Wynton Marsalis Slams Rap, Says It’s ‘More Damaging Than a Statue of Robert E. Lee’
Jazz musician Wynton Marsalis is not a fan of rap music. He hasn’t been since the mid-80s and in an interview on the Washington Post podcast "Cape Up with Jonathan Capehart," Wynton still stands by his position that rap music is harmful to black America.
The 56-year-old trumpeter expressed his long-standing disdain for rap music by stating that there shouldn’t be any music talking about n****rs and b***hes and h**s.
"For me, it was not a default position in the ’80s," he explained. "Now that it is the default position, how you like me now? You like what it’s yielding? Something is wrong with you, you need your head examined if you like this. It’s almost like adults left the room or something."
"I do not like [rap]. And it doesn’t matter that I don’t like it. And I recognize that" he continued. "But I’m from the Civil Rights movement. I was called a n****r. And I’m not talking about in my neighborhood, which of course that went on. I’m talking about, for me, I don’t like the fact of drums going away. I don’t mind the computers. They’re fine. But they can’t replace the people. There’s a movement now to drag public music education down into that? Pssh! It’s almost comical to me."
"I started saying in 1985 I don’t think we should have music talking about n****s and b****es and h**s," he added. "It had no impact. I’ve said it. I’ve repeated it. I still repeat it. To me, that’s more damaging than a statue of Robert E. Lee."
On Twitter, critics and rap fans alike disagreed with what they deemed as Marsalis's elitism towards rap music. Many have cited Kendrick Lamar's Damn winning a Pulitzer Prize for music as an example of how rap is impacting the world. (Side note: In 1997, Marsalis became the first jazz musician to win the Pulitzer Prize for music in 1997 with Blood on the Fields, his orchestral rumination on slavery.)
"Wynton Marsalis has the type of view of hip-hop in 2018 that was closed-minded, ignorant, and short-sighted in 1988. I'm no fan of most of what passes as Rap today, to say this about Hip-Hop historically is as foolish as people in the 1950s fearing [rock 'n' roll]," tweeted one person.
Another fan wrote, "Someone inform Wynton Marsalis and anyone else who's clinging to these stale falsehoods that hip hop/ rap music did not invent any of these words, nor did they introduce them into Black music."
Listen to the podcast and read more Twitter reactions below.
50 Greatest East Coast Hip-Hop Albums of the 1990s