Ivory and ebony

Jake One and Freeway aren't hip-hop's first multi-racial tag team
By CHRIS FARAONE  |  February 16, 2010

The Alchemist

Two great tastes: Freeway and Jake One team up to lay it down. By Chris Faraone.
Hip-hop will never be post-racial. Pigment plays a major role at every level, and that's not always a bad thing. One particular race dynamic that's been central to rap music is that of white producers linking up with black MCs. Such line-ups have proved lethal on myriad occasions, but here are six memorable paitings in which Caucasian beats met onyx minds to advance the genre.

MARCO POLO + TORAE | Every East Coast brother with a tomahawk flow is eager to step on noise crafted by Canadian-born drum master Marco Polo. Last year's Double Barrel (Duck Down Music) with Torae was a declaration that Brooklyn has yet more stories that warrant telling if the beats fit, and Polo's upcoming The Exxecution (also Duck Down) with Ruste Juxx is sure to send a comparable message.

JOE MANSFIELD + EDO G | You'd never know it, since he kept his face off the liner notes, but the guy behind much of Boston icon Edo G's early career is white. Joe Mansfield (of the Vinyl Reanimators) wasn't from Roxbury; nonetheless, his grooves introduced cats the world over to the Bean's unique struggle.

RJD2 + BLUEPRINT | There's not exactly a limitless supply of hip-hop talent in Columbus, Ohio. So as natural selection would have it, fit lyricists like Blueprint simply wind up with such aurally gifted gents as RJD2. Despite their wildly different personalities, these two have linked as Soul Position for two phenomenal full-lengths and countless random singles.

NICOLAY + PHONTE | The most unlikely duo of the bunch recorded their entire debut on-line before ever meeting face to face. Collectively known as the Foreign Exchange, North Carolina Little Brother delegate Phonte and Dutch beatmaker Nicolay unite for nothing short of celestial departures from the standard boom-bap framework.

PAUL C + LARGE PROFESSOR | Although theirs was essentially a mentor-protégé relationship, this space calls for a mention of tragically slain Queens whiteboy Paul C and Main Source frontman/producer Large Pro. Just ask the latter, who named his imprint Paul Sea Productions as a tribute to the man who taught him techniques that were decades ahead of schedule.

ALCHEMIST + PRODIGY | The only thing more remarkable than the thought of hardcore Mobb Deep legend Prodigy teaming up with whitey is the body of work that these two have yielded together. In short: P and Alchemist owe their careers to each other, and that sentiment bleeds through on every tandem cut.

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