Rap Music and Censorship

For our fourth participation blog post we were asked to write about an example of attempted censorship, take a position on the topic and address the First Amendment. I wanted to find an example of music censorship and talk about it. I had heard about rap music being censored in the past and chose to talk about the example of the rap group formerly known as 2 Live Crew.

            Founded in 1985 the California based hip hop trio Chris Wong Won (“Fresh Kid Ice”), DJ David Hobbs (“Mr. Mixx”), and rapper Amazing V released the groups debut album and were immediately met with controversy by the Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC). With songs entitled “The Fuck Shop” and “Head Booty And Cock” the PMRC argued that the groups album couldn’t be sold to minors. Even thou the groups CD had a parent advisory sticker, the PMRC wanted it completely removed from shelves and banned from being sold or played in the state of Florida. The group chose to ignore the warnings and ended up ultimately being arrested for performing songs from “As Nasty As They Wanna Be” in a live concert performance. This incident sparked a major catalyst as making rap music an easy target for censorship. Eventually the group was acquitted of all charges and in 1994 the ban on “As Nasty As they Wanna Be” was overturned by the United States Court of Appeals.

            Although I don’t exactly agree with 2 Live Crew’s choice of song titles or the graphics on their debut CD I do not agree with the PMRC. If the CD already had a parental advisory sticker on it then that should be enough to warn parents and the general public that this CD is obviously not suitable for younger audiences. I believe what happened in this case completely violates what freedom of speech in America is all about. Music is about being able to express yourself and what’s on your mind. If certain members of society don’t agree with what these artists are talking about then its simple, don’t buy or listen to the music.

            The Constitution clearly says, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” No organization should be able to dictate what music is appropriate or in-appropriate. It is the general publics choice to listen to what they want to.  


About Ayan Jama

I am a University of Oregon graduate with a BA in Journalism with a focus in Magazine and Public Relations. I enjoy foreign movies, white chocolate, shoes, and friends & family.
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