View Full Version : Simmons Calls for Elimination of 3 Words from Hip-Hop

Apr 24th, 2007, 06:04 PM
An apparent turn-around for Mr Simmons on the issue. I say, "apparent," because he may have come back and said, "I meant on the airways." :rolleyes: If that's the case, then this is all self-promotion.....


April 23, 2007, 7:24 pm Marked Words of Hip-Hop (http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/04/23/marked-words-of-hip-hop/)

By Mike Nizza (http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/author/mnizza/)
Tags: hip hop (http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/tag/hip-hop), music (http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/tag/music), racism (http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/tag/racism)

A leading voice of hip-hop called on music executives and radio stations today to eliminate three words (http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/arts/entertainment-usa-hiphop.html) that are as common in lyrics as they are controversial. The news release has the details (http://www.hsan.org/content/main.aspx?pageid=246).
Addressing “recording and broadcast industries,” Russell Simmons proposed raising the words to the level of “extreme curse words” that are bleeped out or deleted from all songs. The reason? “Growing public outrage.”

The current top rap track in the U.S. (http://www.villagevoice.com/music/0711,harvilla,76021,22.html), “This Is Why I’m Hot” by Mims, has six instances of extreme curse words, according to elyrics.net (http://www.elyrics.net/read/m/mims-lyrics/this-is-why-i_m-hot-lyrics.html). (An unrelated, but witty graphical analysis of that song (http://www.villagevoice.com/music/0711,harvilla,76021,22.html) is on the Village Voice’s site.)

Don Imus, who fell to the very same public outrage and reignited the debate over language in hip-hop in the process, was not mentioned today by Mr. Simmons.
When scrutiny turned from the shock jock to other sources of misogyny and racism in American culture, Mr. Simmons was one of the most prominent defenders of hip-hop artists, especially in appearances on “Oprah” and in disagreeing with remarks by Barack Obama (http://soundslam.com/articles/news/news.php?news=070419_obama):My response to Sen. Obama is that you have to talk about the poverty and ignorance that creates such a climate that the poets can talk like that and all the politicians owe them an education and an opportunity for a better life and maybe they’ll say something better.
A March 13 statement entitled “Differentiating Between Don Imus and Hip-Hop” was more direct: The music “may be uncomfortable for some to hear,” but “our job is not to silence or censor that expression (http://hsan.org/Content/Main.aspx?PageId=242).”

Today’s statement, which echoes recent calls from Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, appeared to be a shift towards limiting artistic expression as a matter of principle, if not as a matter of practice.

[ UPDATE | 9:03 AM ET In a CNN interview pegged to his new book, Mr. Simmons clarified the proposal as limited to the “airwaves” and renewed his passionate defense of free expression of artists.

“The records that are truthful are reflections on our sad truth,” he said.

Mr. Simmons also dismissed the idea that he was straddling a “tough line” in the hip-hop community.

“No, I don’t think the artists care one bit. It’s not about the artist. It’s about corporate responsibility,” he said. ]

Hip-hop fans on the Web have been less than welcoming of attention in the Imus affair, and are not likely to appreciate this latest development. In a forum in About’s hip-hop section (http://rap.about.com/b/a/258124.htm), Bucky Turco of Animal Magazine (http://animalnewyork.com/) captured the sentiments of many fans:The Don Imus thing has nothing to do with Hip Hop. Total apples and oranges. To expect a nationally syndicated talk show host that includes frequent appearances by presidential candidates and hold them up to the same decency standards as rappers is intellectualy lazy and just a convenient way for the media to redirect and spin this back into black America’s face.
[ Warning: R- and X-rated language is common on many of the sites linked from this post, and in some cases, is even included their Web addresses. ]
On Okayplayer, Saul Williams (http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&ct=res&cd=3&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.myspace.com%2Fsaulwilliams&ei=5kItRv3UOaO6gAKK0q2RBQ&usg=AFrqEzdyaxododw_Bp0WIDxKA8DqzP08HA&sig2=Kqmtyl_O847qFqjHwcgx6g), an artist who has appeared on Mr. Simmons’s Def Poetry Jam (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0329823/), wrote a long letter to Oprah (http://board.okayplayer.com/okp.php?az=show_topic&forum=3&topic_id=145464&mesg_id=145464&page=#145575) arguing against the banning of words:Censoring songs, sermons, or the tirades of radio personalities will change nothing except the format of our discussion.
Alas, Nah Right, a popular hip-hop blog, points out that the status quo might not be in any kind of jeopardy (http://tinyurl.com/32rer3):Now, correct me if I’m wrong but aren’t radio stations already supposed to be doing that, and don’t record labels release edited versions of explicit LP’s?

