Ozone Magazine Sits In On Bun B's Religion and Hip Hop Culture Class with Lupe Fiasco

Bun B and Lupe Fiasco field questions at a recent panel discussion for the university class taught by Bun.

Ozone Magazine was recently on hand to tape the latest public panel session hosted by Bun B for his Religion and Hip Hop Culture class at Rice Univeristy. The event, which featured guest panelists Lupe Fiasco, Talib Kweli, Malice of the Clipse, Trae Tha Truth and Tre9, focused on religion's place in Hip Hop and emcees's personal responsibility to the community.

At one point in the discussion, a school teacher questioned Bun as to why more rappers aren't conveying a positive message to the youth. Bun responded saying that while some rappers are to blame for not doing more for their communities, Hip Hop is not completely at fault. The problems that many people face stem from larger issuest and government neglect.

"I think the problem is...we as artists, we're not obligated to [give a postive message]," replied Bun. "It's only if we personally feel the obligation to do that. if you go to McDonald's, the person behind the counter [is] not obligated to tell you how bad McDonald's is for you; their obligation at work is to sell you McDonald's. Now, me as a person, I personally know that there's other things going on, so when I'm not at work, I go out in the community and try to do what I can to rectify that. But that being said...we go back to the point that if a child is at home listening to me at night with their parents...I understand that [many parents are working]. I was latch-key kid, my brother, and look where I'm at: I'm a...co-professor at Rice University and I was raised on Hip Hop. I was raised on Ice Cube and all of these things. I came home from school at 4 PM [and] my mother was gone. I made some good decisions, and I made some bad decisions.

"As a person in my community, I try to speak into peoples' lives. But you can't hold me or Hip Hop accountable for the fact that a person hears what I said and chooses to do that, and specifically a child. Now, when I say it's not my responsibility to raise your child, I meant that primarily. Now, does it take a village to raise a child? Yes, it does, but you've got to stand up and point at all the things that are creating these circumstances. You point to the government just as much as the rapper."

Lupe Fiasco then took the microphone to respond to the teacher's question. During his answer, Carrera Lu related his experiences visiting his former school in Chicago, where he said students depended upon school for meals more than education. He went on to lambast the education system for failing to teach their students something meaningful during the tenure of their education.

"I was principal for a day a school," he said. "It was the school I went as a kid...on the west side of Chicago...the kids would come into this school to eat...not to learn, to eat breakfast and lunch. The principal of this school...is trying to institute a third meal, so that he knows when those kids go home, they're going to have had something to eat...I come to the school, Lupe Fiasco...[and] none of these kids knew who I was, and I was on the radio everyday. None of these kids knew who I was and the problems they had still existed...they weren't coming to school to learn, they were coming to eat.

"There's some very serious problems even within the school system itself...the way you were taught how to teach kids, the system that you came up under, they're archaic and ancient, 60 to 70 years past their time. You should go into school and take all of those antiquated text books and those meaningless tests...that you sit over and watch these kids take, you know that they're not going to use 95% of that information at all...I challenge you, throw away all of them books, all of the tests, and teach them something meaningful...you're just as guilty as Lil Wayne. Miseducation is miseducation, no matter how you put it, whether it's coming through the radio station or it's coming out of a book or a teacher...just because I can make it rhyme and you can't doesn't make you better than me, pimp."   

The full video can be seen below.

45 Comments

  • Jeff van Leeuwen

    Liked this video alot, some good discussion here. lupe was right about standardized testing, but i think he was exaggerating with what he said about 95% of what you learn being useless. the school system is flawed, for instance why are we grouped in classes by age? it has very little to do with learning ability. why not group kids by abilities (strengths and weaknesses)? that way they could all learn at the same level (remember how some kids in your class always got it the first time, while others lagged behind)... just a thought. also other forms of media are to blame. think of all the violent movies that make it seem cool to be "rebellious", and glorify violence and drinking and sex. many rappers make songs about these things because they know it will sell records. i also think things like MTV are to blame for trying to "create" and market pop culture. see this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FEfmiBKAJO0 more artists need to realize that their messages have a heavier influence on people than they think, and instead of trying to sell records they should perhaps focus more on a positive message, and try to lead by example at all times. the teacher had a good point about some of the "hypocrisy" in hip hop, but a similar problem occurs throughout culture.

