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Photos courtesy of Xphaqtor and ISocialHouston

Religious content, artistic integrity, creative responsibility, censorship, parental accountability, political issues: these were a few of the topics on Bun B’s agenda during his panel discussion on “The Ethics of Hip-Hop” at Houston’s Venue Nightclub last night (April 12).  The co-professor of the "Religion and Hip Hop Culture" class at Rice University moderated the second public session in a continued effort to close the cognitive distance between rap culture and academia.

The Professor of Trill—as he’s come to be known on campus—played aggregator of content as fellow MCs Tre9, Trae the Truth, Malice of The Clipse, Talib Kweli and Lupe Fiasco spoke openly for three hours about their collective views on how they approach hip-hop artistically and socially.

On the topic of ethics and the long-standing phrase in hip-hop, “keeping in real,” Talib emphasized the importance of staying in your own lane as an artist.

“I think my responsibility as an artist is to be honest with my craft first,” Talib said.  “What I get paid to do is to be honest with my music.  If I have knowledge, it’s my job to share that knowledge.  I can’t share what I don’t have.  You have a responsibility for the knowledge that you have.  But because of the type of music I make, I don’t expect every artist to make that type of music.  I make the type of music based on what I know how to make and if I was to try to make something else, it wouldn’t come across as genuine.  But I don’t put the burden of that on the art, I put it on myself as a man.”