Intensities in Ten Suburbs

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Hitting the TV Jackpot: The (White) Rapper Show

Posted by Andrew Unterberger on February 5, 2007

Channel surfing can be a gamble. Every once in a while, though, you hit three bars.

All right, I was skeptical–and there are still plenty of things I don’t like about it–but I can’t really deny the addictive pull of VH1’s latest CelebReality gambit, Ego Trip’s The (White) Rapper Show. I caught a four-hour marathon of the first quartet of episodes last night after the Super Bowl (and Criminal Minds, which I actually watched to the end for some reason), and man, even though there were at least a dozen things I probably should have been doing instead (and tried to do simultaneously), when The White Rapper Show was on, I couldn’t take my eyes off the screen.

So in case you don’t know the set-up, it’s basically 8 Mile meets American Idol, as produced by the channel that brought you The Surreal Life. So you’ve got ten white rappers from all over the country (including one UKer), who live together under one roof for an extended period of time (called Tha White House, lol), and through a series of competitions, one of them gets eliminated every week. They’re all competing to be the last one standing, for which they’ll win $100,000 and probably get a record deal or something.

This thing couldn’t be cast better if they’d tried (and I’m sure they did try, very hard, so good for VH1 I guess). You’ve got the cocky, annoying, already self-mythologizing leader guy (John Brown), the crazy fat party dude (100 Proof), the grilled-out southern Paul Wall-lookalike ($hamrock), and the overly politically conscious, white guilt-ridden backpacker (Jus Rhyme). Then, of course, there are the females, represented by the brazen, super-emotional fight-picker (Persia), the tiny, all-heart but none too bright white trash girl (G-Child) and the “Don’t Hate Me Because I’m Beautiful” ringer UK rapper (Misfit).

Constantly provided with alcohol to get the drama to a fever pitch (John Brown and Persia beef for no real reason, G-Child gets pissed off and wails on some stuffed animal, 100 Proof pisses in the sink), VH-1 clearly prioritize the show’s comedy aspects as heavily as its musical attraction. And comedy there is, in spades. Highlights thusfar:

  • Jus Rhyme’s need to constantly point out his status as Man on a Mission (“I’ve got bigger fish to fry,” he says of one setback, “like ending white supremacy”), much to the annoyance of his fellow cast members
  • Persia randomly bursting into tears on the way back from a mini-golf game, after having to wear a chain bearing the phrase “The N-Word,” as punishment for her using the word in the previous evening’s festivities
  • Affirmative Reaction, now officially the second best black-stereotype-related game show in Cable history
  • John Brown’s poor ability to stand up to scrutiny for his “Ghetto Revival” company:

“So what is it your company do?”

“We revivin’, man, we revivin’.”

“Yeah, but what is it you revivin’?”

“…The ghetto?”

And of course, leading this group of ragtags and misfits is veteran white rapper MC Serch, formerly of rap group 3rd Bass (of “Pop Goes the Weasel” and “The Gas Face” fame). Never been much of a 3rd Bass fan myself (at least not on the basis of those two songs), but gotta say, Serch definitely holds it down as the host of the show. Luckily removed from all the in-house drama, Serch is sort of the Donald Trump of The White Rapper Show–smart, cold and authoritative, and even with his own two-word dismissal catch phrase (“Step Off!,” which is pretty good, though Dan Cortese should already have copyright on that phrase from his Mimbo role on Seinfeld). The guy makes sure that the show manages to maintain some semblance of hip-hop integrity amidst all the drama and ridiculousness. And cameos from a score of hip-hop legends–oldies like Kurtis Blow, Grandmaster Caz and Grandmaster Flash, as well as slightly newer ballers like Just Blaze and, uh, Everlast.

So far, two of the guys (emo-looking Eminem acolyte Dasit, who refused to write 16 bars on a subject without music, and prince clown 100 Proof, who fucked up what should have been an easy win) and two of the girls (Misfit, who more than lived up to her name and G-Child, who couldn’t quite pull it together in the clutch) have been dismissed, leaving John Brown, Persia, $hamrock, Jus Style, John Boy (the cast’s most innocuous member, who has seemingly evaded elimination every week by avoiding being on the losing team) and Sullee (talented but constantly on the verge of losing member who I’d still pick to go the distance). I dunno if it’ll have the same charm when not viewed in marathon format (The Surreal Life got me hooked on a Season 2 marathon, but Season 3 did not live up to the once-a-week challenge), but I’ll definitely be giving it a shot.

Oh, and expect me to be ending a lot of posts with “hallelujah, holla back” from now on.

2 Responses to “Hitting the TV Jackpot: The (White) Rapper Show”

  1. orlando brown said

    Hi Im 47 and hate reality show, from I love n.y. to Lost. They don’t appeal to me at all. But this is the first show that Im following with.
    I was hoping that Perisa and J.B. will the last two on the show, but J.B. told Perisa “If you can’t mermory your line, how can you be a rapper”. That how Perisa got eliminated. I almost cry that night, remember what I said, “almost”.
    So, Im going to continue to follow with this and see who earn the 100 g’s.
    hallelujah, holla back, whatever that mean.

    O.S. Brown

  2. […] Original post by Andrew Unterberger […]

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