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Monday, May 07, 2007


Hip-hop lyrics are ruining our country's youth.

Others have been arguing that for years, with the debate really heating up lately. But it wasn't until earlier this week while reading my toddler son the lyrics to Young Jeezy's song "Bury Me a G" as a bedtime story that I realized how true it is.

How, I'd like to ask every hip-hop artist (or, at least, every hip-hop artist whose phone number is listed), am I supposed to raise a child in a world in which they are spewing filth every which way you turn.
Take this recent example: It was 10:30 on a Friday night, and wanting to show my beautiful toddler son how vibrant a city Chicago is, I woke him up and drove him to the Logan Square neighborhood (even letting him sit in the front seat as a treat).

We got out of the car and strolled around, but about a mile or so from where we'd parked, I began to get a little chilly. And my son's body had turned blue, as, in my excitement back at home, I'd forgotten to put any clothes on him after taking his pajamas off.

Rushing, as any good parent would, to get my son inside somewhere, I carried him into the Congress Theater, where I felt obligated to buy two tickets to the Nas concert going on then. I got my wristband that allowed me to buy alcohol and muscled my son and me to the front of the stage, figuring the nearby spotlights would warm the boy up quickly.

And I think they did, but at what cost?

Nas, who clearly saw my not-even-2-year-old child staring innocently up at him, did not change the lyrical content one iota to any of his vile songs. The words he rapped were exactly the same as the ones I had playing in the delivery room some 22 months ago when I welcomed my son into this world!

Still, I did not see the damage that Nas and other rappers of his ilk were doing to my son. An optimist by nature, I continued to go around like everything was hunky-dory. And this past weekend was gorgeous, wasn't it? My son's really into trucks and machines, so the whole family spent Sunday afternoon walking on to as many construction sites around the city we could find. It was wonderful.

We were all on top of the world -- but, thanks to rap music, our euphoria wouldn't last. My clothes, you see, were dirty from helping my son out of a hole in the ground that a crane had knocked him into, so we headed over to Marshall's to pick me up a new Perry Ellis outfit.

But what's the first thing we saw on the rack? A shirt by 50 Cent's G-Unit clothing label! To help my son understand the world around him, I recited the lyrics to the entire "Get Rich or Die Tryin'" CD. My flow was tight, but, again, at what cost?

Now, I can already picture the e-mails I'll get telling me that I have the freedom "to just change the station" when hip-hop comes on. Give me a break. What if my family is tuned into 97.9 FM, the classic rock station here? That's pretty close on the dial to B96, with its "Hits and Hip-hop." Are you really going to tell some of the junk from B96 won't seep into the wholesome classic rock we want to be listening to?

So, let me conclude with a plea to all the rappers out there: Please stop what you're doing and make music geared toward toddlers.

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