Russell Simmons Says He's "Proud Of What Hip Hop Has Become," In Response To Kid Cudi

Russell Simmons calls YG's "My Nigga" one of his favorite songs, shares his stance in the n-word debate.

Days after Cleveland rapper Kid Cudi appeared on “The Arsenio Hall Show” and shared his belief that Hip Hop is being held back due to the prominence of “braggadocio, money, cash, hoes” rap, Hip Hop pioneer Russell Simmons also made an appearance on the show and offered his response to Cudi’s remarks.

In response to Cudi’s comments, Simmons informed those watching that Hip Hop is about sharing a reality that is sometimes disturbing. The Def Jam co-founder also expressed his pride in what Hip Hop has become.

“Poets, their job is to tell you what people are thinking,” Simmons said. “And some of it is disturbing, but it’s in our reality. You know? It’s like they say ‘Why [are] songs so sexual?’ The research says that a man thinks about sex every 11 seconds. So, with that reality—I mean, an artist’s job is to express what’s on the hearts and the minds of people. I think the artists are sharing with us some really inspiring things and some things about ourselves that we don’t wanna face. I’m not at all disturbed by where they’re going. In fact, I’m actually proud of what Hip Hop has become.”

Simmons later chimed in on the n-word debate and even revealed that YG’s “My Nigga” is one of his favorite songs. The Hip Hop entrepreneur jokingly recalled hearing the n-word so much from his father, who was a black history professor, that he thought the word was his name for 12 years.

“My father called me that so much…He became a professor of black history. So, he was not a lost soul,” he said. “He just called me that so much. When I was 12 he took me in the room. He said ‘Russ, that’s your name.’ I thought my name was ‘nigga’ for 12 years…So, that’s the way he spoke to me. And it’s been in my family and in our culture. It’s our expression. And if you don’t have a slave in your background, in your history. If you don’t have ancestors that weren’t slaves maybe you shouldn’t use the word. Can we own something?”

In addition to his comments on the status of Hip Hop, Kid Cudi also discussed mental health and suicide during his mid-March appearance on “The Arsenio Hall Show.”

“I’ve dealt with suicide for the past five years,” Cudi said earlier this month. “There wasn’t a week or a day that didn’t go by where I was just like, ‘You know, I wanna check out.’ I know what that feels like, I know it comes from loneliness, I know it comes from not having self-worth, not loving yourself…I think that that’s my job, I’m really just trying to guide people and help people. Loneliness is a terrible, terrible thing, man. If you don’t know how to conquer it, it can eat you alive.”

RELATED: Russell Simmons Calls DMX Brilliant & Says His Full Potential Wasn't Reached



  • Har-magedon, G.O.D.

    PEACE Remember the Talented Tenth. Russ, you could have been one.

  • Anonymous

    I wonder about that anecdote regarding his pops but I believe he borrowed that from an old Bill Cosby routine 'My Father Confused Me' from the album of the same name. Cosby: " The kids from my neighborhood asked me what my name was. I said Jesus Chris..." Go listen to it. Memo to Russel: Originality, bro. that is what K.C. was talking about, well, people shouldn't expect much from the former ruler of the Evil Empire.

  • Anonymous

    Its no ones fault your dad was a douche. Just because he was a "professor of black history" does mean he cant be an asshole or probably even a bad professor.

  • mike

    Russell is wrong i could debate this man a million times over and even isolate the point where he sold out. But why waste the time when there are so few that think like us.. To those that peep Russell is full of it.. just remember his power with the pen was just used to crush Kid Cudi. Cudi "left" Kanye, MIA left Roc Nation and J Cole's Born Sinner was arguably classic material..yet Cudi and Cole got NO push. Yet Kanye is "executive producing" Cheif Keef album? These dudes are purposely pushing nonsense music while suffocating artists that could do it. Jay-z is a keep enemies close type. He had Buddens, Kanye, Sigel and so many other potential artist he could have pushed but they just could never do it under Jay. Jay never made one artist. Russell in my opinion never made anyone he just was at the helm when the shit was new. In the end his brother is a joke talking like a hiphop titan yet these "gods" lack moral authority to the point where they're good with the N word, they're good with hiphop's state of just redundant story telling or should i say modern takes on 2pac. In the end the music suffers my niggas and thats the realest thing I can say. I dont particularly fuck with Cudi's music.. but I respect him for at least being himself...I could write forever on the subject it just hurts to see people like Russell do this..

