Sometimes embarrassing, sometimes surprising

The rise of hard-core East Coast rap and Vanilla Ice's subsequent career meltdown sent white rappers into the wilderness for the majority of the Clinton years, an underground incubatory period that wound up producing some of the sub-genre's leading lights, including sizable percentages of talent on independent labels Rhymesayers, Def Jux and Anticon. With the commercial success of one-time subterranean sensation Eminem and the concomitant rap-rock phenomenon -- think Limp Bizkit and Linkin Park -- white rappers saw newfound interest from major labels around the fin de siecle, with only Timbaland protégé Bubba Sparxxx, a Southern rapper, achieving notable success. But now with Eminem's ballyhooed return; the rise of Asher Roth and his hit "I Love College"; the re-issue of Company Flow's groundbreaking album, "Funcrusher Plus"; and even the Lonely Island's joke-rap parodies, 2009 is shaping up to be the year of the white rapper. Here's a chronicle of the milestones that led us here -- bring your sunblock.
Karin Catt
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