Because ya'll mo-fos heard Chuck Berry's guitar and decided everything should proceed from there.

OK, let me back up some. I've written some about my transition from hardcore hip-hop head to quasi-alt-rock head. There was a lot in between there--mainly Sam Cooke, Otis Redding, the Spinners and some other good stuff. Basically I was a musical segregationist--Bull Connor with headphones and a CD Tower. In fact, when me and Kenyatta hooked up, I literally kept her CDs on a separate tower, deriding them as "white shit." She grew up in a much more integrated situation and thus was more open-minded. But I was in my 20s and could care less. Pavement could get the bozack.

When I came to New York a couple things happened--1.) I got kind of disenchanted with a lot (not all) of hip-hop 2.) As a guy writing about music, but no longer socially segregated, I found that that shoulder shrug I gave when someone asked about Everything But The Girl wasn't cool, it was just ignorant. If I was gonna survive I had to know more. Again, the full story is here.

When I decided to integrate my collection, one major factor stood in the way--white rockers and their unvarnished love of the electric guitar. Part of that was real, and part of it was imagined. I'm sure some of my black readers who haven't made the leap can relate to the following: You know how some white people hear "black guy" and immediately picture some dude running from the cops? Anytime, anyone mentioned "white people" and "music" all I could hear were blaring guitars. Sure enough, when I ventured out, the loud guitars of The Strokes, The White Steipes and The Yeah Yeah Yeahs were waiting for me.

I learned to love a lot of it--some of it not so much. But I bring this up because I've got a homeboy straight out of the South Side of Chicago--doubtlessly reading this right now--who I'm trying to put on. Know what the biggest barrier is? The guitars. Heh, so funny. So I've been going through my music trying find some "white music" that doesn't feature blaring guitars. Not the easiest task. By the way the term "white music" is great. It's one of those moments when the world is flipped. A "white" perspective views itself as introducing, say, literature to the world. Thus we have subsets and exceptions like "black literature." But Negroes think they invented music, thus music that they don't see as there own is "white music," an exception, viewed skeptically and often derisively. It manages to somehow toss country, electronic, and grunge in the same bag and dismiss it as "some white shit." Funny--when you're on the bottom you aren't any more noble. No one is clean.

UPDATE:  Ahh the souls of white folk. So diverse! All jokes aside, the blues of course. Was thinking more contemporary, though. Ditto for Kraftwerk. Personally, Bjork was a good intro into the new world for me.

It's weird people mention the Isleys. You know what's wild? I love the ballads and have slept on everything else. I know it's wrong but I basically bang two joints off Go For Your Guns. Guess which ones?


We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.