Educate Me: Was There A Fear of “Hip-Hop White-Washing” In The 90’s?

I’m going to do what most blogs are afraid to do. That’s show my age and lack of knowledge on a topic. In the 90’s, I can only come from the perspective of child growing into a young man in his teens, so there is a lot of cultural aspects that I don’t remember about what many deem as the Golden Era of Hip-Hop. What I know is, I bought my first CD with paper route money, I use to read The Source Mic Report and by the time I was graduating high school, hip-hop was slowly becoming the most popular genre/culture in the world.

So with that said, let’s talk. Let me talk what I know and do my Googles when needed real quick….

Just to be clear: August 1986, A rap group by the name of the Beastie Boys released a song called Paul Revere. It was a groundbreaking sound and song from a white hip-hop group. This white rap group was signed to Russell Simmons label called Def Jam, which at that time was the ONLY 100% Hip-Hop record label in the music business. The Beastie Boys are regarded as hip-hop royalty present day. RIP MCA.

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July 1990, Vanilla Ice drops “Ice Ice Baby”. Like it or not it’s one of the biggest rap songs ever! It was number 1 on Billboards Top 100 and number 1 pretty much everywhere across the country. However, on the Hip-Hop charts, It peaked at Number 6. “To The Extreme” was and I believe still is the fastest selling rap album of all time with a counted 15 million albums sold across the world.

In 1991, A group by the name of 3rd Bass, that was 2/3’s white released a song called “Pop Goes The Weasel” from there “Derelicts of Dialect” album. The single Hit 29 on Billboards Hot 100 BUT was Number 1 on the Hip-Hop Billboard charts. They also dissed Vanilla Ice on their hit single and Ice answered back..Yes! Real White Rapper Beef happened between 1991 -1992

In July 1991, A guy named Marky Mark along with his crew “The Funky Bunch” made a song called “Good Vibrations”. That song was HUGE across the country. It hit Number 1 on Billboards Hot 100 and Number 1 on Hot Dance Music but, only capped off at 64 on the R&B/Hip-Hop Charts. Their album “Music for The People” went platinum.

QUICK FOOTNOTE: In 1991 an all white group called “Young Black Teenagers” put out an album. DJ Skribble was in the group and their biggest song “Tap The Bottle” was co-produced by Terminator X…YES! Public Enemy’s Terminator X. The name was meant to pay homage to black culture.

July 1992, House of Pain released a huge hit single called “Jump Around”. Peaked at Number 3 on Hot 100 and Number 5 on Hot Rap Singles. It is currently regarded as one of the biggest crossover rap records ever and still played in mixed club to this day.

January 1993 and fittingly so, Canadian rapper Snow releases a single called “Informer” with Legendary Juice Crew Member MC Shan. Peak Number 1 on the Hot 100 but number 10 on the Hip/hop charts. Snow by genre was considered a Reggae Musician.

QUICK FOOTNOTE: In 1997 Controversial and White Rap Group Insane Clown Posse drop their 4th album “The Great Milenko”. This album had to be re-release before it reached platinum status and although they became a bigger name and somewhat of a mainstream success independently, you PROBABLY really know of ICP because of their feud with Eminem which really doesn’t kick off mainstream until years later or because of ECW, WCW and WWE…If nothing else…You know the Juggalos.

January 1999, A Detroit rapper named Eminem with the help of his new producer and label owner Dr. Dre released a single mainstream called “My Name Is”. It was crazy yet lyrically savvy unlike anything heard from a white rapper before specifically. That song peaked at number 36 on the Hot 100 and 18 on the Hip-Hop Charts. The Slim Shady LP sells 5 million in just the U.S.

June 1999, A group named LFO released a song called “Summer Girls”. It was indeed a rap song, with a hook melody in it but, it was widely regarded as a pop record. It peaked at Number 3 on the Hot 100 and there is no registered chart spot for it in the hip-hop category.

