, you should just stop. 
The Plan to Make White People Quit Rapping

So how do we make white people quit rapping? I don’t know. But I’m going to start by telling them that they look extremely fucking dumb most of the time. And I hope the shaming works. 

 

Image courtesy Volker Neumann (Flickr profile) / CC BY-SA