While race continues to be an underlying factor in hip-hop, SOHH recently chatted with Tom Hanks‘ rapper son Chet Haze to see how he manages his burgeoning career as the white offspring of a Hollywood star.
In Chet’s mind, hip-hop heads should realize the rap game has expanded beyond racial boundaries.
“See man, the stereotypes, what they really come from is, I’m a white kid from the suburbs, from a well-to-do family, and that’s about the last thing your average middle American thinks about when he thinks about hip-hop,” Chet explained to SOHH. “There’s just a lot of cliches out there. People associate hip-hop and the music of hip-hop with being from the hood and being gangster. That’s a portion. That’s something that’s affected hip-hop but what people need to know about me is that hip-hop is something more than white and black. Hip-hop is not only music, but a culture. And if it speaks to you, then it speaks to you. Hip-hop has spoken to me since I was a little kid. No matter where you’re from or who you are, if the music and the culture speaks to you, it’s gonna have an effect on you. That’s what’s happened to me. It’s something I love and it’s something I do.” (SOHH)
Haze also revealed how much of an impact the late Notorious B.I.G.‘s music had on his life.
“The most inspirational moment for me, as a hip-hop fan, occurred when I heard [Notorious B.I.G.’s] Ready 2 Die,” Haze added when asked about his music influences. “My older brother had bought me the album. I saw it lying around my room one day when I was a little kid and I just threw it in my stereo not knowing what I was about to get in to. And so then I just sat and listened to Ready 2 Die. From beginning to end. Without saying a word, kind of with my jaw dropped. It touched me in such a way that from that day on, anything I listened to was hip-hop. Everyday. Everyday of my life. I was so curious. People like Big L, Jay-Z, Nas. Wu-Tang.” (SOHH)
Newly signed Shady Records artist Yelawolf recently discussed battling racism at concerts.
“I still face it at every show, dog. There’s always somebody. It never fails, never. Until I’m selling out my own shows and I’m going to be demo-ing for somebody. And somebody is not going to like me because I’m a white boy on stage rapping and I look different. That’s something I will experience until everybody that came through the door came to see just me. I’m used to it though, when you’re traveling with groups, you just have to be prepared to deal with it. Do your best to snap and walk off the stage holding your nuts. Always! That’s how you got to be. I grew up in Alabama so I’ve heard and seen it all. Knowing your talent is probably one of the keys to be successful.” (VIBE)
Last spring, Paul Wall explained why he cannot be simply compared to fellow white rapper Eminem.
“Everybody raised me to believe I was a kid and an individual. So me being White or any other characteristic didn’t define who I was,” he explained in an interview. “So I didn’t carry myself as a White person. I am who I am. I also think I’m wise enough to know you can’t compare me to Eminem due to his success andstyle. Also my sound was different. Coming from Texas there’s a large Mexican and Jamaican population so it’s multiracial. So my fan base is extremely multiracial so that has something to do with it, too.” (XXL Mag)
Check out a Chet Haze freestyle below: