NEW YORK, April 20 (UPI) -- New York hip-hop record producer Russell Simmons says educating up-and-coming talents is one way to smooth some of the rough edges on their lyrics.
Simmons and other music industry executives met this week to discuss what might be done to end the crudity endemic in American society, and why rappers shouldn't be held accountable any less than shock jock Don Imus was for his racist remarks about the Rutgers University women's basketball team.
While they didn't come to any consensus they wanted to announce, Simmons said education, not censorship is the way to go.
"The more educated they are, the more they know. The more they can be part of a positive change," Simmons said. "Our goal is to protect the artist and at the same time, lift up the dialogue and educate the artists. The responsibility of the dialogue is ours, not the censors."
Simmons, founder of Def Jam Records and Phat Farm, says there is a difference between rappers, whom he calls poets, and talk show hosts such as Imus.
"A poet doesn't have a $12 million contract with major networks, he's not interviewing presidential candidates," Simmons said. "An artist doesn't have the same responsibility."