E-mail this image
Sometimes embarrassing, sometimes surprising
By Jeff Weiss
Who can really say who the first white rapper was? But certainly the Beastie Boys were the first to shoot to fame -- and fundamentally alter the genre -- with 1986's "Licensed to Ill," in which hip-hop was forced to confront questions of race, audience and inflatable phalluses.
In the wake of those original frat-rappers, music labels throughout the late 1980s and early 1990s sporadically attempted to cash in on melanin-light lyricists, with House of Pain, Vanilla Ice and Marky Mark earning equal parts success and scorn, and only the interracial 3rd Bass achieving modest critical respectability.