    • Anonymous

      No one is saying the music is the sole destructive force, but you cannot tell me that it does not play a prominent role. Russel is just a selfish monster like the rest of these cats. He's making money off it, so why would he bash it and potentially hurt his income stream? Another thing is, why don't people look at other genres of music to see that hip-hop is the only one that is one dimensional?

    • jason .f

      spot on mike!

    • Anonymous

      you think if they stop making this ignorant shit and go back to fucking 1973, the endemic social problems are gonna be fixed. nigga please.

    • Anonymous

      blah blah blah. you're missing the point. its art, not a political campaign. this is such an old fucking statement. its two sides of the coin: sugarhill gang weren't the realest cats either, but they have an important spot in the history of this music. ppl will listen to what they want. they're gonna gravitate to what they like, its not like they're forcing them to listen to it.

  • Anonymous

    What the hes happy im actually sick and tired of money people yappin on about it 247

  • Anonymous

    I wanna cry why has hip hop become like this where is it what happend


    Wow i didnt expect Russell to say that he's proud of what hip hop has become, especially after Cudi a more new school mind of whom im not a huge fan off bared his soul, in what is one of the realest and candid public interview's i've seen from some on in the game, and for him to not get backed up by a True school cat like Russell Simmons 30 years + in the hip hop game just doesn't sit right with me at all, i used to respect Russell for what he did for hip hop in the early days of Hip Hop but this is making me look at him in a whole new light of where is he coming from? very dissapointing it seem's like there is no support for each other in this game any more. your's truly a very sad fan of Hip Hop since 1983 peace.

  • Walking Contradiction

    Expect more flip flopping from Russ again some time in the near future . And this ----> He just called me that so much. When I was 12 he took me in the room. He said Russ, thats your name. I thought my name was nigga for 12 years Sounds so fucking corny and desperate Russ. -----> YGs My Nigga is one of his favorite songs. Really russ ?

  • Russel Simmons

    I thee a lot of haterths here. I love the thate of hip hop right now. Thop the hating

  • Pat

    Fuck this dude. Ignorance is making him money, so of course he gonna like it.

  • Anonymous

    "it shouldn't even be called "hip-hop" anymore" ^ it's not, it's called rap

  • hlewissmith

    The Russell Simmon's of the world serve as perfect examples and validates why Black African Americans who embrace the n-word as some so-called term of endearment are paranoid delusional and are in need of therapeutic help which is explained in fuller detail as follows:

  • Big 18th Street Gang, E'z up!

    Is this perra even black? He looks like a white man with a deep tan. Anyway, I'm definitely not proud of what hip-hop has become. It's become nothing more then a joke with a bunch of CLOWNS (you know who you are) running around in the game. To be honest, it shouldn't even be called "hip-hop" anymore. Listen to the many tracks that get released on a daily basis on hiphopdx, it's nothing but forgettable/throw-a-way tracks that are not worth the sweat off my balls.

  • Anonymous

    rush contradicting himself hardbody

  • 1ove

    Kid Cudis comments was on point and real talk. Russel just set blacks back again spewing that bullshit. Type of dude to say anything just to fit in. Stop promotin that garbage. Acting like it's cool and funny that his dad called him nigga. Then u wanna be mad when white ppl use that word. cosigning YG, just lost any respect I had left for russ. Props to Kid Cudi

  • Anonymous

    This guy is and always will be a bitch made slave to the jews. Take that stupid ball hat off, dude. You look stupid. with regards to your "thinking about sex every 11 seconds" comment; what about the other things cudi spoke about? Also, are you trying to tell me white artists in other genres dont think about sex? Fuck outta here, bitch.

    • Anonymous

      he really do look dumb as fuck wearing that cap erryday with his collared shirts and grandpa sweaters.

  • Me

    White man trapped in a black mans body.. What a sucker..

  • Anonymous

    Mr. Simmons looking for the easy out. Man up old head and stop contradicting yourself.

  • Anonymous

    Yg's a poet? Lmao yo Russ get your mental health checked!!

  • OC

    " Im not at all disturbed by where theyre going. In fact, Im actually proud of what Hip Hop has become" really Russel? You're proud of how hip hop has gone from being about black power, gain knowledge, respect our women TO calling women b____, having multiple women, glorifying dope slangin', self hate? I have no respect for you whatsoever. You're just part of the machine.

  • Doug

    Russell is an idiot. I'm studying Law, I didn't think about sex once when writing a 2 hour exam. Russell preaches the benefits of Yoga then cheats on his wife and breaks apart his family. He did every drug in the book, while people were working hard. This dude needs to shape up, or he's gonna fuck up his legacy if he hasn't already.

  • Ed OG

    Kid Cudi is a moron and if he said that in Boston he would have caught it.

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