The publicity of rapper Wayne's decidedly vulgar reference to Emmett Till -- whose scandalous murder in Mississippi in 1955 was considered by many as the impetus to the modern civil rights movement -- was, or so I thought, a teachable moment in my sociology classes at a black college.
I'm well aware of the misogyny and homophobia of hip-hop as a whole and the fact that Azealia's male counterparts say similar things on wax and outside the studio, but I'm specifically irritated and baffled by Azealia's ignorance, behavior and theories because she's a black bisexual woman.
No offense to any of these artists (besides Flo-Rida, I fully mean to offend you), but these songs definitely need to be punished and shown to the gates of Hades, where they will have ample time to think about what they've done.
Paying attention to the guilt-redemption, love-hate and God-Devil themes found in Mathers's music is an important part of understanding how the perception of spirituality is active in today's popular culture.
Who knows what would have become of me had I grown up in an era where my idols, the preeminent examples for success from communities like mine, limited their content to the four or five themes that dominate today's hip hop landscape.
On my debut album, I displayed a few cringe-worthy slur moments of my own. I tossed it around with the reckless abandon of a young man lacking the empathetic sensitivity that only manifests through life-altering interactions and experiences.
In its revelation of the artistry and humanity that hip hop is at its best, The Art of Rap places rap music in its rightful place: as one of the most powerful art forms in the history of cultural production.