Posts tagged Karmin.
The White People Singing Songs by Black People YouTube Genre [Video]
So there is definitely a genre of YouTube memes that is primarily white people singing songs non white people are famous for, often in a soft acoustic-y way.
There are of course no rules in music that say that the songs white people sing can only be covered by white musicians, black artists covered by black musicians, etc. Music, at is best really, is a combination of many influences and many styles and the measure of creativity is the synthesis of all of this to create an artist’s unique voice.
A friend of mine recently sent me a video and descibed it as “white people singing that new Chris Brown song with Busta Rhymes and Lil Wayne” which she saw from a VH1 blog entitled “A Very Caucasian Cover Of A Chris Brown/Busta Rhymes/Lil Wayne Song”
The reason these type of videos tend to make me uncomfortable is precisely because the existence of these videos is predicated on the intended reaction of “whoah! giggle giggle! Look at these white people saying black people things!”, a response that reifies certain problematic understandings of race and one that also appeals largely to the hipster ironic type of hip-hop that does not give hip hop music, the very thing it is being ironic about, enough credit (and lets not forget that this is connected to a larger history of cultural appropriation that has left many black artists unjustly paid/not given credit for their work).
So as I clicked the link, I was anticipating feeling this discomfort and annoyance…
To my surprise however…I actually kind of like it. Most people do covers horribly. They try too much to make it a replication of the song instead of having fun with it and making something new. She plays with the words, has a cute little swagger with it, and also doesn’t make the mistake of repeating the N word, which a lot of covers within this YouTube genre don’t always do. And she kinda kills the Busta verse.
So depsite my hesitations about this genre, I would have to agree with the VH1 post (though again, the usage of “un-white” is problematic here ):
Let’s all acknowledge right off the bat that this has been done before — the thing where white people very enthusiastically cover a song that is distinctively un-white in its original conceit. It’s well worn territory. That being said… this is very well done. The girl sells it, the guy sells it, they keep the rhythm. You might not like what these two were trying to accomplish, but you can’t deny that they accomplished it.
I dont really want to post the link to the Chris Brown song since me and him have some beef but if you haven’t already heard it, it might be useful to look it up and see what is being covered.