“Who Can Get Busy”: XXL’s Feature On the Growing Trend of White Rappers [April 2011 Magazine Exerpt]

Two years ago, when the second-annual XXL Freshmen cover debuted, some folks were surprised to see a White rapper featured prominently on the cover. Sure, Pennsylvania’s Asher Roth had earned a huge buzz, with a hit DJ Drama and Don Cannon mixtape, The Greenhouse Effect. There was also his big single, “I Love College,” making the radio circuit, and he had recently signed a deal with Steve Rifkind’s SRC Records, after being courted by most of the major record labels. It made sense to most hip-hop heads for Asher to get placement on the front of the 2009 Freshmen cover. Yet some questioned his positioning, while others wondered if it could be the sign of a new day for White rappers. After all, it isn’t very often that an MC of the Caucasian persuasion garners enough of a buzz to get on the cover of a hip-hop magazine. But Asher’s hype was well-warranted, and, not surprisingly, comparisons were being made to arguably the best White MC in the hip-hop history books, who’s also arguably the best rapper in those same books: Eminem.

Fast-forward two years, and Roth might not have become the next Eminem, but he potentially opened the door for other White MCs, without even realizing it. This year’s Freshman-class cover contains two White rhyme slingers: Alabama’s Yelawolf and Pittsburgh’s Mac Miller. Worlds apart in lyrical style, content and age, both MCs have garnered solid followings while knocking down invisible barriers that, despite time, have remained partially still standing. Right now, there are more potentially relevant White MCs emerging than at any other moment in hip-hop’s history.

In addition to what’s been accomplished by Yela and Mac, Machine Gun Kelly (see page 39) has created a noteworthy movement, beginning with the fans in his hometown of Cleveland and steadily swelling to the rest of the country. There’s also the Boston-bred Sam Adams, who had the No. 1 album on the hip-hop/rap iTunes chart in March 2010 and has toured heavily since. Yonkers, New York, native Outasight inked a deal with Asylum/Warner in December 2009 and is prepping his album now. Connecticut’s Chris Webby’s December 2010 mixtape, Best in the Burbs, crashed the datpiff.com servers upon its release—a first for the popular music download site. Thee Tom Hardy, from North Carolina, is signed to 9th Wonder’s indie label, It’s a Wonderful World Music Group/The Academy. Other White MCs bubbling include Rittz, Wax, Mac Leathal, Action Bronson, Spose and Macklemore. The increased trend is apparent. But why now?

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  • Money Mitch

    This shit is really retarded!! There’s been dope white rappers in the game since day one!! Hip hop was created for all races!

    now what you hear is not a test–i’m rappin to the beat
    and me, the groove, and my friends are gonna try to move your feet
    see i am wonder mike and i like to say hello
    to the black, to the white, the red, and the brown, the purple and yellow SO GET IT RIGHT DUMMIES!!!

    • fasdf

      I love this , i lov e // my b oyfriend, he is a nice guy !. i met him via

      ~~ H ot’ Bla c k’ w h it e. C” 0- M~~
      The most successful interra cial da t ing c lub. If you are still waiting for your sweet “milk” or “chocolate”, don’t hesitate to check it !! Don’t let your babies wait too long for you !!

  • dsanty

    those bars were retarded, get out of here, white rappers are just starting to get big, starting with asher.

    • jr

      haha your retarded or maybe you just dont know hip hop but white rappers have been around for a while Slug from Atmosphere, Brother Ali these are the white rappers that opened the doors

      • Jungle Survivor

        Do your homework kid! Those fuck-asses didn’t open any doors for white dudes in the game. Ever heard of Paul C McKasty or MC Serch. Paul C influenced guys like Large Pro. MC Serch used to run with T La Rock! He’s a dude that put Nas on before he had a deal. Get it straight man.

    • Jon Dog

      Did you just call “Rappers Delight” retarded? Dumb shit. Starting with Asher??? How the fuck old are you punk?

    • http://hiphop4breakfast.tumblr.com kdetrick253

      Im a little late on commenting to this but you are fucking retarded. Asher didn’t start shit. Asher has had one hit. Maybe Asher is the first white rapper you have heard because your 13 you fucking dumbass. Eminem isn’t even the first (or best) white rapper and he would kill Asher. On another note… this article is wack. Rap has no color. Is it just me or is this just straight racist. Who gives a fuck what color a rapper is. Either he is good or bad. Did you miss the Anti-Segregation laws you fucking retard. I swear, Ignorance will be the end of this world. People piss me off.

  • anon1

    Thats kurtis blow dumbass do your research ^

    • brothasdonttypeNIGGER

      u look dumb cause that aint kurtis blow thats wonder mike from da sugarhill gang an dsanty dont kno shit cuz da beastie boys an 3rd bass an everlast & vanilla ice wuz big an around way b4 asher roth

  • Tyrannical T

    I’m thinking white rappers are getting smart and figured out that they have to spit real and innovative material to be recognized. It’s a tough road, but its being paved by these guys.

    To be totally honest, I think hip-hop right now is the best its been since Biggie and Pac died. Late 90s and 00s had so many lame biters.

    Hip-Hop is back. Black, White, Whatever. It’s time for Renaissance.

