And you know who you are, 50 Cent & The Game. Arrggggh! As an adult over the age of 30 (just barely), I can’t believe I’m calling other adults 50 Cent & The Game. I think once someone turns 25, they have to use the first name their Mama gave ’em.
For me to agree with Al Sharpton on any issue is clearly one of the signs of the apocalypse, but I was beginning to think we are at the End of Days when I heard that Sharpton was taking a stand against violence in the rap industry. Still, full of doubt, I did my own investigation and found that he isn’t playing around and a few major urban radio networks say they are willing to listen.
Chronic Magazine: Al Sharpton Goes After Violent Artists
MSNBC: Al Sharpton proposes ban on rappers
Rap News Network: Sharpton Talks Violence Ban To Radio Execs
Black America Web: The Rev. Al Sharpton Calls for 90-Day TV, Radio Ban on Violent Music
Philadelphia Daily News: Sharpton’s rap vs. rappers
Sharpton recently called for the radio and television industry to ban records by any artist connected with violent acts for 90 days. Does that necessarily mean rap music? Come on, people. If we’re going to have an honest conversation about this, let’s admit that it does. When was the last time you heard about a leading country, R&B or pop artist getting in a gun fight? It happens occasionally, and I’m sure Sharton would say the same should apply, but we’re talking about hip-hop.
I guess I was naive to believe that most of these guys are just criminals, as they claim very proudly to be, and violence is part of their lifestyle, which they claim to be proud of as well. I didn’t, however, think they would use it as a promotional tool to sell records. I mean, a controversy is one thing…getting someone in your posse shot to boost sales is quite another.
At this point, I wouldn’t put anything past rappers. The industry is so void of standards. The heads of the record labels are ex-cons and their leading artists celebrate their images as pimps, hustlers, gangbangers and drug dealers. To expect them to have principles when it comes to promotion would make me the idiot.
I think it’s fair to be suspect of any stand that Sharpton takes, because his history is very sketchy and he has proven himself more than once to be out only for number one. However, I would say that it appears that the tide is turning in rap music because it has gone too far. Those who defend the industry are only concerned about making money. They feel no responsiblity for their influence and the public apparently doesn’t care to make them.
But this is about money; the almighty dollar. 90 days is really the shelf life of a song these days. The better ones last longer, but airplay is all about the buzz; especially in those communities where most people get their music from the radio because they can’t afford CDs. It may seem lame to incentivize people to obey the law, but it’s come down to that. The only way rappers, managers and billionaire music moguls will care about this is if it hurts their pocketbooks.
Federal investigators have also jumped into the game and it’s said they are investigating crimes such as extortion to robbery and even the street crime that can’t seem to separate itself from the industry. I’m not going to dog this investigation because it’s possible they may identify and prosecute some people making the industry nothing more than an incorporated street gang, but it isn’t likely they’ll go to the top. They’ll probably nip off the talent, which will just be replaced by more of the same.
What’s right is right and what is wrong is wrong and that applies no matter how much money it is making for someone. We need to stop worrying about the sensitivities of people who are profiting from the music. We need to stop caring about being labeled racist or against our own people by those who think any criticism of something black people do is unacceptable.
We need to stop worrying about the nasty responses from those who defend the indefensible just because they like to bop their head to it. We need to stand up for our kids because they deserve our support more than the rappers and billionaire music moguls do.
We need to stand up for the under-represented rap music that has remained true to the old school concept and doesn’t deserve to be vilified under a generalized brush of the industry.
I think the way we as a community respond to this will show a lot about our values and our priorities. I hope we do the right thing.Powered by Sidelines