Tuesday, April 24, 2007

He's not stupid!

Realizing that his money train is seriously at risk of derailing, Russell Simmons is now, predictably, calling for certain words to be stricken from the lyrics of rap songs. It's such an empty and transparent maneuver its laughable.

I wonder if the fact that rap CD sales are down 21% from last year, last years top 10 albums did not contain a single rap album and currently there are only 4 rap albums on the top 20 albums chart?

Nah....couldn't be that. Could it?

NEW YORK, New York (AP) -- Hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons said Monday that the recording and broadcast industries should consistently ban racial and sexist epithets from all so-called clean versions of rap songs and the airwaves.

Currently such epithets are prohibited in most clean versions, but record companies sometimes "arbitrarily" decide which offensive words to exclude and there's no uniform standard for deleting such words, Simmons said.

The recommendations drew mixed reaction and come two weeks after some began carping anew about rap lyrics after radio personality Don Imus was fired by CBS Radio and NBC for referring to the players on the Rutgers university women's basketball team as "nappy-headed hos."

Expressing concern about the "growing public outrage" over the use of such words in rap lyrics, Simmons said the words "bitch," "ho" and "nigger" should be considered "extreme curse words."

"We recommend (they're) always out," Simmons, the pioneering entrepreneur who made millions of dollars as he helped shape hip-hop culture, said in an interview Monday. "This is a first step. It's a clear message and a consistency that we want the industry to accept for more corporate social responsibility."

Of course rap artists counter that the use of these words is ok by them because they are just using terms that the encounter in their everyday lives. But only rap artists are allowed to use these terms. Of course hip-hop music is marketed directly at white teens and if a white teen hears these lyrics and begins to use these terms, well you know what happens. Think Don Imus.

And its borders on insanity to think that all of hip-hops problems will be solved by simply removing these three words from rap music lyrics and replacing them with new words that have the same meaning or with silence where the listener can determine the word that was meant to be there.

Rap music's problem is that it has embraced and glorified the culture of violence and degradation of women. Simply eliminating three words will not turn around the downward spiral of hip-hop's image as a negative influence on Americas youth.

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