Music and debate: Should the show go on?

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    Music and debate: Should the show go on?

    On the heels of our recent discussion on censorship -- have any of you seen the story / controversy re: the rapper who was invited to Harvard's music festival, Yardfest (Yardfest -- ugh, right).    Seems that they've been planning their little festival for a year, and invited the rapper Tyga because he was "affordable"  -- and now realize that they don't like what he raps about or what he seems to stand for.   Seems fairly ridiculous (and downright dumb, with a capitol "D") that they would hire a rapper that they apparently knew nothing about; additionally, there are countless locally-based and regional bands that would have been great choices and more affordable (I was thinking of Guster, for one).   

    The students have started a petition to rescind the invitation to Tyga, since he represents "the worst of what rap has to offer" and celebrates "the exploitation of women" in his music.

    A Globe editorial today endorses letting the show go on, and giving the students the choice to attend or not.     While the administration seems to be asking the students to cancel Tyga's performance, they are leaving it up to the students, hence the petition.  

    I happen to agree with the editorial.   

    Any thoughts?  (NOTE: I'll put the text in the next comment box)

     
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    Re: Music and debate: Should the show go on?

    Text of Globe editorial:

    TYGA, A 23-year-old rapper from Compton, Calif., has released a few songs about love. But he is best known for “Rack City,” a mega-hit that has been called “a strip club anthem.” Some of his lesser-known tracks are so mindlessly celebratory of the exploitation of women that the lyrics read like a parody of the hip-hop genre. In many ways, Tyga represents the worst of what rap has to offer. It is unfortunate that a committee of Harvard students chose him as headliner of this year’s Yardfest, the campus spring festival. But now that he’s coming, the best choice is to let the show go on, while using the attendant boycotts and protests as a way to raise objections to his sexist lyrics; otherwise, Yardfest revelers are old enough to make their own decisions about popular music.

    Students who have been planning the event for a year say they chose Tyga because he was the most famous performer they could afford on their budget of about $40,000. If that’s the case, other universities seem to have made the same calculation. Last month, Tyga performed at the University of California at Riverside’s “Heat” music festival, to thousands of screaming fans. He is due to play at the University of Pennsylvania’s “Spring Fling” a week before his scheduled April 18 performance in Harvard Yard. At Penn, a few students have protested his lyrics. But at Harvard, a widely circulated online petition demands that the invitation be rescinded.

    Harvard administrators registered their disapproval by asking — though not forcing — students to reconsider their decision to bring him to campus. The administration’s willingness to let students sort it out is admirable; but in the end, withdrawing the invitation would be making too much of an entertainment event, especially at a university known for protecting free speech. Far better to use the concert to prompt a wider discussion about sexism in popular music. Vigorous debate, and the right to make mistakes, is part of what college is all about.

    Still, it is a shame that Yardfest couldn’t have snagged an artist like Macklemore, the Detroit rapper whose witty, more socially aware lyrics recently propelled him to stardom with the hit song “Thift Shop.” Unfortunately for Harvard, Macklemore is already booked: He’s playing later this month at Yale.

     
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    Re: Music and debate: Should the show go on?

    "Yardfest"

    It's hard to even get past that, so it doesn't speak that well of the organizing committee.

    I'm not even sure what the issue is, really.  Students have a right to speak out against the artist and/or vote with their feet and not attend.  So, what's the problem?

    We had acts like Ziggy Marley and Cypress Hill perform at our college back in the 90s with only a few noises from campus security which we (the committee) promptly told to shove.

     

     
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    Re: Music and debate: Should the show go on?

    In response to MattyScornD's comment:

    "Yardfest"

    It's hard to even get past that, so it doesn't speak that well of the organizing committee.

    I'm not even sure what the issue is, really.  Students have a right to speak out against the artist and/or vote with their feet and not attend.  So, what's the problem?

    We had acts like Ziggy Marley and Cypress Hill perform at our college back in the 90s with only a few noises from campus security which we (the committee) promptly told to shove.

     



    I know.  Yardfest.   Right there, you wonder why they hired a rapper.   hahahahah.

    Is it the honest truth, too, that (many) white middle class people don't "get" a lot of rap music and should just admit that simple truth?   

    I have to admit that I find it hilarious to see the administration and students wimping out.

    While the word hypocrite is a word that's over-used and over-extended as of late (similar to fraud), I can't help but see them as a bunch of hypocrites, and that is very satisfying for some reason (oh, wait, I know the reason ...)    :)  

     
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    Re: Music and debate: Should the show go on?