  • dsanty24

    thank you, i agree. you even mentioning everlast or vanilla ice, is fucking retarded hahahahahah. hip hop? are you fucking 50 years old you dumbass?

  • http://charlesmensa.blogspot.com Charles Mensa

    LOL at the fact someone said it started with Asher..lol…Anyways, WHITE rappers have been around just as long as any other rappers. I hate how we STILL have to separate rappers by colour. Honestly, its the music that matters, and if its dope…then leave it as is. We don’t need to find another Eminem, let these new cats come thru. And also, these cats are doin this in 2011, they LEARNED from Eminem and others before him. As well as other great lyricists of our time. I wish mags would stop playin the White card with rappers. If theyre dope, then let it be! The music is universal. And by the way, its Mac Lethal.


    Like others have said, if its dope its dope who cares about the color. There have been whit mcs doing great music for years. It is nothing new, just nothin as ground breaking or attention grabbing as eminem, but all the same its not new. Just new to rap fans who dont care to check for the music, or shun it because the artist is white which is a damn shame. People need to quit bein bias.

    Oh and sorry, but no rap these days is no where near as good as it was back when pac and big was alive, the majority of it is not considered classic material we will be bumpin years down the road. Its very disposable at this point, with very few artists makin great material which is a damn shame.

  • http://elevatedhiphop.com dust

    This article is ridiculous. It trades on a racially divided culture that simply doesn’t exist musically. White emcees have been around since the conception of hip hop and have contributed significantly to the artform. Peace to Mac Lethal, ELP, Ill Bill, Brother Ali, Buck 65, etc. etc. etc.


    • http://facebook.com/NicoleArebalo bow.to.the.queen

      Hahahahaa.. word. XXL and the rest of the world are the ones who are barely catching on to what I and others (who search out emcee’s with actual talent as a personal preference to who’s music we chose to support) have been listening to for years. I can’t stand eminem, what he came out with in the begining of his mainstream career.. -waaaack. That’s right about the time that I turned off the radio for good. There are so many other rappers who posses more talent its crazy em even has/had a career. Eminem is the Justin Beiber of mainstream rap, like the poster boy that Vanilla Ice was back in his day. Necro, Celph Titled, Vinnie Paz, Sadistik, Sage Francis, and my new personal favorite CUBBIEBEAR -word up to real talent.

      The reason I even found this article was because Mac Lethal had it linked to his facebook page, other than that I wouldn’t waste my time with XXL. XXL can thank Mac Lethal for getting 1 more person to read their crap but i’m done with it. Get better writers, do more research, start publishing relevant information, I don’t know… -just get with the program.

      • cheese puffs

        damn you are one stupid bitch

  • http://youtube.com/kidmus1c K.I.D.

    I am a white rapper..lemme know what you think…i just started recording but am getting good feedback thus far. Youtube.com/kidmus1c

  • Jon Dog

    Leave it to XXL to post an article like this. You fuckin’ ideots need to clean house and start fresh over there. Have you even looked at the shit you put on this site. You look real fuckin’ stupid. Like teenagers run the show. Ms. Satin is takin’ it to hell in a hand bag, Jersey Shore watchin BIATCH!!! Change the name to “Teen Rap” or some shit. GROW THE FUCK UP XXL! look at the pathetic people you have following you. Dissing The Sugar Hill Gang, and claiming Asher was the first great white hype. Damn.

    • Ki77aBee

      amen to that. ppl IGNIT these days fasho. asher…hahaha EYEDEA woulda put that boy out if he was still with us RIP EYEDEA. WUDDUP PARADIME.

  • No Name

    It really boils down to marketing, which Em had the privilege of having due to being backed by Dre. Not to say that he didn’t or doesn’t have skill that deserves such exposure and praise, but it is about who know in this industry and how they choose to manage you. ‘Cause there are a ton of white rappers with hella tight skills. They just either don’t care very much for mainstream spotlight or their big connects (i.e.; Big Boi & Timbaland with Bubba Sparxxx) fail to follow through.

  • TicNitty706

    White rappers have been here and ain’t going no where. Labels are just looking for the wrong type of white rapper. They need to be getting with:

    Vinnie Paz
    Bro Ali
    Grip Grand
    Ill Bill
    La Costra Nostra
    Alex King

    And some other true artist who will do more than just give you a sugar rush.


    ^^^^ “The reason I even found this article was because Mac Lethal had it linked to his facebook page, other than that I wouldn’t waste my time with XXL. XXL can thank Mac Lethal for getting 1 more person to read their crap but i’m done with it. Get better writers, do more research, start publishing relevant information, I don’t know… -just get with the program.”



  • Ki77aBee


  • http://twitter.com/bfmv580 bfmv580

    Wax is an amazing rapper, and musician in general. Spose is good too.


    Wheres Jelly Roll at??

  • LeggoOfMyEggo

    Macklemore… that is all.

  • Gram

    Chris Webby said it best “They say im good but im no slim shady, well how come every black rapper aint compared to Jay-Z?” real talk and asher is str8 trash man MGK and Chris Webby the best white boys doin it right now apart from Em but aint nobody touching him. and yeah white rappers have been around since the early days of rap but if you check out any of the mixtape sites nowadays the white boys really are takin over. fuck it tho i like rap as long as they got some nice lyrics i dont care what color they are…

  • cc

    COPYWRITE is the best white rapper