Why is Eminem considered the first "big" white rapper when The Beastie Boys were all white and were popular back in 1986 (according to a quick google search), years before Em's 1999 success?

  1. And notably, Eminem has said that Vanilla Ice inspired him to pursue rap, because Ice showed him that a white person could be accepted as a rapper and be successful. It was his "representation matters" moment.

  2. Got my first introduction to Vanilla Ice thru teenage mutant Ninja turtles 2. "Go ninja! Go ninja! Go go!"

  3. Counterpoint: he was huge when I was in middle school, and there was definitely this sense that he was the first white guy to hit it big in equal skill and success to black rappers. I’m not saying that was necessarily true, but it was definitely in the air, and how the channels talked about him, and he may have encouraged it himself with the Elvis comparisons. I think Ice gets dismissed because it feels like just the one song. It’s more interesting that the Beastie Boys don’t get counted… maybe because they are a group?

  4. I think Eminem is the first white rapper to have a lot of acclaim from fellow rap artists. That's the difference here. The Beastie Boys have some great songs, but I don't think they're as talented lyrically as somebody like Eminem. And there aren't a lot of people talented lyrically like Eminem. That's ehy he gets that respect.

  5. Ice's big label releases were a joke, because that's what the label wanted. His indie stuff was really fucking good, and I say that as someone who really doesn't care for rap.

  6. Also look at the album cover for Kamikaze. Very clear tribute to the Beastie Boys. Say whatever you want about Em but the dude has a history of showing appreciation and paying respect of those that came before him in hip-hop.

  7. Who considers Eminem the first big white rapper? If anything that title should go to Vanilla Ice. He's considered a joke now, but he was a massive star in the early 90s and arguably one of the people who helped make rap mainstream.

  8. So I feel like while he was really popular in the 90s, he was still considered a joke back then and not respected as a rapper and then Eminem came along and his talent was just different and more…”rap” like.

  9. I mean..: I hated Vanilla Ice back then, but "Ice Ice Baby" is objectively a really good song. That said... his whole person was clearly a money-grab aimed at white people who didn't usually listen to rap.

  10. He's the biggest, but not the first. Until your post, I've never heard anyone call him the first big one.

  11. I have seen this argument in Twitter a lot. But that's where it starts and ends, there were other big white rap artist before Eminem. But he was the one who had the global reach unlike any rapper ever had or has.

  12. The first big white rapper? No. The first white rapper from the hood to make it big? Yes. His lyrics held weight and he had the receipts to back it up.

  13. Speaking as an old white guy. I am baffled by this. I was unaware people thought this. 3rd Bass, Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch, House of Pain, Vanilla Ice.

  14. Beasties were almost considered more of a "gimmick" and "party band" when they first hit. "Fight for your Right?" A joke song, as declared by the Boys themselves. Paul's Boutique? Another experiment in going over the top, but this time with samples. They packed in somewhere around 400? It's a ridiculous amount and it was intentional to outdo any other record with the sheer volume of samples.

  15. It’s arguable they helped create the game. They got into hip hop/rap at the ground floor. Eazy-E was a huge fan of the beastie boys and claimed they were one of his inspirations. He gave a lyrical nod to them in at least one of his songs. Freaking Ice Cube emulated Ad Rocks voice in his very early work.

  16. Idk, why is 2CELLOS known as the pioneers of cello metal while Apocalyptica has been doing it since the 90s?

  17. Beastie boys started as a hardcore group, and kept rock influences in their sound instead of the typical hip hop beat of the time. Their lyrical content was more about partying and fun concepts and girls so they also had a different target audience.

  18. Beastie Boys also crossed genres a lot, punk and rock included. No shade, I'm a lifelong fan, just saying that they aren't rap-specific like Em.

  19. Blondie was the first white rapper I remember. She might have only one hit but it was a big one. I am pretty sure she was before the Beastie boys.

  20. I think one big factor is that he was one of the first big white rap artists that was respected by the rap/hip-hop community. Like vanilla ice and beastie boys sold a lot and beastie boys were for sure popular, but idk if the rap/hip-hop community would have, at the time, considered them real pure legit rappers.

  21. Eminem was the most controversial white rapper and he connected more white people to rap and hip hop. He literally raps about it in his songs. His songWhite America is a decent example of how people viewed him as well as how he viewed(views?) America.

  22. People really do be forgetting that Eminem was not music you play at the family get together. America, white people in general, have gotten alot less "prude" in recent years. Hell back then, there was no difference between a hard r and "but it ends in a different letter" type vibes. Every once in a while my wife's family, from the sticks of Idaho, will play Eminem music. The first time I heard it, it shocked me. Because not 20 years ago, that type of "God awful music" was not allowed in their house. Hell, I probably wasn't allowed in their house. It's pretty crazy

  23. According to MTV, Wikipedia & West Coast Pioneers.com In 1981 Lee "DJ Flash" Johnson of the "RAPPERS RAPP GROUP" was called the first White Rapper signed to a Rap Label "RAPPERS RAPP DISCO CO" .in Los Angeles, Ca.

