#124 - Hip Hop Is Destroying This Country

January 26, 2022

In this episode, we're gonna take a look at Hip Hop and its influence on American culture. You'll also learn a bunch of useful English words and phrases to sound more natural in your conversations.

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Geraldo Rivera: [00:00:00] Hip Hop! Hip Hop has done more damage to black and brown people than racism in the last 10 years. When you find the youngster, a Puerto Rican from the South Bronx or a black kid from Harlem who has succeeded in life other than being the one-tenth of one-tenth of 1% that make it in the music business, that's been a success in life, walking around with his pants around his ass and with, you know, visible tattoos. Or, you know, it is this whole ethos. And I love Russell Simmons. He's a dear friend of mine, and I admire his business acumen.

Geraldo Rivera: [00:00:43] At some point, those guys have to cop to the fact that by encouraging this distinctive culture that is removed from the mainstream, they have encouraged people to be so different from the mainstream that they can't participate other than, you know, the racks and the garment center and those entry-level jobs, and I lament it, I really do. I think that it has been very destructive culturally.

Tony Kaizen: [00:01:09] You heard him, folks. Hip hop has done more damage than racism.

Tony Kaizen: [00:01:21] The Life in English podcast is designed to teach you the real American English that you won't learn in school, and it's made possible by our VIP community. By becoming a VIP member of the life in English community, you'll get access to our Private Conversation Group, bonus podcast episodes, interactive transcripts, and vocabulary and grammar guides. If you'd like to join the community, you can visit lifeinenglish.net/vip.

Tony Kaizen: [00:01:43] Over the years, I've heard a lot of people say that rap music is the reason we have gang violence, drug abuse, prostitution, low test scores, babies out of wedlock, sexually promiscuous people, a lack of respect for authority, a lack of morals and positive values, fatherless children. The list goes on and on.

Tony Kaizen: [00:02:09] On the surface, this may seem like a relatively simple topic, but it's actually pretty complex because it involves a lot of history, culture, facts, and opinions. I'm not qualified to teach you all that because I don't even know half the story. So instead of trying to do that, let me give you a real example.

Tony Kaizen: [00:02:27] Back in 2015, Kendrick Lamar performed his hit song 'Alright' at the BET Awards. And for those of you that don't know, B.E.T stands for Black Entertainment Television. The performance featured Kendrick rapping on top of a vandalized cop car while he sang his famous lyrics, referencing the problem of police brutality in the U.S.

Kendrick Lamar: [00:02:49] Wouldn't you know? We've been hurt, been down before, nigga

Kendrick Lamar: [00:02:53] When our pride was low. Lookin' at the world like, "Where do we go, nigga?"

Kendrick Lamar: [00:02:58] And we hate po-po

Kendrick Lamar: [00:02:59] Wanna kill us dead in the street for sure, nigga

Kendrick Lamar: [00:03:02] I'm at the preacher's door

Kendrick Lamar: [00:03:04] My knees gettin' weak and my gun might blow

Kendrick Lamar: [00:03:07] But we gon' be alright

Tony Kaizen: [00:03:09] This performance was seen by thousands, if not millions of people, and it naturally sparked a lot of debate about police brutality, the validity of Kendrick's lyrics, and whether or not he was sending the right message to his listeners. I'm going to play a clip of some Fox News anchors talking about Kendrick's performance, and I want you to pay attention to the points they make while critiquing him.

News Anchor 1: [00:03:30] Rapper Kendrick Lamar raised some eyebrows last night when he opened the BET Awards singing on top of a vandalized cop car.

Kendrick Lamar: [00:03:38] Wouldn't you know? We've been hurt, been down before, nigga

Kendrick Lamar: [00:03:42] When our pride was low. Lookin' at the world like, "Where do we go, nigga?"

Kendrick Lamar: [00:03:46] And we hate po-po

Kendrick Lamar: [00:03:48] Wanna kill us dead in the street for sure, nigga

Kendrick Lamar: [00:03:51] I'm at the preacher's door

Kendrick Lamar: [00:03:52] My knees gettin' weak and my gun might blow

Kendrick Lamar: [00:03:55] But we gon' be alright

News Anchor 1: [00:03:57] Did you catch that? Lamar stated his views on police brutality with that line in the song quote "and we hate the po-po, want to kill us in the street, for sure." K.G.

News Anchor 2: [00:04:06] Oh please, oh, I don't like it. I mean, you know, I don't like it. That's why you came to me. I get it. That's his right to express himself. Let the free market decide. Personally, it doesn't excite me. It doesn't turn me on. Doesn't interest me. I'm not feeling it.

News Anchor 1: [00:04:22] Geraldo, not helpful with those song lyrics.

