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Rap actually comes out of punk rock, not black music.
Popular culture tells you that schools and parents don't know what's going on, the police are dogs, politicians are all liars and scum, and any crime that's not committed by the Mafia is done by the CIA.
People don't really think other people are the same.
Our society has gotten to the point where we might soon become less and less shocked by any kind of violence.
Our job as writers and thinkers in the time is how to bring about the occasions that let people have that first-person experience - or the metaphoric experience that allows them to see human continuity as opposed to total threat, total willingness to do violence.
Our democratic richness arrives when we're able to comprehend our collective humanity accurately.
Now the writing in the head, I definitely do every day, thinking about how I want to phrase something or how I'd like to rephrase something I've already written.
Louis Armstrong, who learned to be in exquisite dress, came from the bottom, and he's not a trash can.
In America, we have to learn to be patient enough to figure out what somebody is saying. Somebody might actually be saying something.
If there's an intellectual highway, there's also an intellectual subway.
I wanted to get to that aesthetic proposition that comes out of learning the human elements of a world, so that those notes and rhythms mean something to you besides just the academic way in which they fall in place.
I don't know any women who don't think about what they look like, and I don't know any men who don't think about what women look like.
I also wanted to do something that I hadn't really seen in almost any black novels, which was a complex love story in which both people were extremely intelligent and talented and understood a lot of things and were still at odds getting it together.
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