KRS One is an elder statesman in the world of hip hop. He has seen the genre go through its many changes over the decades.
As being one of its foundations during the early years with feuds with such all time greats such as MC Shan and Roxanne Shante, he has seen how words and wordplay has changed over time.
The “N Word” was first on records back in the 1960’s and 1970’s by comedians such as the iconic Red Foxx and Richard Pryor. The controversial word has negative connotations due to it being a racial epitaph during the slavery era of the United States of men who came over from ships in the African diaspora.
As hip hop grew to become a dominating art form in the music world, the styles and word play started to expand from its inception. The artists would grab their content from their surroundings and the speech of the locals which made rappers resonate with communities. As this connection also attracted citizens outside of those regions controversial words such as the “N word” became talking points when different races started singing along to the verses of their favorite hip hop artist.
KRS One being the student of world history and the teacher in hip hop, looked more into the controversial word and was led to a fascinating revelation through biblical texts and historic points in language.
He gives a detailed lesson on the etymology of the word “niger/nigger in an interview below.
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