Ozone Magazine was recently on hand to tape the latest public panel session hosted by Bun B for his Religion and Hip Hop Culture class at Rice Univeristy. The event, which featured guest panelists Lupe Fiasco, Talib Kweli, Malice of the Clipse, Trae Tha Truth and Tre9, focused on religion's place in Hip Hop and emcees's personal responsibility to the community.
At one point in the discussion, a school teacher questioned Bun as to why more rappers aren't conveying a positive message to the youth. Bun responded saying that while some rappers are to blame for not doing more for their communities, Hip Hop is not completely at fault. The problems that many people face stem from larger issuest and government neglect.
"I think the problem is...we as artists, we're not obligated to [give a postive message]," replied Bun. "It's only if we personally feel the obligation to do that. if you go to McDonald's, the person behind the counter [is] not obligated to tell you how bad McDonald's is for you; their obligation at work is to sell you McDonald's. Now, me as a person, I personally know that there's other things going on, so when I'm not at work, I go out in the community and try to do what I can to rectify that. But that being said...we go back to the point that if a child is at home listening to me at night with their parents...I understand that [many parents are working]. I was latch-key kid, my brother, and look where I'm at: I'm a...co-professor at Rice University and I was raised on Hip Hop. I was raised on Ice Cube and all of these things. I came home from school at 4 PM [and] my mother was gone. I made some good decisions, and I made some bad decisions.
"As a person in my community, I try to speak into peoples' lives. But you can't hold me or Hip Hop accountable for the fact that a person hears what I said and chooses to do that, and specifically a child. Now, when I say it's not my responsibility to raise your child, I meant that primarily. Now, does it take a village to raise a child? Yes, it does, but you've got to stand up and point at all the things that are creating these circumstances. You point to the government just as much as the rapper."
Lupe Fiasco then took the microphone to respond to the teacher's question. During his answer, Carrera Lu related his experiences visiting his former school in Chicago, where he said students depended upon school for meals more than education. He went on to lambast the education system for failing to teach their students something meaningful during the tenure of their education.
"I was principal for a day a school," he said. "It was the school I went as a kid...on the west side of Chicago...the kids would come into this school to eat...not to learn, to eat breakfast and lunch. The principal of this school...is trying to institute a third meal, so that he knows when those kids go home, they're going to have had something to eat...I come to the school, Lupe Fiasco...[and] none of these kids knew who I was, and I was on the radio everyday. None of these kids knew who I was and the problems they had still existed...they weren't coming to school to learn, they were coming to eat.
"There's some very serious problems even within the school system itself...the way you were taught how to teach kids, the system that you came up under, they're archaic and ancient, 60 to 70 years past their time. You should go into school and take all of those antiquated text books and those meaningless tests...that you sit over and watch these kids take, you know that they're not going to use 95% of that information at all...I challenge you, throw away all of them books, all of the tests, and teach them something meaningful...you're just as guilty as Lil Wayne. Miseducation is miseducation, no matter how you put it, whether it's coming through the radio station or it's coming out of a book or a teacher...just because I can make it rhyme and you can't doesn't make you better than me, pimp."
The full video can be seen below.