    In response to yogafriend's comment:

    In response to MattyScornD's comment:

     

    "Yardfest"

    It's hard to even get past that, so it doesn't speak that well of the organizing committee.

    I'm not even sure what the issue is, really.  Students have a right to speak out against the artist and/or vote with their feet and not attend.  So, what's the problem?

    We had acts like Ziggy Marley and Cypress Hill perform at our college back in the 90s with only a few noises from campus security which we (the committee) promptly told to shove.

     

     



    I know.  Yardfest.   Right there, you wonder why they hired a rapper.   hahahahah.

     

    Is it the honest truth, too, that (many) white middle class people don't "get" a lot of rap music and should just admit that simple truth?   

    I have to admit that I find it hilarious to see the administration and students wimping out.

    While the word hypocrite is a word that's over-used and over-extended as of late (similar to fraud), I can't help but see them as a bunch of hypocrites, and that is very satisfying for some reason (oh, wait, I know the reason ...)    :)  



    OK, but wasn't this organized by the students?  Were they that clueless not to know who they were hiring?

    Not "getting" rap is one thing, but not all rappers are created equal, as was mentioned.  And if so, then what business did they have putting this on in the first place.

     

    [Aside, way back, we had Adam Sandler perform "stand-up" at our college.  Obviously, we knew there would be some un-PC stuff, but DUH, he's a comedian...!  If you can't take the heat, don't light the freakin' stove....]

     

     
  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from ZILLAGOD. Show ZILLAGOD's posts

    Re: Music and debate: Should the show go on?

    I don't "get" Rap. And as all the regulars all know, it is difficult for me to comment objectively on any thread that has Rap as part of the subject.

    Rap has a target audience, and I am not part of that audience. It is and always has been aimed at urban teens ( first mainly Blacks, then eventually including Hispanics, Whites and any other kid that felt "uncool" by not listening to it).

    Rap is obviously aimed at a lower I.Q. , a segment of our coomunity that mostly embraces all the wrong things , violence, sex and sexist views, guns, more guns, and more decadent sex.

    If my father was alive ( gone since 1986) , I wonder what he would say.....this is a guy who thought The Beatles had hair that was too long back in 1962 ( when it barely touched their ears)...I don't think he was too fond of "hippy music" ( I loved it though, but certainly not the lifestyle).

    Rap is part of our culture, I am sad to say , a culture that embraces violence ,and sexist views....among other bad things....it's long since time that our society moved on to something else, but I am afrad that " something else" may be another step backwards or downwards into the black hole society seems to love so much.

     
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  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from MattyScornD. Show MattyScornD's posts

    Re: Music and debate: Should the show go on?

    In response to ZILLAGOD's comment:

    I don't "get" Rap. And as all the regulars all know, it is difficult for me to comment objectively on any thread that has Rap as part of the subject.

    Rap has a target audience, and I am not part of that audience. It is and always has been aimed at urban teens ( first mainly Blacks, then eventually including Hispanics, Whites and any other kid that felt "uncool" by not listening to it).

    Rap is obviously aimed at a lower I.Q. , a segment of our coomunity that mostly embraces all the wrong things , violence, sex and sexist views, guns, more guns, and more decadent sex.

    If my father was alive ( gone since 1986) , I wonder what he would say.....this is a guy who thought The Beatles had hair that was too long back in 1962 ( when it barely touched their ears)...I don't think he was too fond of "hippy music" ( I loved it though, but certainly not the lifestyle).

    Rap is part of our culture, I am sad to say , a culture that embraces violence ,and sexist views....among other bad things....it's long since time that our society moved on to something else, but I am afrad that " something else" may be another step backwards or downwards into the black hole society seems to love so much.



    You seem to have become your father.

    And you're right...you don't know anything about rap.

    Zilla, you and I have a lot in common, music-wise, but sorry...I find your post just uninformed on many levels.

    It's not required to be a fan of rap to understand that art and music borne of a culture does not necessarily glorify the worst aspects of that culture.

    That's like saying the blues glorifies satanism, infidelity and crimes of passion.

     

     
  9. You have chosen to ignore posts from MattyScornD. Show MattyScornD's posts

    Re: Music and debate: Should the show go on?

    In response to SlimPickensIII's comment:

    Apparently  this is one of those venerable Harvard traditions.

    From 'The Crimson' ,  last April:

    http://www.thecrimson.com/article/2012/4/24/das-racist-interview-feldman/

    I start to ask my next question. “Whenever they announce the artists for YardFest every year—”

    “—Everyone gets upset,” Heems finishes, clearly aware of the predictable whining from the student body. However, Heems seems to think the anger is justified. “They’re probably right. We’re pretty overrated.”

