Royce 5'9" visits the Build Series
Getty Images / Dia Dipasupil

Royce Da 5’9″ recently weighed in on the controversy surrounding J. Cole and Kendrick Lamar‘s silence on social media amid the nationwide Black Lives Matter protests. In an interview with HipHopDX, the Detroit rapper addressed celebrity responsibility and the need to speak out in times of unrest.

Artists like Cole and Lamar have come under scrutiny from fans for not speaking out about the Black Lives Matter movement. Noname wrote about this back in May, calling out big-name rappers whose “whole discographies be about black plight” for their silence following the murder of George Floyd.

Cole broke his silence to pen the controversial “Snow on tha Bluff” as a response to her criticism. Meanwhile, TDE insinuated that Lamar hasn’t made a triumphant return because “n*ggas don’t appreciate it.”

Royce argued that he’s aware of the influence his peers can have with their words, especially in times like these, but he also doesn’t feel they should be required to speak if they’re not ready or equipped to.

“Dave Chappelle is that guy for me,” Royce Da 5’9″ said. “I always look to hear from him, but it doesn’t mean I’m challenging him. The flip side to that is, there are people who challenge Chappelle just because they want to challenge somebody. Then you got other people who are challenging J. Cole and Kendrick to shift some of the focus off of them because they ain’t doing sh*t. So I think there’s places where it’s valid and there’s places where it’s just bullsh*t. It’s just like trolling.”

Royce said that both Lamar and Cole should feel “flattered that people look to them,” because it speaks to how impactful their catalogs are to the culture. “I think Kendrick coming out a couple days later and popping out at a Compton rally… I don’t know if that was something that was already planned or if he just did that to tell people to kind of shut the f*ck up. I don’t like the fact—if he was made to feel like that, I’m not cool with that.”

The rapper pulled no punches, however, speaking on Lil Wayne and Floyd Mayweather, who both spoke out about the topics of racism and police brutality as if their privileged economic position makes them immune to the effects.

“Like Lil Wayne as much as I love Lil Wayne, his comments and then his attempt to clean up the comments just shows his detachment from what’s going on,” Royce continued. He also criticized Mayweather “for not having the slightest idea of how to get involved with anything or the slightest idea of how to express sympathy.”

“There’s a deeper problem there. That’s what happens when you give your entire life to your craft. ..People who are that great and who invest their entire selves to something are like fishes out of water when they’re not doing it no more,” Royce explained.

Watch his full statement below.

Words by Sarah Osei
Staff Writer