Turned Up & Tapped Out: Why I’m Giving Up On Black Radio That Plays Rap Music

I officially give up on Black radio stations that play Hip Hop.

Seriously.

I’m over the disrespect. Finished with the blatant disregard for the audience. Totally through with their insistence on force-feeding curse-filled, misogynistic, lyrical porn through the airwaves and expecting this self-respecting, intelligent, passionate African American mother to take it to the head, sans complaint or concern.

What’s got my Victoria’s Secrets in a bunch? Last week, on my way back from dropping my kids off at school, I tuned into Atlanta’s R&B/Hip Hop station V103 to listen to one of my favorite morning show hosts, Ryan Cameron and his cast of funny, down-to-Earth co-horts (whom I can’t listen to with kids in the car) when on came a new song fresh off the New Orleans plantation that is Cash Money Records: Birdman’s “Tapout,” featuring Lil’ Wayne, Future, Mack Maine and Nicki Minaj. What I heard was so foul, so vile, so effing inappropriate, that I actually had visions of smashing my own damn radio with a sledgehammer. Witness the opening lyrics to this musical madness, courtesy of Wayne:

If you hating you just need some p*ssy
She f*cked up when she gave me some p*ssy
I said I f*ck you better than that other nigga
She say Tune I’m about to c*m, I say I’m coming which you
She don’t like them pretty niggas, see dirty niggas
She ride this d*ck, her t*tties jiggle, that’s my pillows
That’s because I sleep in that ho
Hit it when I wake up tell the pigs I say assalam alaikum ugh
My b*tch a choosy lover never f*ck without a rubber
Sweet yellow bone thing I call her honey mustard
P*ssy like a sea shell, d*ck like a V-12
She say I drive her crazy, I say just keep on your seatbelt
Bend it over bust it open for me
Baby bend it over bust it open for me
She say she love me she loves this d*ck
Come put that million dollar p*ssy on me make me rich
Tunechi

The chorus and the rest of the lyrics, including those from Minaj, a celebrity judge on one of the most wholesome family shows on primetime, American Idol, are equally crude. The curses and smut are smudged out, but it’s clear what is being said and conveyed.

And V103, a top Atlanta radio station that bills itself “The People’s Station,” was playing that song at 8:24 a.m.

In the morning, y’all.

Not that playing “Tapout” at 8:24 p.m. would have made hearing it on radio any better, but really, what human being with sense and sensibilities and even a modicum of decency is okay with turning on a mainstream, free-to-the-public, anybody-can-hear-it-at-anytime radio show and hearing a rapper telling women to “bend it over and bust it open for me” before the eggs and coffee can settle in the belly?

I’m not mad at Birdman, Lil’ Wayne, Future or Nicki, et. al. I expect this from these artists. For years, their vile, explicit lyrics have literally fueled the rap game, earning them accolades, street and club cred and hundreds of millions of dollars, all while encouraging practically every rapper who’s come behind them to wax ad nauseum about phat asses, red bones, illicit drugs, alcohol abuse, cunnilingus, a variety of sexual positions, strip club antics and a consistent message that bitches ain’t shit but hoes and tricks to be used at a man’s discretion, whenever the mood strikes him, a woman’s pleasure or consent be damned.

There is an audience for this, no doubt. And between YouTube, iTunes, Spotify, Pandora and all the other places fans can seek out and enjoy their favorite artists’ music, finding these songs isn’t all that difficult—nowhere as difficult, for sure, as it was when we were younger and we had to actually go to a record store (remember those?) and search through the stacks for the cassette tape (remember those?) of the music we craved.

So really, there’s no reason radio stations need to play this mess on the radio—not when audiences can listen to it in their own privacy, and certainly not when the world is full of awesome music that doesn’t involve debasing women, disrespecting our children and encouraging boys and men to treat us like mindless animals, good for nothing more than providing the holes they need to get off.

And still, Hip Hop stations—even those that claim to be for “the people,” play it. Repeatedly. Unabashedly. With abandon.

Which makes them as complicit, if not more so, than the artists who traffic in this filth.

Please understand: I’m no C. Delores Tucker. I’m a journalist who values free speech—who is keenly aware of its import. But also, I am a woman, a wife, a mother, a consumer and a human being, and I expect that the businesses that I support treat me as such. I’ve asked Atlanta’s V103, “The People’s Station,” time and time again via Tweets to be mindful of this as they choose the music they play during Ryan Cameron’s morning show—a show that I thoroughly enjoy when the music isn’t playing—but all I’ve gotten is… crickets.

And “bend it over and bust it open for me.”

