Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Be A Man: Can't Listen To That Anymore

I stopped listening to most rap music a number of years back. It all began during my freshman years of college. I had a friend in college who once asked me about my beliefs in life. He then looked at my music collection, at the time, and then asked me, If you believe all the things you say you do why do you listen to this type of music?

I didn't immediately have an answer to his question, but it got me thinking. Why was I listening to all the trash that I had collected? 90% spoke about things that I could not relate to, and I could never listen to it around my family.

The following sketch illustrates the kind of difficulty I would have when playing my old music collection around family.

In a scene from Adam Buxton's new BBC3 sketch show Rush Hour, "Rock Dad" tries to share his musical tastes with his son, but has to..um, clean it up a bit.

So after much thought I got rid of the rap I was listening to back then. Back then it was all tapes so of course I was not missing them when I finally move on to CD's. It was funny how I used to justify listening to that kind of music by saying that I only liked the beats, not the lyrics. Yet, I could not deny that I had mixed feelings about the music itself. Questions like, why couldn't they just have made this song with no curse words? Does this person really live this lifestyle? By buying their music am I supporting their behavior?

I still like some rap, and in recent months I have been going back to the rap I loved in the 80's and early 90's. I don't miss the music that I walked away. I decided that I wanted to be a man and listen to manly music. Music about spiritual matters, standing for something, taking actions, and loving those close to you. Sometimes on the road to manhood you have to let go of things. Yet, sometimes you gain so much more in the process.


Miriam said...

I miss the old rap. Although, I wonder if I listened to it now -even the old ones I don't know how i'd feel about it.

Rafi G said...

I was never a big music guy, but always enjoyed music in the background, even if I had no idea who was singing it, and never paid attention to the words. I particularly enjoy stuff from the 60s through the 80s, and rarely listen any more to it... occasionally though I just get that urge and cannot resist...

Shelly said...

It's funny just yesterday I posted something which is (sort of) related to this subject...

I love hip hop and have done since my youth but I too struggle with some of the language and imagery used. But I endeavour to always listen to more educated/enlightened artists; I am willing to put up with a little profanity/silliness if their OVERALL message is inspirational and intelligent enough. I could never abandon the genre altogether when there is so much good work happening outside of the mainstream...

But yeah, I listen to alot of old school stuff too. It's amazing how so many artists used to make music that was amazingly innovative, funny and smart with NO swearing at all!

Ehav Ever said...

Miriam -Even when I went looking for the music I used to like I am very picky about what I picked back up. Back when I was younger I used to listen to a lot of no name, or not very well known rap. Mostly, because I liked being the guy with the music no one had ever heard of. Also, when I wanted to listen to stuff without all the cursing and iffy subject matter, many of the no name groups I listened to didn't have those things. I am very picky person when it comes to music, partially because I used to do a bit of music in my younger years.

Rafi G - I am with you on that. Most of the music I listen to is also either from the 70's or 80's or it is Teimani. Lately I have been getting some of the older Teimani singers because they have that old school feel that I like. Singers like Shalom Tzahari and Tzion Golan's older songs.

Shelly - I used to put up with some of the music with the profanity and such if the overall message was sound. The problem was that I often found that there were other problems with the artists I liked. It kind of came to a head one day when I gave a ride to a Rabbi's 12 year old son. It was a 2 hour drive and I found myself having to carefully pick what I played. I decided then that I didn't want to have to do that anymore.

I also felt that the swearing didn't help the song in any way. Especially since they had to make radio edits, it seemed to me that their appeal would be wider if they didn't do it at all. Yet, now a days radio stations play songs with swearing in them that never would have made it on the radio 10 years ago.

Over time none of the stuff with the profanity and such spoke to me as it was so I personally decided that I didn't want to hear it anymore. I also found a better alternative. I started listening to Yemenite Jewish music. It had the sound that I liked in many of the rap songs I used to listen to, and it dealt with subjects I could relate to. Many of the artists I liked performed traditional Yemenite Jewish songs that we sing all the time at weddings and at the synagogue so that was a plus.

In terms of the artists and music. The other problem I had was that I would buy an album from an artist that used to put out an entire album of good songs, and find that their new album had only 1 or 2 songs that I liked.