Earlier today, Talib Kweli was one of the guests on MSNBC's The Cycle. The Brooklyn native was brought in to talk about cultural appropriation in hip-hop, and to specifically address Macklemore's victory at the Grammys and subsequent text message to Kendrick Lamar. Talib, who opened up for Macklemore & Ryan Lewis on a nationwide tour last year, told Ari Melber that when Macklemore found out that he was being nominated for the Grammys, he told Talib, "I might win, and that's going to be a problem."
Talib went on to cite Macklemore's 2005 song "White Privilege" to argue that the Seattle native was well aware of his position as a white rapper in America. Kweli said, "Some people think that his text to Kendrick was corny [...], but I see it as an artist who realizes his position in this culture and is doing everything in his power that he can do. He can't not be white."
Kweli and the rest of the panelists talked about the Grammys and the trend of catering to white America in its award selections. "The general consensus of hip-hop [fans] is that Kendrick Lamar had the best album of the year," he said. "And if that's not the consensus, people feel that the Drake album, the Kanye album, and the Jay Z album were all better than Macklemore's."
Later on in the program, Kweli and the rest of the panelists discussed the case of Vonte Skinner and whether or not rap lyrics can be used as evidence in criminal matters. Skinner was previously convicted of attempted murder thanks in part to lyrics that were found in his car when he was arrested. His conviction was reversed in 2012 and the case is currently heading to New Jersey's Supreme Court. Watch Kweli's panel here.
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