“Palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy. There’s vomit on his sweater already, mom’s spaghetti…”
Wait… Wrong song.
BUT I do know what it feels like to step onto a stage being one of two white people in a venue among a 100+ person crowd.
The air fills with contempt as the crowd realizes the white guy came to rap. My surfer dude haircut paired with a less than trendy style doesn’t win over many fans based on looks alone. I introduce myself to complete silence and call for the instrumental to be played. When I start rapping my first few bars, I always see faces in the crowd fill with surprise.
They might say to each other, “Oh, shit! White boy got bars!”
If I am practiced and totally on point, I always gain the crowd’s respect by my 3rd or 4th song. It is the best feeling in the world. Silent, irritable glances turn to smiles of admiration (or at least tolerance). I have bombed, though. Bombing is miserable. I have been booed and dismhttps://www.zanderjaz.comed by no fault of my own as well; just because I lack a little skin pigment. When I tell anyone I rap, it’s like they pretend not to hear me. The subject is quickly and/or awkwardly changed most times requiring me to repeat myself.
“Yeah, I make hip hop.”
A polite dismhttps://www.zanderjaz.comal is usually the best case scenario… Until they hear it. “Is that you? That’s not you?!?!” they say. I smile and nod as they still seem to be in disbelief.
I will definitely say, a white rapper has to come twice as hard. If you have a hint of garbage about you, you’re immediately dismhttps://www.zanderjaz.comed. Rightfully so. To most people, I am an outsider to the culture. I understand and respect that. That is why I always come prepared with my best, most polished songs to present. I want no doubt in the listeners mind that I am serious and dedicated to this craft.
Hip hop has appealed to me as far back as I can remember. As an 8 year old, I asked my dad to buy me the Dangerous Minds movie soundtrack. That’s when the love affair began. Everything about the music and culture of hip hop lured me in. Coming from a family that’s old school southern (all living or raised in the North Georgia mountains), my folks never understood what appealed to me about hip hop music. They were perplexed by my attraction to such a foreign culture. Honestly, I can’t explain it either.
Needless to say, when I began recording songs and performing, my family was reluctantly supportive. Once, I was able to negotiate a family outing to one of my all ages shows. Organized by an internet based company that searches through social media to find sometimes questionable hip hop acts, the productions are typically populated by a motley bunch. Without fail, every show lacks a logical stylistic cohesion. Anyhow, my dad, grandma, aunt, siblings, and a few friends assembled to show support completely unaware of the environment or the experience that awaited. Hip hop brought them to downtown Atlanta from the quiet suburbs. I truly appreciate their willingness to step so far from their comfort zones. I saw their shock as I performed much better than they expected. That’s one of my proudest moments. My success was validated by my dad’s embarrassing pride induced crying fit (Inner voice: Enough, Ben… Wrap this shit up!).
Being a white rapper is kind of a never ending self induced torture. I can’t get enough. It’s taken me into climactic highs and depressing lows, but I always learned from my failures and excessively celebrated my successes. If you feel confident, like life is going well and wanna crush that in a few torturous, traumatizing three to four minute segments, you should attempt to be a white rapper.