In the midst of the recent controversy around a racist video featuring members of the SAE fraternity from the University of Oklahoma, Trinidad James and his music have been inserted into the discussion.
That's because, after the original video surfaced -- which showed white members of the frat chanting, "There will never be a n----r in SAE" -- a clip of the house mother repeatedly saying the n-word was also discovered. In the background of that video, Trinidad's breakout hit, "All Gold Everything" -- which repeats the n-word multiple times, notably in the chorus -- was playing.
"I didn't defend it, it's just, in general, I'm way more focused on those students on the bus," the rapper said Monday night on an appearance on "CNN Tonight," adding that he had actually seen the Vine of the elderly woman two years ago. "That's what I'm focused on. That hurt. That hurt."
"If we have a problem with the word, and it's gonna continue to cause things, we should eliminate the word, period," he continued. "Because if we're gonna use the word, then people are gonna use the word."
"I honestly feel that this conversation right now, is for the youth, and the future. Because those are the people that I want to help realize, you shouldn't think like that. Like, those kids on the bus. I don't care about that old lady, 'cause she's an old lady...But the youth is what I care about the most. I honestly feel that I need them to understand it's a way you need to treat each other, and get that racist stigma out your head."
After his one-on-one with host Don Lemon, Trinidad was joined by commentators Marc Lamont Hill and Ben Ferguson.
"I'll be honest with you," Ferguson said. "I think you know that we should probably get rid of the n-word, but in reality, I think many rappers are afraid they will lose out on money and sales and street cred if they don't stop using the word."
The former Def Jam signee disagreed.
"You're giving the word too much power," he said. "I'm making money off of doing music and being creative, sir. I'm not making money just because I use the n-word. Nobody goes to buy an album because it's full of the n-word."
Hill, too, had a response.
"What I'm saying is that the n-word isn't divisive; white supremacy is divisive; slavery was divisive," he said. "That's the problem. And maybe, just maybe, it's not white people's position to tell black people what to say."
"The difference between Trinidad James and you is that Trinidad James has to deal with the same oppressive situations, he's born into a world where anti-black racism prevails, he lives in a world where police might still shoot him on the street, no matter how much money he has. We share a collective condition known as 'n---a.' White people don't. I'm not saying it should be illegal for white people to use it -- I'm saying y'all shouldn't want to use it, given everything that's happened after 400 years of exploitation and institutional racism."
In the end, Trini was all about bringing people together through positivity.
"My biggest point when it comes to racism -- and that's why I try to stay out of it -- is to overcome that with love, and overcome that with respect for people."