  • @Deknowz

    The oversight here is that this is hip hop culture, there is a whole forum of people here talking about real issues. Even though there are opposing fews, it's good that these artists are leading us to talk about them.

  • Anonymous

    Bun B still doin his thing,...I know the media is fuckin up shit but his is a legend. UGK NIGGAS UGK for your none good hiphop knowing cats ass....R.I.P pimp c

  • meboy

    i can't even front , i didn't know ozone mag was still doing they thing out here but shout out to them for holdin da south down for years

  • Jose Vasquez

    I wanted to hear Malice talk, always glad to see hip artists like Bun B and Lupe talk about real issues.

  • Octavian Johnson

    I wish everyone could watch this video. Show that not all rap is bad rap...the media just makes it seem that way because the "bad" rap is what dumb ass people wanna hear.

  • gaoigai

    Bun B For President

  • Samarah Green-Troupe

    Lupe Fiasco could have articulated his point a little better, but I understand what he's saying. Standardized testing has been criticized for years for not really proving anything but one's ability to take a test, or how prepared you were for that test. You should learn practical things in school, such as planting things, because processed food is killing us. Kids should be learning how to budget. They should be learning about their local laws...things that will help them TODAY. And of course, math, history, english, and science are important. But there is no balance. His comments were a little out there, but he meant well. I think people are being a little hard on him.

  • O

    > That is the problem with calling Hip Hop a Culture. > Now you wanna try to walk the fine line between societal norms and artistic norms? > Now you are going to sound dumb no matter what you say. > Because the best argument FOR Art, is MORE Art. > But Bun B was right that "ARTISTS SHOULD NEVER FEEL OBLIGATED TO DO OR SAY ANYTHING THEY DON'T WANT TO".

  • Anonymous

    Lupe's response was all over the place and sounded ingnorant and dumb as fuck. I don't want to believe that some people are holding him in such a high regard when they're talking about intelligent artists. He can talk like that, he has his money and gets it from the kids. He is telling the kids that education is useless, what a message is this? Everybody can't be a Lupe Fiasco, he should be ashamed after this silly replay. Bun's answer was good though.

    • The Get Up

      I think you're misconstruing the direction of his comments. He's not saying that education is useless, he's saying that the educational system needs to be reevaluated. He believes the curriculum is outdated and contains many irrelevant/non-contemporary courses and lesson plans. However, it isn't a very effective argument to justify hip hop by providing examples of other factors he believes to be on the same unproductive level. Also, he conveniently fails to recognize that lack of government funding toward altering the direction of education is the root of the problem.

    • Anon

      Lupe was talking about the education SYSTEM. Not education as a whole. IZ YOU TWISTED SON? Not sure how much you actually listen to him, but he speaks of education and self betterment routinely.

  • donny

    i think it's so funny when there's a post on here talking about the carter 4 or something and the comments are all like OH SHIT DIS NIGHA IS FIRE! and then when we have an article like this the same people try to sound as educated as possible.. aha just saying

    • Kashif Ilyas

      dude you can enjoy Wayne's music and still be interested in real issues. We listen to music for entertainment, not to educate ourselves! and after saying that, I also love conscious hip-hop too. But I listen to both the sides.

    • Vic

      lol yea I noticed the same thing

  • Nate Breezy

    The response to the teacher should be, "art imitates life. Rap lyrics speak to what the rappers know. If you have a problem with the content, do something about the neighborhood they come up in. Hip-hop is not the problem, it is the artistic reflection of the problem".

  • Anonymous

    I don't completely agree with Lupe. He says that you don't use 95% of what you learn in school. I don't know about him but I use my Math, English, Grammar, Spelling and so forth on a daily basis. Just like hip-hop isn't the only one to blame neither is the school. One of the reasons that you learn different subject is to give you different interests. Just because I don't use my biology knowledge doesn't mean it wasn't good to learn. Parents need to be teaching the kids just as much if not more than the school, especially practical things. I do like how these rappers are out there speaking on things like this and showing that they are deeper than what most people stereotype hip-hop as.

