Rap activist David Banner has blasted hip-hop's leading critics for hammering hard-hitting lyrics while turning a blind eye to classic song messages from The Police and Johnny Cash. The Mississippi rapper testified before the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, And Consumer Protection in Washington, D.C. last month (Sep07) during a hearing about song lyrics. Banner defended his controversial lyrics on Capitol Hill, stating he was merely describing life in the toughest areas of America. He told the lawmakers on Capitol Hill, "If by some stroke of the pen, hip-hop was silenced, the issues would still be present in our communities. Drugs, violence and the criminal element were around long before hip-hop existed." And now Banner's suggesting racism has a lot to do with politicians' dislike for the lyrics in hip-hop, pointing out that both The Police and Johnny Cash had hits with songs he'd be hammered for if he recorded. He tells Rolling Stone magazine, "One of my top three groups in the world is The Police, but I happen to fall upon (song) Murder By Numbers: 'Murder by numbers, one, two, three/Easy to learn as your A, B, Cs.' "(In the song Sting says) the best way to kill a man is put poison in his coffee. You look at Wrapped Around Your Finger, that was a stalker song. "And Johnny Cash said he wanted to kill a man just for the sake of killing him (A Boy Named Sue). But that's art. So, basically, what you're telling me is that (rap is) not art because we're black."