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The Kind of N_gg_ I Like; thinking about the unparalleled linguistics of Hip-Hop

No matter how many times Black leaders condemn the term n#gg$r, and its derivatives, rappers continue to tote it in their songs. Much to their boldness, saying it once is not enough. This is the era postdating countless attempts to curb use of the n-word, yet a listener will hear it at least 20 times in particular rap songs. That’s why I believe that Pharrell’s—a Virginian emcee/producer—verse in “That Shit Real N#gg@” cannot end every line with such an epithet and not be making a political statement. Whether his perspective on the word is positive or negative I cannot say with confidence; perhaps, those options simplify the situation. Regardless of the specifics, something in the DNA of Hip-Hop is conducive to discourse concerning identity and the use of the n-word.


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