By Annie Barrett
May 18, 2007 at 12:00 PM EDT

When asked during a BET press conference Thursday if, amid the post-Imus furor over rap lyrics, he’d remove sensitive words from his music like Master P has, 50 Cent gave a big hell no. Besides, “Master P doesn’t sell CDs anymore,” he said. 50 said rappers write lyrics in response to what already exists in their environments, explaining, “If I ask you to paint a picture of the American flag and not use the color red, you’re gonna have a difficult time.” True enough. He also managed to plug his new album twice. Watch it here.

In the wake of any racist or sexist controversy — or actually, at any time — how realistic is the expectation that artists should self-censor their lyrics? And does 50 deserve props for candor and for standing his ground, or criticism for opportunism and insensitivity?

addCredit(“50 Cent: Scott Gries/Getty Images”)