Music Business

White Rappers & The N-Word Conundrum: 4 Case Studies

"You're talking to the wrong white man, my friend. My people were the white man's nigger when yours were still painting their faces and chasing zebras."

- Herman 'Hesh' Rabkin (Jerry Adler), The Sopranos

Freshman year of college. One of my good friends was a white kid who loved Jay-Z like crazy. He knew every song, owned every album, and once built an academic thesis around a Jay-Z quote. So, one day we're sitting in his red Ford jamming The Blueprint for absolutely no reason other than we just wanted to sit in the parking lot and jam The Blueprint.

Like I said, this guy adored Jay-Z. Anyway, "Takeover" comes on and we're both rapping along. The Jay-Z vs. Nas beef is arguably the greatest battle in rap history. The genius of that beef was that both MCs started out with jabs and gradually progressed to haymakers. Jay teased Nas on the original version of "Takeover." Nas teased back on the "Stillmatic" freestyle. Then the body shots started pouring in.

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