Reacting to continued coverage of Justin Bieber’s recently unearthed racist remarks, battle rapper Math Hoffa explained why he thinks the footage reflects as poorly on the surrounding individuals as much as the singer himself in an interview with VladTV. During the segment, Math said “I don’t feel like he’s racist” of the “Boyfriend” singer.
“He was a kid,” Math Hoffa said. “Obviously whoever’s filming, they was down with that shit. It was a conglomerate of people who felt like this shit was funny. ‘Cause when he made the joke, ain’t nobody say, ‘Yo, don’t say that that shit. What the fuck is wrong with you? You crazy? You can’t do that. You’re Justin Bieber.’ No, there was people in the room that was like, ‘Yeah, I heard it yesterday. It’s still funny.’ So, he’s a kid. Who is he around to feel comfortable doing this type of stuff or makes him feel comfortable doing that type of stuff? So, now that he’s older, I mean, he’s walking out with Mayweather. He might be just doing that for business or whatever, but I don’t feel like he’s racist. I just don’t get that vibe. You never know. I don’t think he’s racist. I just think he was a kid making a joke amongst people who makes those types of jokes around him so he joined in and thought, ‘Hey, I can make some funny nigger jokes too.’ You know what I’m saying? On that side of it, yeah.”
Hoffa went on to relate personally to Bieber with an admission of his own history with racially charged jokes in his youth.
“I mean, if there’s more of that shit coming out, it is gonna put a bad taste in everybody’s mouth,” he said. “Again, whoever he was around, he felt comfortable. I’m sure there was some sort of adult in that room. There had to be maybe one or two adults who heard this shit and said nothing. He’s a kid again. When I was a kid I used to say some fucked up shit. I learned some racist jokes that I used to say and I didn’t understand the problem with it until I got older.”
Speaking to Rev. Al Sharpton’s opinion that the word itself should be “off limits,” Math Hoffa justified its use specifically in the Black community.
“We have a different definition of ‘nigga,’” he said. “‘Nigga’ could be anybody. You talking about a White racist dude, ‘Man, fuck that nigga.’ He’s not Black. It has a totally different meaning for us…I think as far as making people comfortable with saying it, I don’t think so. I think we’re comfortable with something and I think everybody else wants to be comfortable saying it. But again, there’s a horrific history attached to it that makes it wrong for certain people to do. That’s why we even talking about the Justin Bieber thing. If this was Michael Jackson throwback footage, wouldn’t nobody care. They’d be like, ‘Aw, Mike is hilarious. Oh shit. He was a funny little nigga when he was young.’
“As far as making people feel comfortable saying it, I think the media if anything is responsible for that type of shit,” he added. “They throw it out there so much that you’re getting tired of the story. That whole Donald Sterling shit was fucked up but that shit gets bombarded on you, you’re like, ‘Oh God, c’mon man. All these motherfuckers probably say that shit behind closed doors, why ya’ll still going crazy about this shit?’”
Near the end of the interview, Math said that his opinion would be different if the footage was more recent.
“Again, I don’t know, he was a kid,” he said. “I don’t know how to feel about that to be honest other than saying he was a kid. If you showed me some shit he did yesterday, there might be a different reaction to it.”