Speaking to TMZ regarding Knight preferring to label himself a n—a rather than an African-American, Chuck D mentioned the history behind the word as a guide to personally incorporating it into a person’s word play.
“Being called Black in America is the struggle to keep us moving and breathing over bloody water. Being a Nig**r or [Ni**a] without the context of history is like drowning in bloody water, dragging down those yet knowing to swim,” the Public Enemy frontman said.
Chuck D’s response comes days after Knight expressed his opinion on the n-word.
“It depends on how you say ‘n—a’ and what you doing with it,” the Death Row Records co-founder said in a TMZ video clip. “When you really look at it, a lot of people say ‘the N-word” he continued. “… I like that better than ‘African-American.’ We not from Africa, we Black.”
In a video posted Tuesday on TMZ, Compton rapper YG mentioned the power of the context that the n-word is used as the driving force behind his acceptance or rejection of the epithet.
“I feel like this,” he said “…That word, it got a lot of history … If the people using that word as a word to uplift they friend or say ‘that’s my homie, that’s my friend,’ I feel like it’s love. Because they ain’t using it in a disrespectful way,” said the rapper, who featured fellow rappers Jeezy and Rich Homie Quan on the song. “My N—a” … But if you use that in a disrespectful way, like if you use that in a disrespectful way to me, I’ma get on your a–. I’ma tell you to watch that N-word, homie.”
Although Chuck D sided with Knight on the debatable use of the n-word, the activist believes the word provides an easy way out for many MC’s, who use the n-word “more than 3 times a song.”
“It’s lazy,” Chuck D stated. “Especially when out of context.”