Kurt Cobain‘s voice continues to resonate way beyond his 1994 death.
The lead singer for Nirvana was pretty vocal when it came to shedding light on marginalized groups and this was proved once again when a newly unearthed interview hit the Internet.
A physics teacher from Canada, Roberto Lorusso, uploaded the interview to Bandcamp in early November. He interviewed Cobain back in 1991 as an aspiring musician and student at Western University’s campus radio station.
During their conversation, Lorusso brought up a comment Cobain made with the Canadian magazine M.E.A.T. a couple of months earlier:
“The white man ripped off the black man long enough,” Kurt said. “They should leave rap music to the African-Americans because they do it so well and it is so vital to them.”
Lorusso read this statement back to Kurt and Kurt playfully responded, “Was I drunk at that time?”
Then he went on to tell Lorusso:
“I’m a fan of rap music, but most of it is so misogynist that I can’t even deal with it. I’m really not that much of a fan, I totally respect and love it because it’s one of the only original forms of music that’s been introduced, but the White man doing rap is just like watching a White man dance. We can’t dance, we can’t rap.”
Now obviously, since 1991 there’s been a wave of White rappers who have made a name for themselves in the streets and within underground hip hop. Eminem is usually the first go-to example when it comes to White people’s rapping capabilities.
However, Kurt isn’t necessarily in the wrong when being critical of White rappers, especially since he was speaking at a time when Vanilla Ice was massively popular and more palpable to White audiences. “I’m usually offended by people like Vanilla Ice and stuff like that,” Kurt also said in the M.E.A.T. interview.
Even today, White rappers like Post Malone continue to top the Billboard charts and win major awards over Black artists who’ve been rapping for years. Though Kurt’s White men “can’t rap” statement might be a little far-fetched today, his critiques about White people taking from Black people and gaining more success still holds weight.
This isn’t the first time Kurt has spoken out in defense of marginalized groups. Before the term “woke” was even a thing, Kurt was well rested and had his eyes open to a lot of effed up things in the world.
Hit the next pages for more Cobain quotes that still sound radical even to this day.