I Hate Eminem, And Not Because He’s White | White Rap And The Transfer Of Power
By First Degree The D.E.
I hate Eminem, and not because he’s White, so don’t go there.
Rap is purpose. When rap was started, it was the voice of the street. Although rap was created as Black art, there has always been artists of other races chiming in and contributing to its growth. Early pioneers like The Beastie Boys, 3rd Bass, and even Vanilla Ice brought diversity to the music. In the beginning, it wasn’t about race, it was about being a voice, uplifting, and entertaining the streets.
Fast forward 30 years, and rap is no longer owned by the streets, rap is owned by the suburbs. How did this happen? Rap’s transfer of power started with Bill Clinton’s Telecommunications Act of 1996, and a White household name rapper named Eminem. As a result, today’s version of rap is “rap lite”.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not talking down on about the growth of rap music. Once rap caught on, I didn’t expect to be a “Black genre” for long. Rap is like a beautiful bird, keeping it caged in our region and culture would be doing the world an injustice. Rap is one of many contributions Black people have made to the planet. MCs come in all shapes and sizes, races, and nationalities. However, there is a big difference between the suburbs enjoying rap and owning rap.
Being in the rap game for over 20 years, I have the right to speak on its path. When we were starting up in the 90’s, there was no Sacramento rap, or Bay rap, etc. We were inventing a new genre. That’s why its transfer of power to the suburbs especially hurt.
As a result of rap’s transfer, artists that rap about the people began to be shunned, and those rapping about nothingness were celebrated. A dark turn rap had taken. Now days, rappers like myself, that do not recognize rap’s transfer of power and cater to the suburbs, are hated.
The average rap fan will not be connected to the transfer of rap power, and will see it from a detached, consumer’s perspective. However, all can understand, when you have been part of building something, you care about its whereabouts.
The Telecommunications Act of 1996
Over 90% of the 12 and up American population listens some form of radio in a week’s time. Millions are radio listeners, and rely on it for new music. Radio airwaves are supposed to be owned by the American public, but because the Federal government is the legal voice of the citizens, The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) enacts policies and decides for the people when it comes to the airwaves.
In the beginning of rap music, the FCC’s control over the airwaves wasn’t too much a conflict of interest. In the 90’s, mainstream as well as underground artists, could get their song on the radio. Conscious rap was the norm on hip hop radio stations. Militant artists like Public Enemy and Paris could get on the radio consistently. It was great, uplifting, and reassuring.
Then, in search of free competition for ownership of the airwaves and the up-and-coming internet, President Bill Clinton signed into law The Telecommunications Act in 1996. The Act was the initial blow to the ownership of rap, basically clearing the way for corporations like Clear Channel to take control of radio. As a result, the corporations had become the deciders, and their purpose was money.
The money the corporations were seeking was corporate advertising dollars. The difference between the retail dollar and the corporate advertising dollar is the control factor. As a corporate advertising dollar seeker, you don’t want to do anything to upset your advertisers. Advertisers had become radio’s lifeline and purpose. Advertisers like their rap light, purposeless, and non-talented. In their search for money, corporations had given advertisers control of rap.
The Telecommunications Act of 1996 has done a horrible service to the American public. It has lead to less competition, less diversity, fewer views, cut off musicians, and stripped rap of what made it special, its raw purpose.
The advertisers had become the deciders. Thanks, Bill.
At its core, rap was about respect. When Eminem entered the game in the late 90’s his gimmick was talking real bad on his mom and abusing drugs. A high level of disrespect for rap was displayed by Eminem’s early work. Rap was being trampled on, and no one enjoyed this more than the suburbs. Ironically, N.W.A.’s Dr. Dre, was behind it all, earning him the nick-name “The Cracka Backa”. What once was a proud genre made by the street, for the street, was now becoming a suburbian toy in a suburbian toy box. The rap and the purpose of rap had diminished.
Rap had officially changed hands. From that point on, when I heard Eminem’s voice, it was a symbol of defeat for something we built. This leads me to Tech N9ne and Strange Music.
I like Tech N9ne the person, I really do. However, the way Tech N9ne has been publically begging for Eminem’s attention makes me want to barf, it really does. Seeing rap’s top selling underground artist try to get more attention from the suburbs, and put value to the transfer of rap, literally makes me sick to my stomach. Tech is a cool dude, why this? Aren’t the juggalos enough? Is it Black seeking White acceptance? Seeing the constant begging made me reluctantly unlike him on Facebook.
When Tech N9ne invited me to be on his “All 6’s and 7’s” album, with the likes of Snoop Dogg, Kendrick Lamar, Hopskin, and others, I was excited. I knew the following buzz would present a big stage. With a great stage, comes great responsibility. A lesson was in order. I came with Super Black’s “Listen Up, Ya Honkey”, and the world turned upside down!
“Listen Up, Ya Honkey” is not about all White people, it’s about racists! The song is often misunderstood. In response to the song, the juggalos started a “Ban First Degree” movement, which caught a little wave. Anti-First Degree sentiment was ramped up around the world, include occasional, random emails from Russia and other foreign lands. I was attacked from all over, it was great.