Ok, I think that’s enough. The point I’m making with all that is, was there ever a scare about “Hip-Hop being White-Washed” when all these singles and albums were released? White rappers have been making hits, going platinum and helping broaden the hip-hop audience since the late 80’s. I don’t understand how in this day and age with hip-hop being GLOBAL, how it is “wrong” or “reason to be afraid” of white artist prospering in hip-hop.

Has there really been a white female rapper to have a hit single and high selling album before Iggy? Kreayshawn PEAKED at 62 for Hot Hip-Hop and 18 for Rap Songs with Gucci Gucci. Her album barely went copper. Jay-Z signed Lady Sovereign EARLY to Roc Nation…has anybody heard from her recently?

Is Macklemore really a threat when he can’t even outsell Eminem and barely edges out Kendrick Lamar and he had arguably the 3 biggest songs of 2012-2013?

By no stretch of the imagination at all, Vanilla Ice was bigger than Iggy, Macklemore, Kreayshawn, Paul Wall Mac Miller and First album Eminem combined! In my mind, the “white wash” could have happened then! Also, wasn’t Asher Roth the new Eminem? How is that working? There’s politics in ANY business but the music business still needs talent and hard work for this thing called longevity. It may seem hard to believe but, rappers that really do suck…don’t sell a lot of records. Don’t be fooled by “label pushes” and marketing strategies. Everybody is not winning because “the buttons been pushed”.

I really think a lot of people need to relax. Hip-Hop is going to be fine. Now if you want to keep this a Black and Hispanic only thing, then do your best to denounce Rick Rubin and his impact in this culture and business at it’s Inception and see how far that really gets you. To reiterate, I don’t believe in the White Washing of Hip-Hop. Why should I? Outside of Eminem, White rappers have yet to set groundbreaking trends in the culture. Eminem did have a lot of kids dying their hair, wearing blue contacts, white tees and du-rags…That was a little crazy. Yet, Hip-Hop “survived” as being predominantly black and there has yet to be another artist PERIOD to come through and have that level of impact outside of his artist 50 Cent and depending on how you view the game Kanye West.

Please. Feel free to educate me on this if I am wrong. In the 90’s I was just a kid buying music. I had “To The Extreme” on Cassette and I believe that was a Christmas Gift. I have the “Slim Shady LP” on disc and still have it. That’s all I purchased from the above I mentioned. From my perspective, “White rappers shinning” isn’t new to me nor a threat because its only been 1 white rap superstar per decade and only 2 [Beasties and Em] have carried on past their decade in the mainstream. Black folks have been helping white folks prosper in hip-hop and vice versa since day one. T.I has done nothing that Russell Simmons or Dr. Dre hasn’t done or wouldn’t do for their artist.

Shout to Slug of Atmosphere, Joe Scudda, Paul Wall, Alchemist and Action Bronson. They are some of my favorites. I had to Google to make sure Evidence was white before I put him in this sentence. RIP Eyedea!

2 thoughts on “Educate Me: Was There A Fear of “Hip-Hop White-Washing” In The 90’s?

  1. Have you seen TIs tweets about this issue? He basically broke down the whole thing about culture appropriating and things like that. The Iggy hate isnt even as strong as pople make it to be. Every White rapper has Black fans. Beastie, Em, Paul Wall, etc. Iggy wont even be around long Lol, just like a lot Black rappers wont. One more thing about Iggy, she isnt a ounce of a threat that a that Vanilla Ice, Beastie Boys and Em were Lol. they were selling millions. All that promo she had and she only sold 400k. Thats a lil bit more than Ross Mastermind numbers. While rap is global its still a Black form and everyone is open to participate in it. Another crazy thing about the white washing articles are that they are being (mostly) written by White journalists LOL. Sometimes as fans we overreact to things. HipHop brings races together like no other genre. Talent is talent, wack is wack. This is HipHop and if Iggy cant take criticism then shes not built for this genre…it comes with the territory.


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