    • dee

      @xavier.. Stop playing the blame game.. It isn't the governments fault areas turn to shit. It's the people who live there. Ignorant people ruin areas and lives. Government isn't holding a gun to a kids head.. It's the neighborhood gang banger. There is only so much the government can impact.. People need to be responssible for their actions and think life through logically. An individual won't impact their life or society in a positive way if they sit and complain, blame, and yap their mouth. All they'll be doing is losing energy and time. Instead, use the energy and time positively. Make something happen!

    • Anonymous

      "english... eh most people in the hood like to talk the way they do." Nice one Xavier. Well lets see if any employer outside of McDonalds likes that. Not likely. If you want a legitimate career speaking that way isn't what will get you in. You made a few good points but that one is pure stupidity. No one should be content with being illiterate and uneducated. Education is power. Education and knowledge is what will help "the hood" turn into a neighborhood.

    • Ruffdraft

      Pretty much what i was gonna say. Surprisingly Bun made a way more convincing argument than Lupe. You are gonna need english to make it in life. Good luck getting a good jobs if you can't even make it past a interview with a basic command of the english language. Math not as much but again, for alot of good jobs you will need math skills. Speaking of "antiquated" wtf is lupe talking about teaching kids to grow plants. Ya thats great and all but thats nothing close to being as necessary a skill as speaking proper english. Unless of course you live in the backwoods and eat off the land.

    • Vic

      Yea Lupe is a little extreme, I tend to agree more with Bun B. @Xavier: you say spelling and grammar are natural but thats only because you used them in every class throughout high school. in some of the higher math classes it may seem pointless because you never use the stuff they teach you but ur missing the point. math is a mental exercise so it helps develop ur problem solving skills. just like analyzing a novel develops your critical thinking skills. Basically you have to look deeper than the individual facts you learn in school and realize that it all comes together to make you into an educated person.

    • Xavier MillionKid McCloud

      your a dumb ass, everything you said is only 5% of school, how MUCH of the math do you use. spelling and grammar are natural for MOST people. english... eh most people in the hood like to talk the way they do. but like i said, all what you said is only the 5 percent, thinkg of all the mindless dumb shit in sxhool you did... hater. your the only one who was able to pay attention to your education, cause you probably didnt have it AS hard as most chicago kids. i had it hard livin in milwaukee, but when i moved to to the chi, outta state the first time in my life, i told my wife and my moms that if i would have grown up here i probably woulda been dead by 14, or out in the streets gangbangin, or in prison. Its not really the schools that have the problems, like bun b said its the government, those kids should never be scared to walk out there house cause of the niggas on the corner or around it. it WAS like that in milwaukee, but Usually you would only have to worry about gettin jumped. But like bun b said, its the government. they let areas of the city turn into this shit, when they coulda fixed it a while ago. thats why obamas gonna tax the rich now, cause they got all the MONEY!!!!! and if poor people cant eat what are they gonna do?? find a whay, what ever way thats fastest, cause hunger dont go away till your full...

  • apechkam11

    I don't necessarily disagree with anything that Bun B or Lupe said but I am sick of how rappers answer these questions about how their music affects the youth. Every time this type of question is asked the answer has more to do with why other people should be blamed than being accountable for the music they put out. I just wish one time, a rapper would actually address the question and talk about how their music affects their communities. These types of questions usually come from condescending journalists who come in against hip-hop, which is why the artist answering should simply support the product that he or she is putting out rather than shift the blame toward teachers, hollywood, racism, etc. If you really believe in your product, SAY IT.

    • Xavier MillionKid McCloud

      but that muh fucka bun b KNOWS he aint makin music for kids, hes sayin the fuckin parents need to take care of their kids, and the government needs to fix the mess of a country they made!!!! he did say something to the effect of kids shouldnt be listening to this, and if there parents would watch them, then they wouldnt be hearin his shit.

