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Along with their ABCs, American kids are learning their XXXes page 2

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Date published: 6/3/2001


But if you checked my CD collection, you'd find some of the latest modern and alternative rock music out there. I've also got hundreds of vinyl albums from the '60s, '70s, and '80s, and I love them. But since the 1990s, when CDs--and my kids--came along, I've continued to keep up with what I consider the best of the new.

But not rap. Some say it incites violence. Some say it degrades women. I oppose censorship, but rap gives me second thoughts. Whether it's performed by white guys or black guys, I just hate it.

What I really don't understand is why an artist would sandwich one nice pop tune among a dozen same-sounding, who-cares-what-he's-got-to-say rap numbers. But the same sort of thing happens a lot: nice song, rotten album.

The people who enjoy that particular tune on the radio, like me, are not going to enjoy the rest of the album. And I don't doubt that the people who enjoy rap music would have no use for a catchy, pop love ballad.

So what's going on here? I've ended up contributing to this guy's gold or platinum records, and I don't, for the most part, even like his music.

Is popular radio an unwitting dupe in a fraud on the listening public? Thanks to the payola scandal of the 1950s, radio listeners know that the relationship between record promoters and radio stations has not always been above board. How many copies of this particular CD will be sold to people like me who are anticipating more of what caught their ears on the radio in the first place? How many of those people won't bother, or won't be able, to return the CD?

Thanks to the availability of album clips on the Internet, I won't be making the same mistake again, even if it seems that an artist and his song on the radio seem as far away from rap as they could possibly be.

I challenge disc jockeys--as if this would ever happen--to tell listeners: Hey, this artist recorded this tune to get into the Top 40 and sell some records, but unless you like rap (or head-banging heavy metal, or polkas, or whatever), don't bother buying the CD.

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