  24. Personally, I've never really considered The Beastie Boys as rap. Honestly, probably the only popular rock group that happens to rap their lyrics.

  25. They did start off with the corny 80s rap, so absolutely rappers, but they did also dip their toes in that classic punk style

  26. Yeah, I was going to say they aren’t really rap. And I don’t think they consider themselves rappers.

  27. Big is not the right word. Accepted into the rap culture would probably fit the question better. Beastie boys had a much harder punk style of rap. Which was cool in the day. Em also has a more punk style of rap vs boom bap street style but his style was accepted by black people a lot more than vanilla and beastie boys. Plus em came from the dirt with a lot of other poor white and black folks. His ruggedness was real and so has stood the test of time

  28. Same reason people said “black panther” was the first movie ever starring a black super hero like decades after “blade” was released and spawned sequels.

  29. Because Eminem is bigger than every other white rapper that’s ever existed and by some distance as well. Think all his albums have gone to number one and however many times platinum. There’s just nobody that comes close regardless of how far back you go.

  30. Sense when was he considered the first big white rapper? I bought his albums back then, but nobody cares dude was white. Came up in conversation yeah, but you are acting like we cared. Like at all.

  31. I don't know if Anyone sees him as the "first" big white rapper but one of the mainstreamed artists? Hes just super well known among the younger crowd is all. The new generations dont know the Beastie boys' music.

  32. Because hiphop got mainstream in the 1990s. Eminem got on the hype train when hiphop reached the white suburbs in the early 2000s

  33. I think Beastie Boys is the closest comparable artist/group to Em. All others mentioned artists in this thread were one hit wonders or their careers lived for a short time.

  34. They knew that their style of rapping was completely different than real rap. They made their own branched off-shoot of it and with a lot less violence and inflections of slang. So yeah..

  35. I don’t know anyone who considers him the first white rapper, just like nirvana isn’t the first to introduce grunge. What these two are known for is being the most successful in that regard…

  36. It’s because Eminem was the first to be taken seriously on par with the hiphop scene at the time. Vanilla ice and Beastie boys weren’t taken seriously by the legit rap genre, instead being seen as just “white boy music.” Eminem mirrored the black-rap come up by being broke, in a broken home, struggling, and having really great work play and rhythm as well as humor that was self-aware of him being white.

  37. Is Eminem considered the first white rapper to break through? I see him as being the most financially successful white rapper and the one with the most universal crossover appeal but not the first.

  38. That distinction would have not been made in the 80s and 90s, where Jews, especially ones in NYC were considered white by cultural standards. Not always the case, but in that era, yeah.

  39. Eminem dabbled in some of what could techincally be called gangsta rap but that has very little to do with the success of his career. Did you think that mmlp was gangsta rap?

  40. In addition to some other responses, there are different genres of rap. Eminem is more associated with gangster rap and other artists in that genre.

  41. Eminem achieved a level of mainstream success that the Beastie Boys never really reached. He was quite literally a household name while the Beastie Boys weren't so well known outside of their target audience.

  42. Beasties were fucking massive in their day. Definitely a household name. But you have to be old enough to remember or know this.

  43. It feels like Beastie boys often get forgotten about in the hip hop conversation and it's their Rick ruban rock fusion that lives on.

  44. Beastie Boys are legendary, for sure. But Em was the first like raw white rapper. Grew up struggling, in the hood, basically associated as black. Things the beastie boys were not

  45. Is it possible it's due to their cultural backgrounds? Eminem is from one of the poorest areas of America whilst the Beastie Boys and other white rappers at the time were from better off areas I've been led to believe

  46. As a fan of both, it always seemed like Eminem didn't just want a spot at the table, he also wanted to be a highly respected voice in all of it. Possibly due to being a group the beastie boys probably needed to be in agreement with some of their approaches to publicity. But that's just speculation. BB definitely did a lot to help rap become a more culturally intertwined phenomena and without them and later vanilla ice creating the paths I don't think Eminem would have had nearly as monumental a career.

  47. Em was the first "big" white rapper. But he has held onto his position at the top of the game longer than most other rappers regardless of color, and is definitely the most famous and prolific white rapper to date. Some of it has to do with the friends he made in Dre, Snoop, 50, etc. Alot of it has to do with his skill.

