Halftime: Viva La White Girl - 5 Voices Every Rapper Wants On Their Hit

From Skylar Grey and Elly Jackson to Katy Perry and Chelsea Handler, DX's Music Editor points out that in 2011, mainstream Rap artists really love "dat white girl."

Do not adjust your monitors. I’m white. Yup, that’s right; I’m a white girl – raised in between the suburbs of Hawthorne, New Jersey and the inner city streets of Paterson, New Jersey. That same combination (Hawthorne and Paterson) groomed Hip Hop’s original favorite white girl, Debbie Harry, of Disco-Pop legends Blondie. That makes me the greatest authority to discuss a favored trend in Hip Hop: The White Girl.

Hip Hop always has a favorite white girl. It’s true. From Debbie Harry’s reign in the ‘80s, to the late Teena Marie in the ‘90s, and the new millennium having a pale princess conglomerate ranging from Gwen Stefani to P!nk to Esthero back around to Britney Spears. Then, of course, there’s Madonna who fits in anywhere she wants and Amy Winehouse who had every opportunity to fit in but didn’t want to.

What is it about white girls that make them more readily acceptable by Hip Hop than say, white guys? And I say more readily acceptable because all Eminems aside, a white guy in Hip Hop is addressed as such. A white rapper. There was a whole show dedicated to them; you watched it. But when a nouveau-white chick jumps on a Rap track, no one ever says, “Hey did you hear that new Lupe Fiasco song featuring white woman Skylar Grey?” It rarely happens. Who really knows why – perhaps white girls in Hip Hop exist merely as themselves. They’re not trying to rap (unless their name is Kreayshawn) and they’re not suggesting they’d fuck you and all your friends (unless their name is Ke$ha). They’re just there, being themselves, making the music they’d make with or without your approval. Look at Dido, who made the song “Thank You” that later became the foundation for Eminem’s “Stan”. While that white girl always seems to pop up throughout Hip Hop’s three-decade tenure, lately the influx has been even greater. Over the past year or so, Hip Hop has met more white girls that they’ve loved more often than not. So to celebrate #whitegirlwinning (I’ll be making that a trending topic), here are some of Hip Hop’s current favorite white girls. Don’t worry, I’m not including myself on this list… although you should.

Skylar Grey

Formerly Holly Brook, known for singing the hook to Fort Minor’s “Where’d You Go”, the singer/songwriter penned the hook for the Eminem/Rihanna award-winning track “Love the Way You Lie” . She then went on to lend a hook for the Diddy-Dirty Money hit “Coming Home” plus Lupe Fiasco’s “Words I Never Said” . Oh yeah, and she sang the hook to Dr. Dre’s “I Need a Doctor” with Eminem again. So Skylar Grey has been keeping busy in the world of Hip Hop, lending breathy vocals to rap song hooks and giving the songs an ethereal quality. Please don’t confuse Skylar Grey with porn star-turned-actress Sasha Grey, another one of Hip Hop’s favorite white girls for a whole other reason.

Elly Jackson of La Roux

Elly Jackson of UK Electro-pop duo La Roux is more or less loved by Hip Hop for one song of hers, and that is “In For the Kill." Last season on HBO’s Entourage when Vinnie Chase (played by Adrien Grenier) was at the height of his drug-induced coma (thanks to previously mentioned porn star Sasha Grey) laying face down poolside, they closed the episode with DJ Skream’s remix of “In For the Kill” (Entourage’s Music Supervisor Scott Vener is kind of a genius). After that episode aired, rappers everywhere rejoiced and remixed it. First it was French Montana featuring Chinx Drugs (renamed “Goin In For Da Kill” – way to go, buddy), then Styles P and Jadakiss, then Game, and the list goes on. Eventually there were rumblings of who would get on La Roux’s remix of the track. And the winner was…Mr. Kanye West.

Katy Perry

First she started out dating sometimes rapper Travie McCoy. That might have been the catalyst in Katy Perry’s widespread acceptance by Hip Hop. Now she’s a present-day P!nk of sorts, eager to get a rapper to jump on one of her hit singles to make it even bigger. It started with Snoop Dogg on “California Gurls” and then it led into Kanye West with “E.T.” Katy Perry is different from the previously mentioned white girls whose aesthetics include this faerie-esque way about them with gentle vocals. No, Katy is boisterous and quirky and she bats her eyelashes and licks on lollipops and gets rappers to rhyme on her albums. That seems to work very well in her favor. She even helped out Timbaland on his track “If We Ever Meet Again” off Shock Value II. Her work in Hip Hop is still not done. She’ll be back again.

