Contact Us Presents…The Last Taboo For White Rappers

While pale-faced rappers are now fairly commonplace, not so long ago they were a rare breed. This led to a lot of in-fighting amongst these pasty-faced rhyme slingers, as they struggled to be that group that “black guys didn’t hate”. Thanks to the the credibility of Def Jam and some killer beats, the Beastie Boys were able to rock hardheads in New York AND mallrats in Ohio (thanks MTV!), which was a pretty big deal at the time unless you were Run-DMC. Their bratty, beer-swilling antics endeared them to frat-boys everywhere, while hard-hitting tracks like “It’s The New Style” and “Slow and Low” received heavy rotation from street-level listeners worldwide. Plus they had chicks dancing in cages, which is always a good look. It wasn’t long, however, until some other Caucazoids took shots at the ivory throne, and following the Beastie’s defection to Capitol records for their enjoyable although critically overratted Paul’s Boutique album, Russell Rush quickly found some new crackas to fill the gap.

3rd Bass, a group who took themselves way too seriously but also had some really dope production, made several songs directed at Adrock, MCA and Mike D in an attempt to position themselves as the new “mighty whiteys” on the block. This all went according to plan until the guys from X-Clan decided to hand out a “Gas Face” of their own (even though Professor X would have known Serch from the Latin Quarter days). Putting Pete Nice and MC Serch in the unfortunate position of having to defend themselves against a black rap group, which had never really happened before that point as white rappers have always feared having their “Hip-Hop Pass” revoked. Since they were stepping into a minefield, their retaliation was pretty tame (verging on apologetic), and as a result they took an L. Around the same time, 3rd Bass targeted Vanilla Ice and MC Hammer (who despite being black was so widely disliked by rap fans that it seemed like a safe bet, much like Eminem vs Benzino or Ja Rule), but it could be argued that they never really recovered from the respect they lost as a result of the X-Clan conflict. To make matters worse, it turns out that going at Hammer wasn’t such a harmless move after all, as Serch explained in this interview:

“So we diss Hammer, and Hammer wasn’t really pissed about “Gas Face”, he was really pissed about “Cactus”, when Pete said “The Cactus turned Hammer’s Mother out”. He took that as a straight diss to his Mom, and we weren’t dissing his Mom. We were putting a play on words with “Turn this mother out” and the Cactus turned this mother out ­ we turned him out, we’re just hotter. Ok, he took it as a diss to his Mom….They put a $60,000 hit out with one of the biggest gangs in L.A., for any member who got to us and could prove it – a huge amount of money. They contact Mike Conception, who at that time was doing that record “We’re All in the Same Gang”, and Hammer had got Mike’s help. So Russell manages to get hold of Mike and says “Listen this can’t go down, how do we stop this”, and he says “It’s too late now, we can’t stop it”, and Russell is like “No, no. I’ll do anything!”. So Mike finally says “Listen, I want to go to the American Music Awards, and I want to sit next to Michael Jackson, and then we won’t kill them, we’ll just break their legs, but you’ll still be able to film them on TV from the waist up”. This was his reasoning! Russell says “No, you can’t shoot them at all”, and finally that’s the deal that they made. So Russell calls Donny Inner and Tommy Motola and he explains the situation, and if you check the seating plan for the American music awards from 1990 – Michael Jackson Mike Conception.”

Following these events, it was pretty much set in stone that these d’evils would stick to fighting amongst themselves as to who was “true to the game” and who was a poser. This trend peaked when Eminem name-checked all the white rappers he felt were beneath him in one of his early singles, which led to some really shitty responses from no-hit wonders like Milkbone, as well as a run-in with former Rhyme Syndicate mascot Everlast. Slim Shady‘s rise to the top enevitably brought all kinds of sour grapes spitting contenders out off the woodwork, as every “crazy white guy” rapper became convinced that Em had stolen their style from some shitty demo tape that Stretch & Bobbitto had played at 3 o’clock in the morning or some similarly deluded scenario. Cage and RA The Rugged Man, his two most outspoken critics, seem to forget that the “insane cracka” style is the the most obvious persona for a melanin-deficient MC to adapt if they want to have any chance of attaining that all-important “street credibility”. House of Pain were early examples of this, as they successfully adapted the “Irish hoodlum” image instead of the traditional “funkee white boy” approach.

More recent examples of recorded white-on-white rap violence included Demigodz vs Def Jux (which, if nothing else, resulted in somebody finally sampling Revenge of the Nerds to good effect), El-P vs Sole (the first diss records that only people with a modem knew anything about) and others which I don’t care to remember. When Masta Ace threw some barbs in the direction High & Mighty‘s Mr Eon and Mighty Mi, the whole thing turned out to be a misunderstanding and got squashed, which was lucky for the EC fellas since they were able to avoid having to diss a black dude (not to mention a rap legend). Even if it hadn’t been sorted out, I highly doubt that they would responded at all (other than possibly kidnapping the Biz Markie puppet from Ace’s first video), given that it still remains as the one of the last taboo’s in hip-hop.

The only other example that springs to mind would be when a kid calling himself Paleface (aka “The Blue Eyed Devil”) came out with a song going at Ice Cube for his “cave bitch” comments towards white chicks. I never heard the song, but he got featured in Vibe (no Fonzworth Bentley) magazine back in 1991 and I’m pretty sure that this makes him one of the only white “rappers” to ever bark at a black MC. But the question remains – will a whitey (other than Marshall Mathers) ever have the stones to go at a black guy in the hip-hop game? I’m betting it’ll be the same week that an openly gay rapper goes triple platinum….

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