Veteran rapper Ice Cube has hit out at talk show host Bill Maher after his casual use of the n-word during an interview last week, saying “you gotta know when to shut up”.

However, the former N.W.A. star also questioned the nature of the outrage that has engulfed the conversation since has not been particularly constructive. He’s due to appear on Maher’s chat show ‘Real Time’ this Friday, and it seems likely that he’ll be taking the host to task over his throwaway, unscripted remark.

On last Friday’s episode (June 2nd) of HBO’s real time, Maher was speaking to Republican senator Ben Sasse when the politician invited him to “work in the fields” with him in his state of Nebraska.

Bill MaherThe outspoken Maher is in hot water over the remark

"Work in the fields?” the host responded. “Senator, I'm a house nigger.” Cue hoots of disbelief in the audience as Maher proffered “it’s a joke”. HBO censored it when it was re-broadcast the same evening, calling it “inexcusable and tasteless”, and the host later apologised for his remark.

“He knows that's a bad word to a lot of people,” Ice Cube told Rolling Stone magazine this week when asked about the incident. “Now, the question is: Why did he think he could be that comfortable with saying that? What makes you think you can say that? Why did you think you could get away with that?”

More: Ice Cube to portray Fagin in a new ‘cross-genre’ film re-make of Oliver Twist

However, despite his anger over Maher’s comment, Ice Cube feels the issue goes beyond just him, and called for a more constructive conversation. “Everybody feels like they can make a joke and cross that line. You can make a joke about everything, but everything ain't funny.”

Ice CubeIce Cube will still be appearing on 'Real Time'

“People are trying to go into this like, 'What is it, why is it, how does it happen? Why is this still offensive? Should we use it, shouldn't we use it?' – this, that, and the other," he went on. "And it becomes like a facade of a lot of bullshit. Everybody knows, because of white supremacy, black people got it bad. And it's just not funny, the bully mentality.”

However, Ice Cube is no mood to boycott the episode like Democratic senator Al Franken chose to do earlier this week. “You'll see me on there Friday, and I'll say what I gotta say,” the rapper, who is promoting the 25th anniversary re-issue of his album Death Certificate, explained.

More: Bill Maher and Ben Affleck take on Islam and diversity on ‘Real Time’ [archive]