In his June 13 keynote address, Louis Farrakhan defended rappers who use foul language and graphically depict violence and sexuality, saying they are only reflecting society and the nation’s “gangsta” government.

But the Nation of Islam leader also implored rappers to recognize the influence they have over fans and asked them to raise the level of their discourse.

“I love you, but I am not satisfied that you are doing all that you can,” Farrakhan said during his 2-and-a-half-hour oration, which he called “probably the most important speech I ever made in my life, because you are the most important people I’ve ever talked to in my life.”

Sean “Puffy” Combs, conference founder Russell Simmons, Wyclef Jean, Jermaine Dupri, LL Cool J, Queen Latifah, and Redman were in the audience for the address.

Farrakhan got effusive applause after his speech, but at least one multiplatinum rapper said changing the language and content in some rap would not be easy.

“We all know what he’s talking about, it’s hard to do it, but he’s right about it,” Redman said. “The way I look at it, preach and rap don’t make no money. Negativity lives in rap, that’s what it’s built on, that’s what money circulates and generates from. Negativity, that’s all we see.”

Still, Will Smith who doesn’t curse in his raps and has sold millions of records, said it’s important that rappers recognize that their message can influence the youth worldwide.

“This is something I’ve been speaking about for several years,” he said. “The importance of covering a more accurate spectrum with the voice.”

Strangely enough, Farrakhan and Congress were on the same page at the conference. Hot on the heels of the Eminem “The Real Slim Shady” censorship controversy, members of Congress met June 12 in New York City with the hip-hop community to discuss content regulation.

Although Reg. Earl Hillard, D-Ala., admitted that, “We do not know the hip-hop generation. We do not know the hip-hop industry,” Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., reminded artists and managers alike that “Washington can regulate you out of business if you do not have your act together.”

Members of Congress seemed most concerned with monitoring content in order to avoid having adult-orientated material accessible to children.

Rep. Earl Hillard, D-Ala., indicated that putting parental advisory labels on CDs isn’t enough; “We need to go to the next level and go beyond that,” he said. He suggested a ratings system similar to the movie industry’s.

The biggest panel discussion June 12 involved Chuck D, Talib Kweli, Martin Luther King III, and Reps. Cynthia McKinney of Ga., Bennie Thompson of Miss., and Earl Hillard of Ala. Topics ranged from hip-hop’s lack of empowerment in the government, to payola, to lack of education in the black community, and the effect of rap music on the younger generation.

Concerning education in the black community, music mogul Russell Simmons – who organized of the summit – emphasized the importance on teaching young rappers career management.

Artist Kweli pointed out that, “There are hip-hop artists who have no credit cards. What if their children get sick? There’s no medical coverage for them.”

Although most at the summit are interested in discussing the negative aspects of hip-hop music, some said that the biggest problem facing rap is just that: There’s too much focus on the violent and sexual lyrics, while the positive content is ignored.

“My personal thing, I’d love to see more social, politically conscious” rap, Simmons said.