Wynton Marsalis isn’t the biggest rap fan. In fact, he pretty much detests the whole genre and said it’s more harmful to Black people than the Confederate monuments removed in New Orleans last year.
He shared that opinion on Jonathan Capehart’s “Cape Up” podcast, and it’s one he’s been expressing for over 30 years now.
“My words are not that powerful,” said Marsalis, who played a role in removing those Confederate monuments. “I started saying in 1985 I don’t think we should have a music talking about n—ers and b-tches and ho-s. It had no impact. I’ve said it. I’ve repeated it. I still repeat it. To me that’s more damaging than a statue of Robert E. Lee.”
“I feel that’s much more of a racial issue than taking Robert E. Lee’s statue down,” he added. “There’s more n—ers in that than there is in Robert E. Lee’s statue.”
The 56-year-old also questioned why people would still like rap music after seeing how its influenced parts of the Black community.
For years now, Marsalis has used his music to take on racial and social issues, like in his composition of “Blood on the Fields,” which he won a Pulitzer Prize for in 1997.
“You can’t have a pipeline of filth be your default position,” he said of rap music. “It’s just like the toll the minstrel show took on Black folks and on white folks. Now all this n—ers this, b-tch that, h– that, that’s just a fact at this point. For me, it was not a default position in the ’80s. Now that it is the default position, how you like me now? You like what it’s yielding? Something is wrong with you. You need your head examined if you like this.”
However, Wynton did have something positive to say about Childish Gambino’s “This is America” and said he “applauded his creativity.” But in the very next sentence he took back the compliment and accused the rapper of challenging something that he portrays on some level.
“From a social standpoint, it’s hard to decry a thing that you depict,” Marsalis stated. That’s difficult.”
Later, the trumpeter was asked about Kanye West saying that slavery was a choice, and it’s a statement that he just doesn’t take seriously.
“I think Kanye West makes products,” Marsalis explained. “He’s going to put his product out, and he wants his product to sell. I would not give seriousness to what he said in that way. Okay? This guy is making products. He’s making him some money, got probably a product coming out that he’s selling. He’s saying stuff. People talking about him. They’re going to buy his product.”
“It’s not like Martin Luther King said it, a person who knows or is conscious of a certain thing,” he continued. “He’s entitled to whatever it is he wants to say. The quality of his thought is in the products he makes.”