there's a very particular strand / lineage of rap that i've known loads of oxfordshire lads be into. it basically runs from grandmaster flash to tribe called quest to dr octogon to dj format to aesop rock. 'authenticity' is part of it. but another part of it is relatability.
and another part is that there's a bit of an insecurity about being into a black music when not only are all the artists living on a different continent, especially when the culture is such a strong feature of all the music, but when you live in a place where basically you might not ever have spoken to even black people from the UK. so you've got no idea what's going on basically and i think people try to hang onto the idea that they're listening to the 'right' hiphop coz the whole thing is a bit of a vexed pursuit to start off with.
yes exactly and those lads that you're talking about are exactly what i'm talking about as far as white people having no middle ground when it comes to appreciating rap music the people who only listen to a specific checklist of "alternative" rappers from back when that used to mean something because they're explicit in their politics etc or their weird nerds despite the fact that some of the biggest rappers producers were gigantic nerds.
I think this is one of many reasons why that kind of rap you've mentioned has the reputation that it has even amongst certain white rap fans because its been treated for years the "secret gateway" to get into rap without needing to engage with the actual culture within it or whatever's current as a result said people because they approach it like its punk or whatever they talk like their tastes are so different from the norm but you can practically list off all the names that they like without really trying.
Relatability can be a factor but it shouldn't be the be all end all as far as who and why you like them this might be because when i was born it was around the time my mothers generation all had their own kids so apart from me i had one slightly younger cousin i was around older people so it wasn't weird, i'm not gonna come like i know the percentages off hand as to the backgrounds of people in places like Oxfordshire and the lake district but i imagine they're tinier compared to London's and they are there there's probably more of them living there now cause of housing prices. There's reason as to why you might not have ever spoken to black people in the UK and those reasons are both bigger and more personal than just rap if i'm being honest and its not unique to the UK either.
The kind of vexed purist you speak of i think as a result of certain things is dying off though or at least i'd like to think it is, you have to be of a certain age when that kind of territorial identity thinking still mattered and if you end up being one of those people now its more than likely you chose to be that flying in the face of everything else happening it's like choosing to be the kind of person who only worships classic rock.