Grammy-winning rapper Eminem opens up about his and Shady Records’ Yelawolf status as white emcees in a predominantly black urban genre and why music outshines everything in the upcoming VIBE magazine.
Within his cover feature, Em tells music journalist veteran Erik Parker he does not allow the pressure of racial profiling impact his state of mind.
Eminem, what advice do you offer, if any, on being scrutinized for being a white rapper. Do you guys ever talk about race in that way?
Eminem: We make jokes about it, but I don’t think we talk about it in depth. As I was listening to his music, I am not even thinking about any of that shit. It’s just the music. That’s one of the things that’s great about it. I’m not even thinking about it when I hear the music.
Yelawolf: We do poke fun of it because it’s funny. Like, he calls me White Dog.
Oh, you called him that on the BET Awards Cypher. I didn’t realize it was an ongoing joke?
EM: Yeah, or Beige Sheep. [Laughs]
YW: Cracker Nuts. Whatever, I think it’s kinda unspoken.
EM: We deal with it enough as it is. So now, let’s make music.
YW: Let’s make great records. At the end of the day, that’s all there is to do. (VIBE)
Last year, Yela said it would take a long time before white rappers could 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)
In April 2010, Houston’s Paul Wall explained why he cannot be 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)
Outside of race talk, Em recently received a co-sign from hip-hop pioneer Rakim.
“I’m still a fan. I love hip-hop. I’ve got a wide range of different artists [that I respect]. I was an underground artist, but the underground status was successful,” Rakim said in an interview. “Coming from where I came from to see where rap is now, now artists are selling from a million to eight million copies. It’s a little scarce today, but I’m a fan of watching different rappers take the torch and run with it. I’m a big fan of Jay-Z‘s whole movement. I’m a big fan of Eminem. I’m a big fan of people like The LOX, Wu-Tang Clan, and different rappers like that. Just watching from afar, knowing where it came from, to see where it’s at now and see how rap impacts the world is unbelievable. It’s a good feeling to see that it’s still a major genre in music.” (Complex)
The new VIBE issue hits newsstands Tuesday, December 6th.
Check out a past Yelawolf interview below: