• Nina Sahar


Updated: Sep 28, 2018

Do Men In Rap Face Colorism?

I think by now most of us have come to terms with the fact that rap has deep rooted issues with colorism. We've seen it for years in music videos and song lyrics. And as many female artists will tell you, it has always played a part in how far an artist gets in the industry. But until recently, I hadn't really thought about the affect colorism has had on the men in rap.

Wale spoke out on Twitter last month citing colorism as a barrier to him reaching his full potential in the industry.


It hurt me greatly . Also me being a dark skinned (not half white) rapper direct decent from Africa did too .. but let’s not go there 🙃

His comments came as a response to this tweet 👇🏾:

If we look at the history of Black music, the goal has always been "the crossover." In the jim crow era of music, having a record that appealed to white audience was the only way Black artists could make it on the radio. These days not much has changed. The artists that make it to the level of superstardom are the ones who gets played on pop radio. So long story short, if you don't appeal to white audiences enough to get played on Z100 there's a growth cap on your career.

For rappers like Wale who don't have the Drake factor (being able to play to both sides) that means less investment from your label, less cameos on daytime TV, less promo, and sadly less accolades than the rappers he's comparing himself to.

Those of you who read my thoughts on Drake's impact on rap already got a good understanding of what happens when the face of rap gets white-washed. As the genre has evolved it has also fallen into the same pitfalls as most of the black genres before it.

The commercialization of rap has made it so that appealing to black audiences isn't enough to be successful. And the consequences, as usual, fall back on the blackest berries in the bunch.