Apr 24th, 2007, 06:13 PM

it's all good if explicitives are "bleeped" out for k-mart/target releases but...
...bottomline: just because rap/hip hop has received tremendous commercial and mainstream popularity in recent years, doesnt mean it should be diluted.

Apr 24th, 2007, 06:27 PM
Wait. Rockwithme, are you saying that these words enrich rap/hiphop?

Apr 24th, 2007, 06:37 PM
What I see happening is the rappers who continue to use these words will get more sales. This industry is more about image than talent. I would venture to say that most people don't even know what the difference between a talented rapper and non talented rapper is.

When they use language that is against the norm, the public will buying thinking they're somehow bucking the mainstream trend.

Apr 24th, 2007, 06:46 PM
by no way am i saying that!! :eek:

i agree certain words and phrases in lyrics may be offensive..and even more so to non-hip-hop listeners.

however,i still dont think that hip hop, or commercial rap for that matter, should be watered-down so that it's more "digestable" for mass consumers :)

Apr 24th, 2007, 06:57 PM
by no way am i saying that!! :eek:

i agree certain words and phrases in lyrics may be offensive..and even more so to non-hip-hop listeners.

however,i still dont think that hip hop, or commercial rap for that matter, should be watered-down so that it's more "digestable" for mass consumers :)Look @ the money these people are making. Babe, it's already "digestable" for mass consumers.

Apr 24th, 2007, 07:15 PM
yes, the industry is making shitloads of money due to mass consumerism and mtv recycling (regurgitation).

what i am saying is, "hip hop" is not just what you see on mtv. i can understand why ppl in general would criticise the genre (and sub-genres). but this is the way the music is.

Apr 24th, 2007, 07:45 PM
Ooooo! I love to dance a little sidestep. Now you see me, now you don't. I've come and gone.

Apr 24th, 2007, 08:10 PM
I'm against censorship in 99% of cases, but that doesn't change the fact that most people think that freedom of speech only extends to things they agree with or want to hear. I think we do need to look at why things that are degrading to one group or another are so popular in the media and to people.

Apr 24th, 2007, 08:36 PM
Rap music has far more impact on America than Don Imus ever did, or could.

It's mainstream in 2007.
It's not just one segment of society, it's a national musical genre.
Middle class, white, brown, black, poor, rich, tv, films, internet, it's
all over, and it's purchased to the tune of about several hundred
million dollars.

Universal, Sony, GE, CBS, ABC, NBC, all have corporation ties to
rap music. The same company that fired Imus, pays rap music
artists who use the words in question regularly...and make them
a profit.

I don't like the idea of govt. censorship. That would be far too much
intrusion, it's free speech.

But, the market can say, hey, this big segment of your market may stop
buying the entire CD, or the entire field of music, if those words keep

If degrading and racist and sexist words keep making music sell for some
artists, some people have said they won't buy it anymore.

Fine. That's fair.

Talented people should be able to do more with their talent than'
just say ugly words that degrade women and blacks and cops and
make fun of death and murder.

Congress does not need to be part of it at all.

Apr 24th, 2007, 09:57 PM
Whatever, I hate those people who want to censor everything. It's crazy enough if you want your kid to have a CD you can take them to walmart and everything you'd find offensive is removed from the CD. That's why I as an adult do not buy any music from Walmart, becuase I want to hear everything, and the way I see it I paid for every lil "vulgar" word on that disk and I want to hear it.

What words are he wanting knocked out:
HO? Then you might as well ban St Nick with his "Ho ho ho"

Even more strange here's the fact that mass media wants to praise and give all this attention to a devilish mad man shooter from VA Tech. If they want to ban something to cut down on the violence stop giving these nuts attention, and even better yet y'all do know the most violent thing on TV is the NEWS!

Plus what's this shit that was on late last nite talkin about how SNITCHIN is starting to happen, and it's marketed to kids in DVDs, Games, music, etc and now the mainstream has embraced it and nobody wants to speak to cops. Good lord, I live in a drug community, I've gotten in trouble before over drugs & when the Po-Po's asked me to "snitch" i wouldn't do it, not because I don't trust them (which I don't) it was more to do with the safety of me, my family and friends.