  • WTF

    Really...I want my kids listening to Bun B at a universitty???..get the f#uk outta here!!! All the both of them are doing is talk talk talk...yap yap yap... Yeah, Im gonna want my kids to listent to the Opinion of a guy whose album(Ridin Dirty) has tracks titled: 1. Murder 2. Fuck My Car 3. That's Why I Carry 4. Hi Life 5. Good Stuff 6. Ridin' Dirty This guy is all over the place with his "teachings".... If my kid enrolled in a class at Rice University(Houston, Tx), which is a private and expensive school ( I was born and raised in Houston), to hear Bun B give his OPINION, I would ask that he/she withdraw and get my money back. Why would you waste time and money to hear bun b speak for a semester. Take other classes that would actally impact your life and society, actully learn something.Your are in college to learn. I can see Lupe speaking at a class, but Bun B, please. What i don't understand is why Bun B picked a rich private school to lecutre and to make a impact on society. Why didn't he choose a HBCU, like Texas Souther University (15 min from Rice). He is wasting his time at Rice.

    • MRD

      Personally, Bun B @ Rice makes perfect sense to me. The fact that Bun B has thrived in the rap game for so long portends that he is no slouch mentally, although it may not manifest itself in a way that America traditionally considers "smart" (Think about the other successful long-time rappers out there- I wouldn't call guys like Jay-Z, Nas, Dre 3000, or Dr. Dre dumb, by any means. Playing the system for your own good for takes brains!). Many of the kids at Rice- the "Ivy League of the South"- will be the people pulling strings and making major decisions in our government and big business in the future, but have also probably never been exposed to this brand of black/street intellectualism/wisdom, if you will, or have heard the view from "the other side". So I think it's great that they might learn to appreciate a different style of thinking, and that they might learn about the perspective from "the other side", which they probably would have never been exposed to otherwise. Think of when someone leaves the 'hood and begins to understand the ways of white America via education, it's just the same thing in reverse. I think we all can agree that unfiltered cross-cultural communication is one of the few good things college promotes...

    • Vic

      @WTF: I understand where you're coming from because at first glance Bun B doesnt come off as an educated person but thats just because he is from the south and has that kind of style in his music. It doesnt make him any less intelligent than Lupe and in my opinion Bun B makes better and more realistic points than Lupe.

    • Atl2Trill

      I get what you're saying. I learned some things in college so far. Mostly in my history and psych courses. But I learned just about the same outside of class too. But I agree about every student is different. At the same time, college is all about exposing students to different ideas and walks of life. At least Rice Univ. was open enough to allow Bun to co teach a course. Also Bun made better points than Lupe in this debate.

    • WTF

      To Atl2Trill:.......so what do kids go to college for if they don't go there to learn??? What are the 2-3 yrs about then? Some kids learn the first 2- 3yrs, some don't learn. I myself am a college graduate and did learn something every year while i was in college. Every student is different. You can't honestly say kids don't learn NOTHING their first 2-3ys in college. I wouldn't call it hating, just my opinion. Opinions are like a$$ holes....everybody got one.

    • Atl2Trill

      LMAO at learning in college. That's an oxymoron. 2-3 yrs. of classes aren't even about learning. It's mostly memorization and weeding out people. You sound like you're slick hating and not open to different ideas.

  • KStills

    I think it is good to have this conversation going...it needs to be ongoing though. Bun B makes a lot of valid points. I agree with Lupe's comments that the American educational systems are antiquated. This however, isn't an opinion as much as it is a fact. Schools and colleges are designed with ideals, concepts and some practices that date back to the origin of school...things that impact the length of the school day...the portion of the day that we are in school...the subject matter...etc. However, I don't agree with his comments that teachers are teaching material that a student will never use. That's just wrong. Are there some things you don't use, practically?...absolutely. The construct of some material (say college algegbra) may not be used daily in a practical sense..but the skill of thinking critically, identifying patterns,working throug a process, etc. are skills learned that are fostered from math. To tell the teacher to throw out everything he uses...b/c its all meaningless is just triflin'. He should come to freshman college classes where students can not read or construct a decent paragraph. Last time I checked..those things are taught from elementary on up. Lupe also makes comments about America being the most corrupt something or the other....but my thing is...BUT YOU STILL LIVE HERE. LOL. YOU ARE STILL MAKING MONEY IN THIS CORRUPT CAPITALIST MARKET...LOL...I really love you Lupe and your music...but you got a bit emotional in that response, "pimp". Bun brought up more reasonable issues that call for us to look at ALL issues contributing to the plight of black folks...or scratch that....poor folks. But if we do that...its no question that a big finger will get pointed right back at US. Like Nas said...."I made ya look".

