Before actually taking the time to sit down and watch the full interview with rapper Kodak Black on Hot 97’s Ebro in the Morning show hosted by Ebro Darden, Peter Rosenberg, and Laura Stylez, I’d heard about Kodak Black storming out of the station when questions of his recent sexual assault charges were brought up. Expecting to write a scathing article bashing Kodak and other rappers who seem to feel obligated to avoid talking about their criminal history regarding sexual assault in interviews, I was taken aback when I watched the full 17 minute interview. I found myself extremely irritated at the lack of professionalism displayed by both Darden and Rosenberg throughout the interview, and not surprised whatsoever when Kodak decided to get up and leave the set. If we want rappers to start opening up about the widely accepted and seriously dismissed issue of rape culture and sexual assault in the rap industry, then we need, not only better reporting, but larger platforms for these topics to be discussed on.
Stemming from an incident in 2016 in South Carolina, Florida native Bill Kapri, better known by stage name Kodak Black, was added to the constantly growing list of rappers who have been accused of rape. We continue to listen to these rappers, oftentimes completely oblivious to the atrocities they’ve been accused of committing. It has become commonplace to accept lyrics normalizing rape culture in hip hop today, and there’s never really any large scale efforts to censor content regarding these topics. Just leave out the extra bad parts when you sing along at parties or in the car, right? At the end of the day this is a free country and they are just “meaningless” lyrics. Yet when “meaningless” lyrics are coming from of big names in the rap game today, names that seem to keep surfacing in court, maybe it’s time to evaluate some of the darker aspects of hip hop.
Kodak joins other popular rappers like YoungBoy Never Broke Again and Tekashi 6ix9ine, to name a few, who have recently been or are currently dealing with charges of sexual misconduct. Considering the relevance of hip hop culture in many young people’s lives today, it is admirable for any talk show hosts, reporters or celebrity personalities to speak out against sexual misconduct and address issues that are represented by the persona and music of many rappers today. It is even more admirable to go straight to the source and confront the accused perpetrators about their decisions. This does not mean, however, that you become a hero for an immature interview on a radio show and stating that you and your station takes sexual assault seriously.
After conducting a very awkward interview, in which Darden mocked Kodak’s style of speech as well as making multiple negative comments about his music, jail time and his relationship with his child, Darden decided to take matters into his own hands bringing up Kodak’s current legal situation involving his alleged rape case. Not even choosing to form his statement into a question for Kodak to reply to, this left the room in an awkward silence, which, before Kodak could say anything, was broken by Rosenberg’s hasty decision to ask the rapper about his thoughts on the moon landing, at which point he fittingly replied, “What the f*ck y’all talking about?”
Ridiculous, awkward and quite simply unprofessional, Rosenberg and Darden succeeded at making a fool of themselves and their talk show, while failing almost comically at getting the artist to address an issue that they supposedly take “very seriously,” prompting the rapper to leave the set.
When the people our generation idealize are getting charged again and again with cases of sexual misconduct, we need to start treating these serious topics as such. Serious. Serious means being dealt with in a serious manner, with professional people who are asking questions with good intentions rather than just to get a reaction.
Serious means realizing that as much as talk show hosts want to get hot takes out of celebrities, at the end of the day they are only talk show hosts.
Major topics need to be reported about on major platforms, and as much as popular culture might want to ignore storylines surrounding rappers legal implications, these artists are shaping our younger generations, in more ways than one. Rape culture in hip hop is not just a big deal for hip hop, it’s a big deal for current American culture. It’s time we treat it as such.