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Why We Don’t Let White Folks Rap

March 29, 2007

I listened to the latest Racialicious podcast on Whites and Hip-Hop mostly to hear what Harry Allen had to say. He was as provocative as you might imagine someone christened the media assassin might be. The other lad, journalist and author Jason Tanz twirled about uncomfortably skirting on the edge of racial essentialism without ever tipping over the cliff into that canyon. He, like a lot of well meaning, earnest, Jus Rhyme-rs, fall into the “awareness trap.” These cats listened to rap as kids, but became aware of “hip-hop” later on and its status as Black CNN and whatnot, as if rap was always that way. I got a ton of 12″ records in my parent’s garage across town, some going back to ’79. Maybe 3 of them have “conscious” lyrics, and you can probably guess the titles to two of them.

While Tanz’ struggle with White privilege manifests in tortured readings of the goals of modern hip-hop, other White rappers don’t seem to share his hand wringing. Some, in fact, still study from the Rick Dees manual of novelty songs, with monstrous consequences.

Brandom DiCamillo, an affiliate of Jackass and some other moderately amusing comedians, did a little freestyle rap that’s popular with the kids. If you don’t have the time or inclination to watch, I can sum it up for you. It’s a 30 year old White man rapping with a mock Asian patois about small penises and napalm, Rosie O’Donnell in long form. It’s affectionately known as “Chinese Freestyle Rap.”

That’s about as unfunny and racist as one could be. However, I must say, it’s quite a feat to combine yellow face minstrelsy and mock rap music simultaneously. I’m sure it’s been done before in college bars all over America. He’s just the first dumbass to put it on video. I guess.

It’s interesting that a relatively small number of people have a cult appreciation for the song, like this young brother, who is in desperate need of The Drop Squad.

DiCamillo’s “freestyle” puts one in the mind of the earliest attempts to capitalize on rap’s popularity (or novelty, back in the day). Like the endless variants of the rappin’ dad advert where the White father would try to endear himself to the kids by putting on a backwards baseball cap and folding his arms in front, DiCamillo’s act is corny and dated. However, the spirit of the early White rap pioneers lives on . . . in the White House!! To wit: Karl Rove, MC.

Updated with You Tube-edness (via ACK via Brittney)

Also, further commenting, there’s a comedian doing most of the freestyling with ol’ Karl there, and fellow old schoolers will be reminded of Barrry Sobel’s old act.
Spock, out.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. bridgett permalink
    March 29, 2007 8:27 am

    I was an undergraduate between 82-86 in a tiny college in rural northeastern Ohio. If you saw a young black man, he was on our (sad) football team. If you saw a young black woman, you had taken a wrong turn — you were in the cafeteria’s kitchen. I mean, it was 1924 immigration act white.

    However, if I had a dollar for every “funky” “fresh” “dope” dropped by some suburban white geek from North Royalton, I’d be rich. They was all def wicked stoopid, just like the Beastie Boyz. (Actually, come to think of it, their stringing together of words without any understanding of the grammar of the idiom reminded me of listening to my grandmother trying to swear.)

    Cultural appropriation is empire’s habitude and all that…won’t bore with the rant, you can read it in my funny pages in a year or so.

  2. March 29, 2007 8:51 am

    Ouch. Your summary of the videos was enough for me. I couldn’t bear to watch them.

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