Amy Heidemann of Karmin

Few people can forget the shock of watching the now viral video of Karmin tackling Chris Brown’s Diplo-produced track “Look At Me Now." A man and a woman (who we now know to be named Amy and Nick) sat side by side while Nick played the piano and this pinup model looking lady breezed through Busta Rhymes’ verse like she invented breath control. That video led into Karmin’s rendition of Lil Wayne’s “6’7’” and a phenomenon was born. Many compared Amy’s rhyming style to that of Nicki Minaj. Sure enough, Karmin covered Nicki’s “Superbass” and who played percussion? The Roots’ bandleader ?uestlove. On Karmin’s YouTube channel, comments consistently flood the section begging Amy to conquer more rap songs. There’s no telling how long she’ll be riding that wave, but while it’s here, surf’s up!

Hayley Williams of Paramore

Like Elly Jackson of LaRoux, Hayley Williams got the Hip Hop cosign for really only one song – and it wasn’t her own (or Paramore’s) it was B.o.B.’s colossal hit “Airplanes” (which later featured Eminem on the remix ). Hayley sang the hook that had everyone singing it and quoting it on Facebook statuses – for better or worse. Because of Miss Williams everyone still asks, “Can we pretend that airplanes in the night sky are like shooting stars?” while simultaneously chanting “I could really use a wish right now.” Thank her or blame her for that hook. The choice is yours.


Don’t sleep on JoJo. She had Bow Wow on her track “Baby It’s You” back when he was still just a puppy. JoJo is a new entry in this year’s white girl race, but something says she’ll be showing up more now. Her remake of Drake’s “Marvin’s Room” (renamed “Can’t Do Better” ) had the Internet going nuts, especially with lines like “and when you’re in her, I know I’m in your head.” JoJo has clearly grown up and has the soulful chops to hold her own in R&B. She knocked poor Teyana Taylor out of the box in the “Marvin’s Room” remake department. HipHopDX’s comment section alone is proof of that. Like JoJo says on the track, “Once you’ve had the best, boy you can’t do better.”

Honorable Mention: Chelsea Handler

Honorable because Chelsea Handler doesn’t make music and this is an editorial dedicated to those who do. However, the comedian/prime time host’s unabashed approach to interviewing rappers has become a rite of passage of sorts for Hip Hop artists. She asked T.I. the questions everyone else was afraid to ask, she scolded Diddy for showing up late, she called Rick Ross fat to his face, she asked Nicki Minaj “what’s up with your ass?” and let’s not forget…50 Cent. Chelsea Handler seems to love Hip Hop, and Hip Hop loves her right back.


Kathy Iandoli is HipHopDX's Music Editor and has been writing about music professionally since 2002. In addition to DX, she has written for XXL, VIBE, The Source, MSN Music and MTV News. She lives in New Jersey. Follow her on Twitter (@Kath3000)


  • Daniel Gregory

    Is article is disgusting.

  • Osiel Salas

    Fuck this gay ass article.

  • GOD

    Just a cleverly disguised article that portrays a melanin-deficient, white superiority complex. It also seems very apparent that you're fishing for a stamp of approval or cosign in this culture. Just be yourself and don't try so hard to fit in. Really, this entire article was irrelevant and so not news-worthy. SMH. Hip-Hop DX is really falling the fuck off. Remember, us Original People created this culture. You white people infiltrated it like you every other black culture. It will always remain our culture.

  • Anonymous

    Dear writer. your article was bullshit! An obvious bias attempt to justify "Hip Pop" in order to further perpetuate your place in HipHop. Nice touch on the whole "i grew up in the inner city" Its mentioning undermines Hip hop as it makes the assumption of A. being of inner city automatically assumes something about hiphop. and b. your a retard.

  • M.u. Tha Don


  • Anonymous

    yeah, this article sucked. why the fuck do i wanna listen to jojo or hayley williams or katy perry or chelsea handler? wtf is this shit about. it's not a race thing, it's just that the material was contrived. we all mess up once, though.