Geraldo Rivera: [00:04:25] To say the least. Not helpful at all. This is why I say that hip hop has done more damage to young African-Americans than racism in recent years. This is exactly the wrong message. And then to conflate what happened in the church in Charleston, South Carolina, with these tragic incidents involving excessive use of force by cops is to equate that racist killer with these cops. It is so wrong. It is so counterproductive. It gives exactly the wrong message. It doesn't recognize that a city like Baltimore, where remember Freddie Gray? They've had a homicide a day since Freddie Gray, no one's protesting that. Baltimore, a tiny city, 7% the size of New York, has just as many murders as New York. You know, we've got to wake up at a certain point and understand what's going on.

News Anchor 1: [00:05:12] And the timing is everything, and this may be a little too soon.

News Anchor 3: [00:05:15] The thing I was thinking about this, too, it's not like it was somebody on cable news who just happened to say something that they regretted and that they had to go then apologize for. This was planned. There were probably a thousand people, at least several hundred, if not a thousand people who all knew that this was all going to happen. And nobody raises their hand and says, "maybe this isn't the best idea to do today".

News Anchor 1: [00:05:35] What's going on, Tommy? Look at that police car.

News Anchor 2: [00:05:37] It incites violence!

News Anchor 4: [00:05:38] You sure it was planned? It looks like a spontaneous demonstration to me. A rapper who's anti-police? I mean, it's never happened before.

News Anchor 1: [00:05:46] Let's move on to this one.

Tony Kaizen: [00:05:48] All right. So just in case you had a hard time following the conversation there, let me summarize everything that was said in five main points.

Tony Kaizen: [00:05:56] Number one, this message is wrong and counterproductive.

Tony Kaizen: [00:06:01] Number two, we must remember that black people kill black people more than racist cops do. And no one is protesting or talking about that.

Tony Kaizen: [00:06:11] Number three, this was premeditated and no one stopped it, and therefore it is unforgivable.

Tony Kaizen: [00:06:18] Number four, a performance or a message like this incites violence.

Tony Kaizen: [00:06:24] And number five, well, number five isn't really a point, but the person who had the last word during that segment sarcastically or ironically said it's nothing new to find a rapper who hates the police.

Tony Kaizen: [00:06:36] And we're going to come back to each of these points in just a minute because the story doesn't end there. Kendrick Lamar eventually heard about the Fox News segment. So here's a clip from an interview he did with TMZ responding to the comments made by the news anchors.

Kendrick Lamar: [00:06:52] How can you take a song that's about hope and turn it into hatred? You know what I'm saying? The message, the overall message is we're going to be alright. It's not the message of I want to kill people. I want to express myself in a positive light the same way other artists are doing. Not going out in the streets, going to the booth and talking about the situation, you know, and hoping these kids can find some type of influence on it and in a positive manner.

Tony Kaizen: [00:07:19] As you can see, Kendrick feels that the news anchors completely misinterpreted the message of the song. There wasn't a single line in the song that said, "Kill the police '' or "Go commit violent crimes". In fact, it's the exact opposite. He's saying even though we have to deal with things like poverty, gang violence, and police brutality, we're going to be alright.

Tony Kaizen: [00:07:43] So two years later, in 2017, Kendrick dropped his fourth studio album, Damn. The second song on the album, DNA features the audio from that Fox News segment of Geraldo Rivera saying that hip hop has done more damage than racism in recent years.

Kendrick Lamar: [00:08:00] I got loyalty, got royalty inside my DNA (This is why I say that hip hop)

Kendrick Lamar: [00:08:04] I got loyalty, got royalty inside my DNA (Has done more damage to young African Americans)

Kendrick Lamar: [00:08:07] I live a better life, I'm rollin' several dice, fuck your life (Than racism in recent years)

Tony Kaizen: [00:08:10] In the third song on the album, YAH, you can hear Kendrick taking a direct shot at Geraldo Rivera in the second verse of the song.

Kendrick Lamar: [00:08:19] Interviews wanna know my thoughts and opinions.

Kendrick Lamar: [00:08:22] Fox News wanna use my name for percentage.

Kendrick Lamar: [00:08:25] My latest muse is my niece, she worth livin'.

Kendrick Lamar: [00:08:29] See me on the TV and scream: "That's Uncle Kendrick!"

Kendrick Lamar: [00:08:34] Yeah, that's the business

Kendrick Lamar: [00:08:35] Somebody tell Geraldo this nigga got some ambition

Kendrick Lamar: [00:08:39] I'm not a politician, I'm not 'bout a religion

Tony Kaizen: [00:08:43] With Kendrick being one of the world's biggest artists, it didn't take long for Geraldo Rivera to hear about his name being mentioned in one of Kendrick's songs. He decided to respond to Kendrick's lyrics by clarifying what he meant to say that day on Fox News.

Geraldo Rivera: [00:08:57] I have no beef with Kendrick Lamar. I think that Kendrick Lamar is, as I said, along with Drake, the most talented hip-hop artist, rapper, whatever you want to call it. Maybe the biggest problem I had with my original statements about how that's why I say hip hop has done more damage to young African-Americans than racism in recent years.

