Vince Staples and Mac Miller take on the great white rap debate.
With the emergence of Macklemore, Iggy Azalea, and most recently, Slim Jesus and Post Malone, the topic of white rappers has been a common argument within the hip-hop community. It's a complicated and divisive issue, so the FADER decided to get the equally hilarious and on-point Vince Staples and real live white rapper Mac Miller (or is he just a white dude that raps? More on that later) to discuss the subject.
The two went through a whole lot, including Staples' realization that Paul Wall wasn't Puerto Rican and the "Lyrical miracle spiritual" brand of early aughts white rappers. Eventually, Mac got into genre of "white rap" he accidentally helped create, and later escaped.
"It’s funny because, when [my 2011 album] Blue Slide Park happened, there was a surge of all these kids, and we were able to sell 10,000 units on iTunes just out of nowhere," he said. "I remember touring and doing shows, and I was the first rap show ever in all these colleges. Six thousand kids, and I’m the first hip-hop show because I’m white-college-friendly. That was always a demon for me. It was hard to sit here and know that, because I was a white dude, I was able to sell easier and be more marketable. That wasn’t tight to me. I wanted to go through the same shit that everyone else did. But I did that shit, and that shit was huge for me. Recently, I’ve grown up. This is my job, and I’m going to do it. It used to be so difficult for me being a white rapper, but now, it doesn’t eat at me as much."
Later on, Staples argued that ensuring sources of inspiration get proper credit is more important than policing white participation in hip-hop.
"When it comes to giving credit and showing appreciation, that’s a different conversation," said Staples "If we’re talking about origins of music, if you’re talking about rock & roll, you have to give credit to Chuck Berry. He invented it; Elvis stole some shit; it’s fine. When you talk about rap, you have to give credit to the South Bronx and that whole community and Afrika Bambaataa. You have to give credit to where it’s due. If we talking about basketball, you gotta give credit to Dr. Naismith. There are people that created things, and who made things, but if we’re talking about someone’s ability to participate in something, then the color of a person should not be in the conversation, period."
Vince then went on to suggest the success of some white rappers is the fact that they are relatable figures to certain audiences, comparing the lyrical concepts of Macklemore and Migos.
"In general, more people can connect to things in music that are said by white people because white people aren’t as harsh," he said. "Not everybody can relate to being in the fucking ghetto and living on welfare and having to kill somebody and having to sell drugs. But they listen to, I want to shop right now, I only got 30 dollars in my pocket. It’s like, you know what, I’ve had 30 dollars in my pocket before. “Same Love,” you know what, I want people to love each other too. Rather than Hannah Montana, Hannah Montana/ I got molly, I got white. I know I don’t have that."
You can read the full conversation at FADER.