Jewish World Review August 20, 2001 / 1 Elul, 5761

Bill O'Reilly

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Consumer Reports

The rap on rap -- HERE'S the kind of guy I am. It's summer, and Madonna is touring, so is Janet Jackson and so is the "Insane Clown Posse." And whom do I go to see? The Beach Boys, that's who -- even though there is only one original Beach Guy left in the group, singer Mike Love.

But it was a genuine relief to hear songs that didn't contain the F-word, didn't speak of "ho's," and didn't rhapsodize the glories of handguns and cocaine. And the Beach Boys actually harmonize! The songs have melodies. Fun, fun, fun 'til daddy takes the concert tickets away.

Now, you may think that I'm an old fogy, and I'll cop to some of that (not a fogy expression, by the way). But because I am researching a special report on negative influences on American children, I have been listening to a lot of rap and hip-hop music lately. And it is terrifying.

Do you know these "Insane Clown Posse" guys? I bet your kids know them. They have sold millions of albums by advocating a total disregard of society. These two guys are high school dropouts from Detroit who are making millions by encouraging their young fans to "F" the world and revel in antisocial behavior. When I asked them if they felt any remorse about perhaps leading kids to take drugs or disrespect women -- they laughed in my face. "We're entertainers," they said. "If somebody is stupid enough to do what the 'Insane Clown Posse' tells them, hey, that's their problem."

Actually, it's our problem, because a good number of the Juggalos, as Posse fans are called, will sooner or later be acting out destructive behavior. I'll guarantee it.

And then there are the urban black rappers like Jay Z who chant stuff like "kill, if you wanna kill." And Beanie Sigel who rails, "Beanie Crocker, cook coke proper."

Did you know that in 1999 alone, 81 million rap albums were sold? Buy, if you wanna buy.

When I confronted perhaps the most powerful rap and hip-hop executive in the world, Russell Simmons, about explicit lyrics that may be a corrupting influence on high risk children, he looked at me like I was from Mars. "These things need to be expressed," he said. "The plight of black kids is now much more vivid to the white world because of rap."

That may well be true. But what about those black kids trapped in ghettos with little parental supervision and guidance? Are rap themes going to help them get out of their dire circumstances?

The answer is no. If those kids adopt vulgarity in their speech, an anti-white attitude, and an acceptance of dope and violence, the only way they're likely to leave the hood is on a stretcher or in the back of a police cruiser. Hard work and discipline punch the ticket out of poverty. Thinking up rhymes about cocaine is not going to go far on a college admissions application.

The fatal flaw of the rap world is that it doesn't harness the legitimate rage that exists in the bottom end of our economic system in any positive way. Rap doesn't provide solutions; it provides excuses. And it denigrates the values that Americans need to succeed, like respect for others. You can't run around calling women "b-tches" and expect to be taken seriously. If you do that, you're a fool. Yet those rap songs are loaded with coarse, hostile language that rappers say is cool and "reflects what's real."

Well here's some more reality for you rapper boys and girls: Many kids who emulate you are going to suffer. You are feeding them cheap, destructive images that will hurt them in the long run. And you're making big bucks doing it. So rap with that, my man. Reality is a b-tch.

JWR contributor Bill O'Reilly is host of the Fox News show, "The O'Reilly Factor," and author of the new book, The O'Reilly Factor: The Good, the Bad, and The Completely Ridiculous in American Life. Comments by clicking here.


08/13/01: The truth hurts
08/06/01: Amnesty for illegals: Bush's political investment
07/30/01: The big picture on Condit-Levy
07/24/01: Silence of the Shams
07/16/01: Condit, Kennedy and cable news
07/09/01: Heather needs a childhood: The unnecessary loss of innocence
07/02/01: What would have happened if Steven Spielberg had recut "Schindler's List" for German audiences so they wouldn't be confronted with "emotional issues"?
06/25/01: Freak dancing
06/18/01: Work or die
06/11/01: Soundbite nation
06/04/01: Paying through the nose
05/29/01: Graduation Day 2001
05/21/01: Accepting the unacceptable
05/14/01: The Clinton legacy
05/07/01: Kerrey's ordeal
04/27/01: Is the party over?
04/20/01: Racism in public education
04/16/01: The fleecing of America
04/10/01: People who need perspective
04/03/01: Dubya's bottom line --- and ours
03/27/01: Don't tell, don't ask
03/20/01: Greenspan with envy
03/13/01: Clinton and Jackson
03/07/01: All that's left in America
02/27/01: The Letterman experience
02/20/01: Bread and circuses
02/06/01: How the Clintons do it
01/30/01: The Bush dilemma
01/24/01: I have been investigating Jackson's finances for the past two years
01/17/01: Sifting Ashcroft's record

© 2001 Creators Syndicate