Racism in Hip Hop: Can You use Racial Slurs in a Battle?

Watching these videos of emcees battling where the racial daggers come out..In this first vid we see the white rapper (Casper) call a Black kid (actually mixed) a ‘nigger’.. Later he talks about lynching him.. Is that taking it too far or is that fair game in a battle..

In the second video we see a Persian rapper named Dizaster go off on his opponent A-Class with the Asian disses. It’s a bit over the top. is this latent racism or good battle strategy.. Can a we start making holocaust jokes in a battle? or do like the deejays did on Hot 97 a few years back and make fun of Southeast Asians drowning after a tsunami?  Can we do like Cipher Sounds and make fun of Haitian women claiming they have Aids? Where do we draw the line in Hip Hop? Are these battles an excuse to unleash racist attitudes?



34 comments on “Racism in Hip Hop: Can You use Racial Slurs in a Battle?

  1. This is not a hip-hop battle, but the same type of stuff (or garbage) you hear ignorant people rant about on certain media forums. Hip-hop is suppose to be enlightening, not degrading to the kind antics (or trash) that the past generations have tried to eliminate. Also, given the current ranting about Middle Easterns (and Latinos andBlacks if you read media forums like SFGate.com), you would think the promoters and the rappers at this battle would know better. It is ironic that that Whites, Blacks and Latinos (with few Asians in the background) enjoyed watching the Korean and Middle Eastern engage in stereotypical rants. I thought some of the independent rappers featured in the video who are suppose to be conscious rappers? So what gives with this type event. I would expect people on Fox News, SFGate.com and Rush Limbaugh (remember his Chinese president teasing) to do these type of embarrassing and ignorant rants, but not these socially conscious and independent rappers. You cannot complain about others engaging racism and stereotypes, when you are doing the same thing. Sorry, racism is racism and they should be ashame for this battle a hip-hop contest.

  2. Those videos demonstrate the real hiphop. The hiphop without idealistic window dressing from people who *wish is was something other than what it actually is.

    If you want your kids to grow up strong and not be apart of the dumbed-down welfare market.

    Keep them away from all this hiphop cRAP !!

  3. Was that a rap battle or a wanna be transexual mettup for drop outs ?

    We need more 20 and 30 somethings dressing up like 13 year olds with florecent t-shirts, big hats and dyed hair-do’s. Mistah fab can be the leader of the gay nation.

  4. Hell no we can’t have that in Hip Hop! I’m against racial slurs toward any group when battling or making music. I understand that artists have used slurs in the past toward whites, asians and sometimes latinoes, but that sort of thing deminished over time.

  5. i agree with that’s real hip-hop. we should not only be racist and ignorant, but homophobic as well. and we should have strong anti-immigrant views. small government would be nice, except when it comes to congressional pork for our special interests, corporate welfare for war-profiteering multinationals, and tax breaks for the rich. lets reverse the EPA’s mission and hand out bonuses for polluters as well. and, we must convince the FCC to support whatever telecommunications companies want to do. as a matter of fact, we should contract hip-hop out to Blackwater and only allow white people to rap. That’s what our slave-owning founding fathers would have wanted.


  6. So this is what hip-hop was become? A bunch of grown men acting like 12-year-old bullies on the schoolyard? Yee-haw!

    And apparently hip-hop has no problem with people throwing the word “faggot” around left and right but if a white guy mentions the word “nigger” (as opposed to the more political correct term “nigga”) then all of a sudden hip-hop acts like it has a moral compass or some ethics.

    This reminds me of Eminem’s rise a few years ago. Here was a person who was very ignorant and arrogant that was spewing a lot of hate, either in homophobic rants or raps about being up his wife, and he was embraced by a large portion of the black hip-hop community. Then, when it was reveled that he also threw the word “nigger” around in his earlier days a lot of the black hip-hop community suddenly acted like they had a moral compass or some ethics.

    “If u owned humans as property you were not enlightened”

    OK, if you want to go down that road I’m going to say that anyone who embraces someone filled with hate who makes money off of bashing disenfranchised people (gay people, battered wives, ect..) forfeits all their rights to complain when that same person turns around and bashes you.

  7. Lets look at the big picture:

    The battle nowadays seems to be who can get off the most racial slams; violent references and sexual innuendos.