  48. maybe it’s as simple as beastie boys and house of pain were groups, and vanilla ice kind of became a punchline (deservedly or not)

  49. The beasties went from NYC punk rock to stadium rappers to legit hip hop legends. Paul’s boutique changed my life.

  50. The Beastie Boys were not considered true hip-hop. They crossed over many genres and were thought of as rock/rap or better yet punk/rap. Eminem was the first white solo rapper who didn't openly plagiarize other artists the way Vanilla Ice did. Also, Eminem wrote his own rap songs.

  51. I don’t remember them being popular that long ago. Rap wasn’t a popular genré yet although it existed at least since the late seventies or very early eighties. They couldn’t have been that popular in86. Rap itself hadn’t crossed over yet or was just starting to. I think everyone was still rocking out to Thriller by MJ in 1986.

  52. I think no one knew what to make of the beastie boys bc they weren’t as hard as other rappers at the time. License to Ill kind of felt like part parody.

  53. The beastie boys are not rappers lol. They're like a fusion of rap rock and punk. Eminem music is almost all traditional rap. Beastie boys have guitar and shit in most of their songs. Go listen to 5 of the most popular eminem songs, and 5 of the most popular beastie boys songs, and tell me who's songs are more "rap"

  54. Em is miles ahead a better MC than any of the Beasties,but the BB were trailblazers in hip hop. Paul's Boutique is easily one of the greatest hip hop albums of all time and the follow ups with Check Your Head and Ill Communication were some bright highlights of an amazing early 90s rap scene. The Beasties definitely trailed off creatively by the time Em emerged and I think that's important to acknowledge.

  55. As has been exhaustively documented in the replies here, OP's entire premise is flawed. Maybe you consider Eminem the first "big" white rapper, but most people don't.

  56. As others have said, I don’t think anyone believes Eminem was the first white rapper. It’s more he was the first of his kind to gain so much notoriety and respect from other rappers. His style and lyricism was more “gangster” and explicit, whereas Beastie Boys are almost tongue in cheek, and their music blurs the like with Rock. There’s probably an argument to be made that his music appealed to wider demographics, or ones that Beastie Boys didn’t appeal to. Lastly, his image was also shaped largely in part by his collaboration with Dr. Dre.

  57. Beastie boys weren't ghetto approved like Eminem, Slim Shady's target audience were young white people growing up inner city who felt ostracized because of how America has been made into a mixing pot. It's like everyone forgot tribalism will make these things happen.

  58. Eminem was the first real hard core whot gangsta rap style rapper. He was huge, probably bigger than the Beastie Boys, who also had more of a alt-rap sound. So basically two similar but separate genres which cause many people not to think of them on the same light.

  59. The Beastie Boys were really more the framework for what became Nu Metal; hip-hop lyrics over guitars. Yeah, rappers in the last decade and change have been sampling rock songs, but The Beastie Boys- and later Nu Metal groups- had their own original music, written just for their songs. Honestly, the first 'white rapper' to be taken seriously by mass media was Mark Wahlberg, AKA Marky Mark, and that lasted for all of like 5 minutes. Eminem had the staying power.

  60. Beasties started out punk, moved to rap (before hip-hop was coined), grew into some alternative, and then back to hip-hop.

  61. this shows how little you know about both punk and hip hop. You honestly saying brass monkey is punk ? what about sure shot or intergalactic? that sound like punk to you ?

  62. Because Eminem is a solo artist while they are a group. Also because Eminem was (and is) much bigger than they were

  63. This question ignores that there is a difference between rap and hiphop. Anyone can rap, but to be considered a "rapper", you need to be part of the culture of hiphop.

  64. While the beastie boys were very talented and worthy of their trailblazing credit they didn’t scratch the level of talent Eminem has

  65. Yeah Beastie Boys did hip hop with 4 people rapping on alternative bars what M could do by himself writing his own lyrics with Dre creating beats. It's not the same. Stop thinking it is.

  66. Here’s why Em stands so apart from all those other rappers - he blended pop and rap in a really unique way that transformed the genre. No one sounded like Eminem, no one had the stage persona Eminem had, and no one took as many huge risks as Eminem did to make rap as, ironically, radio friendly.

  67. I’m sure someone touched on it, but there were many white rappers before, Esoteric for one, Slug from Atmosphere, High and Mighty, Bubba Sparxxx from the early 2000’s.

  68. He’s not. Just because he’s sold the most albums for a white rapper doesn’t mean he’s the first big white rapper. The Beastie Boys have sold of 50 million albums. That’s pretty big.

  69. Many comments comparing the two as if Eminem is more talented. Think you need to learn more about beastie boys and their backgrounds of musical genius. I love both but just cos they're both rap artists doesn't make one more talented than the other. They both have various talents not found in the other.

  70. RHCP did rap too early on until Anthony hit gold with Under the Bridge and actually had to learn how to sing.

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