On Sept. 26, David Banner joined fellow MC Master P, music industry executives and scholars to discuss offensive language in hip-hop music before the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Reading from a statement, the 33-year-old Mississippi rapper/producer tenaciously defended hip-hop from its detractors.

During his testimony, Banner said, "If you fix our communities, we'll fix our lyrics." Asked how that would affect change, he told Billboard, "In the Katrina hearing, one congressman asked, 'Haven't we done enough for Katrina?' They live in a world that we don't live in, and it's hard to speak for a majority when you don't live under the same conditions. People don't sing happy songs if they're broke."

"Rap music does for us the same thing gospel did for the slaves," he added. "We communicate our anger through our music."

Banner has butted heads with those trying to ban words like "bitch" and "hoe" from rap lyrics, including the Rev. Al Sharpton and Master P. "Aren't there bitches out there?," he says. "Don't they exist? Those types of women exist, and if they didn't it'd be different. When someone yells in a room full of women the word 'dyke,' my mother isn't insulted because she isn't one."

"Rap is an art, and I can say whatever the hell I want to," he continues. "I use the words I use because they are graphic and they hurt. It's supposed to get people's attention. Where we come from, we speak that way."

To read David Banner's complete interview, click here.

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