    Audiences like to laugh at stereotypes and quick responses. But its gone way too far.

    These weak-ass knuckleheads should all use their material in the following way:

    The white boy-to local crip only gang
    The black kid-to local aryan brotherhood chapter meeting
    The arab-to the Israelian military
    The korean kid-to anyone who will listen

    Most of there dialogue can also be heard at any inner city park where dude has lost his mind. Or, old man half in the bag who’s at a holding cell.

    In BensonH when we did street battle it could be for your life. All the words meant something and could tear you apart. It was not a formal meeting.
    Brooklyn uprocking originally was a form of dance battle between gangs.
    In the way you dance you could diss your opponent by when you did what was called jerking. That progressed over to the bronx where they took the brooklyn rockin’ and added all the spins basically b-boyin and breakin. So battlin was more of a positive thing in a way in the beginning. There was also the verbal rap battle. With all the huge ego and testorone you could go to boroughs and battle.

    It has now become a very staged and commercailized kind of junk. The kids are all very quick-witted and talented but the platform and whats allowed is way out of hand.

  8. Personally, I think that rap battling in many cases has degenerated to where cats are just battling to see who can throw in the most offensive racial diss. If I was a Hip Hop artist, I would not battle individuals per se, but the COLLECTIVE RACIST SYSTEM that is in place – I think in the long run, that may be more productive, than just battling an individual. Sadly, alot of cats today, go way too far, and then guns start blazing.

    I like battles such as KRS-ONE vs. Nelly (which, in my opinion wasn’t even a battle, but a teaching session: KRS was teaching, Nelly was getting schooled), Kool Moe Dee vs. LL, Canibus vs. LL, Nas vs. Jay-Z, Xzibit vs JD (of So So Def), and some of the earlier battles in Hip Hop. Just my 2 cents.

  9. You know, it all comes down to the audience. If this happened and 3/4 of the audience turned and left… how long do you think it would continue? It would end in a night. Why? They are all there to be seen.

    Now here is the thing that gets me: Nobody seems offended that people are talking about raping mothers and children. Now which do you think is more threatening to the world as a whole?

    Opinion: Call me anything you like. Threaten to rape and kill my family… even with a smile on your face? Very worst thing you can say. No exceptions.

    This isn’t about race, it is about respect.

  10. Racism will never cease… In society, on the mic, in the work place period… Music is supposed to bring ppl together, not rip them apart… These Boxers and MMA fighters whip eachothers ass all day, but most of the time after the fight is over they still give eachother that pound of respect that says: i fucked you up but we’re all fighting the same War i just won this Battle, but deep down inside everyone knows it could’ve gone either way…

  11. Racial slurs of all kinds are pathetic. However, why do people get worked up over the word faggot. I mean seriously. Taking a dick up the but is a sexual preference, not a race.

    I hate to generalize all of my black people, but let’s face it….we’re so damn silly. We really believe that racism doesn’t exist or we try to pretend that just because they fuck our women and listen to our music that they are one of us.

    I remember when that eminem tape was released. Nobody got pissed off, however, everybody was rushing to his defense. Man that dude shouldn’t have been able to pick up another mic.

    Just like these fuckiing mexicans who are racist yet they blast hip-hop.

  12. after watching that video I must say that those battles are corny. It takes no talent to talk about somebody’s mother. White boys who rap always seem to do that and people think that it’s cute.

  13. Black hip hop artists have contributed so much to the hip hop art form, from KRS-One, X Clan, Ice Cube, The Fresh Prince, Hammer, Run DMC, N.W.A., ….that I believe the negative, senseless lyrical content doesn’t outweigh the positives. However, the radio’s been putting out bullshit for so long now that the balance is starting to tilt. Whites haven’t contributed much to the hip hop community on a large scale, aside from consumerism. As far as creativity goes, there’s not much of a background. Some great talent, Beastie Boys, Third Bass, Eminem, but not a lot. So when white rappers use racial slurs, it stands out much further because their legacy is still in it’s infancy, and such content would then make up for a significant portion of the very foundation of their legacy.

