I'm involved in an event coming up this weekend where I'm going to perform as a rapper. To get ready, I've been putting together some sound beds and drafting up some lyrics on the assigned topics. To refresh my recollection of the kind of terminology that the "professionals" use, I thought I'd listen to one of the kid stations on the radio for a few days.
What I heard deeply shocked and saddened me.
It's descended to pure filth, more than half the time. The two messages, heard over and over in these raps, are "I'm gonna f*ck you" and "I'm gonna kill you." And believe me, it's no less explicit than that, although the four-letter words are edited out of the radio versions of these numbers, in a mockery of decency. Sexual positions, prostitution, and hatred for everyone, especially women -- "I'm lookin for a girl that will do whatever the f*ck I say" is a featured lyric currently in heavy rotation. And the young women performing are all about "I'll make you feel good, I promise."
Now when I was a kid back in the stone age, we had our share of risque material. Let's spend the night together. Bend over, let me see you shake your tail feather. Why don't we do it in the road?
But in 2006, turn on a station like 95.5 FM in Portland, any hour of the day, and see what comes blasting out. I dare you to listen to it for an hour. Then understand that this is what we're letting radio station owners like Paul Allen peddle to our middle schoolers. All the most virulent garbage, all the time.
It's no mystery why the 4-year-old kids are being shot inside the day care centers now. The explanation is no further away than your radio.
On my way home tonight, I heard an ad come on this station for a downtown nightclub. They're having a party there tomorrow night, and guess who the big attractions are? The two Trail Blazers who were suspended this week for failure to even show up to be with the team: Zach Randolph and Darius Miles. They took time out from their busy schedules to invite everyone down to "da cluuub" after tomorrow night's season-ending game, a season in which their team was the worst in the league. Time to party with the two highest paid people in the whole city, and among the most clueless.
Why there aren't people with picket signs following Mr. Allen around and surrounding his sordid little radio station is beyond me. Parents who get so hot when they talk about making their kids go to a different school -- where are you when your kids turn on the radio? At the very least, your children are interacting with peers who listen to this material at every opportunity, and who have no skills at filtering the content.
If America ever really was the envy of the world, those days are coming to an end. You want proof? Check out Jammin' 95.