This is BN-W’s fourth quarterly music monitoring session – Summer 2005. As with the previous music monitors, it wasn’t necessary to waste hours listening to each individual CD. We read the lyrics to most of the songs from the Internet using the following Web sites:
(1) www.ohhla.com [primarily rap/hip-hop lyrics]
(2) www.azlyrics.com [all music types]
(3) www.lyricsbox.com [all music types]
(4) www.lyricsondemand.com [all music types]
(5) www.stlyrics.com [film/movie soundtracks]
Once again, as with all of the BN-W’s music monitoring sessions, it continues to be brutally disappointing listening to and/or reading the lyrics for some of the CDs and hearing the self-hatred, which they don’t even recognize. As you know by now, since we’ve been doing BN-W we don’t often buy anything (other than jazz or instrumental music) without reading the lyrics first, listening to the majority of the tracks, and getting a lot of good buzz on the artist. And there’s nothing that this monitor demonstrates to merit a change in that criteria. We were hoping Stevie Wonder’s new CD would be out by now but it’s not, so we’re stuck with a massive overload of junk music. And that’s the only way to describe the bulk of the music listed in the top 20 Billboard magazine chart below. Click on this Newsweek link for a semi-update on the Stevie Wonder situation: http://g.msn.com/0MN2ET7/2?
We’re not going to give a lot of commentary for this monitor. We’ll let the lyrics and the other links on the music business weave a story for you. As with all the monitors, some of the beats are funky or “slamming,” as the slang goes, but so what. If the lyrics overall aren’t saying much on top of using the N-word excessively (and a bunch of other downright insulting lyrics) – again, so what it’s danceable. Before getting to the BN-W monitor, following are some lyrics taken from eight of the artists in the top 20 albums as listed in Billboard magazine’s “Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums.” You decide for yourself if these are lyrics that our kids (or even we as adults) should be jamming to with no questions asked.
YOUNG JEEZY :
YING YANG TWINS :
SLIM THUG :
TEAIRRA MARI :
MISSY MISDEMEANOR :
KEYSHIA COLE :
As we stated in the Spring Monitor, Sylvia Rhone, Antonio (L.A.) Reid, Andre Young, Shawn Carter, Jermaine Dupri Mauldin, Russell Simmons, Sean Combs, and other Black executives – you’ve got to stand for more than this. We also add Kevin Liles, Lisa Ellis, and Step Johnson to this list. And if you use the N-word yourselves, read and learn why you might want to rethink that. An interesting quote from rapper Missy Elliott (see Missy Misdemeanor lyric link above) is as follows: “Black people can’t do anything wrong. We are under a microscope, and unfortunately, we automatically look like we’re messing up when we’re not. People will always say we don’t know what we’re doing.” Based on the lyrics above, you and these executives do have a problem; you and these executives are messing up. You all should want to do better for yourselves and your people – not do anything for a dollar and a title. To be blunt, is it possible you’re all playing yourselves and getting played? Are you really cool with sitting at these meetings and listening to/watching what’s being put out and marketed to the public – kids especially – without any meaningful fight?. You can’t possibly think you’re truly respected by “okaying” the excessive use of the N-word, accepting the lyrics that are written above, and then supporting the videos that typically go with this scenario. Or perhaps you do believe you’re highly respected? Click on this link for the complete article: http://g.msn.com/0MN2ET7/2?
For just one example of how powerful the influence can be on the culture, the following story is about one woman’s fight on behalf of her 7-year-old son: http://www.petitionspot.com/petitions/Cullen.
[ NOTE: Please see the two Shawn Carter (aka Jay-Z) video links at the end of this document. Very, very interesting.]