  14. I say its all fair game in the battle. If you research grindtime battles you will find racist shit being tossed at jewish rappers. Everyone always talkin that shit about starting a “real conversation” on racism in America but the minute some people joke about it everyone gets upset. I know alot of dudes that battle on grindtime, streetwars, and abunch of other leagues and they all keep it civil no matter how personal it gets everything is left on the battle ground. Now if that isn’t a positive thing than I must be losing my mind. On the flipside while racist punchlines might bother some people I think its incredible when someone actually rebuttals some racist shit thrown at them with some knowledge prime example in the first video at 8:03-8:17 I could give you mad examples like this. There is a battle bewteen two white rappers Thousand and manifest destiny in that battle Thousand broke down the racist lore behind the white supremacist belief in manifest destiny. This shit is Hiphop lets stop defining what the music and culture is suppose to be and embrace what it is. I’m not saying we can’t critique certain things about it that is everyonee right to do so. lets just let it breathe

  15. Orion I think your justifying foul shit..yes all sorts of stuff takes place under the sun if you look hard enough you’ll find it.. so of course there’s gonna be some cats spitting science on a topic in a battle.. Thats been going since the 70s.. But to somehow make it a cool thing that you can pop off on the racial tip as if its show of unity or a joke is faulty logic to me..and yes of course they not gonna fight.. That would be show of face.. but what’s revealed is the hateful attitudes some may be harboring.. These are the attitudes that show up in lawmakers passing fucked up bills, maybe a cop at a traffic stop with a grudge, maybe an employer who just decided he doesnt want any of those rapping niggers working at his job or marrying his daughter..

    I found over the years people draw boundaries. unless they really out there as they profess to be in battle.. Instead of race how about some of these cats if they’re not gang affiliated pop off abt some of the local sets in the area..clown them the way they clown ethnic groups..

    Maybe I’m old school, but i come from the era where limits were placed on what you rapped abt to truly demonstrate skills like they used to do at Good Life

  16. “Then, when it was reveled that he also threw the word “nigger” around in his earlier days a lot of the black hip-hop community suddenly acted like they had a moral compass or some ethics.”

    hold it right there patna.

    i have a different take on this. first of all, you’re not mentioning the politics behind Em’s tape. that was leaked by Ray Benzino because Em had dissed the Source or something. So Ray dug up the tapes, made when he was 16 or some shit and far less mature, and tried to hold press conferences and shit. That resulted in a backlash against the Source by Interscope and contributed to them going to bankruptcy a few years later. The mass uprising of the african american community against Em never materialized, not in the way you describe….it basically put another nail in the Source’s coffin.

    One reason is that only stupid people will go for race-baiting on such an obvious level, and that goes for all ethnicities. Another is that Em had paid a lot of dues. He put Proof and D12 on, for one thing, and helped 50 and Dre. if he was racist, i’m sure Mekhi Phifer would have said something. So that was basically a non-issue, and certainly not one with legs.

    as for some black people “acting like they had a moral compass,” the same thing could be said of any controversy involving celebrities, by anyone of every race. just look at Charlie Sheen. half the country wants to be him, half wants to crucify him. and probably half of the crucifixion folks secretly wish they were him. so i dont think singling out black people is really worth doing here — isnt it just as likely that some white folks also developed a moral compass over this? cause if not, then you really have a problem.

  17. “If you research grindtime battles you will find racist shit being tossed at jewish rappers.”

    aren’t Jewish rappers kind of asking for it, though? i mean, what can you say about the 2 Live Jews and Matisyahu that’s not going to sound like a diss? and do you mean anti-semitic or racist? they are two different concepts. technically, Judaism is not a race or ethnicity, but a religion, which is something many modern-day Hebrews forget. the original Jews were black anyway, from Abraham to Moses to Solomon to Jesus on down, so maybe they were getting that kind of science tossed back in their faces.

    i think that any white kid who gets in a cipher should be prepared to be subjected to a double standard. that’s just hip-hop. if you earn respect, those kind of epithets tend to stop happening. but that’s not morally hypocritical any more than reverse racism could exist without racism in the first place. the term “wigger” or “wigga” for example — was first applied toward whites who hung out with blacks by other whites who didn’t. you can’t have a wigga without first having a nigga. OTOH, the n word has a much more painful history. it will always have that context when used by white people, whether its Kramer from seinfeld or casper the white rapper.

    but as far as grindtime goes, they might be encouraging these emcees to say outrageous shit, just like hiow reality shows are scripted. personally it’s kind of a diluting of true hip-hop, because if you got lyrical game, you dont really need to go there.

