I don’t blame you if 50 Cent isn’t exactly your point person for intuition and eloquence. This is, after all, a man who thinks nothing of combining childhood imagery (candy shops, amusement parks) with raunch, a man who will "whip your head, boy," a man who thinks he’s doing you a favor when he says, "I’ll let you lick my d***."
It was, then, a great surprise when, during a press conference Wednesday, Fiddy stepped up his insight after being grilled about the initiative to remove those three infamous words from hip-hop. The rapper won’t be censoring himself any time soon, and here’s his explanation why:
"Music is a mirror and hip-hop is a reflection of the environment we grew up in, the harsh realities. If I ask you to paint a picture of the American flag and not use the color red, you’d have a difficult time. So to capture what we’re trying to in this art form, I’m sure some conservative Americans can’t actually ID with it because of their lifestyle and the way they’ve been brought up. They haven’t been exposed to these realities. I understand it. I’m actually angry at some points when I’m confused or I don’t have information. Again, I understand why I’m constantly being attacked on some levels. It’s difficult to find hip-hop that has had any success that hasn’t had content on some level that was a little racy."
Everything about this — the tangible flag metaphor, the consideration of a cultural divide, the stunning humility, the self-awareness, the admittance of ignorance, the practical business sense — is perfect. In just a paragraph, 50 has summed up not just his motivation but the state of hip-hop in ’07. Bravo.
T.I. spoke at the conference, sharing some smart stuff about responsibility starting at home, not in pop culture. He added:
"I know the B-word, the H-word and the N-word are the words under attack right now. And I don’t know if you know it or not, people, but there are bitches, n*ggas and hoes who live in America. And as long as that fact exists, I think rappers deserve the right to talk about it."