Monday, July 17th, 2006

Davey D: "Is Hip Hop’s Audience Really 80% White?"

Here’s an intriguing piece from Davey D on the question of: “Is Hip Hop’s Audience Really 80% White?” (Bakari Kitwana famously took on this issue in one of the chapters of his book, Why White Kids Love Hip-Hop.)

Davey drops a bunch of zingers. I had no idea, for instance, that Arbitron counts Asian American radio listeners as white, a fact that skews the numbers unbelievably in places like the Bay, LA, and New York–hell I’d make a safe bet it even wrecks the stats in Seattle, Jacksonville, southern Virginia, and Houston. Apparently, 80+% of hip-hop listeners in Hawai’i are white!

Davey’s argument is that the idea of “80% white” was floated in the early 90s in order to bring ad moneys into Top 40 stations that had begun playing rap. It was never a fact, more like a good sales pitch turned into “common sense”…kinda like “look, man, Iraq has weapons of mass destruction”…:

The truth of the matter is that this 80% white Hip Hop fan myth has long been a nice marketing tool used by media corporations to justify ad revenues for Top 40 radio stations. Here’s a little background on this.

Back in the late 80s and early 90s, many rap artists complained how the urban (Black) radio stations did not play rap except on the weekends and even then it was only in the mix late at night. Chuck D highlighted this concern in his song ‘Don’t Believe the Hype’. He goes into further detail about this lack of support by Black urban programmers in a song called ‘How to Kill a Radio Consultant’.

According to Black radio programmers they avoided playing rap, because it was affecting their advertising. In spite of Hip Hop’s cross over success with groups like Run DMC and the ‘positive, vibe that existed within rap at that time-(it was the Golden Era), many companies associated Hip Hop with violence done by Black people. Hence a Black radio station playing Hip Hop was likely to have difficult time getting money…

A must-read…

posted by @ 8:58 am | 7 Comments

7 Responses to “Davey D: "Is Hip Hop’s Audience Really 80% White?"”

  1. rw says:

    This article might be of interest.

  2. Jeff says:

    thank you. that’s also a must-read…the gist for folks who don’t want to click over–the number is probably closer to 60%.

  3. Q says:

    For a long time Latinos were considered white as well…

    I was considered a white dude throughout my high school career according to the school district’s records…

  4. Anonymous says:

    “I had no idea, for instance, that Arbitron counts Asian American radio listeners as white…”

    Are you kidding me? Asians (and sometimes Latinos) are “honorary” white people. How old are you?

  5. Jeff says:

    triple ouch. for those not getting the apparent in-joke, click here.

  6. ronnie brown says:


    Lawd, teach the young ones!

  7. Hummingbyrd says:

    Jef Jef Jef.

    Awww. Body slamin’ Jeff.

    OOOOHHH you let call you Arsenio Hall!
    Now that I go that out my system.
    That Davey D post is going to be my next jawn.
    I just slaved Like a negro on a railroad on the Phonte/Noz/Gotty Black people are idiots post, however you have inspired me to keep chuggin along:)

    Its sizzlin’ in the bay, but I know you maintaining:0

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