Before I got a chance to explain the song was just about racists, I was banned from the Strange Music message board. Why would Strange Music ban the very person that LITERALLY drove Brotha Lynch to their front door? Why would a contributing artist get shunned in favor of random, disrespectful, borderline racist consumers? Remember who owns rap, the suburbs.
Grammy Winning Rap Artist Ziggy Azalea
The Future Of Multi-Cultural Rap
Rap is a world-wide collaborative effort now, and the Fahrenheit Movement reflects that. Fahrenheit’s range is as Black as Oakland’s Oji and his African vibe to Young Stroke’s Caucasian Gastonia, North Carolina. It’s as European as France’s Ghost D.E.S.T., as Latin as Las Vegas overlord M Sane, and as Japanese as Saterbagg’s stomping grounds. Fahrenheit’s purpose is purpose, a universal concept.
Fahrenheit Records has recently signed some multi-cultural groups. If you wonder how someone with my views could sign non-black MCs, you have not been listening. Rap has blossomed, yet it’s about respect, and Fahrenheit is a leader in the rap game, not behind. In addition, Fahrenheit is a world-wide phenomenon. It’s much bigger than me. I just do my part.
Most of the country doesn‘t know the Seattle area like the West Coast does. They have their own thing going on up there, it’s a unique vibe. Seattle’s urban little brother, Tacoma, is raw and ready to be heard by the world. It’s now their time. Tacomarap.com, coming soon, will keep you up on everything.
Tacoma’s Blue Nose Music is a multi-racial Fahrenheit group creating a buzz. Their leader, Greg Double, is a White MC. When Greg Double stepped in the game, he treated it with respect, didn’t use the “N” word, and respected the process by paying dues. This included respecting the OGs (Awall etc), hitting the street, getting on stage, and performing for the people. They deserved a chance because they are fun, and what Greg Double, Thunderchief, 5ive 3re, Cameron Couch, and United Kingdom’s Wynter Brown are trying to do is contribute to the game. Their album, “Release The Hounds” hits stores everywhere 2.17.15.
Beanz N Rize, also from Tacoma, is one of the most conscious rap duos of our era. Their music makes you want to be like them and know what they know. Josh Rizeberg and Cool Beanz are poetic, thoughtful MCs with an Egyptian twist. Josh Rizeberg, known for activism on the street and political level, feels that it’s important for suburbian MCs to acknowledge White privilege and racism in their music. Rize explains, “(Suburbian rappers) need to understand that Hip hop is, and originally was, a mouth-piece for the disenfranchised.” I couldn’t agree more. When I hear Beanz N Rize, I don’t hear a Jewish and Black rap group, I hear consciousness, which ascends race. The Beanz N Rize debut album hits stores 2.17.15.
As well as rap being conscious, rap was made to be funny. Biz Markie, Flava Flav, Fresh Prince, 2 Live Crew, Bobby Jimmy, and many more, used to make us laugh. There’s nothing wrong with a good time! Fahrenheit has proudly launched Funnyrap.com dedicated to comedy rap that will have you rolling.
Fahrenheit only signs artists that have something wrong with them. Fahrenheit’s Sic Ill (Tacoma) and Young Stroke (San Diego/ North Carolina) are no exception. Once you get into Sic Ill and Young Stroke’s music, it won’t matter that one is a White rapper and one is Black, it will just matter that they make you laugh. I expect lots of controversy when those two’s albums drop this summer. I am looking forward to it.
In a recent Facebook rant, Sic Ill reveals he has to defend his “pop-rap” to White MCs that don’t consider him a “real rapper”. His tirade included, “I’m Black! Get it through your thick skulls, you’re White! Rap is my s—,… there’s some other p—— in Seattle trying to clump their whiteness together at top and then they wonder why hip hop thinks they’re bulls—. Straight jackin’ Black people’s SMH.” The fact that Sic Ill feels the need to defend his rap to suburbian rappers is a symbol of the suburbs feeling they own rap. Again, it’s about respect.
There is a silver lining in all of this. The good to come out of the Telecommunications Act is it freed up the little-known internet and brought more numbers to the rap genre. Through the “Twittagrams” and the “Instachats”, musicians are now just a few clicks away from their fans. Rap artists can connect directly with the people that matter to them. Sites like iTunes allow musicians to sell directly to their fans as well. There are now channels that corporations do not control.
Despite the limits of radio and because of the internet, and support from Fahrenheit’s distributors City Hall Records and Orchard Music, Fahrenheit doesn’t need Target, or any other corporation, to approve its messages. Take that, corporation advertisers! Fahrenheit has even created our own online radio station, Fahrenheit Radio.
Fahrenheit’s Greg Double of Blue Nose Music feels he and other White rappers can contribute to the rap genre, too. He reveals, “(Being a voice for the people) is not a skin tone issue at all. It’s a human condition that knows no boundaries.”
The point is, a White rapper can be a good thing and contribute to the rap genre just like anyone else, as longs as he (or she, Ziggy Azalea) respects the game, like everyone else.
Hits from the entire Fahrenheit roster will be featured in the upcoming album, “Fahrenheit Roll Call” due out in April of 2015.