     

    I never heard of Das Racist before, but you gotta love a group that steps on stage and says 'What's up, you drunk, overprivileged sh!ts?', to a bunch of drunk, overprivileged sh!ts.



    Right on!

    (Das Racist can be funny as he!!...)

     

     

     
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    Re: Music and debate: Should the show go on?

    In response to MattyScornD's comment:



    OK, but wasn't this organized by the students?  Were they that clueless not to know who they were hiring?

     

    Not "getting" rap is one thing, but not all rappers are created equal, as was mentioned.  And if so, then what business did they have putting this on in the first place.

     

    [Aside, way back, we had Adam Sandler perform "stand-up" at our college.  Obviously, we knew there would be some un-PC stuff, but DUH, he's a comedian...!  If you can't take the heat, don't light the freakin' stove....]

     



    Yes, it was planned by students, and as indicated in my OP, seems dumb that they didn't know who he was and what they were potentially getting themselves into -- it's VERY common knowledge what type of rapper Tyga is.   

    There are a wide-range of rappers / hip hop artists, but again, the article indicates the students "got what they could afford"  --- is it true that you get what you pay for?  

    Insofar as their tradition goes, that's concisely the point in seeing what a blunder they made this year, but you know, make bed, now lie in it.   I feel absolutely less than no sympathy or tolerance for the petition to cancel out.  

    From Salon:

    "The rapper Tyga is booked to perform at Harvard’s Yardfest, an annual event that has previously hosted acts including Wu-Tang Clan, Busta Rhymes, Third Eye Blind and Kid Cudi."

    Salon has a write-up of the story, "Feminist Furor Over Rapper Appearance at Harvard" with the "Rap City" video accompanying the article, and frankly, I don't think the video is bad at all.  I've seen much much worse.    :P

    You will love this, and here it is, in black and white, and part of what makes this whole story so hilarious (re: the student who started the petition -- also, from the Salon article):

    "Reis-Dennis, despite her sudden awakening in the dining hall, had been passingly familiar with Tyga’s music. “I, personally, have danced to Tyga’s ‘Rack City’ hundreds of times at parties without listening to the lyrics,” said the history and literature concentrator. “When I listened to them, I was pretty embarrassed.”

    Those lyrics include, “Ten, ten, ten, twenty on yo’ XXXXXXXX bitch” and other references to Tyga as, alternately, a client of sex workers and their pimp."

    So she grooved to the music until she actually listened, huh?   Isn't that priceless?

     
  12. You have chosen to ignore posts from MattyScornD. Show MattyScornD's posts

    Re: Music and debate: Should the show go on?

    In response to SlimPickensIII's comment:

    Rap is definitely an art form.  And it definitely has alot of inferior practioners.  The barrier to entry, as they say,  appears to be pretty low.  So maybe it has more second-rate artists than other genres.  But in the hands of a master it can be transcendent.

    I feel the same way about Reggae.  And Punk. And most other forms.  Much of it is derivative and  that leaves you wondering what the fuss is about.



    Fair enough.

    But I really bristle at characterizations of the form that are unstudied, at best, or pejorative, at worst.

    I'm not into death metal, but I'm not about to label all of its fans as satanic homicidal nutjobs, either...not even on my worst day.

     

     

     
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    Re: Music and debate: Should the show go on?

    BTW, I should mention that part of the irony to all this is that Harvard houses a very extensive and scholarly Hip Hop Archive.    It's the study of all matters pertaining to Hip Hop culture, not just rap and hip hop music.

    But there it is, right at Harvard.    And here they are ... trying to ban a hip hop artist who isn't quite "representative" of the Hip Hop culture they seem to feel comfortable with.    They can't deal with the rapper who doesn't suit their agenda.   OR see him for who he is or might be.   Who even knows?  Have they tried to find out?   

    But the archive is for students of the culture known as Hip Hop, and it's (I believe) inter-connected with the African American studies program.   So there ya go.   It's for real, kidz.  

    http://hiphoparchive.org/

     

    THERE'S A TOP-FLIGHT COLLECTION OF HIP-HOP MEMORABILIA hidden, we kid you not, at Harvard University, and you can check it out for free. The well-stocked archive of DVDs, VHS tapes (a reminder that hip hop has been around since the 1970s), magazines, and books are on display and open to the public. Stop by to look through old issues of VIBE and The Source, or the archive’s singular world hip-hop collection. Another secret: The archive hosts free lectures and film festivals. Check out the website for upcoming events. 

