While laowai love to chase after "authenticity", they won't give up creature comforts for their desire to be "authentic", they'll find other ways to make up for it. For this reason, laowai overwhelmingly prefer Shanghai to Beijing.
Nas raps about the "acceptable negro" (ie Bill Cosby types, NOT Chris Rock types) and Shanghai is an "acceptably Chinese" city. It isn't necessarily a matter of racism, but more about societal norms and what one's been exposed to. The city is very much Chinese, but there are still parts that don't feel like China, this pleases the laowai. The number of foreigners in Shanghai and the excellent selection of foreign restaurants also makes the laowai comfortable. Yet the laowai can also have a very "Chinese" day and satisfy his desire to feel like he's in China. While short-term visitors typically prefer Beijing for its "authentic" Chinese "feel", the true laowai (ie the expats), love Shanghai for its creature comforts and how it mirrors their life back home in New York or London or Los Angeles.
The laowai will quickly identify himself with all things Shanghai and will lust after a French Concession mansion, thus fulfilling his desire for history(very important to laowai), authenticity, as well as all the comforts of modern living (once they fix it up, something laowai love to do).
While the laowai might have many favorite spots around China (hint hint Yunnan and Tibet, coming soon), he will call Shanghai home and will forever prefer it to its "Grandfather" up north.