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On this very site, I’ve called the original “FDT” a classic: a moment in modern-day gangsta rap symbolizing the power of its pundits, YG and Nipsey Hussle, as political actors utilizing their platform as a tool to amplify the marginalized communities that serve as their origin points. A Blood and a Crip realizing the ills of a political nightmare, and electing to fight with whatever they have, seizing hold of their own narratives to combat a normalized dismissal of the thug and accepting the responsibility that comes when standing on the soapbox in a moment when clearly no one else will do it, or do it effectively.
The record proved so effective, it ended up censored on YG’s Still Brazy album.
YG is about to embark on the FDT tour in support of that album, but spent the last few months alongside Yo Gotti on the Endless Summer Tour, with G-Eazy (a white male) and Logic (a biracial male) as the headliners. It appears this spawned the “FDT Part 2” update, featuring G-Eazy in a pissed-off pivot stance and a focused Macklemore with his gold rings and an American flag wrapped semi-ironically around his collar. While the former visual focused on a centering of Black and brown bodies in concert, siphoning their anger into a search for their freedom, this video is a collage of protest footage culminating in scenes from a concert on the aforementioned tour, showcasing the trio with thousands of white fans cursing Donald Trump’s name in unison.
But now we have arrived in the post-accountability era of white rap, when white artists are flourishing almost wholly outside the established hip-hop industry, evading black gatekeepers and going directly to overwhelmingly white consumers, resulting in what can feel like a parallel world, aware of hip-hop’s center but studiously avoiding it.”
G-Eazy’s pop success is easily attributed to his whiteness: his character moves like a new James Dean, basking in the spoils of success while making time to confront the haunts of his closet. Though the Oakland he comes from isn’t the hood, his fans may envision from hearing his accent that he can recycle and approximate similar tropes to a YG or Yo Gotti without the pressure or penalty. G-Eazy avidly cosigns Oakland native Nef the Pharaoh, regularly collaborates with mainstream Black artists, but his biggest smash is with Bebe Rexha, a white woman pop singer. That’s what makes his contribution to “FDT Part 2” one of the most intriguing moments of his career thus far: Young Gerald breaks the fourth wall just enough to introduce overtly political themes into his music while scraping alongside the assumed edginess of YG’s subject matter. It’s a step for G-Eazy to break the pop box while slightly acknowledging the “center” that Caramanica speaks of, the Black center whose oppression served for invention of the very genre Eazy has built his life from:
“A Trump rally sounds like Hitler in Berlin / Or KKK shit, now I’m goin’ in…”
“This man’s not peaceful! Racism’s evil! This man hates Muslims, that’s a billion fuckin’ people!”
“What if we ban all the white dudes? / Because a couple have run up in trenchcoats and rifles / And killed in the name of Jesus Christ at the high school?”
“...I got an eagle on my arm, I’m a patriot / I’ma stay right here, I ain’t livin’ in fear / With my people who are Muslims, Mexican, and queer / And we ain’t gonna let you fuck up four years!”
“Thought I was making songs just to ride to / But come to find out your own kind don’t even like you… / The rest weenies, they scared to say it, but they don’t like you!”
“Just left Texas, hit the stage for a couple thousand / And had your same color people hollerin’... / Fuck Donald Trump!”
Thankfully, we may not need to reach as far as once perceived. Justin Bieber wanted to place Black Lives Matter banners at a potential Ohio gig smack dab during RNC fever (he declined after pushback,) even Justin Timberlake caught the drag after Jesse Williams’ speech at the 2016 BET Awards. As capitalism chokes the pop stars of all races, the limitations remain: speaking the truth doesn’t keep an endorsement, or coddle the people who pay to hear about sex, drugs, and nightlife. Hearing G-Eazy say “Racism’s evil!” with YG by his side may read as a revolutionary statement to the white fans in his seats, but it’s a mere baby step and the eternal no-brainer of every Kendrick, Beyoncé, and Black human being alive. Is that enough when the Weeknd gives a quarter-million dollars to BLM, when Jay-Z bails out protestors on the hush, when Beyoncé calls for action after Alton Sterling and Philando Castile? Such a disconnect will only prove more toxic in the years to come, when the white rappers of the world continue to amass white followings without capitalizing on such opportunities to pay their dues forward to the Black bodies that let them be.
The question remains: what are the white kids willing to sacrifice when they no longer need to acknowledge the source?
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