So I went to a party on Friday night at a buddy’s house, and someone decided that we should freestyle. Now, I never pass myself off as any sort of beast on the mic, and I ain’t as good off the top of my head as I’d like to be, but I do okay. I was rhyming with Ham Diggy, who’s dope as all get out and can go on for as long as he so decides. With him there, I’m okay coming in somewhere around number two.
I was also the only black man in the house, which is always pretty interesting. Everyone always defers to me, even though I don’t think I’m that good. I doubt that’s humility talking, folks. I might just be getting the benefit of the doubt. Gotta love these naps in my hair…they have so much pull.
But in the middle of a rhyme, some cat decided to say “nigga,” and it wasn’t me.
Listen close, folks…

First, I’ll tell you how I defused that with as little as possible. When the cipher is going on, it’s fair game to come up with your first bar, so I hit the room with this…
“Facin’ probation for the way I kill tracks/and “nigga” is a word that’s reserved for blacks.”
After that, heads stopped nodding and dead silence hit the room outside of the rhymes I was spittin’ (what, you thought I was gonna stop?). No, there wasn’t silence when buddy slipped, but there was when I mentioned it calmly and without drama.
I had to handle it that way because I’ve gotten to old to drill white boys in the mouth for that transgression. I don’t think buddy was being malicious at all, but that was a cardinal mistake. An ass whoopin had his name on it, but I decided to hold on to it. I’m really not sure that I shouldn’t have, but I didn’t. That might make me foolish, mature, or a strange combination of the two, but I just hit him with a bar. Buddy came later and apologized, and I accepted it and moved on. I really don’t think he knew any better, a clear sign that he needs more black folks in his radar. I’ve never met a white boy that hung with black folks that thought he had the right, no matter how much rap music he’s listened to.
That’s right, white folks, you’re not allowed to say “nigga,” “nigger,” or any other etymological mutation of that word. Fuck that. I’m not even going to bother with an intellectual explanation of that because it’s useless. All that matters is the way it is, and that way is that if you say “nigger” around me in any way that isn’t a direct quote of what someone else said, you just might get mollywopped.
See, I’m lazy like everyone else, meaning that I have certain things I use as heuristic devices, little rules that save me the time of thinking. We’ve all got a few, whether you’re a woman and use a man’s gear to determine how “classy” he is or you initially judge someone’s intelligence by the amount of time his or her mouth spends open when he or she isn’t talking. We’ve all got ’em.
Here’s one of mine…if you’re black and say “nigga,” I’m assuming you’re using it as a term of endearment. If you’re white and say it, I assume you’re trying to disrespect me in one of the worst ways. If I’m wrong about that white boy’s intentions, chances are you’ll have to explain that in between cusswords or right-left combos. (And I rarely misjudge such bruhs because they’d never hang around me, anyway). I might be wrong, but I won’t apologize if I am. That’s just how it is. I’m not defending that, and I ain’t trying to hear any reason why I shouldn’t roll like that. No matter what you say, I’m going to roll like that. And if you grew up like I did, the only black face in the smart-folks classes in the backwoods of Texas, you’d roll the exact same way. Hearing white folks say “nigger” strikes a visceral reaction in me that I usually can’t fight. It’s even hard for me to listen to Patti Smith’s “Rock and Roll Nigger,” well-intentioned though she may have been.
I just don’t have time for the monkeyshine. White or black, neither should you.
But that put me in a strange place–too old to be fighting, pretty sure the cat didn’t mean any harm, but sworn to self that I would never go for something like that. I didn’t, but I did. I don’t fully regret it, but it’s a shame that I still wind up in positions when stuff like that could happen.
And for real, the damn rap music is to blame. I said it before…no white boy that hangs with black folks is dumb enough to say that, so it’s only those that don’t hang with bloods. So, if they’re not hangin’ with the bruhs, where do they even hear “nigger” in a familial way? That’s right…that damn rap music. Cats should stop saying it, the way I see it…I say it plenty, and that’s not likely to stop because the context in which I say it is never misunderstood. Folks should express themselves as they see fit. However, expression comes with consequences, and that need be understood.
So, to all you freestyling white boys out there, take note…ever hear Eminem or Bubba Sparxxx say “nigger?” You sure don’t, and they hang with more bloods than you do. Take the hint. Don’t let all that Wu-Tang you listened to in high school fool you…there are consequences and repercussions to the things you say. You’ll be lucky if all you get is a pointed rhyme.
Know dat.