If you're reading this, chances are most of your heroes don't appear on postage stamps. Jay Z understands. Sitting down for a talk with Oprah's Master Class, the most famous man from Marcy puts in very plain terms how crucial he thinks hip-hop is: "It's very difficult to teach racism when your kid looks up to Snoop Doggy Dogg."

Jay goes on to explain that—excepting Martin Luther King, Jr.—most so-called cultural icons can't hold a candle to hip-hop's role in furthering race relations, both in America and across the globe. "This music didn't only influence kids from urban areas," Hov went on. "People listen to this music all around the world, and took to this music."

Notable for his own activism, Jay praised hip-hop's ability to remind Americans that, despite race, "We're more alike than we are different." When people dance, party, and generally revel in the same musical and cultural experiences, he says, "conversations naturally happen."