Geraldo Rivera: [00:09:18] The problem with a statement like that, though true, is that it is too general, and I don't want to smear everybody or tar everybody with the same brush. I say, and Kendrick Lamar is a great artist. But if your symbolism is all going to be, "the cops are bad and we are the victims of bad cops and we have no chance because of bad cops or the system being stacked against us."

Geraldo Rivera: [00:09:42] That's self-defeating attitude... It's not going to do you any good. It's not going to do your brothers and sisters any good. It's not going to do your kids any good. You have to take responsibility for yourself. Do the best you can, be practical, be hardworking. And again, I have no beef with Kendrick Lamar, anyone else in the business.

Tony Kaizen: [00:10:11] So just in case you had difficulty following that little piece of the episode, let me summarize what Geraldo said. This message that the cops are bad, you know, and we, as black people, are the victims and we have no chance because of these racist cops and, you know, the system is against us. That self-defeating attitude won't do you any good. You have to take responsibility. Do your best. Be practical and hardworking.

Tony Kaizen: [00:10:41] So now that you've heard the entire story, let's go back and analyze the critiques of the Fox News crew and many other Americans across this country.

Tony Kaizen: [00:10:50] Number one, this message and this kind of performance are wrong and counterproductive. We've already kind of established and we heard from Kendrick himself, the message of the song is even though we have to deal with all these negative things, gang violence, police brutality, poverty, no options, you know, no education, we're still going to be alright. That's the message of the song.

Tony Kaizen: [00:11:15] So I guess I might ask you or anyone, how is this message wrong or counterproductive if you're interpreting it correctly? You see what I'm saying? And I guess you can understand the other perspective from the Fox News anchor saying, by saying we hate the police and we know they want to kill us and we have no chance everyone is against us, you're making it harder for black and white people to create some type of healthy relationship. You're making it harder for black people to move forward or overcome these difficulties that we face.

Tony Kaizen: [00:11:47] I guess I can understand that perspective. I can understand that statement, let's say. But people talking about the reality that they have to deal with, that's different from yours, isn't wrong or counterproductive in any way. Because, again, the message of the song is even though this shit is going on, we're going to be alright. That's just my opinion. Point number two, we must remember that black people kill black people more than racist cops do, and no one is protesting that, no one is talking about that, no one is mad about that.

Tony Kaizen: [00:12:21] Now, although that's true, that's 100% true, black people kill black people more than racist cops kill black people. That statement is 100% true. However, it has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that there are racist cops killing black people. It's two completely different situations, two completely different problems. So what Kendrick was talking about in the song is police brutality, racist cops targeting black and brown people and harassing them, beating them, sending them to jail, and stuff like that. That has nothing to do with black people killing other black people or brown people killing other brown people. So it seems a bit disingenuous to bring that into the conversation when all you're really doing is diverting the attention away from the real problem and trying to put it somewhere else so that we don't have to talk about the real problem. And again, that's my opinion.

Tony Kaizen: [00:13:15] Number three, this performance was premeditated and no one stopped it. Therefore, it's unforgivable, right? That's really what I think this woman was trying to say. But I guess that's really just a question of opinion. I mean, of course, the performance was premeditated. But one of the great things about this country is everybody has the freedom to express themselves however they want. So in her mind, for her to think somebody should have raised their hand and said, "Yo, this is wrong. This cannot happen." It's a little silly to me because she has the right to sit up on Fox News and express her opinion about how she thinks it's wrong or counterproductive or unforgivable. But another individual doesn't have the right to go and express themselves. I think it's kind of hypocritical. I'd love to know what you think.

Tony Kaizen: [00:14:02] Let's move on to point number four, which is this performance of Kendrick on a vandalized cop car saying, "We hate the police, they want to kill us because we black". That type of thing incites violence, in their opinion. But the thing about violence is, you know, you can incite violence all you want, but unless the people decide to become violent, nothing happens.

Tony Kaizen: [00:14:26] Like, imagine you're walking in the street, somebody walks up to you and says, "Hey, go kill that guy." "Hey, go punch that lady in the face." That's inciting violence. You're encouraging violent behavior. But unless I make the choice, or in this case you, unless you make the choice to go kill that guy or punch that lady in the face nothing happens. So to put all the blame on Kendrick. First of all, he wasn't even inciting violence. He was just telling a story and sharing his opinion. But in your opinion, he's inciting violence. So even if that's the case until the crowd decides to become violent, nothing happens.

Tony Kaizen: [00:15:00] So I think at some point we have to, like, talk about personal responsibility and understand, even if I'm saying, "let's get violent" nothing happens unless you decide to get violent. You know? I don't know, it's my opinion.

Tony Kaizen: [00:15:13] So number five, again, is not a point, but the news anchor sarcastically said, "Oh, a rapper who hates the police. That's nothing new. Give me a break." And that just makes me go back to point one, which is how is that comment correct or productive in any way? When you're sarcastically and arrogantly disregarding somebody's life experience. I mean, like, black people in many places around this country have to deal with police brutality, racist officials, racist authority figures.