  • pineapplemango

    dear Kathy Iandoli -- this has to be one of the most wholly irrelevant, gratuitous, forced articles on hip-hop i have ever read in my life. you really struggled to make your case here...and you really didn't. this article is essentialist, terrible and disappointing. this is not a real trend or issue...this is a poorly thought-out and even worse-executed article that does NOTHING to highlight the perhaps underlying social issues that the author seems to intend to address. wow...this is a new low for hip hop dx. i truly hope an academic whose focus is on hip hop writes a rebuttal to this utter crap. Hip Hop DX you should be ashamed of yourselves for publishing this absolute HOGWASH. carrying a tune and writing a catchy hook has nothing to do with being Caucasian...and this article does little to help the cause. in effect, it makes white women seem trite and desperate for some shine. or perhaps that is the author?

  • TellinItStraight

    not so much a trend, just happens occasionally, and i thought these "trends" were suppose to be particularly new to 2011. As she states, this has been occuring since the '80's. In one of the remaining two days they should tackle the issues of 'twitter beef'

  • SpikeSpiegel

    Jojo is the truth!! She's made great music ever since she came onto the scene. She murdered that "Marvin's Room" remix!! Can't wait for her next album to drop.

  • Anonymous

    Skylar Grey fucking shit, every song she makes/has any involvement in sounds the same. 'Love the way you lie', 'I need a doctor' and 'words i never said' all have the same shitty generic structure.

  • showtime

    When I first started reading this article I thought it might be a real in depth and biting look at a social issue in hip hop. Instead it seemed like a half thought out idea that had no point. All the article really says is that hip hop is not racist. That's it. She goes out of her way to make it seem like hip hop is obsessed with white women and uses that there are no celebrated white men outside of eminem. Problem is that's completely untrue. Justin Timberlake has been part of many rap projects. So has Coldplay. So has Robin Thicke. Fort Minor is another example. And those were just off my head. If you can carry a tune (or somehow trick people into thinking you can carry a tune), you will at some point be featured in a rappers song that he/she is looking to go big. That's it. It has nothing to do with being a white woman.

  • What tha fuck?

    Was this article written by a mentally retarded monkey? Way to point out something simple and try to write a whole fucking article about it. This website has the most retarded writers.

  • Stupid Article

    Only an Arrogant White woman would write this article. Racism (White Supremacy) at it's finest.

  • Fuck all White People

    Fuck Fergie for making Black Eyed Peas Platinum! Fuck DEV for making Far East Movement Platinum! Fuck Kreayshawn for being blowing up off that Gucci Gucci track! And most of all fuck the Racist Honkies who have infiltrated real Hip Hop and marketed to the mass of other confused White and Non-White people! And most of all FUCK YOU!

    • Anonymous

      that's not reverse racism, that is racism. reverse racism would be hating your own race? anybody who says anything like the OP is a racist as bad as any KKK member. fuck you man

    • Anonymous

      Ummmmm reverse racism is just as bad as regular racism. And far east movement hasnt gone platinum.

  • The P

    Hahahahaha this is so raciest and the topic is completely irelivent.

  • Anonymous

    This is a dumbass article. Should we celebrate the white woman now? WTF? It's just a little trend right now- and they do it with men too- it's the style of singing on the hooks. it appeals more to a mainstream/pop audience. You should write an article about how all of music is influenced by black culture and music

    • Wolfman

      No, it's stupid mind association with color because the author selectively found 5 white women to create a point... about as relative as assuming all black people love fried chicken and watermelon or all white people wear bowl cuts and headbang.

    • Anonymous

      it is just an informative article about a trend that will probably continue for a while...it isn't revolutionary or anything of that sort, and it isn't celebrating anything

    • Anonymous

      they were talking about the 2011 trends in hip hop....yeah we know its just a trend thats what theyre saying.

  • Christopher English

    I gotta give it to Chelsea Handler. I have a hip hop magazine and publicist are always telling us what we can ask and what we can't. It's not that we don't ask the questions... it's just that they never see print or refuse to answer. On her show... as a white woman on television, she gets to ask the questions in a way that would cause others to get a beat down on sight.

