Phonte & 9th Wonder Discuss N-Word Controversy [VIDEO]

Last night (April 6) Hot 97 DJ Peter Rosenberg continued with his acclaimed Noisemakers series by welcoming former Little Brother members Phonte and 9th Wonder. It was a packed house at downtown Manhattan’s 92Y Tribeca cultural center, where fans were given the opportunity to hear about anecdotes about the group’s origins and their outlook on the present state of hip-hop.

Both guys spoke about their musical origins growing up in the Raleigh-Durham area both of North Carolina and how their love for late 1980’s and early 1990’s East Coast acts like Pete Rock & CL Smooth, De La Soul and A Tribe Called Quest influenced their lives. They also spoke about connecting with their fans via new media sites like Twitter and how older artists are less comfortable with the amount of access now available to fans.

Specifically Phonte spoke about his early encounters with Kanye West and 9th talked about how he developed his production style and why he’s working with up and comer Lil B, but both guys were most animated discussing the complexities of the “n-word” in hip-hop. Speaking candidly, both guys acknowledged that while it’s a multi-layered argument, ultimately it’s a violation for White people to use the term.

Always a top-notch production, Rosenberg’s Noisemakers event is slowly becoming a must see event for both artists and fans. —Khalid Salaam

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  • Sha

    Phonte might want to consider moonlighting as a comedian… He was hilarious.

    But on some true ish? Why are they even having that conversation? Everyone knows the rule…..

    Black? Ok…. White? I wish you would….

    Nuff said.

    • $yk

      you do realize a lot of the commenters who use the term are NOT melanin rich right?

      • Sha

        I’m failing to see the point of your question…..

        Black, yes. White, I wish you would.

        Nothing changes.

  • Johnjohn

    The biggest argument for saying Nigga is that “it takes the sting out of the word by using it between Black people” but then why can’t White people say it? Shouldn’t White people saying it “take the sting out” too?

    The use of Nigga shouldn’t be used at all with any race. But dumb niggas will always be dumb niggas, so feel free to distinguish between what race can and can’t use it.

    • $yk

      but then why can’t White people say it? Shouldn’t White people saying it “take the sting out” too?

      ^ see what i’m saying now sha…

      they have BEEN saying it…and you KNOW it will never mean comrade…even the real one’s wouldn’t NEVER think of typing it…just understand it’s more of them typing it on the ‘net than us…

      • nicholasdelorejo

        If I can weigh in on this conversation I kinda agree with Sha on the aspect of black people should not say the n word. Not because it doesn’t take the sting away from the word but because there are so many older black men and women that have endured severe abuse from racism while that word was flung at them and I don’t want to disrespect their struggle.

        But what bothers me even more is why are we still putting a focus on the word as if when white people decide to stop saying it then black people will not have any problems. I always remember that bit Chris Rock did on wealth and that it will truly setting us free both mentally and economically. Black people uniting and producing a source of wealth will really take the sting away from the word not adding it in rap songs. White used to call asians racial slurs and now they are at the top of all universities and own part of this country’s debt. I’m not saying words don’t hurt but figuring out ways to numb the word will not solve the main problem.

  • dj lady essence

    Yeah Phonte has always been hilarious to me! I enjoyed this event very much. Noisemakers is always dope!