    Shhh Who Knew

    The Hip-Hop Archive is housed at Harvard's W.E.B. DuBois Institute, named for the first black to earn a doctorate at the university, NAACP cofounder W.E.B. DuBois.

     
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    Re: Music and debate: Should the show go on?

    In response to yogafriend's comment:

    From Salon:

    "The rapper Tyga is booked to perform at Harvard’s Yardfest, an annual event that has previously hosted acts including Wu-Tang Clan, Busta Rhymes, Third Eye Blind and Kid Cudi."

     

    So she grooved to the music until she actually listened, huh?   Isn't that priceless?



    On the first point, I'd like to know who Third Eye Blind fellated to be part of that crew.

    On the second, Chris Rock has a brilliant bit about why the misogynistic lyrics don't seem to bother some women...because "he ain't talking about me!"

    Unless the rapper really WAS talking about her, why be "embarrassed"...?  Why take it personally at all...??

     

     

     
  15. You have chosen to ignore posts from ZILLAGOD. Show ZILLAGOD's posts

    Re: Music and debate: Should the show go on?

    In response to MattyScornD's comment:

     

    In response to ZILLAGOD's comment:

     

    I don't "get" Rap. And as all the regulars all know, it is difficult for me to comment objectively on any thread that has Rap as part of the subject.

    Rap has a target audience, and I am not part of that audience. It is and always has been aimed at urban teens ( first mainly Blacks, then eventually including Hispanics, Whites and any other kid that felt "uncool" by not listening to it).

    Rap is obviously aimed at a lower I.Q. , a segment of our community that mostly embraces all the wrong things , violence, sex and sexist views, guns, more guns, and more decadent sex.

    If my father was alive ( gone since 1986) , I wonder what he would say.....this is a guy who thought The Beatles had hair that was too long back in 1962 ( when it barely touched their ears)...I don't think he was too fond of "hippy music" ( I loved it though, but certainly not the lifestyle).

    Rap is part of our culture, I am sad to say , a culture that embraces violence ,and sexist views....among other bad things....it's long since time that our society moved on to something else, but I am afrad that " something else" may be another step backwards or downwards into the black hole society seems to love so much.

     



    You seem to have become your father.

     

    And you're right...you don't know anything about rap.

    Zilla, you and I have a lot in common, music-wise, but sorry...I find your post just uninformed on many levels.

    It's not required to be a fan of rap to understand that art and music borne of a culture does not necessarily glorify the worst aspects of that culture.

    That's like saying the blues glorifies satanism, infidelity and crimes of passion.

     

     




     

    You say "you seem to have become your father" like this is a bad thing.

    I respected my dad, didn't always agree with him.

    But, even though I listened to ( and still do ) Punk, Heavy Metal and Psychedlic music.... I never embraced the lifestyle of any of those music styles.

    When Rap music is played, I usually turn it off, change the channel or do whatever possible do avoid listening to this trash. When , on occasion, I can't avoid it... the lyrics ( if you want to call them that) have nothing good to say, I hear references to women as if they are cattle. References to cops as if they are the enemy....well sure there are some bad ones...but seriously, do we need this in music?...if you want to call it music.

    Rap is a repetitive , annoying beat with spoken social commentary. I will never refer to it as music or art.

    A child's finger painting is not considered fine art....why is Rap ( which takes absolutely zero talent) be considered an art form?

    Maybe I have become my father. Thank you. Maybe more young people today should respect their parents....although if their parents are drug addicts, amybe not.

     
  16. You have chosen to ignore posts from Hfxsoxnut. Show Hfxsoxnut's posts

    Re: Music and debate: Should the show go on?

    Not sure it's possible to have a good debate about censorship.  Like some other topics, people tend to feel strongly and dig their heels in hard, and have little interest in the other side's point of view.

     
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    Re: Music and debate: Should the show go on?

    Let him play(?)! - If he suxx then people will let him know (alcohol and bad music don't mix).

     

    Soft Cell was the opening act of a concert I went to at the old Garden (Cars?) anyway I think they may have played 3 songs before they were booed off stage! Oh, things were thrown at them too!

     

    So let this POS play - if he fails, he fails

     
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    Re: Music and debate: Should the show go on?

    If they are asked to come play then they should do that. It just wouldn't be my cup of tea..Rap has its place in music.. I just don't quite enjoy it myself

     
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    Re: Music and debate: Should the show go on?

