Rap newcomer Yelawolf has shared his thoughts on being a white emcee in a predominantly black genre of music and explained his respect for hip-hop’s roots.
Yelawolf feels that despite his rhyming capability, he still gets dealt the race card by critics.
“People are still judging immediately,” Yela said referring to critics of his image as a white emcee. “They’re not even giving music a chance. And on the flip side, I met somebody last night who had [my album] Trunk Muzik downloaded without any artwork and somehow had never seen a picture of me and said, ‘Oh my G-d, I didn’t know you was white, that’s crazy’. What the f*ck? I didn’t know you was white?’ I didn’t know how, in this day and age but I think it said a lot about my music and it said a lot about that person too. To me, I make music and I respect black culture. At the end of the day, this is black music and it’s American black music. I was watching a documentary on The Rolling Stones and listening to Keith Richards talking about his passion for American black music, that’s what created The Stones. We can’t forget that here in America. If you’re a white boy and you’re doing this, it’s something you have to respect. The roots of this is black music, black culture. You have to accept it and not just accept it, but embrace it, love it and be proud of it….” (XXL Mag)
Yela also cautioned his Caucasian fans to refrain from using offensive and derogatory terms towards him and in public.
“Be respectful and don’t drop the N-Bomb,” Yela added. “White boys out there dropping the N-Bomb, stop, please. You’ll never, ever, ever be able to say it. It’s never going to be cool, just stop. Don’t drop it in your music, don’t drop it around people, don’t drop it to me on Twitter. I see those white boys on Twitter dropping the N-Bomb on me and I’m like, ‘Dude? I’m not even gonna respond to you.’ Like, chill out. You’re never that cool.” (XXL Mag)
In August, Yela discussed his struggle with winning over critics’ respect.
“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)
Earlier this year, Yela said he felt it may take decades before white rappers would be treated equally.
“Years and years of great white artists. It’s going to take more classics from white artists that make international impacts,” Yela said about clearing out discrimination. “I mean Rock n’ Roll is black music, but there were plenty talented white Rock n’ Roll that just kind of made that line disappear. It’s going to take decades. It won’t happen in my lifetime. The odds are just slim for a white artist in Hip-Hop. This is a black culture… it’s just something you have to respect and appreciate. Have to be thankful that you’re able to do it. Do what you do and love what you do. You have to be passionate about what you do and let it live.” (All Hip Hop)
Check out Yelawolf’s interview below: