Hip Hop business mogul Russell Simmons
, says radio stations should ban rap songs that contain the n, b, and h-words. In the wake of the Imus controversy, the media has shifted it's attention now to rappers who have in many respects paved the way for all the current criticism, but is censorship the solution?
It's hard to dispute the complaints against some rap music. Ever since tha West Coast gangstafied the genre, it seems the lyric content, subject matter, and language has become more offensive, and negative. The hip-hop tree, however, has so many branches, it would be unwise to generalize or stereotype the art form.
There's holy hip-hop, conscious rap (i.e. Common, and Lupe Fiasco), and dance rap that has folks snappin their fingers and walkin' it out, and there's plenty of independent rap music that can be found all over the Internet. The voices are plentiful, the music is diverse, and it's ever changing.
I will admit, that as a 15-year old high school student I was literally shocked the first time I heard EZ E's EZ Does It, and Too Short. My parents certainly didn't approve of the music, but listening didn't turn me into a gangsta, or a dope dealer.
There is something to be said to the critics who want to hear a more positive side of hip-hop. The spoken word is powerful. More powerful than many probably realize, but in America people have the constitutional right to say what they feel, and it is entertainmet.
Personally, this issue extends far beyond rap music. There are also plenty of folks, like myself, who would like to see more positive stories of black folks on local news. Will it happen? Probably not. Unfortunately, for now, negative sells, both records, and news ads. Until consumers stop buying, and tuning in, the record labels, radio stations, and mainstream media will keep giving you what they think
Labels: hip hop, media, rap