Congress Considers Hip-hop Lyrics

A House Energy and Commerce subcommittee met with two rappers today to discuss vulgar, violent, and misogynist lyrics in hip-hop music. One of them was, apparently, colorful:

But rapper and record producer Levell Crump, known as David Banner, was defiant as lawmakers pressed him on his use of offensive language. “I’m like Stephen King: horror music is what I do,” he said in testimony laced with swear words. “Change the situation in my neighborhood and maybe I’ll get better,” he told one member of Congress.

The panel is considering establishing a uniform standard for labeling potentially offensive music (the RIAA Parental Advisory warnings are voluntary at the moment) and potentially criminalizing the sale of inappropriate material to minors. Typically, encroachments on the First Amendment will be justified by exhortations to “think of the children.”

Rappers and industry executives have opposed congressional intervention. One rapper in particular, Ja Rule, thinks Congress is focusing on the wrong problem (and interestingly referenced the Jena situation before I’d ever heard of it):

“They got my man Doug Morris under fire and @#!*, they got him going down to go speak to Congress about hip-hop lyrics, are you @#*$ing serious?” Ja said. “There’s a f–king black kid right now about to get 25 years for having a fight with some white kids over hanging the nooses over the white tree, let’s get to that. Let’s get into sh-t like that, because that’s what’s tearing up America, not me calling a woman a b–ch or a h-e on my rap songs.””And if it is, then we need to go step to Paramount, and f–king MGM, and all of these other motherf–kers that’s making all of these movies and we need to go step to MTV and Viacom, and lets talk about all these f–king shows that they have on MTV that is promoting homosexuality, that my kids can’t watch this sh-t,” he continued. “Dating shows that’s showing two guys or two girls in mid-afternoon. Let’s talk about s–t like that! If that’s not f–king up America, I don’t know what is.

[I almost titled this post “Congress Holds Another Useless Hearing,” but decided that there are worse ways for congressfolks to spend their time.]


~ by Gabriel Malor on September 26, 2007.

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