Just as Edgar Bronfman Jr., Lyor Cohen, Sumner Redstone (born Sumner Murray Rothstein), Leslie Moonves, Clive Davis, and other top entertainment executives (http://www.simpletoremember.com) who share the same “race”/ethnic/religious background would not slander – or allow others to slander – themselves, as Black executives, you should not want to keep a culture of ignorance escalating amongst your own people just because others make it easy for you to do what they would NEVER do to their own. African Americans have a lot to be proud of – but our kids (and thus all the other “races” and cultures that always follow them) are being smoothly, slowly, and slickly discouraged from knowing and learning that. Click on this link for an article in Business Week on how Bronfman and others do their thing: Warner’s Oldies But Goodies
Considering the recent $10 million settlement that Sony BMG made with the New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, we also wanted to share the following link with you that includes court documents on the payola scandal that is widespread in the music industry, which we found at daveyd.com: http://www.oag.state.ny.us/press/. Errol Louis, a New York Daily News columnist, also wrote the following in a 7/29/05 article on this scandal: “It turns out that the monotonous repetition of awful music played on commercial radio stations is largely caused by companies like Sony, the world’s second-largest record label, that regularly paid millions of dollars in under-the-table bribes to radio hosts and producers to get specific songs played over and over, without regard to a tune’s worth or initial popularity….As corporate giants purchased and shut down independent labels, the men with ears have been replaced by lazy, greedy company men who see popular music as nothing more than a commodity to buy, sell and manipulate by any available means.” And on top of this payola and all the other drama involved in how most of these artists, especially the R&B/rap/hip-hop ones, ultimately get portrayed, the top executives still usually get the best part of the deal, leaving most artists just scraping by: http://www.nydailynews.com/.
Below is BN-W’s quarterly CD monitoring session for Summer 2005, which includes 20 CDs that are from Billboard magazine’s “ Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums” (www.billboard.com) for the issue date of August 27, 2005. As we indicated in BN-W #34, we’re using a new system and format. We are no longer giving a range for the N-word usage because once is too much. Out of the top 20 albums listed below, only three do not use the N-word, which leave seventeen that do. And that’s a massive problem that must be overcome. If you do take a chance and buy some of the CDs below or if you or your kids already have some of them, the same questions still apply – appropriate/inappropriate? necessary/unnecessary? sensible/nonsensical? does it add to or take away from the CD overall? does the N-word have to be used at all? is there a valid reason for doing so? is it mandatory for the CD to be effective? what are the circumstances/situation that necessitate any use of the word? is it just thrown in for humor, insult, fear, crime? are other culturally insulting slang terms used as much as the N-word in the CDs?
|LOW – EXCESSIVE [1+]|
|1||Young Jeezy||Let’s Get It: Thug Motivation 101||XXXXX|
|2||Mariah Carey||The Emancipation of Mimi||XXXXX|
|4||Various Artists||Now 19||THIS ALBUM NOT MONITORED– CIARA, LUDACRIS, BOBBY VALENTINO, LIL JON, AKON, BIG BOI – USE THE N-WORD ON THEIR CURRENT ALBUMS|
|5||R. Kelly||TP.3 Reloaded||XXXXX|
|6||Ying Yang Twins||U.S.A. : United State of Atlanta||XXXXX|
|7||Mike Jones||Who Is Mike Jones?||XXXXX|
|8||[Soundtrack]||Hustle & Flow||XXXXX|
|9||Lyfe Jennings||Lyfe 268-192||XXXXX|
|10||The Black Eyed Peas||Monkey Business||XXXXX|
|11||Slim Thug||Already Platinum||XXXXX|
|12||Teairra Mari||Roc-A-Fella Presents Teairra Mari||XXXXX|
|13||Babyface||Grown & Sexy||XXXXX|
|14||Missy Elliott||The Cookbook||XXXXX|
|15||Keyshia Cole||The Way It Is||XXXXX|
|17||Mary Mary||Mary Mary||XXXXX|
|19||Trey Songz||I Gotta Make It||XXXXX|
BN-W Monitor Coming Soon: “The Man” [Samuel L. Jackson, Eugene Levy]; “Roll Bounce” [Bow Wow, Chi McBride]; “Underclassman” [Nick Cannon]; “The Gospel” [Clifton Davis, Tamyra Gray]; “Jarhead” [Jamie Foxx, Jake Gyllenhall]; “Get Rich or Die Tryin’” [Curtis ‘50 Cent’ Jackson]; “Rent” [Taye Diggs, Rosario Dawson, Jesse L. Martin]; “Dying for Dolly” [Usher]; “Syriana” [Jeffrey Wright, George Clooney, Matt Damon]; “An Unfinished Life” [Jennifer Lopez, Robert Redford, Morgan Freeman]; “Pink Panther” [Steve Martin, Beyonce Knowles];
Also Coming : DVD Monitoring; Fall 2005 Music Monitoring
Marcus A. Parker has a new song that’s positive and encouraging. Check out the song, The Product, at his Web site: www.marcusaparker.com . /phpbb/nfphpbb/viewtopic.php?t=1415. Not sure when t he original video was shot, but does the video link below look like old school Carter to you? (This second video can only be seen by those receiving the electronic version of this document.)