The White Rapper Joke

This essay by Hanif Abdurraqib is near the back of his first book, They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us, and after reading it last night I sat with it for a while. The whole book is really good; a mix of essays about music and blackness and America and death. What he manages to do in this essay is recontextualize some of the biggest white rappers to break out in the past 30 years. His assessment of Eminem and Vanilla Ice were confirmations of what I mostly understood already, but consideration of Bubba Sparxxx and Macklemore in particular were way more nuanced than I’ve seen either of them treated with before. Read this Guardian reprint now and then run and get your hands on the book (his second one, all about A Tribe Called Quest, came out last year and he has a new collection of essays due out this fall).

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