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Kanye West decided it was time to have a discussion about profanity in pop music on Sunday, particularly focusing on the way he, and other artists, use the b- and n- words.

West always tweets in fits and spurts, but today's explosion is notable if only because he wasn't tweeting about his love of Persian rugs. He was having a real, live crisis about the way artists use profanity, and whether or not they should be doing it. It's the classic "can you ever really reclaim a word?" debate. It probably came up in one of your second year English classes. First, he started his dscussion by posing a simple question.

Hip-hop has come under fire for being misogynistic because of the way artists treat and portray women in their music. Kanye is no stranger to this. One of the song's on his collaboration album with Jay-Z, Watch the Throne, is called "That's My Bitch," which happens to segue perfectly into his follow up question:

Probably not, as he admits in the next tweet.

So why, then, does he use it so often? He looks at the culture of hip-hop and the common use of the n-word as a potential desensitizer.

He moves on to questioning whether or not you can actually reclaim a word after it's been used as a slur for so long: 

He thinks he might have found a loophole:

And then he gets profound with it:

And then he causes every middle American mother to clutch their pearls in terror!

Finally, he looks to a musical icon to find his answer. 

The likelihood that this will lead to any real change in the way hip-hop uses profanity is slim. Kanye will probably keep saying bad words in his songs. After all, Kanye's BFF Jay-Z boldly proclaimed the death of auto-tune in 2009, and yet Chris Brown is still a thing we suffer through every day. 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.

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