Wednesday, July 25, 2012

White Privilege in Hip-Hop



Whether we care to admit it there are times we are racists in our everyday life. I'm not saying you openly say "I hate white people" but there are little things we do in life that make us racist. Look inside a school cafeteria , the quarterbacks in the NFL, who you are and who you associate yourself with. Sadly, hip-hop is much like this. I asked my parents if they knew Jay-Z, they said no. Biggie, no. Eminem, yes. Eminem is arguably the greatest hip-hop artist in the game but why is that? His record sales, concerts, merchandise, and everything is off the chart. Eminem is a great artist, he is the one that opened my eyes to hip-hop when I was in the fifth grade, but the answer to why he does so well is simple, he's white.

If a parent was deciding to let their child buy an Eminem album or Lil Wayne album and they looked at the two and saw Eminem with that crazy blond hair and Lil Wayne with no shirt, long dreads and tattoos covering his body they would pick Eminem. This is the sad state of the hip-hop community. What I do when I listen to music submissions is not listen to anything they say in the email and close my eyes and listen to the song so I'm only entitled to what my ears hear which is how everyone should listen to music when they first hear it.

Don't look at an artist and say "he wants to be the next Bieber, Eminem," I look at every artist as if they're the first of themselves not trying to be someone else. I remember way back when I was first introduced to Tyler, The Creator; I didn't like him because his style was just weird. Something I hadn't heard before, but right now that's the exact same reason he is one of my favorites. He is true to his style he's not trying to be someone he's not.

When you go to a hip-hop concert what do you see? White kids. Whether you're at a Wiz Khalifa, Mac Miller, Eminen, Jay-Z, Macklemore, B.o.B. whatever it is there are always white kids jamming out in the front row. I went to a concert at Duke University last spring and it was 3LAU, Basshunter, and Macklemore opening for B.o.B. There were white people, Latinos, Asians, and I didn't see any black people until the last act came out, B.o.B.

The true hip-hop fans are those that can listen to Macklemore, A$AP Rocky, Kendrick Lamar, Hoodie Allen, and everyone while loving and respecting all of them. True hip-hop fans aren't those that say "my favorite rappers are Huey Mack, Mike Stud, Hoodie Allen, IanJ, Sammy Adams" all love and respect to every artist out there but honestly spice it up a bit and what I mean by that is don't go listen to more white artists. Spice it up, my "Awesome" playlist is the most diverse thing you will find. It consists of Foster The People, Yonas, A$AP Rocky, Kendrick Lamar, Hoodie, Huey, Mike Stud, Macklemore, 2Atypical, Odd Future, Rihanna, Matisyahu and many more diverse artists.

The truth is white rappers' albums get more plays than black artists in general. The song at the top is a song that Macklemore wrote in 2005 that hits this epidemic spot on. People label Eminem as the greatest hip-hop artist ever because of his sales and how he changed the game; I do believe that Eminem did change the game but this isn't what he wanted. He didn't want his records and other white rappers to get more respect than those artists that have done more for this game. The artists that have changed the game, in my mind, are Jay-Z (the godfather of hip-hop), Dr. Dre, Eminem, Kanye, 50 Cent and they are still changing the game.

So, if you listen to more than one genre or one race of artists I salute you. Many of us do not even realize we do this. It can be so subtle as to just who you hang out with or text to a bigger stage in music and the NFL QBs. This is a huge opinionated article on something that is one of my biggest pet peeves, racisim. Dare to be different and diverse.

Hip-hop is the culture, rap is the music.

12 comments:

  1. That was an amazing article Nora, well written and you bring up good points. Musics all about being yourself in my opinion. Some artists try hard to be the next drake or who ever, but why not be the first of themselves. Keep up the good work!

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  2. Yo Nora this is the truth talent should not be based off color it should be what it is talent. With that being said being african american I see this first hand everyday when trying to get people to listen to new unheard good music. Folks are always wondering when they dont see a picture and havent gerd of them are they white black or what. It should not be that way it should be based off how you feel from what you listen to. Music should be able to be made by anyone who has a passion for it.

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  3. What you've done here is take a message and blow it way out of proportion, and then did an awful job trying to justify it. What were you thinking with that QB example?!

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  4. "The true hip-hop fans are those that can listen to Macklemore, A$AP Rocky, Kendrick Lamar, Hoodie Allen, and everyone while loving and respecting all of them." please stop preaching about the artists your website obviously supports. get over them, they aren't that good. really.

    "The song at the top is a song that Macklemore wrote in 2005 that hits this epidemic spot on. " what? please tell us the song.

    furthermore, please read the history of hip hop. raekwon, wu tang, among others really fathered the hip hop culture and rap music. your college hip hop friends have no clue what hip hop is about.

