Race and Hip Hop (Online discussion)

Why has there been only one Eminem?  In other words, why have there not been more white MCs within mainstream rap?  How does this compare with the absence of Native American, Latino or Asian artists?  What about women?  Or GLBTQ hip-hop artists of color?  How does the visibility of black male rappers highlight the nature of racial privilege and inequality?


Remember two hundred words
Discussion ends October 12, 2012


12 thoughts on “Race and Hip Hop (Online discussion)

  1. I would like to make the argument that the only other white male artist to make it onto the Hip Hop scene would be Mac Miller. But, even then Mac Miller still has not earned height like Eminem has. Looking at the white emcees of today, I do not believe any of them have what it takes to be “the next Eminem,” as far as talent goes. But Eminem’s lyrical ability is not the only thing that helped him be where he is today. In my opinion, a lot of Eminem’s rank in Hip Hop also has to do with the idea of, “its not what you know, it’s who you know.” Dr. Dre advocated for the white rapper and because of Dr. Dre’s role in Hip Hop, Eminem made to where he stands today as the first breakthrough white rapper on the mainstream level. Parallel to Dr. Dre., I think it is fair to say, if Jay-Z where to reveal a Latino, Native American, or Filipino artist today under Roc Nation, that artist would blow up quickly and make it onto the mainstream level. But that would not happen unless he has the talent and ability to progress in Hip Hop, because Jay-Z does not just sign anybody under his label. To sum it up, in this type of industry, sometimes it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.

    • I think that is not about who you know, it all depends on your potential and what can you do with it. for example Lil Wayne, Wayne didn’t need anyone else to lead him to the top. yes he started out with Bird and as time pass by he knew what he capable of and he perfected his game and move on to his own world. Maybe there is another white rapper out there that is close or better than Eminem. Again i think that is not about who you know, is about what can you do. More African American are rising to the top because of their talent and the ability they have to succeed, and it could happen to anyone sometime it depends on where you from and your surroundings. If your white and you grow up in a black neighborhoods your behaviors wont be similar to other whites, your going to be treated like an black individual and you could say the same thing black people say without offending anybody.

  2. I would like to start off by saying that there are a lot of good points in this argument that it is not always what you know but who you know can make the difference in which a person is successful or not. The example of Eminem and Dr.Dre was a great one too, a lot of people gave Eminem his first chance outside of Detroit for the simple fact that “The Doctor” was in his corner but, to say that is the reason his has received so much success would be a lie. Another point that was brought up was if Jay-z decides to do the same thing he would have the same impact on a rapper who does not fit the stereotype (black) career. Yet Jay-z did attempt to capitalize on the Latino rap scene in 2005 signing Nore “Noreaga” to his Roc la familial label was not able to per mote Nore or Tru life and both would eventually leave the label. In my opinion I feel like if you are not a black rapper you need to be validated by someone else to be popular and that can be said about a lot of rappers. If you have someone to back you up your popularity shoots through the roof this is not a guarantee but it makes a world of difference.

  3. I may be playing Devil’s Advocate, but using the Dr. Dre and Eminem analogy, Dr. Dre was already huge when he took Eminem under his wing, most knew who he was and was familiar with this music. In one aspect, yes, it is who you know. But looking at the story behind Eminem, he had a struggle, and everyone can relate to a struggle. As Emery mentioned in class, there’s a difference in understanding someone and “feeling” someone. We understand white artists like Mac Miller, and Yelawolf, but do we feel them? Mac Miller and Yelawolf knows numerous of famous people, they even collabo with them, but they’re still on the brink of making it mainstream. Hip-hop was built on a struggle, and hip-hop respects the struggle. Eminem had credibility because we understood his struggle, he was rapping about real-life. Then we take artists like Pitbull, he is by far the most famous, well-known, mainstream Latino rapper. He was not the protege of a well-known black artist, but Pitbull did have a struggle. Other artists, not ofHe had a story that people could feel and relate to. The credibility of an artist is also built from the struggle/the history of an artist. Let’s take P. Diddy and his groups. P. Diddy is so famous it will make your head spin, but his groups like Day 26 and Danity Kane have fell apart. Lil Wayne helped Drake kickstart his career but he also founded Lil’ Twist, Gutta Gutta, but no one hears about them. It’s about who the rapper is and whether we can relate or feel them that puts them on the scene.

    • I agree that a big part of Eminem’s success had to do with him having Dr. Dre as a mentor. Also, I agree that people can relate to Eminem having a struggle. However, I feel like and equally important part of his success is just how intense his struggle was. Eminem has the amazing ability to turn his songs into stories; stories that one can’t help but want to listen to. Eminem had a style that had never been heard before, and that made people want to hear a new thing. I believe that all of these things together made up the complicated success story that is Eminem’s career.

