Jewish World Review August 20, 2001 / 1 Elul, 5761
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
08/13/01: The truth hurts