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.”