And Lil Wayne’s “Good Kush and Alcohol,” with Drake promising that he’s okay, “Long as my bitches love me.”

And Rihanna “pouring it up” in strip clubs where her “bands make your girl go down.”

And Kelly Rowland directing her lover to give her “kisses down low, make me arch my back, when you give it to me slow, baby just like that.”

As if great contemporary music by artists like Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, Maxwell, Mindless Behavior, Justin Timberlake, Ledisi, Raphael Saadiq, Dwele, Bilal, Common, Chrisette Michele, India.Aire, Janelle Monae and the like, plus newer artists we’ve never heard but who deserve a shot at a wider audience, don’t exist.

I promise you, I’m over it.

If it’s going to keep claiming to be “The People’s Station,” maybe V103 and other R&B stations that play Hip Hop could take some queues from Michigan radio station 103.7 The Beat and bar songs with foul lyrics that encourage and promote violence, drugs and the abuse of women from its playlists. Something tells me, though, that what the people who listen to the station want doesn’t matter. That much is clear.

Which means: Black radio, you just lost one.

RELATED POSTS:

1. Lil Wayne’s ‘No Worries’ Made Me Question Myself as a Dad To Black Daughters
2. Damn that Lil’ Wayne–Now I Have To Live Without My Radio.
3. Radio Station Bans Rick Ross, Lil Wayne Over Sexist Rape Lyrics: ‘Bout Time!
4. If I Hear R. Kelly On My Radio One Mo’ ‘Gin…

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Denene Millner

Mom. NY Times bestselling author. Pop culture ninja. Unapologetic lover of shoes, bacon and babies. Nice with the verbs. Founder of the top black parenting website, MyBrownBaby.

23 Comments

  1. I am a white mother of 2 Haitian-American tween/teens and this problem has plagued me since they came home through adoption and 22mths/3yrs. They love the beat of rap music (as do I). I go through a constant battle with myself about not letting them listen to rap stations. I can’t do it, though. Like you, I can’t sit and listen to my soul and the souls of my kids being denigrated (a raping of the soul, if you will). Thank you for both this affirmation and the list of safe rappers.

  2. Right there with you. I used to turn on one of NYC’s local hip hop stations for the morning radio personalities, but I can’t stomach it anymore. I stopped tuning in months ago. When you complain, they try to run that line about playing what listeners want to hear when we all know that record labels pay the stations for positioning of their songs to literally program listeners tastes. So over it!

    • Denene@MyBrownBaby

      ^^THIS RIGHT HERE.^^ Totally agreed, Anayah. And frankly, I’m sick of their excuses. We need not support black businesses that do not support us.

      • @Denene don’t confuse black radio for black business. The two are often not the same.

        • Denene@MyBrownBaby

          I’m very clear, Michael, that black radio often is owned by white-led conglomerates. But the program director of the particular station I’m talking about is a black man. And he is running, for all intents and purposes, a business that caters to a mostly black clientele. That makes them a black business. And, I stand by what I said: A black business that does not support black people should not have our allegiance.

  3. I gave up on black radio years ago, which completely broke my heart. I wanted so desperately to share my culture with my children, and music is a HUGE part of the black identity. But what passes for black music these days is 1.) Some racist’s idea of what black people are or, worse, 2.) a dysfunctional manifestation of our brainwashing that we are worth nothing and worthy of nothing better, generated by my own people. I can’t stand that my daughter has nothing buy white boy band posters on her walls. It makes me sick to think that the only way to expose her to something wholesome is to turn away from my people. But nothing on earth could make me sicker that what’s on black radio these days.

    • That’s my life, Courtenay. In protecting my children, I have had to hide them from the cultural norms that our people have adopted. They can’t relate like they want to, but I refuse to cave in to something that is poison to our souls.

  4. I JUST had a similar conversation with a friend! I want my kids to appreciate hip hop, but they can only listen to it via Pandora, my old CD collection, or on Friday mornings when the radio station here plays old school hip hop. Otherwise, my car is filled with R&B or Top 40 pop music.

  5. I stopped listening to hip hop and rap years ago. It didn’t make me feel good, so I had to keep it moving. Unfortunately, I don’t listen to the same music as most people I know, but I refuse to be part of the problem.

  6. Not sure if you saw Sidney Poitier on CBS Sunday Morning on 5/12, but he made a profound statement regarding roles he chooses, and decency for his own sanity’s sake: “I have no objections to the other people, even though I disagree with their point of view, and I don’t disagree with their point of view and chastise them – I just simply say, ‘I live by a certain code.’ I have to have a certain amount of decency in my behavioral pattern. I have to have that. That is MY responsibility.”