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    1. The Macklemore song is the one that's streaming above...
      Secondly yes those guys fathered hip-hop but Jay-Z, Eminem, Kanye etc. have had more of an impact on the music you heard today is the point I was saying

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  5. Regardless of race, a lot of the artists you listed make the same type of music. Yonas, Hoodie Allen, Mike Stud, Huey Mack, IanJ, Sam Adams. It's all the same shit. Obvious samples and rapping about parties. That's what this and most of these "college" blogs do. But don't support artists who actually have substance until they blow up. For example, I heard about that dude Gabriel Stark from you guys a while back and at first I thought he sucked. Made the same type of music. But then he started making some thought provoking stuff like that Dallas song about JFK and since then, I've rarely heard anything else about him. But yet any time Logic drops a song, it's all over my newsfeed. So if we're talking about race, that's a prime example right there. Logic writes something conscious and the internet goes crazy. Stark or Sonny Shotz or Moosh and Twist write something deep and it doesn't get posted.

    My point is, if you want to be a conduit of change, start posting more conscious music. I think a majority of us readers are tired of seeing "new artists" who are just making cookie-cutter music. Just like everybody who used to do "mash-ups" is a "dj" now. Sampled college rap is a fad.

    Be different. Support difference.

    By all means, I'm not bashing your site. I support what you do. But I'm tired of seeing the same artists on the same sites making the same music, yet bloggers praise ASAP and Kendrick but wouldn't give them the time of day a year or two ago until the world told them to start listening.

    Love,
    Immortal LetSpeak

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    1. We post OCD, Sonny Shotz (The Dean's List) and Starky. I personally have a good connection with all of those guys. OCD is the reason this blog was started a year ago. We try to differ and find new artists for all of you to enjoy.

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  6. This is incredibly ill-informed. The comment above about "What you've done here is take a message and blow it way out of proportion, and then did an awful job trying to justify it." is exactly correct.

    You said, "True hip-hop fans aren't those that say "my favorite rappers are Huey Mack, Mike Stud, Hoodie Allen, IanJ, Sammy Adams" all love and respect to every artist out there but honestly spice it up a bit and what I mean by that is don't go listen to more white artists." What your saying is that you have to try and listen to black and white people. Why not just listen to what you like? If you like Sam Adam's sound then you're probably listening to white rappers. Not because your racist but because THAT'S who makes that niche sound.

    You shouldn't have to work to listen evenly to all races. You shoudl listen to music you like. This article was a dismal failure, everyone I've showed it to agrees it's not only incorrect but the message (however incorrect it is) is jumbled and confusing.

    Please take this down, it's embarrassing for you and the hip-hop you claim to be such an eclectic and knowledgeable fan of.

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  7. This article is way beyond incredibly ill-informed. I cringed reading this whole thing. The first thing is, I believe most parents would buy a Lil Wayne album for their kids over an Eminem album, as Eminem is known for being incredibly vulgar (circa early 2000's) and lil wayne is merely a pop artist. You're also basing the demographics issue on a pop concert. Whether you want to admit it or not, Wiz, b.o.b. and the likes of them are pop artists. You really can't base a demographics study off of that. That's not really a hip-hop show.

    Also, the artist's you mentioned that have changed hip-hop i.e. Kanye, Jay-z, 50, are pretty much pop artists as well. I would say they did more to change the state of pop music and mainstreaming it rather than changing hip-hop. If you want to talk about artist's that changed hip-hop look for the roots, rhymesayers, heiroglyphics, talib kweli, jurassic 5 etc.

    And to say that white rappers sell more records is way off base. Tell me that Brother ali, atmoshphere, asher roth, etc. have sold more albums than lil wayne, jay-z, outkast, the roots, wu-tang, biggie, pac, . c'mon get out of here.

    "Spice it up, my "Awesome" playlist is the most diverse thing you will find. It consists of Foster The People, Yonas, A$AP Rocky, Kendrick Lamar, Hoodie, Huey, Mike Stud, Macklemore, 2Atypical, Odd Future, Rihanna, Matisyahu and many more diverse artists." These artists are pretty much all very similar. Nothing really diverse about it to me.

    This article is definitely embarrassing, and really makes your site look very uninformed when it comes to hip-hop. I know you specialize in the college/hip-pop genres but this really makes you look very uninformed and close-minded when it comes to hip-hop.

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  8. I love this site and usually agree with what is said on this site, but im having a hard time connect to this article fully. I understand where you are coming from with this article because at my school I always see kids trying to find the next big "white rapper" and when Mac got real big everyone was all over his music claiming "I listen to Mac before everyone" when in reality they have listened to him for about 3 months, but I think you have blown this a bit out of proportion.

    Also I don't understand the NFL QB thing. Teams don't choose their QBs by race. They choose who is going to win them games not because they are white. Its not like there is a black QB sitting behind a white QB because hes black, its because he is not as talented. Thats like saying there is a black WR or RB privilege. The dont start over the white RBs or WRs because they are black, they start cause they are better.

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  9. This article make you look very sheltered when it comes to rap and even music in general.

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  10. That was so ignorant. Talking about white privelage in Hip Hop lol come on. Typical though "Those crack as keeping us down" all white rappers are the same? What about all those half ass black rappers who make a dance song and repeat the same words? Seems like I see a new one of those once a week. And I'm pretty sure NFL teams happen to pick based on who's the best not on color. So big deal there's more white Quarterbacks than blacks, you don't see white people bitching about not having enough rubbings backs. Take your "White man bringing me down" and accept responsibility for your own problems

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