  • Anonymous

    this website has some of the worst writers, where is your editor? do you not edit articles before posting them? at least proof read that shit cmon seems like this is where all the bottom of the barrel writers end up once they can't get a job writing for anyone else

  • Anonymous

    thats 7 girls not 5

  • p

    A Waste Of A Article U Just Wrote A Whole Article On The Fact That A White Girl Gets Featured On Songs By An Artist Of A Certain Genre. Really? White People Been In Hip Hop Behind The Scenes For The Longest (RICK RUBIN WHICH HE REALLY WASN't Behind THE SCENES) This Just Sounds Like A Cry To Bring Girls To The Limelight Because They're White FAIL. First And Foremost This Is A Hip Hop Site Right? So When Were Discussing Hip Hop Music There's No Color Barrier Hip Hop Will Never be Limited Any genre of music can be made into hip hop with any face of any race color gender. THATS WHAT HIP HOP MUSIC CAN DO SO.... I UNDERSTAND THAT UR White from jersey but... who cares it's plenty of white girls that do hip hop music or any gerne of music that are talented this is nothing new or an eye opener I'm black And My Family Had All The Cher Albums Back In Their Day I still listen to the WAR's GREATEST HITS I Like Tool, Blue Oyster Cult The Doors And So On And I'm black produce and rap. WHats The big deal white girls in hip hop songs shits been going on for the longest Yall must of didn't have nothing to write for yall halftime report for today because this article is garbage. Anybody Who Reads Can find out who's on a song.

    • asa

      hahaha lol @anon!! This white girl's biggest mistake was making a point to mention that she was white and on top of that also mention that she lived near "the inner city." Such mentionings are completely ridiculous because it minimizes hip hop to an issue of race. Having a "white girl" further encourages this issue. Why not call it for what it is. it is a mainstream marketing attempt to sell records using a singing chorus to entice lovers of the "Top 40" and using the image of a woman to exploit her sexuality to sell more records. Yet, you will not touch this and further essentialize these racist,sexist, corporate manipulation issues as "Hip Hop Trends. That is both mediocre and simple whack.

    • Kathy Iandoli

      Yes, but that's not a trend. It's a matter of fact. We're discussing recent trends, and recently the placement of a white girl on the hook of a rap song has been a common thread in Hip-Hop. Nothing more, nothing less.

    • Mark Anthony Harris

      The person's point is this: whites been doing hip hop, behind the scenes in hip hop, and listening to it since it started. That was the entire point.

    • Anonymous

      he just wanted to discuss his long history in white culture even though hes black

    • Kathy Iandoli

      What exactly are you trying to say? That sounded like a lot of nothing. This piece is discussing trends in Hip Hop and this happens to be one of them. I can't help that, and the last time I checked, Rick Rubin is a man.

  • Anonymous

    yall fucked up that katy perry paragraph was karmin supposed to get her own bold headline?

  • 718rob

    I liked Dido more than any of these...

  • Rock n Roll was Black Music

    Another raping of Black culture...

    • 1

      'Anonymous: nah Matt Tompkins is kinda right. it's more about your class' culture than your ethnic group imo. working class black and white dudes got more in common than same working class black dude and one of Rev Run's kids' I obviously don't agree with Matt Tompkins comment, But I do agree to this.

    • 1

      @Matt Tompkins Fuck mazel tov who gives a fuck about that. One dumb ass word stupid niggas use. Ya whole "urban culture" you use dozens of words invented by black people. Get ya mind right. Jews took over Hollywood. But that shit will never happen with hip hop.

    • 1

      To Matt Tomkins: Spoken like a true jew. Ya bitch you. Black people started it. You wanna deny?!? Urban culture is a label to justify theft.

    • Anonymous

      nah Matt Tompkins is kinda right. it's more about your class' culture than your ethnic group imo. working class black and white dudes got more in common than same working class black dude and one of Rev Run's kids

    • Anonymous

      In other news... Lil B is the new Lil Wayne: haters commence

    • Anonymous

      @Matt Tompkins Your comment was disrespectful, incorrect, and just plain ignorant. I would try to correct you, but my comments would just be removed by the HipHopDX staff.

    • Matt Tompkins

      Fuck "black culture". It's every color's culture, it's urban culture. You don't see Jews getting up in arms with everyone using mazel tov as a damn punchline... (well, except for Black Eyed Peas, will.i.am can go suck a sold-out dick)

    • huh??

      White girls in hip hop aren't raping Black culture. Lil B does a good enough job of that on his own. Get over it.

  • K-illmatic

    Fuck Chelsea Handler....

    • 1

      Spoken like a true jew. Ya bitch you. Black people started it. You wanna deny?!? Urban culture is a label to justify theft.