    I say we make it our collective responsibility to showcase decency – pour decency into your girlpies as much as you can to offset this radio madness- give them Robert Glasper and Esperanza and Vinx and Ledisi and anyone else who’s riding the decency train too. call the radio station and tell them how this upset you. Just reading the lyrics above made me sick to my stomach.

    • Denene@MyBrownBaby

      Donna,

      I was on the soccer field on Sunday so I missed one of my favorite actors on one of my favorite shows! Thank you for sharing his quote. I love this: “I live by a certain code. I have to have a certain amount of decency in my behavioral pattern. I have to have that. That is MY responsibility.” I couldn’t agree with him more.

  7. Haven’t listened to radio in forever for this EXACT reason. No one wants to hear talk about wet panties @ 8am!! Or any other time for that matter.

  8. I’m right there with you sista!!! I feel the same way. It’s not even just certain rappers, it just this entire genre as a whole now. I don’t listen to radio, haven’t in about 5 yrs, and I make sure not to with my kids in the car. I mean, when my daughter sings radio lyrics, it makes my stomach turn. I have a seething disdain for this new rap culture. I tend to apply this disgust to black media in general. All the shows on vh1, bravo, oxygen…In general, I don’t like how Black is represented. I don’t want my daughter seeing those images. These hyperbolic cartoon characters, the drama, the ignorance, the ‘music’ the way that it is all celebrated. What black has become has become this black cloud that follows our black children informing them of how to act. It’s what they see, they think it’s ‘what they do’ ‘how we act’ regardless of family, education, area etc. Sorry for going on, but your feeling is what I’ve been feeling so much lately…peace

  9. In the era of portable music and podcasting I’m surprised anyone still listens to terrestrial radio. Other than talk radio & sports that’s all it’s good for.

    • Denene@MyBrownBaby

      You’re right, Leon4x: the options have made it less a priority to listen to radio. Like I mentioned in the piece, I really dig the morning show host, Ryan Cameron, whom I find to be incredibly intelligent, insightful, funny and masterful at keeping the conversation relevant to me as a listener. The music simply doesn’t match his message. When he was on in the afternoons (he was recently promoted to the morning show gig), he had a killer DJ, named Baby Yu, who did an awesome job of playing mixes that I adore; always respectful, deep knowledge of music and how to mix it to keep you hanging on through the entire mix. Now, we get “Tapout” at 8 a.m. For those of us who were still holding on to radio, they sure are doing a crappy job of keeping us interested.

  10. This type of music is played because the audience continues to purchase it, download it, recite it & deify it by posting it on social networking sites. The way some of these rappers work around it is by saying things like, ‘I’m not talking about every woman. Just the women I deal with.’ So their core audience, which nauseatingly is mostly female, love it. The beats are good. The lyrics are hot. Plus, they are not talking about me. What they don’t realize is every thing is relative. They ARE talking about you. Not you directly but all womankind. If he treats her like that odds are he treats EVERY woman like that. You are not special. He is not going to meet you and tell you that you are a ‘special hoe’. In his eyes you are just like every other hoe. Our people, especially our women, need to WAKE UP! People only do what you allow them to do! Stop buying that garbage and they will follow the money and stop producing garbage like that!!!

  11. What took you so long to be outraged? Too frequently I think we place too much blame on record companies and not enough blame on the radio stations that stir up drama, promote ridiculous lyrics and never hold their guests (when they have them) accountable.

    • Denene@MyBrownBaby

      What makes you think this is new, Michael? I do believe one of my first posts for MBB was about my disgust for black radio. That was 2008. It has gotten so progressively worse that I totally give up now. (See related posts.)

  12. I stopped listening to mainstream radio about 5 years ago for the same reason. Our children need us to step up and defend them against this trash. I have witnessed elementary school-aged children rapping this mess and fondly calling each other by some of the names in the “rap game”. I thought I protected my son adequately with what I allowed in our home – after spending a few weeks in different schools, I saw my child had fought a gargantuan battle simply by being able to come home each day and treat me and other adults with respect.

  13. there was nothing wrong with the late C. Delores Tucker. She was trying to tell you that if you just let something negative continue to manifest itself that it will become a generational cycle of negative anti social behavior, and that’s exactly what has been pushed as american black entertainment, and now is even being pimped as culture, I always get a smh when I hear or read people saying it’s getting worse, the alarms were sounded about this 20years ago, sometimes we remain asleep in the boogie or we get older and we realize something is a miss here, black america and america in general need to really pay close attention to how images and media will forester a very dum down society in the next 10-20 years, because it’s already happening and it will continue to happen when you have free market enterprise at the control of your media and images.

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