Streetwatch: (White) Rap Wrap-Up
After eight weeks of zany misadventures, VH1's surprisingly good The (White) Rapper Show has finally come to an end. What started off as a questionable concept blossomed into one of the most compelling programs on television, thanks mostly to the bizarre assortment of wannabe emcees and surprise celebrity cameos from the likes of Bushwick Bill, N.O.R.E., and Kool Keith. To be sure, there were still plenty of corny moments, but all in all, the show was a solid blend of entertainment, education, and exploitation. In case you missed it, most of the episodes are floating around online, and the DVD will surely be out soon. Here's a rundown of the 10 contestants who scrapped it out for the grand prize of $100,000.
The friendly ATL representative walked away with all the cash after a crowd-pleasing performance of his song "Fly Away." $ham looked like he was ready to fail a couple of times (freezing up at the Detroit battle, having his grill fall out at Rucker Park), but he stood strong and came back hard at the end, flexing a charismatic swagger that trumped his relatively unoriginal lyrics. With 100 Gs in his pocket, all the free publicity from the show, and his Dirty South geography, look for him to drop a big official project soon.
One of the show's breakout stars, Davis, California, native John Brown aka "King of the Burbs" is without a doubt the most relentless self-promoter in the mix. All business, JB's nonsensical Ghetto Revival movement; "I'm not a rapper, I'm an entity" stance; and ubiquitous catch phrase, "Hallelujah, holla back," made him a fan favorite. Unfortunately, like everybody else on here, he's just not a very good emcee. His husky, monotone flow and shaky hands on the mic derailed him in the end, even though his song "Car Wars" had a hilarious title and legitimately interesting concept.
Although extremely well-intentioned, with his antiracist activist agenda and overtly positive lyrics, Minneapolis native Jus Rhyme was so earnest that he came off like a clown. His message was totally on point, but his delivery was so off beat and screechy that it was difficult, if not impossible, to take him seriously. Nonetheless, he remains determined to make a career out of hip-hop music, in between lecturing on the college circuit and spreading his 15-point message through his crew, AR-15.
I really thought Persia was gonna win it all, with her ferocious, young-Fat Joe-esque flow and Queens pedigree. Unfortunately, she wasn't very tight under pressure and had a tendency to choke when it mattered most. She definitely injected a lot of good drama into the show (see: waving a dildo in John Brown's face, going to the hospital on a stretcher after 10 minutes of exercise), but in the end, she had a lot more heart than skills. Still, the competition out there among prominent female emcees is so slim that she could definitely make some noise in the coming year.
If you've ever spent any time in South Boston, you've met a lot of dudes like Sullee. Alternately good-natured and agro, eager to throw down in a fight, hardcore Red Sox fan, ex-con dad, et cetera. Also known as Young Heff, he's not the greatest rapper, but he's not that bad either. He could have definitely lasted longer on the show but instead decided to quit because he was assigned to write a diss rap against his cohorts, and he's "not a snitch." He's now doing his own thing with his independent label Old South End Records, and he recently recorded a track with Joe Budden.
Of all the contestants on the show, 100 Proof was probably the funniest cat in the mix. Blond mohawk? Check. Old school flow? Check. Grimy, two-packs-a-day voice? Check. Proudly alcoholic, always in a good mood, and pretty talented (if totally unorthodox), the Texas representative certainly has the star power and fan support to do big things. He just dropped an EP called Spare Change and has some decent merch for sale on his MySpace page, as well.
Coming out of Virginia, Jon Boy was the quiet guy who didn't really make any waves, until he started believing his own hype; then he went down fast. In his fateful final episode, he started signing autographs at the mall, freestyling for totally unimpressed bystanders in Queens, and bossing around the director of his first (and last?) music video. He was promptly ordered to "step off!" and is now desperately looking for a deal.
No relation to Warren G, this petite Pennsylvanian deserves some sort of sideways props just for proudly proclaiming her respect for/allegiance to walking punch line Vanilla Ice. Especially on a show hosted by MC Serch, whose biggest hit was a diss track aimed at Mr. Van Winkle. She seems like a cool-enough chick (though her anti-50 Cent temper tantrum was a little random), but unfortunately she can't really rap. Regardless, she is still performing in PA, opening for Detroit horrorcore artist King Gordy and, you guessed it, her "idol," Vanilla Ice.
Ahhhh, Misfit. Every reality show needs at least one hot chick, and Misfit Dior fit the bill to a T. Coming out of London, the spokesmodel/rapper was down to strut her stuff around the crib, while all the dudes and cameras predictably went ga-ga for her womanly charms. Unfortunately, she also learned the hard way that a British accent doesn't really work (unless you're Slick Rick) and was booted off the program pretty early on. Luckily, judging from her new music online, she's toned it down considerably since then (speech lessons?) and has gotten more into singing, which she's actually pretty good at. She also has a hilarious song going at Persia called "That Bitch."
It's gotta be rough to be known as "the lamest kid on The (White) Rapper Show," but that would aptly describe Toledo native Dasit, who played himself out by refusing to even write a rap and was the first one ejected from the crew. With his nerd glasses and omnipresent necktie complementing a vocal approach that shamelessly jacks Eminem's angry/whiny style, he was destined to make an early exit. Like everybody else on the show, he's doing the MySpace thing, but I can pretty much guarantee he'll never be taken seriously as an emcee, even in today's suspect rap scene.
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