  • Jake

    althought fyi Bun, Lupe did have radio play (maybe not MAJOR), but he's still def on the radio, and Lasers is watered down GARBAGE (for the most part minus 3-4 songs @ most. He can blame Atlantic all he wants (cop out), but bottom line is he allowed it to come out in the end

  • Jake

    Bun B keepin it real & sounding very articulate. It's on the PARENTS not the artist. The kid can go on the internet and listen/watch ANYTHING they want that may not be appropiate. Raw Hip hop (or garbage hip hop if it comes to alot the ish on the radio post 03), Porn, Violent Movies, etc. You can't stop artistry you have to let your kids live and learn or micromangae them if you're crazy like that and not let them watch/listen to RAW ish

  • King

    Its true what bun b and lupe said like you can have a teacher and 30 students in one class and the teacher can be teaching history for example for like 2hours etc. After when the class is done and its time to go home the students in that class will listen to their music say lil wayne for example (i only use wayne is because everyone listens to him specially the youth) and they will take more information down in that song which was maybe like 4 mins for example then what theteacher said in the whole 2 hours about history its true because we all have done it

  • Anthony Wallace

    Thank You! My boys and I are working towards these values for youth in our area. Lets stand up and do what we need to so that our youth does not continue down the path they are headed.

  • LJPtexan

    Bun was greatness as expected! Lupe played himself. Kids dont need math and english?! Teach em how to grow a plant?? fuck outta here! Thats not gonna help shit. He seemed fuckd up to me, but either way he's trippin.

  • Mr Flamboyant

    The teacher got verbally murdered. Bun B and Lupe brought up the perfect points that needed to be said...especially Lupe. Not only is it archaic and ancient, it removes any semblance of teaching individuality and progressive thinking; basically rendering all of us as robots. Even sadder is this goes on to the college life. I've never liked school because it was so robotic. The text books stunk; heck a spelling book had the word "hurted" in it. That was 5th grade. History is always a suspect subject just because certain things never made sense (the Columbus "discovering" a land that was inhabited was just beyond nonsensical to me for beginners). Lucky for me I had older people in my life and they taught me many things book didn't. Elders who never graduated high school because of many reasons; yet, can tell you any and everything about life and what you needed to know and understand I always had the theory of how much is actually retained while in high school. I had all of the accelerated classes; the calculus AP, biology AP; trigonometry, etc. But I felt I would only retain 10% of anything. Sophomore year in college, had this class where there were minority students from the same areas of life, i.e. the hood, and a guy came in to tell us pointblank that you will only retain and utilize 10% of what you "learn"...and that's if you are lucky. Sad thing is, now it is even more heavily stressed to go to college in order to get your foot for an entry level job sitting at a desk answering a phone for $10/hour damn near. The numbers don't balance. Yet, you have learned nothing as far as what can teach you with on the job experience. And we as urban youth are way behind and lacking much when it comes to high school going to college in the first. Best thing we can always do, seek the truth and continue to strive for perfection. Only way that can happen is learn God's Word and righteous for the wisdom to understand it all.

    • Jrok

      My friend you are spot on... and like they touched on, "the powers that be" are to blame. Im not religious at all, due to the fact that I know the truth about where 95% of religion originates from. But striving for perfection and learning to bring God out in ourselves is the way to go. Heaven on Earth. Unfortunately the Elitist of our times would much rather not share this wealth of knowledge that they harness. Why share what you can take? It's sickening, people in the world are dealing with problems 1000000x worse then what we deal with on US soil. Its time we start sharing this knowledge openly and evolve this race instead of farm harvest governing and suppressing the people.

  • Atl2Trill

    Bun B and Lupe are holding it down.

  • EddieMurrrphy

    that last paragraph of lupe's response is gold. i been saying that for years now

  • Anonymous

    Bun had a great argument, and Lupe brought that personal experience aspect into his argument, overall, excellent points made by both rappers.

  • dark man x

    Bun B is one articulate dude.

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