In 1989, the Queens duo MC Serch and Pete Nice debuted as 3rd Bass, becoming the first white rap act for whom whiteness was not at least in part an uproarious crossover gimmick. 3rd Bass was an American hip-hop group that formed in Queens, New York in 1989. The group was composed of MC Serch, Prime Minister Pete Nice, and DJ Richie Rich. The group achieved some commercial success in the early 1990s, most notably with their 1991 platinum single “Pop Goes the Weasel”.
3rd Bass was the first white rap act to gain mainstream recognition and respect in the hip-hop community. Their style was unique in that they blended rap and pop music, and their lyrics often contained humorous references to popular culture. The group’s lyrics were also notable for their political and social commentary. They tackled issues such as racism, poverty, and sexism, and their songs often contained a message of empowerment.
MC Serch and Pete Nice were both white, but they were not the first white rappers. Before 3rd Bass, there were white rappers such as the Beastie Boys, the Fresh Prince, and the Fat Boys. However, these acts were seen as novelty acts and their whiteness was often used as a gimmick. 3rd Bass was the first white rap act to be taken seriously by the hip-hop community.
3rd Bass’s debut album, The Cactus Album, was released in 1989 and was met with critical acclaim. The album was praised for its innovative production and clever lyrics. It spawned the hit single “Pop Goes the Weasel”, which peaked at number 8 on the Billboard Hot 100. The album was certified gold and was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance.
3rd Bass’s success paved the way for other white rappers such as Eminem, Macklemore, and G-Eazy. These artists have been able to achieve mainstream success without relying on gimmicks or pandering to stereotypes. 3rd Bass’s legacy is still felt today, and they are credited with opening the door for white rappers to be taken seriously in the hip-hop community.