Tony Kaizen: [00:15:42] And you're sarcastically saying, "Oh yeah, that's nothing new, huh? Oh, you hate the police? Wow. How novel". I don't see how that comment in a conversation that, in your opinion, is supposed to be productive and healthy... I don't see how a comment like that is productive, healthy, or helpful in any way when you're looking down and sarcastically trying to disregard an experience that's completely different from yours. So again, it seems a little hypocritical, in my opinion.

Tony Kaizen: [00:16:10] And then we go to the last clip I shared with you of Geraldo Rivera responding to Kendrick Lamar by saying "this self-defeating attitude and saying the cops are bad, the cops are racist. Everyone's against us. We have no chance. That kind of attitude and mentality won't serve you in any way. The solution is to take responsibility. Do your best. Be practical and be hardworking." I can't even keep a straight face when I say it, because, in his words, that is how you beat racism, that's how you overcome racism. That's how you overcome the fact that you have to deal with racist cops harassing you just because your skin is darker than theirs, or just because you're from a different neighborhood than they are. Doing your best. Being practical and being hardworking is going to solve all those problems. Gang violence, drug abuse, no father at the house, racist cops harassing you, no opportunities to start businesses or get jobs, no real education. Just be practical and hardworking, and you'll be fine. That's what I understood, maybe that's not what he meant, but that's what I understood, right?

Tony Kaizen: [00:17:22] But let me give you my final thoughts. There are a lot of rap songs out there that talk about doing very bad things to people or living the lifestyle that can get you an STD, locked up, or killed.

Tony Kaizen: [00:17:35] Rob me a nigga

Tony Kaizen: [00:17:37] Pop That

Tony Kaizen: [00:17:38] Druggys with the Hoes Again

Tony Kaizen: [00:17:40] Lay It Down

Tony Kaizen: [00:17:42] Wet Ass Pussy

Tony Kaizen: [00:17:44] If you listen to some of the things they're saying in their songs, you'll notice it's some pretty graphic shit. Things that most parents hope their children never do or witness in their lifetimes.

Tony Kaizen: [00:17:55] And the argument a lot of people are making here is that these rappers are glorifying very dangerous lifestyles in their music. Then the kids are listening to that music and then doing what they hear the rappers talking about in their songs.

Tony Kaizen: [00:18:06] But the reality is these artists are just telling the stories about their lives. Real rap is all about storytelling. And the graphic stories being told in their music is or was a part of their reality. So even if some of these artists are in fact glorifying a lifestyle that you don't agree with or support, they still have every right to express themselves.

Tony Kaizen: [00:18:29] It's up to the individual to decide whether or not they like what's being said in the songs. The individual decides what action they take after listening to the song. Like, I've heard the song ‘Rob Me A Nigga’ hundreds of times, but I've not once thought about getting a pistol and committing an armed robbery, even when I had no money. Why? Because I make my own choices and I know my choices have consequences.

Tony Kaizen: [00:18:57] So you can say, "Freddie Gibbs turned my son into a thug." "Cardi B turned my daughter into a hoe." and that might be true. I don't know for sure. What I do know is that there are certainly a lot of young people out there that only smoke weed and do drugs because they heard about it in a rap song. In fact, I'm probably included in that group.

Tony Kaizen: [00:19:19] There are young people out there having unprotected sex with multiple people because some rappers talk about that in a positive light in their songs.

Tony Kaizen: [00:19:27] There are young people out there who walk around with their pants hanging off their ass simply because their favorite rapper does the same thing.

Tony Kaizen: [00:19:34] There are young people out there who fantasize about wearing gold chains, driving fancy cars, and fucking somebody else's bitch just because that's what their favorite rappers talk about in their songs.

Tony Kaizen: [00:19:44] But even if that is the case, mom and dad, the question is who allowed all that to happen?

[END OF EPISODE]

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Geraldo Rivera: [00:00:00] Hip Hop! Hip Hop has done more damage to black and brown people than racism in the last 10 years. When you find the youngster, a Puerto Rican from the South Bronx or a black kid from Harlem who has succeeded in life other than being the one-tenth of one-tenth of 1% that make it in the music business, that's been a success in life, walking around with his pants around his ass and with, you know, visible tattoos. Or, you know, it is this whole ethos. And I love Russell Simmons. He's a dear friend of mine, and I admire his business acumen.

Geraldo Rivera: [00:00:43] At some point, those guys have to cop to the fact that by encouraging this distinctive culture that is removed from the mainstream, they have encouraged people to be so different from the mainstream that they can't participate other than, you know, the racks and the garment center and those entry-level jobs, and I lament it, I really do. I think that it has been very destructive culturally.

Tony Kaizen: [00:01:09] You heard him, folks. Hip hop has done more damage than racism.

