Show to penalize MCs for rapping with N-word

Peter Cosgrove/AP Photo files


Marshall Mathers, aka Rapper Eminem, is probably the best-known white hip-hop artist ever. Will The (white)?Rapper Show find a rapper this credible

WIGGA OF THE NARCISSUS: I’m not sure I could watch a whole episode, but VH1 is debuting a fascinating-sounding new reality show, The (white) Rapper Show, next Monday. Hosted by MC Serch of early-’90s rap group 3rd Bass (don’t those seem like such innocent times now ), it’s Project Runway for melanin-challenged mike destroyers, set in a dingy South Bronx warehouse.

The prize is $100,000 US, and sucking MCs have the laces on their kicks tied together and thrown over a power line. The opening episode includes the rather surreal touch of having the contestants head out into the ’hood to serenade neighbours with impromptu raps and give them gifts of Saltine crackers.

The show also bobs in the wake of the Michael Richards fracas of last year by imposing a penalty on honky MCs who taint their flow by using the N-word, according to a story in New York Magazine. Persia, from Far Rockaway in Queens, N.Y., gets a thick chain adorned with what the magazine calls "a blinged-out N-word insignia" hung around her neck in punishment. Serch, the host, explained rather cryptically that "it can’t be tolerated. It sends out the wrong message. She was using it from a place of comfort, and she grew up with it. But that core of friends doesn’t extend beyond that core of friends.

"We made her wear (the chain) for 24 hours," said Serch, "and immediately you could sense a difference in her attitude."

You can only imagine how this wave of sensitivity could spread. Would guests on The View be punished for using the word "bitch" What would be the unusable word on Hardball With Chris Matthews Republican, probably.

Credibility, it seems, is the biggest problem white rappers face — besides the prospect of almost constant ridicule from anyone, regardless of race. "I had to be twice as good as the next man or woman," Serch explained. You sort of have to take his word for it, even as you ponder the fact that his last album came out 15 years ago, while those admittedly mediocre rappers The Beastie Boys still have a career. Go figure.

Racial demography confounds all of hip hop, never mind white rappers, according to Serch. "Even though most of hip-hop music is being purchased by white people in the suburbs," he told New York, "there’s still a prevalent feeling of ‘How can you know about hip-hop ’ But I think the biggest problem white rappers encounter is with themselves. They don’t find comfort in doing what they need to do. How can you call yourself a white rapper if you’ve never performed in front of black people It’s a black art form."

So white rappers use the N-word from a place of comfort, but don’t find comfort performing in front of blacks It looks like VH1 needs to do a reality show to get white rappers new jobs.

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