Results for Mötley Crüe

interviews

Mark Anthony Neal and Joan Morgan

Next Jim and Greg welcome Mark Anthony Neal, a professor of Black Popular Culture at Duke University and author of New Black Man: Rethinking Black Masculinity, and Joan Morgan, a writer and critic who recently left her post as Executive Editor of Essence Magazine. Joan and Mark have been debating the merits and demerits of hip hop since they grew up as friends and neighbors in "Boogie Down Bronx." And Joan was one of the first music critics to examine the dichotomy of hip hop fandom and feminism in her 1990 Village Voice review of Ice Cube's first classic album AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted. Greg asks Joan what she makes of misogyny in modern hip hop. She explains that it was always there, but the level of it has changed. That concept of women has consumed commercial rap music, so listeners don‘t hear a lot of balance in perspective and tone. She also explains that something like the Ice Cube album is actually easier to wrestle with because it’s a brilliant album. Joan and Mark explain that labels are as complicit as artists in perpetuating a certain level of misogyny since they are the ones actually limiting the range of what you hear in hip hop.

Greg wonders if perhaps the consumer has already begun to speak out. Last year's top hip hop act, T.I., sold 1.7 million copies of his album King. Those aren‘t paltry figures to be sure, but they are definitely much smaller than what we’ve seen from star rappers in years past. Mark sees less revenue and less investment in major-label hip hop as a good thing; it's an opportunity for fresher sounds to come into the marketplace. Jim likens the trend to the development of indie rock in the '80s. That market was also glutted with big name acts like Poison and Mötley Crüe, leaving music fans to seek out underground rock from bands like Hüsker Dü and The Minutemen. Perhaps next we'll enter into an era of indie hip hop.

When asked about the effectiveness of banning certain words in hip hop music, Joan first expresses disappointment in what came out of Simmons and the Hip Hop Summit Action Network's meetings. Without doubting Simmons‘ sincerity, she calls the resulting call to action anemic at best and disingenuous at worst. Mark also grates against people, especially members of the“old guard,”making proclamations about culture or language. This kind of criticism is compounded by the fact that critics of rap music often don’t understand aesthetics. Mark's specific example is the hit hip hop single "In Da Club." People that take issue with the shallow nature of 50 Cent's lyrics may be failing to hear what makes a song like that so popular — the production and the beats. Mark furthers that rulings against specific words don't take into consideration that some rappers can make really complex, compelling statements using racial or sexist epithets. Joan adds that you can also say some really sexist, racist and homophobic things without using any“bad words”at all.

Go to episode 82
news

Music News

This week marks the thirtieth anniversary of the Parents Music Resource Center-inspired Senate hearings in 1985. The PMRC, co-founded by Tipper Gore and Susan Baker, was pushing Congress to clamp down on songs with questionable lyrics because it claimed the music was having an adverse effect on America's youth. But there to testify eloquently in defense of free speech was the unlikely trio of Frank Zappa, John Denver, and Dee Snider of Twisted Sister. The PMRC hearings led to the ubiquitous Parental Advisory stickers that many CDs were forced to carry. Some retailers would refuse to stock any CDs that had the labels, which was a major concern in the pre-Internet era when access to music was more restricted. The PMRC even issued a "Filthy Fifteen" list of particularly objectionable songs, including tracks by Prince, Mötley Crüe, and even Cyndi Lauper.

Win Butler, lead singer of Arcade Fire, has spoken out against the poorly managed launch of the Tidal streaming service – despite being one of its celebrity investors. He still defends the concept of offering HD-quality streaming, but blames Tidal's struggles on the major labels insisting on a $20 per month fee, twice the cost of Spotify. But Greg and Jim wonder if Butler should be concerned with cleaning his own house first. Despite being signed to the respected indie Merge, Arcade Fire still has deals with major labels for distribution and promotion.

Go to episode 513