Tony Kaizen: [00:01:21] The Life in English podcast is designed to teach you the real American English that you won't learn in school, and it's made possible by our VIP community. By becoming a VIP member of the life in English community, you'll get access to our Private Conversation Group, bonus podcast episodes, interactive transcripts, and vocabulary and grammar guides. If you'd like to join the community, you can visit lifeinenglish.net/vip.

Tony Kaizen: [00:01:43] Over the years, I've heard a lot of people say that rap music is the reason we have gang violence, drug abuse, prostitution, low test scores, babies out of wedlock, sexually promiscuous people, a lack of respect for authority, a lack of morals and positive values, fatherless children. The list goes on and on.

Tony Kaizen: [00:02:09] On the surface, this may seem like a relatively simple topic, but it's actually pretty complex because it involves a lot of history, culture, facts, and opinions. I'm not qualified to teach you all that because I don't even know half the story. So instead of trying to do that, let me give you a real example.

Tony Kaizen: [00:02:27] Back in 2015, Kendrick Lamar performed his hit song 'Alright' at the BET Awards. And for those of you that don't know, B.E.T stands for Black Entertainment Television. The performance featured Kendrick rapping on top of a vandalized cop car while he sang his famous lyrics, referencing the problem of police brutality in the U.S.

Kendrick Lamar: [00:02:49] Wouldn't you know? We've been hurt, been down before, nigga

Kendrick Lamar: [00:02:53] When our pride was low. Lookin' at the world like, "Where do we go, nigga?"

Kendrick Lamar: [00:02:58] And we hate po-po

Kendrick Lamar: [00:02:59] Wanna kill us dead in the street for sure, nigga

Kendrick Lamar: [00:03:02] I'm at the preacher's door

Kendrick Lamar: [00:03:04] My knees gettin' weak and my gun might blow

Kendrick Lamar: [00:03:07] But we gon' be alright

Tony Kaizen: [00:03:09] This performance was seen by thousands, if not millions of people, and it naturally sparked a lot of debate about police brutality, the validity of Kendrick's lyrics, and whether or not he was sending the right message to his listeners. I'm going to play a clip of some Fox News anchors talking about Kendrick's performance, and I want you to pay attention to the points they make while critiquing him.

News Anchor 1: [00:03:30] Rapper Kendrick Lamar raised some eyebrows last night when he opened the BET Awards singing on top of a vandalized cop car.

Kendrick Lamar: [00:03:38] Wouldn't you know? We've been hurt, been down before, nigga

Kendrick Lamar: [00:03:42] When our pride was low. Lookin' at the world like, "Where do we go, nigga?"

Kendrick Lamar: [00:03:46] And we hate po-po

Kendrick Lamar: [00:03:48] Wanna kill us dead in the street for sure, nigga

Kendrick Lamar: [00:03:51] I'm at the preacher's door

Kendrick Lamar: [00:03:52] My knees gettin' weak and my gun might blow

Kendrick Lamar: [00:03:55] But we gon' be alright

News Anchor 1: [00:03:57] Did you catch that? Lamar stated his views on police brutality with that line in the song quote "and we hate the po-po, want to kill us in the street, for sure." K.G.

News Anchor 2: [00:04:06] Oh please, oh, I don't like it. I mean, you know, I don't like it. That's why you came to me. I get it. That's his right to express himself. Let the free market decide. Personally, it doesn't excite me. It doesn't turn me on. Doesn't interest me. I'm not feeling it.

News Anchor 1: [00:04:22] Geraldo, not helpful with those song lyrics.

Geraldo Rivera: [00:04:25] To say the least. Not helpful at all. This is why I say that hip hop has done more damage to young African-Americans than racism in recent years. This is exactly the wrong message. And then to conflate what happened in the church in Charleston, South Carolina, with these tragic incidents involving excessive use of force by cops is to equate that racist killer with these cops. It is so wrong. It is so counterproductive. It gives exactly the wrong message. It doesn't recognize that a city like Baltimore, where remember Freddie Gray? They've had a homicide a day since Freddie Gray, no one's protesting that. Baltimore, a tiny city, 7% the size of New York, has just as many murders as New York. You know, we've got to wake up at a certain point and understand what's going on.

News Anchor 1: [00:05:12] And the timing is everything, and this may be a little too soon.

News Anchor 3: [00:05:15] The thing I was thinking about this, too, it's not like it was somebody on cable news who just happened to say something that they regretted and that they had to go then apologize for. This was planned. There were probably a thousand people, at least several hundred, if not a thousand people who all knew that this was all going to happen. And nobody raises their hand and says, "maybe this isn't the best idea to do today".

News Anchor 1: [00:05:35] What's going on, Tommy? Look at that police car.

News Anchor 2: [00:05:37] It incites violence!

News Anchor 4: [00:05:38] You sure it was planned? It looks like a spontaneous demonstration to me. A rapper who's anti-police? I mean, it's never happened before.

