“I chose PaleFace as a name because it’s the first derogatory term for white boy,” says one of the three rappers in Las Vegas-based collective PaleFace. The term is one he learned growing up Caucasian on the Moapa Valley Indian Reservation in Nevada, where he saw “racism on the other side of the spectrum.”
Though rooted in Fate-Al’s youth, PaleFace was created seven years ago when bandmate Jesse Jamez moved from Ohio to Las Vegas to join Fate-Al. Four years later, Nashville-based rapper Haystak joined the roster. Currently, the trio is recording their first professional studio album Feast or Famine, due to be released sometime this summer under an arrangement between PaleFace’s label, Tuk Yo Chain Records, and Brown Punk, a label backed by Island Records founder Chris Blackwell and trip-hop artist Tricky.
PaleFace’s music focuses on straightforward, urgent and in-your-face rhymes. The group pulls something from styles both within hip-hop and without for their sound, which Fate-Al describes as “ghetto metal,” melding street-minded lyrics with heavy metal-meets-rap production, but mining the breadth of hip-hop for inspiration.
The group isn’t above aiming to change the world through music either. They hope, says Fate-Al, to be a movement through which white hip-hop kids untangle themselves from the cliché attire and appearance of mainstream rap culture.
“We market PaleFace as the cure for the loss of identity,” he says. “All them little white kids that are running around, fuckin’ with corn rows and doo rags, or little white kids with Dickies up to their bellybuttons saying, ‘Hey homes. What’s up vato?’ Fuckin, we’re gonna cure ’em and let em’ know it’s okay to be proud to be you, dude. You don’t gotta be scared.”
This stance has generated charges of racism, which Fate-Al rejects.
“We’re far from racist,” he says. “We just like being us. We’re something that the industry has never seen, man, and it scares the fuck out of everybody, and I’m glad.”
PaleFace plays The Other Side on Friday, June 1 at 9 PM. RBIZ and Jaeo, and O.T. and Young Jay open. $15.