Over the course of the past few decades, hip-hop has risen to become one of the more prominent popular music genres. Though its prime cultural origins lay upon the streets of The Bronx, New York City, the genre has spread far and wide since its conception in the early 1970’s. Created largely by the predominantly African American communities which inhabited the area at this time, hip hop was crafted off the back of block party culture. During such parties, a DJ would be charged with providing a concise stream of appropriate music for the enjoyment of the assembled crowds. Genres of choice typically centered around soul, reggae, dub and funk music, leading to experimentation amongst DJ’s, who began to isolating beats and coming up with their own fresh ideas. Eventually, the music acted to incorporate vocal parts, and hip-hop began its journey towards its current form. Whilst the genre belonged solely to black artists back then, in time people of all ethnicities provided input. Today, hip-hop is arguably far more based around the particular social background of an individual, as opposed to strictly being relative to their race, religion or ethnicity. In celebration of this perspective, let’s take a look at some of the most credit-worthy Caucasian hip-hop artists or ‘rappers’ to have emerged in recent years.
10. Brother Ali
Brother Ali is a white hip-hop lyricist who was born and raised in the United States’ ‘Midwest’ region. Born in Wisconsin in 1974, he settled along with his family in Minneapolis, Minnesota aged 15 in 1992. It was around the same time that Ali (birth name Jason Newman) converted to Islam, and began practicing the religion habitually. Influenced further by a school trip to Malaysia focusing on the study of the lesser exposed liberal side of his new found religion, Newman soon turned to hip-hop as a medium through which to vent his views and opinions. Ali is also an albino, a fact which often dictates his portrayal in the popular media.
9. Sage Francis
Native of Providence, Rhode Island and founder of Strange Famous Records, Sage Francis (real name Paul Francis), has been releasing highly acclaimed music since 1996. Born in Miami, Florida in 1976, Francis first gained widespread recognition within the hip-hop community on the back of a win at the Scribble Jam ‘emcee’ battle in 2000. By 2002 he had signed to Hollywood based punk-rock label ‘Epitaph Records’, making history as the first rapper to do so. Releasing five albums since then, and touring the US extensively, Sage Francis has become one of the most notable white rappers in the industry at present.
8. Lunar C
Perhaps the youngest MC on this list, Lunar C is one of the most recent rappers to emerge from the UK’s thriving underground hip-hop/grime scene. Born Jake Brook in Bradford, West Yorkshire in 1990—he began performing under the pseudonym ‘Lunar C’ as a teenager, competing in battle raps and releasing his first mix-tape ‘The Lunar CD’ in 2010. Though an accomplished songwriter, Lunar’s true talents arguably lie within the field of improvised competitive rap battles. Competing in six consecutive battles for UK based battle league ‘Don’t Flop’, Lunar remains unbeaten. All of his battles can be found on YouTube, and are extremely entertaining.
7. MC Serch
Born Michael Berrin in Queens, New York, 1967- MC Serch has been a functioning hip-hop artist since the mid 1980’s. Coming from a Jewish family, he began his musical career as a student of Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts. Founding rap trio ‘3rd Bass’ with Pete Nice and DJ Richie Rich in 1987, MC Serch went on to release three studio albums with the group through the infamous Def-Jam imprint, as well as solo effort ‘Return of the Product’ in 1992. Recently, Berrin has stuck to production and DJing as opposed to rapping, however earlier this month it was revealed that 3rd Bass are set to reunite in order to tour in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the groups pivotal ‘Cactus Album’.
Born Chris Palko in Wurzburg, Germany- Cage is an American rapper based out of Middletown, New York. Active as a rapper since 1991, Palko found notoriety as a result of his run-ins with the law as well as his raw and subversive material. Making a steady impression on the East Coast underground throughout the 1990’s Palko’s debut album emerged after he signed a deal with Eastern Conference Records. Entitled ‘Movies for the Blink’, the album made some serious waves upon its release in the summer of 2002. Since this time, Cage has gone on to release three more full lengths, with another LP, entitled ‘Kill the Architect’ scheduled to be released in the next few months.