News Anchor 1: [00:05:46] Let's move on to this one.

Tony Kaizen: [00:05:48] All right. So just in case you had a hard time following the conversation there, let me summarize everything that was said in five main points.

Tony Kaizen: [00:05:56] Number one, this message is wrong and counterproductive.

Tony Kaizen: [00:06:01] Number two, we must remember that black people kill black people more than racist cops do. And no one is protesting or talking about that.

Tony Kaizen: [00:06:11] Number three, this was premeditated and no one stopped it, and therefore it is unforgivable.

Tony Kaizen: [00:06:18] Number four, a performance or a message like this incites violence.

Tony Kaizen: [00:06:24] And number five, well, number five isn't really a point, but the person who had the last word during that segment sarcastically or ironically said it's nothing new to find a rapper who hates the police.

Tony Kaizen: [00:06:36] And we're going to come back to each of these points in just a minute because the story doesn't end there. Kendrick Lamar eventually heard about the Fox News segment. So here's a clip from an interview he did with TMZ responding to the comments made by the news anchors.

Kendrick Lamar: [00:06:52] How can you take a song that's about hope and turn it into hatred? You know what I'm saying? The message, the overall message is we're going to be alright. It's not the message of I want to kill people. I want to express myself in a positive light the same way other artists are doing. Not going out in the streets, going to the booth and talking about the situation, you know, and hoping these kids can find some type of influence on it and in a positive manner.

Tony Kaizen: [00:07:19] As you can see, Kendrick feels that the news anchors completely misinterpreted the message of the song. There wasn't a single line in the song that said, "Kill the police '' or "Go commit violent crimes". In fact, it's the exact opposite. He's saying even though we have to deal with things like poverty, gang violence, and police brutality, we're going to be alright.

Tony Kaizen: [00:07:43] So two years later, in 2017, Kendrick dropped his fourth studio album, Damn. The second song on the album, DNA features the audio from that Fox News segment of Geraldo Rivera saying that hip hop has done more damage than racism in recent years.

Kendrick Lamar: [00:08:00] I got loyalty, got royalty inside my DNA (This is why I say that hip hop)

Kendrick Lamar: [00:08:04] I got loyalty, got royalty inside my DNA (Has done more damage to young African Americans)

Kendrick Lamar: [00:08:07] I live a better life, I'm rollin' several dice, fuck your life (Than racism in recent years)

Tony Kaizen: [00:08:10] In the third song on the album, YAH, you can hear Kendrick taking a direct shot at Geraldo Rivera in the second verse of the song.

Kendrick Lamar: [00:08:19] Interviews wanna know my thoughts and opinions.

Kendrick Lamar: [00:08:22] Fox News wanna use my name for percentage.

Kendrick Lamar: [00:08:25] My latest muse is my niece, she worth livin'.

Kendrick Lamar: [00:08:29] See me on the TV and scream: "That's Uncle Kendrick!"

Kendrick Lamar: [00:08:34] Yeah, that's the business

Kendrick Lamar: [00:08:35] Somebody tell Geraldo this nigga got some ambition

Kendrick Lamar: [00:08:39] I'm not a politician, I'm not 'bout a religion

Tony Kaizen: [00:08:43] With Kendrick being one of the world's biggest artists, it didn't take long for Geraldo Rivera to hear about his name being mentioned in one of Kendrick's songs. He decided to respond to Kendrick's lyrics by clarifying what he meant to say that day on Fox News.

Geraldo Rivera: [00:08:57] I have no beef with Kendrick Lamar. I think that Kendrick Lamar is, as I said, along with Drake, the most talented hip-hop artist, rapper, whatever you want to call it. Maybe the biggest problem I had with my original statements about how that's why I say hip hop has done more damage to young African-Americans than racism in recent years.

Geraldo Rivera: [00:09:18] The problem with a statement like that, though true, is that it is too general, and I don't want to smear everybody or tar everybody with the same brush. I say, and Kendrick Lamar is a great artist. But if your symbolism is all going to be, "the cops are bad and we are the victims of bad cops and we have no chance because of bad cops or the system being stacked against us."

Geraldo Rivera: [00:09:42] That's self-defeating attitude... It's not going to do you any good. It's not going to do your brothers and sisters any good. It's not going to do your kids any good. You have to take responsibility for yourself. Do the best you can, be practical, be hardworking. And again, I have no beef with Kendrick Lamar, anyone else in the business.

Tony Kaizen: [00:10:11] So just in case you had difficulty following that little piece of the episode, let me summarize what Geraldo said. This message that the cops are bad, you know, and we, as black people, are the victims and we have no chance because of these racist cops and, you know, the system is against us. That self-defeating attitude won't do you any good. You have to take responsibility. Do your best. Be practical and hardworking.

Tony Kaizen: [00:10:41] So now that you've heard the entire story, let's go back and analyze the critiques of the Fox News crew and many other Americans across this country.

