Congress Asks Questions About Hip-Hop Lyrics
September 26, 2007 at 5:41 AM (PT)
Congress took aim yesterday at rappers and the labels who promote them as lingering fallout from the DON IMUS controversy continued, writes THE NEW YORK POST. Testifying were VIACOM CEO PHILIPPE DAUMAN, UNIVERSAL MUSIC GROUP CEO DOUG MORRIS, WARNER MUSIC GROUP CEO EDGAR BRONFMAN JR. and RADIO ONE CEO ALFRED LIGGINS.
The execs, along with rappers MASTER P and DAVID BANNER, were summoned before the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection, chaired by BOBBY RUSH (D-IL), to answer questions about sexist and racially charged lyrics in hip-hop.
People buy and listen to what they like -- and we have landfills full of CDs they don't like.
MORRIS, whose company has a pair of smashes with new albums from KANYE WEST and 50 CENT, was quick to downplay hip-hop's influence. He noted that sales in the genre are off by 44% since 2000 and now account for just 10% of total industry sales.
Meanwhile, MORRIS and BRONFMAN both said their companies attempt to alert parents about potentially inappropriate lyrics by including parental advisory labels on releases intended for mature audiences. DAUMAN said that VIACOM, owner of MTV and BET, monitors videos for offensive language and gestures.
"You won't hear the "b" word or "h" word or "n" word in any of our music videos . . . nor will you see gang symbols or portrayals of violence and drug use," said DAUMAN.
Rappers testifying were split in their opinions on the situation. MASTER P apologized for his past use of offensive lyrics, while DAVID BANNER said hip-hop was misunderstood and the subject of unfair scrutiny."Hip-hop is sick because AMERICA is sick," he said.
MORRIS cautioned that the issue is ultimately one of free speech and choice. "People buy and listen to what they like -- and we have landfills full of CDs they don't like," he said.