this is hip hop

*June is Black Music Month in America, and even though Macklemore & Ryan Lewis took the 2014 Grammy for Best Rap Performance for “Thrift Shop” and Australia’s Iggy Azalea is nominated this year for a BET Music Award in the category of Best Female Hip-Hop Artist—we can’t overlook the contributions of “niggas” to Black music.

Nominated for a 2014 Grammy for Best Rap Performance for his song “Started from the Bottom,” Drake, a Canadian actor turned rapper slash sometimes singer managed to use the word “nigga” a whopping 17 times on one track in just 2 minutes and 36 seconds.  Later this month Drake’s “Worst Behavior,” which features “niggas” six times and “bitches” twice, is up for a 2014 BET Music Coca-Cola Viewers’ Choice Award, thus bringing new meaning to phrase “bitch nigga.”

Jay Z track without a “nigga,” is a like a colt without the 45.  Following the release of last year’s much celebrated Magna Carta…Holy Grail album, which took home the Grammy for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration, this is one rapper who loves niggas. Jay Z leads this year’s BET Music Awards with five nominations including Best Collaboration for “Holy Grail” and Best Male Hip Hop Artist.

And even though L.A. rolled up the red carpet for disgraced former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling for his disparaging remarks about Blacks, city leaders rolled out the red carpet for the man who managed to use the word “nigga” 77 times in 59 minutes and 20 seconds on 16 tracks of 17. Jay Z’s Made in America concert is set to take place Labor Day Weekend, proving yet again, “niggas” really are worth a lot of money today.

Compton’s Kendrick Lamar earned seven 2014 Grammy nominations including Best New Artist, Album of the Year, Best Rap Album, Best R&B Performance, Best Rap/Sung Collaboration, Best Rap Performance, and Best Rap Song. He’s currently nominated for a BET Music Award for Best Male Hip Hop Artist.  Never one to shy away from a “nigga,” on his track “Compton” he gave a shout out to a well known Nigga Wit Attitude when he said, “Hey Dre, what’s happening with it my nigga.”

Schoolboy Q may be up for Best New Artist at this year’s BET Music Awards but one listen to his track “Man of the Year” and you know he’s no stranger to “niggas.”  Q may be feeling some type of way though because he will be going up against fellow rapper Rich Homie Quan.  I wonder if Quan was talking about Q when he said “My Niggas been hustlin’ trying to make him something.  Ain’t no telling what he’ll do for the paper.”  Well, I think it’s pretty clear what Quan will do for the paper and that he’s got no problem with “niggas” as one of his most popular tracks is “Fuck Niggas.”

And last but certainly not least I can’t forget this “nigga” who is on a “Power Trip” for real. Thanks to “niggas,” 2014 saw J. Cole nominated for a Grammy and BET Music Award.

It’s no secret that “niggas” have been contributing to Black music ever since the evolution of hip-hop music into rap.  From the Grammy Awards to the American Music Awards and even the BET Music Awards, rap music lovers of all races celebrate and admire “niggas” while music industry executive’s profit off of them.

To put it plainly, without “niggas,” there’d be no Black Music Month.

So like Jay Z said, “Clap for a ‘nigga’ with his rapping ass.”

Jasmyne A. Cannick (official headshot)Selected as one of ESSENCE Magazine’s 25 Women Shaping the World and one of the Most Influential African-Americans in Los Angeles Under 40, on radio, television, and in print, Jasmyne A. Cannick is a politics, race, and pop culture social commentator who has cultivated a national following for being unapologetically Black.  She can be reached at and on Twitter @Jasmyne.