Whether it’s appropriate for Black folks to use the N-word is an age-old debate, which has seemed to be discussed a lot more once hip-hop came into prominence and rappers began to pepper their verses with the controversial word.
Ja Rule, who’s no stranger to using the N-word in his music, believes it should be removed from Black slang altogether, a point he made after watching rappers N.O.R.E and Waka Flocka Flame talk about it.
N.O.R.E. brought up the use of the N-word when Waka was a guest on his “Drink Champs” podcast for an interview to be released on Thursday, July 30.
“I think we should stop saying n—a,” N.O.R.E. told Waka. “I think the word ‘n—a’ should just be stopped in our whole vocabulary.”
Waka then said that Black slang is something that Black people should embrace since they created it. But he still agreed with N.O.R.E. that the N-word should be abolished.
Rule left a comment under a clip of the interview on Sunday, July 26.
“Agree my brothers!!!” he wrote. “Abolish the N-Word… repost!!! as black men we shouldn’t want to refer to each other as a word that was meant to demean and oppress our ppl…”
One of the more recent times when the N-word debate made headlines was in 2018 when rapper Kendrick Lamar performed at the Hangout Music Festival in Alabama. But the controversy didn’t have to do with Black folks using the word, it happened when a white female fan used it while reciting lyrics to Lamar’s song “m.A.A.d City.”
The woman, who was called on stage by Lamar to perform the song, said the N-word three times. The TDE artist then stopped her and said, “You gotta bleep one single word though.”
“I’m used to singing it the way you wrote it,” the woman responded after apologizing.
At the time, some praised Lamar for stopping the fan, while others said if he didn’t want his fans to use the N-word he shouldn’t have written it in the song.
Another N-word controversy that was born in rap circles came in 2011 when white female Oakland rapper V-Nasty defended using the word in her music.
V-Nasty, whose children have a Black father, said she’s okay with using the N-word, as long as it has the letter “A” at the end. It’s the same kind of reasoning others have used when defending their use of the word.
“Now if I hear somebody say it with an ‘er,’ I’m gonna speak up,” she told LA Weekly in 2011. “I don’t take that sh– lightly. I wish somebody would come up and call my daughter or my son the N-word in that way.”
V-Nasty also said because she’s from a Black neighborhood and uses the word around her Black friends, she was fine with saying it.
“They’re used to it, they don’t give a f–k,” she explained. “What? ‘Cause of my skin I can’t be ghetto? … In Oakland, it doesn’t matter.”
After Rule made his point about the N-word, many of his followers weighed in and said they also think it should stop being used, since it encourages white people to use the word as slang.
“Amen… it’ll take some time but it starts now… 💪🏽💪🏽💪🏽💪🏽,” someone wrote about removing the N-word from Black slang.
“RESPECT💯 I’m all for it ✊🏽🍀,” another person stated.
“I agree for years I have been refraining myself from saying that word less,” a third comment read.