September 26, 2009

Jay-Z downplays use of N-word in hip-hop

U.S. rapper Jay-Z said during an appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show that the world of hip-hop helped take the power out of the N-word.

Rolling Stone magazine reported Friday the Kingdom Come rapper responded to Winfrey's questions about the presence of the controversial word in hip-hop lyrics by saying the word is now used as a term of endearment in songs.

People give words power. For our generation, what we did is that we took the word, and we took the power out of that word. We took a word that was very ugly and hurtful into a term of endearment, Jay-Z said Thursday.

The rapper, whose real name is Shawn Carter, also spoke with Winfrey about the assault incident in February involving singers Rihanna and Chris Brown, Rolling Stone reported.

It's one of those situations where she's young, they're both young, Jay-Z said. It was either a situation where she can grow. "¦ There's a contention of young people who are going through the same things, and no one hears their voice. She can be their hero. Or she can choose not to grow from this.