[Extra] Today’s Music Is Desensitizing Our Youth

Written By: Chuck Francis

When I was young and I first heard the Sugar Hill Gang, I was living in Boston, Massachusetts. It blew up like wildfire. Afrika Bambaataa, Curtis Mayfield, Earth, Wind and Fire, Grand Master Flash and the Furious Five and the list goes on of artist who contributed to an era in music where talent and lyrics meant something. “The Message” was one of the greatest classics ever recorded. To this day, it still depicts life in the city and identifiable anecdotes. A movement was in motion and the music was at the forefront, driving the masses, reminding the people to keep striving, keep pushing, and keep evolving. But it seems the more ground that was covered brought less and less heart and admiration for music. It seems that slowly but surely, the cause and the movement was sold out for a deluxe apartment in the sky.

Yes, most artists are making multitudes of money but at whose expense? The youth spend what little money they have on cds and tickets enriching the artist. In return the youth learn worse slang than ever, how not to get a job by wearing their pants around their knees, less vocabulary words, a slower thought process, essentially desensitized.

How can I say that you may ask? Those asking are obviously suffering the effects right now. Let’s look at it like this. The main goal of urban music back in the day was to tell people to keep their heads up, a change is going to come. Well, the change has come, but people still need to keep their heads up. People still need positive reinforcement. Not songs about bubble gum and stupid dances that make most people look like the ‘Rainman’ in a casino hitting jackpots,…retarded.
It’s like running with a friend from day one and when things get good, you discard that friend. We can’t discard the main friend we have had from day one, The Music.

The lyricists are the main problem with this situation, but you can’t completely rule out the producers. The basic producer creates beats and melodies for the lyricists to drop their lyrics on. The producers’ job is to create the mood for the lyrics to coincide with. The instrumental
(melody/beat with no lyrics) by itself can create patterns of behavior.

We have all seen it a million times, especially in the movies. If a Barry White track starts playing, someone was about to have sex. When reggae starts playing in a movie, what is usually happening in the scene? Someone is smoking or selling marijuana. What about if you hear Spanish music? Someone is about to drink a bunch of beers or tequila and do some cocaine. This behavior even transcends to clubs that we go to. Hip Hop and Reggae clubs, weed and drink. House music’s drug of choice was cocaine, marijuana and ecstasy. People started listening to Techno and started messing with crystal meth and prescription pills. It’s not my rules’, it’s just the way it is. Now, if an instrumental is making people act in certain ways as this, just imagine how people would act if there were lyrics added to it. What ever lyrics are added to these instrumentals will be intensified ten fold. That is power.

In most songs these days, some of us choose to call bubble gum raps, have silly melodies and worse lyrics. Bubble gum lyrics are doing nothing, but literally speaking of bubble gum, candy, tennis shoes and plain stupidity. Who the hell cares about that stuff besides people with no understanding of what real music is?

“You can’t listen to all that language and filth without it affecting you.” – Delores Tucker (civil rights activist and crusader against gangster rap in the early 90’s.) Back then, lyrics were of bottles of alcohol, striptease, sex, drug dealings, money and dreams rappers wanted to fulfill.
The lyrics were definitely explicit, but they were real. It was what was occurring on an hourly basis, let alone daily. If your telling the truth, it’s going to hurt some, it’s going to heal some and it’s going to open others eyes to the truth. Like gangster rap did in many different ways. It opened the world to police brutality, harassment, unlawful shootings, lynching, etc…
That’s what made Hip Hop so powerful. Since the beginning, it has been the streets news, information and entertainment wrapped in one. Unfortunately, it is slowly ending. It’s not as economical to make sense and take responsibility for your culture. When you can have a few million children singing a bubble gum song and sell out a companies supply of gum for them, the company will offer you a contract and you will get paid, eventually. The children will learn nothing, singing radio edited nursery rhymes and decaying their teeth, all at the same time. The worst part is, some of the kids singing the song might be forty years old.

Did you know the rule of thumb in America is the most disadvantaged children go to the worst schools? When I say disadvantaged, I mean the poor and the underprivileged. The government figures, why waste good money on bad. That is how it has been before I can remember.

Twenty years ago, the worst schools in the country were everywhere. All urban schools were considered a waste of good money. Slowly but surely we fought our way into the good school columns. I can blame it all on the great teachers we had, but I would be wrong. As a whole, It had a lot to do with proving a point to the world. Letting the world know, we count more than they want to admit and we are going to prove it. The teachers, neighborhoods, families, Hip Hop artists and the real music that spoke of our problems and interest kept people focused, all around the world.

Now what is music focused on?


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