    In response to leafswin27's comment:

    If they are asked to come play then they should do that. It just wouldn't be my cup of tea..Rap has its place in music.. I just don't quite enjoy it myself



    It's not a matter of the rapper choosing to play.   It's a matter of the students deciding / petitioning against their own decision.   Maybe I'm not reading this correctly, but it's not the rapper who is waffling, it's the students who are pushing for the cancellation.    

    And you're right, if you didn't like the choice of headliner, you could choose to leave or not show up at all.  It's not the end of the world, and attendance is not mandatory.  :)

     
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    Re: Music and debate: Should the show go on?

    In response to Hfxsoxnut's comment:

    Not sure it's possible to have a good debate about censorship.  Like some other topics, people tend to feel strongly and dig their heels in hard, and have little interest in the other side's point of view.


    Well, this is a particular and specific question based on a true-life scenario.    You might not believe in censorship in general, but in this scenario, you may.    I happen to feel that the show should go on,  as was endorsed in the editorial.  I would have no problem with it were I a student.   I'd either go and check it out, or make the decision not to attend.    

     

    And I wouldn't begrudge the decision to let him play, nor have a problem with it.   It's a tradition to hire a rapper; they'll get more than they bargained for, perhaps, by hiring Tyga, but they either roll with it, or censor the concert themselves.   Their choice.   I'm sure there are students that weren't going to attend in the first place, simply because they're not into rap music on any level  -- even when it's benign and socially acceptable (and boring).  :)   

     
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    Re: Music and debate: Should the show go on?

    In response to RogerTaylor's comment:

    Let him play(?)! - If he suxx then people will let him know (alcohol and bad music don't mix).

     

    Soft Cell was the opening act of a concert I went to at the old Garden (Cars?) anyway I think they may have played 3 songs before they were booed off stage! Oh, things were thrown at them too!

     

    So let this POS play - if he fails, he fails


    For once, we agree.  Wink   

    And you're right --- the students are free to react in any way they choose.   Let them decide once the show goes on.    

     
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  23. You have chosen to ignore posts from jesseyeric. Show jesseyeric's posts

    Re: Music and debate: Should the show go on?

    Just chiming in here. Having been born and raised in the Bronx (Birth place of Rap) and remembering the kids in H.S. (73-75) rapping before Grandmaster Flash got their first recording contract, I can tell you that the lyrical content was basically about growing up in the ghetto's and impoverished neighborhoods. You have to understand what NYC, especially the Bronx was like back then. Gerald Ford was President and he basically told NYC to go to hell when it was facing bankruptcy. Almost 1/4 of the buildings in lower income neighborhoods were burnt out shells. These inner-city kids were living a rough life. Rap was nothing more than the Blues with a different backbeat. The White kids who didn't move on to Disco in 76 found punk. The Black kids had Rap. These two forms of music will forever be linked to a time when living in the city was not easy.

    As the years progressed, just as with RnR, sub-genres grew out of the original artform. As Zilla mentioned, some of the lyrical content was poor in choice & taste. But that has ben the case with all music. Have you ever really listened to some of the lyrics that came out of the 80's Sunset Strip scene. Motley Crue, Faster Pussycat, Ratt, Gun and Roses were objectifying women just as much as Rap was.

    Personally, I am not a fan of Rap, but I respect the artform. There is a reason Hip Hop/Rap have become so popular. Tupac, Biggie, NWA, Public Enemy and Eninem brought it to new levels.  

     
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    Re: Music and debate: Should the show go on?

    In response to yogafriend's comment:

    Well, this is a particular and specific question based on a true-life scenario.    You might not believe in censorship in general, but in this scenario, you may.    I happen to feel that the show should go on,  as was endorsed in the editorial.  I would have no problem with it were I a student.   I'd either go and check it out, or make the decision not to attend.    

    And I wouldn't begrudge the decision to let him play, nor have a problem with it.   It's a tradition to hire a rapper; they'll get more than they bargained for, perhaps, by hiring Tyga, but they either roll with it, or censor the concert themselves.   Their choice.   I'm sure there are students that weren't going to attend in the first place, simply because they're not into rap music on any level  -- even when it's benign and socially acceptable (and boring).  :)   



    Yeah, I guess my only other comment is this.  If some of the students who signed the petition are doing so because they feel the guy's lyrics truly cross the line into advocating mistreatment of women, I can sympathize with them.

    To me one of the big conundrums about censorship is 'where's the line?'  We all have our own views of where that line is, I think.  Some people don't even think there's a line at all.

     

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