Tony Kaizen: [00:10:50] Number one, this message and this kind of performance are wrong and counterproductive. We've already kind of established and we heard from Kendrick himself, the message of the song is even though we have to deal with all these negative things, gang violence, police brutality, poverty, no options, you know, no education, we're still going to be alright. That's the message of the song.

Tony Kaizen: [00:11:15] So I guess I might ask you or anyone, how is this message wrong or counterproductive if you're interpreting it correctly? You see what I'm saying? And I guess you can understand the other perspective from the Fox News anchor saying, by saying we hate the police and we know they want to kill us and we have no chance everyone is against us, you're making it harder for black and white people to create some type of healthy relationship. You're making it harder for black people to move forward or overcome these difficulties that we face.

Tony Kaizen: [00:11:47] I guess I can understand that perspective. I can understand that statement, let's say. But people talking about the reality that they have to deal with, that's different from yours, isn't wrong or counterproductive in any way. Because, again, the message of the song is even though this shit is going on, we're going to be alright. That's just my opinion. Point number two, we must remember that black people kill black people more than racist cops do, and no one is protesting that, no one is talking about that, no one is mad about that.

Tony Kaizen: [00:12:21] Now, although that's true, that's 100% true, black people kill black people more than racist cops kill black people. That statement is 100% true. However, it has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that there are racist cops killing black people. It's two completely different situations, two completely different problems. So what Kendrick was talking about in the song is police brutality, racist cops targeting black and brown people and harassing them, beating them, sending them to jail, and stuff like that. That has nothing to do with black people killing other black people or brown people killing other brown people. So it seems a bit disingenuous to bring that into the conversation when all you're really doing is diverting the attention away from the real problem and trying to put it somewhere else so that we don't have to talk about the real problem. And again, that's my opinion.

Tony Kaizen: [00:13:15] Number three, this performance was premeditated and no one stopped it. Therefore, it's unforgivable, right? That's really what I think this woman was trying to say. But I guess that's really just a question of opinion. I mean, of course, the performance was premeditated. But one of the great things about this country is everybody has the freedom to express themselves however they want. So in her mind, for her to think somebody should have raised their hand and said, "Yo, this is wrong. This cannot happen." It's a little silly to me because she has the right to sit up on Fox News and express her opinion about how she thinks it's wrong or counterproductive or unforgivable. But another individual doesn't have the right to go and express themselves. I think it's kind of hypocritical. I'd love to know what you think.

Tony Kaizen: [00:14:02] Let's move on to point number four, which is this performance of Kendrick on a vandalized cop car saying, "We hate the police, they want to kill us because we black". That type of thing incites violence, in their opinion. But the thing about violence is, you know, you can incite violence all you want, but unless the people decide to become violent, nothing happens.

Tony Kaizen: [00:14:26] Like, imagine you're walking in the street, somebody walks up to you and says, "Hey, go kill that guy." "Hey, go punch that lady in the face." That's inciting violence. You're encouraging violent behavior. But unless I make the choice, or in this case you, unless you make the choice to go kill that guy or punch that lady in the face nothing happens. So to put all the blame on Kendrick. First of all, he wasn't even inciting violence. He was just telling a story and sharing his opinion. But in your opinion, he's inciting violence. So even if that's the case until the crowd decides to become violent, nothing happens.

Tony Kaizen: [00:15:00] So I think at some point we have to, like, talk about personal responsibility and understand, even if I'm saying, "let's get violent" nothing happens unless you decide to get violent. You know? I don't know, it's my opinion.

Tony Kaizen: [00:15:13] So number five, again, is not a point, but the news anchor sarcastically said, "Oh, a rapper who hates the police. That's nothing new. Give me a break." And that just makes me go back to point one, which is how is that comment correct or productive in any way? When you're sarcastically and arrogantly disregarding somebody's life experience. I mean, like, black people in many places around this country have to deal with police brutality, racist officials, racist authority figures.

Tony Kaizen: [00:15:42] And you're sarcastically saying, "Oh yeah, that's nothing new, huh? Oh, you hate the police? Wow. How novel". I don't see how that comment in a conversation that, in your opinion, is supposed to be productive and healthy... I don't see how a comment like that is productive, healthy, or helpful in any way when you're looking down and sarcastically trying to disregard an experience that's completely different from yours. So again, it seems a little hypocritical, in my opinion.

Tony Kaizen: [00:16:10] And then we go to the last clip I shared with you of Geraldo Rivera responding to Kendrick Lamar by saying "this self-defeating attitude and saying the cops are bad, the cops are racist. Everyone's against us. We have no chance. That kind of attitude and mentality won't serve you in any way. The solution is to take responsibility. Do your best. Be practical and be hardworking." I can't even keep a straight face when I say it, because, in his words, that is how you beat racism, that's how you overcome racism. That's how you overcome the fact that you have to deal with racist cops harassing you just because your skin is darker than theirs, or just because you're from a different neighborhood than they are. Doing your best. Being practical and being hardworking is going to solve all those problems. Gang violence, drug abuse, no father at the house, racist cops harassing you, no opportunities to start businesses or get jobs, no real education. Just be practical and hardworking, and you'll be fine. That's what I understood, maybe that's not what he meant, but that's what I understood, right?

