Mr. Hilburn, your defense of rap is admirable, but if your chief desire for rap is to produce a white artist of "Elvis-like talent and charisma who could translate the energy and style of rap in a way that might neutralize the issue of race," then we can do without your defense.
What you want is what WASP culture seems to perpetuate throughout modern history, that is, the co-opting of African cultural creativity, taking out overtly ethnic uniqueness, adding some arrogant European refinement (to make it palatable to the so-called civilizers of the land), and voila : Rap music devoid of all the anguish, frustration and disillusionment that produced it in the first place!
Rap is the musical equivalent of the voice of Abel's blood crying from the ground. It is the expression of both pride and protest of African-American youth. Rap music cries out from the wilderness to remind America that a good part of the wealth of this nation was, and continues to be, built on the deprivation and degradation of the African, and, though we labor in the midst of economic and cultural disrespect, rap affirms the dignity of our African heritage and serves as the voice of dissent in the land.