Before there was Eminem

Sing, to the tune of “London Bridge is Falling Down”: “Watch a n-gga pimp some hoes, pimp some hoes, pimp some hoes/ Watch a n-gga pimp some hoes/ pimp deze bitch-ezzzz.”

Sounds like something from the mouth of Eazy-E or Snoop Dogg – though maybe even they would have used more tact. The “artist” in question here is White Dawg, whose 1999 debut album, Thug Ride, might as well have never existed.

At the time, Eminem’s debut had also just hit the streets. Surprisingly, it met with a rabid response from rap and alternative radio stations alike. Noticing that he himself was white, White Dawg made a quick attempt to jump on the bandwagon. The result: an under-produced, cuss-laden, 20-track album filled with everything a wannabe gangster loves – from porn to prostitution, from AK-47 shoot-ups to the occasional “ballad” about the ghetto woman he truly loves.

“I was born a playa, and I’m’a die a legend,” White Dawg proclaims on “I Just Wanna Get High.” And, surprisingly enough, this is the most concise biography available about him. Some say he’s a hard-hitting white boy gangsta from Broward County, Florida. But others proclaim he’s from Alabama, the son of a respected studio musician father and a mother who has a masters in music history. Either way, White Dawg has a pretty strong Southern Accent, which he advantageously uses to rhyme words such as “head” and “spent.”

No matter what White Dawg’s background is, Thug Ride is one of the few albums with the potential to offend absolutely anyone who hears it. First off, White Dawg (emphasis on white) repeatedly refers to himself and his merry band of hooligans as “niggas.” Second, White Dawg just can’t contain his condescending attitude towards women. Consider the song titles “Wuz Up Bitch” and “I Could F*ck You.” As if there weren’t enough implied violence on the album, White Dawg lays it down straight in “Get ‘Um,” a brief interlude. We hear a bunch of white guys, also with heavy accents, loading clips into automatic weapons. “Let’s twist this n-gga’s cap back,” one of them proclaims. And then they kill some guy- guns blazing, shells making sharp pings as they hit the floor – presumably twisting his cap back.

Thug Ride features guest rapper Blac Haze, whom we should presume is black despite the misspelling. On the album’s title track, Mr. Haze offers the listener several exchanges with Mr. Dawg and other characters that are both lyrical and conversational at the same time. Consider this exchange that takes place with a random voice in the song’s background:

Blac Haze: …otherwise, you ain’t sh-!

Random Voice: You tryin’ to tell me I ain’t sh-?