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5 F**ked Up Cases of Hip-Hop Censorship

Posted by Nathan S. on 10/30/09 | Filed under Features
Today it was announced that the good folks over at Fox have decided that when Jay-Z and Alicia Keys perform Hova's hit "Empire State of Mind" at tonight's World Series game 2, they'll have to perform a censored version of the song so it's appropriate for prime time. The lyrics that offended Fox so much? You've got me, but hip-hop's always been subject to strange censorship rules. Here are five of the most f**ked up examples in recent memory

Jay-Z and Alicia Keys "Empire State of Mind"

The aforementioned case that set off my sudden fascination with f**ked up censorship, this one really doesn't make any sense to me. First of all, the only obscenities in the entire song are one "s**t" and one "ni**a", which of course Fox has demanded be removed. But what's really funny/sad to me here is that Fox, a station which by built its reputation on classy shows like "Cops", won't care at all about lines like "Took it to my stash spot, catch me in the kitchen like a Simmons whipping pastry." So for the record, "s**t" isn't allowed, but references to making crack are. The lesson as always? You can say anything you want in a rap song, as long as you do it in metaphor.

Pitbull "Hotel Room Service"

This is by far my favorite recent example of censorship and it doesn't even involve an overt obscenity. Pitbull's famous for his sexually suggestive lyrics, to put it mildly, but this track's "Oh you the healthy type, well here go some egg whites" lines was genius even for him - genius that promptly got the line bleeped on every radio station in the country. What's especially crazy to me is that, as we saw with "Empire State of Mind", metaphors are usually allowed, even if they are about semen. Come on FCC, that's not a sexually explicit line, that's just sound nutritional advice.

Lil Jon ft. the Ying Yang Twins "Get Low"

Just to show you how inconsistent and arbitrary these censorship rules are, while it's obviously not ok for Pitbull to make a hilarious ejaculation reference, censors let the Ying Yang Twins infamous"awww skeet skeet" line completely go on Lil Jon's "Get Low." I think the lesson we've learned here is that if you're going to talk about ejaculating, do it in a way that old white people won't understand and you'll be all set.

Dr. Dre ft. Eminem "Crack a Bottle"

Ok, this one makes me openly angry. When I first heard "Crack a Bottle" it was on the radio and they had bleeped a large part of the hook: "Where's the ----. Who's got the ----? I notice there's so many of em and there's really not that many of us." What the hell could Em be saying there that was so bad it was censored? I just couldn't fill in the blank. So as soon as I got home I listened to the unedited version and to my dismay learned the missing word was "rubbers"! Rubbers!!! That's right, not only was that completely unnecessary, but they actively removed the only part of the song that was even remotely positive. Because lord knows we have to stop kids from hearing references to safe sex. Ahhhhhh!!!!!

Notorious BIG "Juicy"

The most insane example of hip-hop censorship just so happens to be attached to arguably the most famous hip-hop song of the last 20 years, Biggie's "Juicy". The line in question is, of course, the now infamous "time to get paid, blow up like the World Trade", a line that ever since 9/11 gets bleeped by the majority of radio stations. So just for the record, Biggie's being posthumously censored for a reference to an event that didn't even happen when he was alive! He's referring to the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993, an attack which killed six people but did not bring down the towers, a reference which, by the way, apparently wasn't bad enough to be removed from 1994-2001. I can't think of another example of such a delayed case of censorship, and I can't imagine it will ever happen again.

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