  18. I think the only new item here is that non black battle MCs are finally returning the racism in battles. I’ve never seen a battle involving a white or Asian MC that didn’t involve them having to hear racists junk. I’m 39 years old and I’ve seen plenty of battles. Then again I’ve never seen a racist advance very far either. It’s pretty stupid to think a non black MC doesn’t have 800 different comebacks to cracker or wigga or chinaman slurs just waiting for you to get lazy and go there.

  19. Its sounds like your justifying the hate Tim.. are u? lets move this beyond the Black/white pardign for a minute.. I take issue with A-Class Asian being racially smashed on by someone who’s Arab.. what return of racism is taking place here? From the looks of things Casper has advanced and is quite popular so are many others who have resorted to the slurs…I get the whole aspect of battling..and how folks will go for jugular.. But there’s a difference between a clever punchline vs what we saw in the videos.. I saw racism, you saw non Blacks returning the racism in battles..

  20. Damn Dave you busted me. I’ve been posting on your site for years just waiting for this opportunity to support some of that sweet double reverse racism.

    But seriously, your you tube imbedded videos are blocked at my work so I was simply going off the article and the other posts. I could go home and watch the videos but then I’d be commenting for free I prefer to do this while getting paid 😉

    But, if art is a mirror to a persons reality and that reality is racist then what is worse, suppressing those thoughts or getting them out? I say getting them out. Since racism is ignorance based I’m pretty sure the person using the slurs is more likely to be enlightened after he lets his ignorance be known. At least that’s how I would approach one of these MCs after hearing them say that nonsense. If the person suppresses those ignorance based feelings then they fester and mutate from what would have been words to actions which is much worse. Think : TEA PARTY.

  21. I get the whole let it out and get enlightened aspect.. but I reject that..I say you come to the battle and you come to culture more enlightened..

    If me and you battled and decided to clown you as someone who’s white in the manner that these guys went at it.. somethings wrong and needs to called out and checked.. Like I said there’s a difference between clowning and dissing.. ie. Dick Gregory making fun of white people walking their dogs..which he did the other night is a joke we can ll share.. A white comedian describing his dealings with Black folks talking throughout the movie in a movie theater is clowning.. Its another thing where I spend 4 minutes calling you a white devil.. or you talking about dragging me from a pick up truck.. thats some next level shyt ..I call it hate..

  22. “I spend 4 minutes calling you a white devil.. or you talking about dragging me from a pick up truck.. thats some next level shyt ”

    Davey, a brother J vs. Vinnie Paz battle would be exactly like that and they’re both hip hop, sissyyyyyyyyyy. 😉 In fact it would be a legendary battle. I was just making fun but now I really want to see that.

    My thing is you don’t have to come enlightened but if I’m at the battle you bring that to and I get a chance to get at you after I’m going to make sure you leave enlightened.

    I think that admittance to hip hop culture should have the lowest possible bar for entry and let’s face it, it already does. The culture is what will refine and educate. Play that clip to that Casper dude in a couple years and I’d bet he’ll be embarrassed. Or he’ll be out of hip hop all together and a full blown bigot. I don’t believe he’ll be in the culture and still talking about lynching. But I’m an optimist.

    Didn’t Non Phixion come into the game dropping the N word and weren’t they “enlightened” out west? I think I remember you telling a story like that once. I can’t remember.

  23. When a black man calls a white man cracker it’s w/e, if a white man calls a black man nigger it’s all of the sudden not ok?? I see this all the time. I say fuck it, respect the emcee, lash out with your words, sticks and stones. at least have respect for the emcee and class.

  24. The overwhelming majority of dietary supplement makers take the essence of whatever vitamin they’re peddling, produce an artificial copy of that essence in a lab, use that copy as the basis for the supplement, then mass market it to the world, often as a “natural” healthy product. The body rejects it, then starts feeding on its reserves, making the person believe that the supplement is working. But actually, the body becomes deficient over time with continued use.