  4. In the culture of hip-hop, there have been very few popular artist that are not african american. I feel that the reason this is present is because of the roots of hip hop and how it all began. Hip hop started in the projects consisting of predominantly black families who had to rise above their poverty to make it in the rap game. These black artists were huge influences on other black people around the nation and they took hip hop in as their music and culture. Hip hop was started by blacks and the tradition and popularity of this has continued to flourish in the black community. Any other race has not been a large part of hip hop other than Eminem because they don’t have connections in the rap game which makes it difficult to get popular. Dr Dre helped Eminem get his career started and it skyrocketed just because he knew the right people in the rap game. There are not many other rappers that are any race other than black and are popular nationally. In conclusion, the rap game really consists of who you know in the black community and the more connections you have to it, the more popularity and credit you will receive.

    • I agree with this statement. I think blowing up big in hip-hop really depends on who you know and who your music relates to. I would say the majority of the people that can really relate to music sung by African-American MC’s are African-Americans. People want to hear music they can relate to and understand. I would make the assumption that most Asian rap artists will rap about different problems then what African-American or White artists would. Also people could potentially avoid hip hop from other cultures because they are afraid of getting called out, saying things like “why are you listening to that, you don’t even know what it means”.

  5. The reason for this can be looked in a cultural context as we don’t see many African Americans performing or creating Native Americans and vice versa as most races have a form of expression that they identify with. Hip hop was also one of the key avenues for African Americans to get out of poverty and to attain success. African Americans in the infancy of hip hop did not create hip hop for money but it was an outlet for the community as a whole. Another reason why there are only few white rappers is that there is a credibility factor as well because the majority of talented rappers are African Americans it can see that it’s the norm and that hip hop hierarchy is dominated by African Americans. Eminem is the exception because his lyrical game is so high that I can compensate for his color or racial identity. Hip hop also centered on masculinity and bravado and that is a reasons why women are not as prevalent in the hip hop scene because it is hard to sound masculine and be a women and be credible at the same time because that’s not what society expects out of a woman. When a woman is talented, their talents is not what is mostly talked about, but their appearance seems to also matter.

  6. Hip-hop’s roots rest in the African-American communities across the country, and because of this, black communities are more susceptible to becoming involved in its practices. I agree with Dylan in that hip-hop is predominantly black because of how the culture of hip-hop plays such an important role in these high poverty rate regions. If hip-hop played such an important role in white and other racial communities you would see a larger number of these races making appearances into the mainstream genre of rap and hip-hop. Aside from the cultural and societal impact, I would also agree with the previous discussions and say that its all about who you know in the industry to start up your career. With the backing of money and power in any industry you can drive your success to a whole new level. The same happened for Eminem when he met up with Dr. Dre. In conclusion, the combination of cultural upbringing and who you know is what enables an individual to strive to be mainstream. Without both of these resources it make it difficult to reach the popularity and talent level required for mainstream artists.

  7. Dr. Dre supported Eminem from the start and in my opinion, helped Eminem become a credited rapper. It has gotten to the point where a lot of people don’t see Eminem’s race anymore. When i think of rap, the first thing that usually comes to mind is the struggle. That is usually what MC’s first start rapping about and in most cases, African Americans are the ones that have a story about “the struggle” and that is what most people have been hearing and maybe wants to hear. So when a white male or female comes out rapping, what they have to say is irrelevant because they are white, which is usually associated with privilege. Although Eminem is white, he had a struggle, which helped him become creditable and relatable to the hip hop community. Throughout the years Eminem’s story has been made known, which does not hold true for the other white rappers.
    Women have always struggled to make it in mainstream rap. For example, It’s hard for a woman to be a conscious rapper because majority of men want to see a woman take off her clothes and rap about sex. They don’t want to hear a woman rap about how hard it is to make it in the rap game. That’s why I feel like there aren’t a lot of woman in mainstream rap.

  8. I feel for the reason that there is a small amount of white rappers and only one Eminem is because rap started off as predominately black done by black males. With anything that is started or is exclusively dominated by one group it is extremely difficult for another group to breakthrough and dominated it the same way the originators did. The reason that Eminem is successful is because of his extreme talent when it comes to his lyrical ability which cannot be denied despite his race. Hip hop is make dominated because of its hyper masculinity in the artist and the lyrical content. While on the other had women are seen as only eye candy and for a female Mc to be successful she must be attractive and not overly aggressive in trying to change things. She has to basically fulfill the stereotypes that are associated with women. In other for the minority that aren’t really in hip hop to be cons Italy be successful in hip hop for just their talent alone they need to compromise themselves because people have become so accustomed to what a typical hip hop artist is like that’s what they only accept. When it comes to that few exceptions that are able to breakthrough I they mostly needed anther artist to in a sense vouch for them. Hip hop is stuck in a mold that is incredibly hard to break and it is difficult to find a solution for all the minorities to be successful in the game.

    • I am in agreement with all the statements and I guess the reason why it is so hard for someone who isn’t black to be known in hip hop is the fear of society to accept something new. Because we are so comfortable and used to black rappers, it is really hard to let someone different get in. Society as a whole still has fears of people that are different. There is a need to expand and open up our minds. unless there is someone powerful helping you, it would be really hard to get accepted, but not impossible. We just ought to be open to new ideas and new music.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s