Shady Records’ Yelawolf recently opened up about his image as a white hip-hop star in a predominantly minority-driven rap game and how important it is to acknowledge the role of race within music.
Although having established himself through music with a non-stop grind, Yela admits still bearing through stereotyping.
“I don’t hate the term ‘white rapper,'” Yelawolf says while being interviewed on camera by yet another hip-hop blogger — one of hundreds who have been tracking his rise during the past four years from Southern rap anomaly to Shady Records signee, a swarm that only intensified in the run-up to the Nov. 21 release of his Ghet-O-Vision/Shady/Interscope debut, “Radioactive.” “It’s fully relevant and will always be… It’s important to hold to the culture as it is, no matter how abrasive that [term] might sound or it might be. Race is still real and you got to recognize it.” (Billboard)
Last month, Yela and Shady Records CEO Eminem tackled the topic of race and music.
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 blindly 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 past Yelawolf interview below: