A recent comment about the song "Christmas Wrapping" by the Waitresses got me thinking about the time when rap still had enough novelty value that white bands tried it out in order to sound cool. That all went downhill with the growth of bombastic rap from the '90s through today — what could be cool about trying to ape a chest-pounding gorilla?
Back when rap was chill and didn't try to hog the national or global spotlight, it could mix well with mainstream white dance music, which during the disco era and into the '80s could not have been any more easy-going and any less self-serious.
Rather than compile an exhaustive list of songs where white people are rapping non-ironically on top of a disco beat, I thought I'd just share one that you might not have heard before. If you like "West End Girls" by Pet Shop Boys or "Rapture" by Blondie, you'll be groovin' along to this Euro synth-pop hit too, with its mix of Spanish, French, and English (sans any kind of lame multi-culti implications):
"Paris Latino" by Bandolero (1983)
I don't know why there hasn't been much in the other direction — black rappers bringing in synth-poppy sounds to their songs. You'd think rappers wouldn't have an aversion to disco, since rap is the gayest genre out there. Rev Run, the Fresh Prince, Puff Daddy, Kanye West — all on the downlow.
But disco isn't fashionable anymore, so I guess that rules it out of sight to the homosexual mind (it'th tho thirty-theven yearth agoooo!). How strange is it that the disco scene was memorialized by modest, hetero WASP Whit Stillman, who's also a fan of new wave and synth-pop from the '80s?
The modest, easy-going mood of the Seventies carried over into the early '80s, although the trend toward status-striving of the Me Generation would really take off during that decade and herald the arrival of more grandiose styles. But as late as '83 and '84, the mood was still easy-breezy and down-to-earth. Hard as it may be to believe, that meant that there was a time when rapping was fun and lively to listen to, especially when laid on top of a disco tune.