    That’s how it is with Hip Hop. The commercialization of it has put it in the category of most mass marketed products. The fundamental essence of Hip Hop culture has been artificially copied, mass produced, and mass marketed to the world as the real thing. This causes artists to make and promote this hybrid culture to a world of people who’ve been led to want and represent it. Over time, the natural essence starts to diminish as the superficial hybrid culture grows exponentially. That’s why those MC’s could throw those slurs around and have everyone cheering them on. The MC’s are just going for the easiest (NOT THE MOST SKILLED) way of getting crowd reaction. Neither them, the hosts, nor the crowd was concerned with anything having to do with the real essence of Hip Hop culture (other than the battle itself). The crowd hears and reacts to the words without giving much thought to them. There’s no incentive for the artists to change anything. That’s also why so many people today refer to each other as niggas, ho’s, bitches, faggots, pimps, etc. These words don’t really mean the things that they should to them. The bar, in essence (pun intended), has been lowered!!!

    So the whole world of commercialized Hip Hop culture can exist on a superficial plane based on an intentional poorly developed hybrid. It’s intentional, because if the true essence of Hip Hop culture was properly cultivated and marketed to the world, it would self-empower and have liberating effects on people (mostly of color) all over the world. And that is a no-no in the very structured and regulated world of commercialization (as well as other worlds).

    If you make or take dietary supplements, take the ones made from whole foods (not the store). The body accepts them, because they’re genuine, which delivers the “true” desired effects throughout the body. To me the same holds true for Hip Hop. If you make it or take it, get knowledge and represent the real thing so that the “true” desired effects can be felt throughout the world.

  25. These “battles” embodies the true colors or rap and hiphop. The gangsta era is when HipHop’s true colors began to show and all the media window dressing began to shed.

    Hypy is just a bunch of grown up crack babies with learning disabilities legitimizing stupidity to a younger generation. The rest of these people are just a bunch of drunks.

    HipHop was always nothing more than ghetto people pretending to be larger than they were, but the negative nature of all this sillyness began to be captured more accurately in the media when Death Row took off and Tu Pac became the idiot ghetto darling of all you people. In the bay area slow minded dumb shits like “Mac Dre” and e40 have won the retard rap olympics.

    The phony “positive” stuff was the part that was always the act. The last thing any respectable positive person is doing is entangling themselves with old people who still act like they’re teenagers .

    Hopefully rap “battles” like the ones posted will continue to keep chizzling away at all the contrived myths put forth by Davey D and other regarding any of this being “positive” or worthy of anyones attention at all.

    The sooner people who associate with any of this are culturally chastised the better for children, and the adults who still continue to act like them.

  26. Why do people who claims they hate hip hop and hip hop has screw up society, always find this website? There are a millions of anti hip hop sites can they find one of them to vent?

  27. YOUR SOOOO WACK IF YOU DO. It’s like Minster Farrakhan was saying about the Rihanna Grammy preformance; ” Its about criticizing the act, not the person.”

  28. Just reading the intro I must say mixing apples and oranges will always leave you sour. No holds barred when “battling” in rap, however, when you have Dj’s making fun of people drowning in a tsunami-that has nothing to do with rap; so mixing the two made no sense.

    All is fair in rap and rhymes and in the heat of the battle words will be exchanged. I don’t normally give non-Blacks passes on the “N” word, but I don’t agree that Blacks can use the word “cracker” or whatever other word they want to use and the cracker can’t say the “n” word. In the heat of rhyme battling-there is no room for censorship.

  29. “Why do people who claims they hate hip hop and hip hop has screw up society, always find this website?”

    Because this is Davey D’s website.

    The man is like Dennis Richmond; he’s a Bay Area icon. I may not always agree with him. Hell, closer we get to 2012 all seem to do is disagree with him, but he’s obviously an intelligent guy with a sense of history and I like his radio show & respect his opinion.

    And besides, it’s boring hanging out on boards where everyone always agrees with & circle jerks each other. Go hang out on boards where moderators disagree with you and see what happens.

  30. I find this post funny as there seemed to be no concern About this when Jin was battling and all his opponents were using chink jokes left n right especially serous jones or whenever a white person battled a minority the minority would always make white jokes but heaven forbid anyone make a black joke racial slurs n such n battles r jus for shock value and for when someone can’t come up with anything clever

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