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Bun B Holds Star-Studded Panel on “The Ethics of Hip-Hop” [Photo Gallery]

And as the discussion veered towards spirituality and religion, which is par for the course considering the title of the class, Christian rapper Tre9 spoke on how the perceived strange bedfellows are actually more of an integrated phenomenon than most fans realize.

“There are people out there that want to be encouraged through hip-hop,” Tre9 said.  “There are people that want to have their faith strengthened in hip-hop; to have positivity in hip-hop and buy and consume the music.”

It was Malice, known for rhyming about coke as one half of The Clipse and newly published author of the spiritual awakening book Wretched, Pitiful, Poor, Blind, and Naked, that hammered home the most profound testimony of religion and hip-hop.

“I had a life changing experience and Jesus Christ definitely saved my life, so when that happened, I couldn’t deny it,” Malice said.  “In the industry and this music game, if you don’t have the discipline—and I thought I had a lot of discipline—you can get caught up.  I can honestly say that this world definitely tried to kill me and take me out of here.  Definitely.  And Jesus definitely saved my life, so I have to give him all the glory.  It doesn’t matter to me what anybody thinks.  Fortunately, my brother [Pusha T] loves everything that I’m doing.  He tells me that he appreciates what I’m doing, he definitely has my back, and I have his back as well.  I definitely have a lot of support.”

The discussion reverted to the secular rap realm when Bun asked Lupe about the challenges he faced releasing his latest LP, Lasers, which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Top 200 in March with over 204,000 copies sold.

“I hate injustice and I hate dishonesty,” Lupe said.  “I demand honesty.  Just keep it honest with me.  If you want me to be a commercial artist, then just tell me that and we can do that and I’ll do it in my own way.  This is music; we can do whatever we want.  If I’m trying to make you dance, then we just gon’ dance, but if I’m trying to tell you the truth I’m gonna keep it raw and educated and intellectual because I know that the world understands that from the little kid all the way up.  And they’re gonna react to it and feel a certain way about it and have their critiques and comments.  So with my label situation, you have people that when they see injustice, they act upon it.  Injustice is just something that I always stood up against.  Even my own injustice.”

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