" Rick Ross was a corrections officer, Ice Cube was the son of two college professors, Tupac was a theater kid in high school, Drake was on Degrassi, De La Soul are from the suburbs. The Clipse, Andre 3000, and Kanye have written and spoken openly about not having street cred, etc. I just mentioned like a dozen people with one biographical note about each of them that goes against the archetypal understanding of them, but I still didn’t actually describe who they were. These were all real people with long and complex lives who made/make real and effective art that has had an impact on black people and white people, rich people and poor people, Americans and the rest of the world. Bob Dylan was a college-educated Jewish man singing like a dustbowl sharecropper, and he got booed offstage when he went electric for sullying his folk purity, as if he had any to begin with. Do people get mad at Martin Scorsese for making gangster movies even though he hasn’t “lived the lifestyle”? I’m not arguing that context is useless for understanding art—on the contrary, there is no way to understand anything without context. My argument is for a less static and qualified idea of what “purity” is. "