John Mellencamp has explained why he thinks rappers, even Black ones, should not use the N-word in their songs.
During his appearance on a new episode of Bill Maher’s Club Random podcast, the singer-songwriter reflected on his 2001 collab with Chuck D ‘Cuttin’ Heads’ and discussed some of the song’s more contentious lyrics.
Recalling the collaboration with the Public Enemy frontman, Mellencamp said: “Me and Chuck D did a song 20 years ago. We were talking about the N-word. We were talking about how it’s not supposed to be used… That’s what I have against – not against, but why I’m not a big fan of rap music. You guys are selling out what the people stood up for and fought for, and you’re making money off of it selling it to white kids? I don’t like it.”
He continued: “And so Chuck D and I did a song… I wrote the song and, then he rapped in the middle of it, and he just said ‘die, N-word, die.’ That’s right.”
Mellencamp and Maher proceeded to have an uncomfortable debate on the topic of whether or not life for Black people had improved within the US over the past decades. The singer said: “I wrote a song that I never recorded because I thought it was wrong. But it was called ‘From the Fucking Cotton Fields to the Playing Fields.’ My point is that, yes, so what [if Black people’s lives are better now]? Us white people love to have Black people entertain us.”
He continued: “There is 1 per cent or 2 per cent of Black people in America who have a better life.” Mellencamp then went on to discuss an incident involving a friend of his son who was Black and killed in Los Angeles.
Mellencamp is set to perform alongside Neil Young, Willie Nelson, and more in Indiana for the 2023 iteration of their charity concert event Farm Aid. Visit here for tickets.