You know those rare occassions when your head just goes: blllllllaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhh….. Because it just can’t take what it has just witnessed.
Then you end up waking up every morning and instantly remembering whatever did that to your head, getting straight out of bed and running over to your computer just to switch on YouTube and relive it all again.
Well, welcome to the once ‘Drrrtttyyy South”s new clean-cut craze: black boy/white boy rap. No matter however many clues you now realise there was leading up to this in mainstream hip hop (ie Kanye aka Carlton from ‘The Fresh Prince Of Bel Air’ rapping), you still never really saw this coming:
Favourite lines: “I gotta redneck homeboy/His name is Chuck/We take monster bong hits in his monster truck”
“My other friend Cindy/I think she’s from Boston/I think she likes me/She says I’m so frickin awesome/She’s a biker chick/She got a red Harley, she loves keg parties, she rock Ed Hardy’s”
I didn’t even know what Ed Hardy was until I Googled it, which made the whole song even funnier.
I’d love to have been a fly on the wall at the board meeting where they sat down and brainstormed typical ‘white dude’ pursuits and settled on sky diving as the closing scene… I also love Duece trying to still look gangsta whilst jumping out of a plane strapped tandem to another man.
But this is much, much more than a one-off novelty club banger though- THANK YOU LORD! – oh yes. All across the South’s rap hotspots – most notably the Atlanta/Miami axis- what’s being termed ‘black boy/white boy’ rap is evolving as one of the most fun, and certainly the most bizarre forms of hip hop in emergence. In short, it’s southern rappers who’re vocally nodding to, borrowing from and glamourising ‘white dude’ culture in various forms, whether that be fashion, lifestyle, slang (or all of the latter).
It’s thanks to, well it’s hard to exactly say… Certainly the recent influx of ecstasy filtering out from frat boy/white trash culture into the southern rap fraternity has a massive role on many of the purveyors (as we’ll see in a bit), but aside from that, I’m putting it down to hip-hop having exhausted pretty every other plausible fad and niche. You spend a while trying to get your head around the complex tapestry of irony, tongue-in-cheekness, genuineness, and post-modernity that is at play, then kick yourself by realising – this is simply ALL KINDS OF AMAZING! Onwards…
Meet Young Dro, He’s one of TI’s new protége’s. In a video I’ve watched over 100 times over the past week, he explains somewhat of a manifesto to his take on ‘black boy/white boy’. His slogan is ‘black boy swag, white boy tag’ – which I believe refers to a black man’s swagger, with the clothing ‘tags’ traditionally worn by a white gentleman.
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Favourite lines: I mean, lets be honest, there’s too many to list. but I’m particularly fond of: ‘Fashionably sensible, but too cool to care.”
The fact that his new mixtape is entitled ‘POLO’ – in a canny abbreviation of ‘players only live once’ is just too much.
Because it’s still a ‘hood’ scene – ie hardly anyone earns proper cash, and the few chunks of dosh the very top flight of ‘black boy/white boy’ rappers make are quickly spent on expensive outfits, posh-looking second hand cars from like 15 years ago and chains, plus it lacks the huge PR/marketing infastuctures that filter the realities of all major label rap – it allows uniquely candid moments like this to slip through. Here’s Dro letting himself be filmed sat on the loo of a $120-a-night hotel in the early hours of the morning, smoking weed and regailing a story about getting mugged. Now, you don’t see Jigga on the shitter…
Here’s the eponymous cut off Young Dro and his side-kick and co-TI protege Yung LA’s mixtape, ‘Black Boy White Boy’.
Yung LA’s amazing. He takes it to a whole new level. He has a mohawk (which seem very popular in the scene overall) with crazy tramline patterns shaved all over the sides for starters, and his whole shtick is rhyming in this really weird purring whisper. Also you’ve got to love his tight tees and jeans combo. It’s like nothing I’ve ever seen/heard before. Check his recent video for ‘Futuristic Love’ – which it seems is kinda his slogan (he’s a bit of a smoothie).
Next up, black boy/white boy beef!
Here’s the comedy trailer to Travis Porter’s new smash, also controversially called ‘Black Boy White Boy’ (And no, that’s not them in the video…). Listen to the way they’re rapping though, a-ma-zing. From the younger kids on the scene this seems to be the vibe: comedy voices + cheery/energetic vibing. I love the way it feels so positive and wholesome.
Now, Travis Porter are from (very specifically) East Atlanta (we’re assured it’s very different from the west side). They don’t like Young Dro and Yung LA’s clique. They ‘diss’ each other.
Here’s a neighborhood tour by Travis Porter too. Some excellent facial hair and garms on display. Not quite sure why they’re so emphatic in insisting they come from there though. I mean, we believe them, right?
Here’s a funny video I found of some random kid in Atlanta taking the mickey out of Young Dro. Poor guy seems to get a pretty hard time of it…
Another black boy/white boy essential are Atlanta’s Rich Kids. They have one killer, killer tune featuring Young Dro, it’s called ‘My Partna Dem’, it’s super high-energy smiley party-rap at it’s finest:
Check them here at a local radio interview, look at these guys. SO GOOD…
Last of all, here’s Atlanta much beleaguered mixtape master-turned-hood-cred-giver-to-mainstream-megasters Gucci Mane. If you haven’t heard of him, don’t worry you probably will do soon.
If he stays out of rehab and jail for -ok let’s be realistic with goals- off recent track records, let’s say eight months, he could be a really big star next year… Let’s see. I mean, off of guest spots for the likes of Mariah, Black Eyed Peas, Mario and Soulja Boy and his ridiculously prolific series of mixtapes alone, he was listed in last month’s Spin as the fourth biggest-selling rapper in the world.
For those that don’t know Gucci, the blurred out image of a chain pendant is an all-diamond and platinum Bart Simpson on a skate board.
He’s not a black boy/white boy disciple, but his brand new single ‘Wasted’ shows him buying -at least partly- into the ethos, cept rather than the ‘tags’ that our previous few artistes have favoured, Gucci’s take is more in keeping with Duece Poppi’s. They love the fact that the white guys aren’t so tied to the poised and collected screw-face persona of many-a ‘G’, and basically have no qualms in getting totally wasted when they party…
Favourite lines: “Pill poppers geeked up krazy whole click rolling/Everyone wasted purple codeine sprite” and, of course, “I don’t wear tight jeans like the white boys. But I do get wasted like the white boys.”
Hope you’ve enjoyed this half as much as I have. There’s not much more on the web about this that I can find at the moment aside from this mix, which was recently posted up on Dilpo’s Mad Decent label blog.
Much more coverage of Gucci’s imminent world takeover to come…
Oh, and massive thanks to Rob Semmer for introducing me to all this. Total legend. x