Before Jackie Robinson became the first African-American major league baseball player, he was essentially screened by members of the Black community to make sure he was them most suitable representative to set the precedent. White peoples had no such committee and did no such screening when Vanilla Ice became the first mega-successful rapper to represent his race in Rap. And because of his butchering of the art form known as Hip-Hop, white rappers (with white girl rappers currently enjoying a renaissance) endured years of ridicule for just trying to spit bars and be a part of a genre they enjoyed listening to.
Let's be honest, white rappers were treated unfairly after Vanilla Ice.
One by one, Caucasian MCs tried their luck at mainstream rap only to get promptly shown the door by militant rap hard @ss du jour. It was as if rappers were worried that rap would become the new Rock and an Elvis would come in and steal the art form away, leaving African-Americans on the outside looking in.
It wasn't until Eminem hit the scene in 1997 that it was even conceivable for a white rapper to really eat, let alone go platinum and rule the game [Editor's Note: No, we didn't forget about 3rd Bass and other fair skinned MCs, but they didn't sell millions of records.]. Still, it wasn't like the gates just blew open. Slowly, though the Paul Walls, Yelawolfs, Asher Roths and, yes, even Bubba Sparxxxes became household names. There was a careful acceptance, but these rappers were still held accountable for anything they did that was even mildly insensitive to race issues. Even Eminem's popularity took a slight blow after a tape of him using the N-word from before he was famous was released.
The real issue is the fact that we haven't seen rappers step up to the plate and challenge these newcomers for their comments.
Em, Yela, Paul and Bubba probably all have horror stories about the lengths that they had to go to in order to prove themselves to their melanin-rich peers. Fast forward to 2012 and it things have changed.
The 2012 XXL Freshman cover features Iggy Azalea—an Australian-born female rapper who's gained popularity through her viral videos and syrupy music that sounds more like a dirty south knockoff than anything else. But that's not the issue. Mediocre-to-worse rappers have been winning for years regardless of race. The issue with Iggy comes from these lyrics from her song “D.R.U.G.S.”:
“Tire marks tire marks, finish line with the fire marks when the relay starts I'm a run away slaves master.”
What's next? A white rapper kicking freestyles over “Ni**as In Paris” and dropping N-bombs like Drake drops chicks?
Slave master? Really? Anyone with even an iota of sensitivity should know that's bad form. And of course, there's V-Nasty who insists that it's okay for her to use the N-word whenever she feels like it. But really, it's difficult to get mad at these rappers; some white people just going to say racist Shyte from time to time. Isn't that right, every Republican presidential candidate?
The real issue is the fact that we haven't seen rappers step up to the plate and challenge these newcomers for their comments. Sure, Azalea Banks sent shots at Iggy Azalea for her “slavemaster” remarks but where are the gatekeepers? Who's going to let these people and world know that they're going to be held accountable for their BS? No one, apparently. In fact, T.I. is heavily cosigning Iggy while Gucci Mane just released an album with V-Nasty. Is Iggy and her Interscope backing so powerful that rappers are scared to step up and challenge her? What's next? A white rapper kicking freestyles over “Ni**as In Paris” and dropping N-bombs like Drake drops chicks that question his colored contact game? When that happens, who's going to respond?
If nobody's going to stand up and say anything we may as well just give it up now and let Mitt Romney touch the mic for a hot second.
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Photo: Iggy Azalea