Hip Hop Culture for Grown-Ups
Words by Tony Grands
Aside from emperor Eminem and one or two other elites, Action Bronson seems to be the only White rapper that gets cultural acknowledgement right now.
And by that I mean overall acceptance, unfettered access to our shapeless secret society. Unless you count Riff Raff, who embodies the very definition of terrible White rapper in my opinion, but he’s quickly becoming a non-factor because he’s moving from the world of rap rasslin’ to the world of WWE. So, *bloop*. This current wave of the “members only” attitude is a far cry from some years back, when a White rapper could leisurely nuzzle up to a colorful big name co-signs and enjoy the rap life like the rest of us urban degenerates. I’m looking at you, Paul Wall and Mac Miller. But alas, those days are long gone.
And for the record, I’m sure there are a few up-and-comers who are just as good as – if not better than – Action Bronson is. Will they ever get a legitimate shot? Based on today’s lukewarm acceptance of Caucasian Hip Hop, no. Not only will they not receive a chance to shine but if they do garner any public attention, it will need to be handled with kid gloves. Their words and statements will be scrutinized and minced and they will have to work twice as hard to be accepted by the culture. This is all too familiar footwork to the minorities of the USA, but we’ll save that for another day.
Perhaps this modern day form diet reverse racism is merely a mirrored screen effect, meaning that Hip Hop – as art – is just imitating real life, as it should. The racial divides and self-imposed segregation in America have seemingly reached heights that haven’t been touched since the Civil Rights Movement was a thing. Spend some time online if you disagree. As for the rap game landscape, in a similar vein, it appears that a “black out” is in effect. Basically, there’s no room for any White rappers? But why?
To an extent, Hip Hop is all that we – African Americans – have, ownership-wise. It’s the one aspect of American life that we can sorta claim ownership over. Its narrative begins with us telling our story from the parks and alleys and abandoned buildings of the united ghettos of America and though sometimes we may seem like we don’t care about its legacy, believe me, we do. That’s sort of a cultural thing, I guess; we tend to injure and damage the things we care about, but if another entity attempts to do the same thing, all hell breaks loose. Gotta love the dichotomy.
Personally, I don’t see color in rap music. And that’s not just some “holier than thou” rhetoric. I genuinely could not care less about flesh or what class upbringing has socially handicapped you. I need two things from you as a rapper: fire bars and a banging track. I don’t require a resume or credit score. A family history and references are not necessary, either. The Hip Hop fanboy in me will always think knowing trivia about a rapper is some cool, but realistically those things are irrelevant to the job I hired you for. I hired you – however briefly – to entertain me. Any details about who or what you are beyond that are transparent and meaningless. But not everyone in rap-o-sphere is so easy going and susceptible to an “open arms policy.”