Tony Kaizen: [00:17:22] But let me give you my final thoughts. There are a lot of rap songs out there that talk about doing very bad things to people or living the lifestyle that can get you an STD, locked up, or killed.

Tony Kaizen: [00:17:35] Rob me a nigga

Tony Kaizen: [00:17:37] Pop That

Tony Kaizen: [00:17:38] Druggys with the Hoes Again

Tony Kaizen: [00:17:40] Lay It Down

Tony Kaizen: [00:17:42] Wet Ass Pussy

Tony Kaizen: [00:17:44] If you listen to some of the things they're saying in their songs, you'll notice it's some pretty graphic shit. Things that most parents hope their children never do or witness in their lifetimes.

Tony Kaizen: [00:17:55] And the argument a lot of people are making here is that these rappers are glorifying very dangerous lifestyles in their music. Then the kids are listening to that music and then doing what they hear the rappers talking about in their songs.

Tony Kaizen: [00:18:06] But the reality is these artists are just telling the stories about their lives. Real rap is all about storytelling. And the graphic stories being told in their music is or was a part of their reality. So even if some of these artists are in fact glorifying a lifestyle that you don't agree with or support, they still have every right to express themselves.

Tony Kaizen: [00:18:29] It's up to the individual to decide whether or not they like what's being said in the songs. The individual decides what action they take after listening to the song. Like, I've heard the song ‘Rob Me A Nigga’ hundreds of times, but I've not once thought about getting a pistol and committing an armed robbery, even when I had no money. Why? Because I make my own choices and I know my choices have consequences.

Tony Kaizen: [00:18:57] So you can say, "Freddie Gibbs turned my son into a thug." "Cardi B turned my daughter into a hoe." and that might be true. I don't know for sure. What I do know is that there are certainly a lot of young people out there that only smoke weed and do drugs because they heard about it in a rap song. In fact, I'm probably included in that group.

Tony Kaizen: [00:19:19] There are young people out there having unprotected sex with multiple people because some rappers talk about that in a positive light in their songs.

Tony Kaizen: [00:19:27] There are young people out there who walk around with their pants hanging off their ass simply because their favorite rapper does the same thing.

Tony Kaizen: [00:19:34] There are young people out there who fantasize about wearing gold chains, driving fancy cars, and fucking somebody else's bitch just because that's what their favorite rappers talk about in their songs.

Tony Kaizen: [00:19:44] But even if that is the case, mom and dad, the question is who allowed all that to happen?

[END OF EPISODE]

Writing prompts

  • Has Hip Hop music made the world a better or worse place? Why?
  • What do you like and/or dislike about hip hop music?
  • Are other genres of music harmful to any specific community?
  • How does art influence society and culture?
Key Vocabulary & Grammar Guide
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Key Vocabulary Guide

Transcript

Geraldo Rivera: [00:00:00] Hip Hop! Hip Hop has done more damage to black and brown people than racism in the last 10 years. When you find the youngster, a Puerto Rican from the South Bronx or a black kid from Harlem who has succeeded in life other than being the one-tenth of one-tenth of 1% that make it in the music business, that's been a success in life, walking around with his pants around his ass and with, you know, visible tattoos. Or, you know, it is this whole ethos. And I love Russell Simmons. He's a dear friend of mine, and I admire his business acumen.

Geraldo Rivera: [00:00:43] At some point, those guys have to cop to the fact that by encouraging this distinctive culture that is removed from the mainstream, they have encouraged people to be so different from the mainstream that they can't participate other than, you know, the racks and the garment center and those entry-level jobs, and I lament it, I really do. I think that it has been very destructive culturally.

Tony Kaizen: [00:01:09] You heard him, folks. Hip hop has done more damage than racism.

Tony Kaizen: [00:01:21] The Life in English podcast is designed to teach you the real American English that you won't learn in school, and it's made possible by our VIP community. By becoming a VIP member of the life in English community, you'll get access to our Private Conversation Group, bonus podcast episodes, interactive transcripts, and vocabulary and grammar guides. If you'd like to join the community, you can visit lifeinenglish.net/vip.

Tony Kaizen: [00:01:43] Over the years, I've heard a lot of people say that rap music is the reason we have gang violence, drug abuse, prostitution, low test scores, babies out of wedlock, sexually promiscuous people, a lack of respect for authority, a lack of morals and positive values, fatherless children. The list goes on and on.

Tony Kaizen: [00:02:09] On the surface, this may seem like a relatively simple topic, but it's actually pretty complex because it involves a lot of history, culture, facts, and opinions. I'm not qualified to teach you all that because I don't even know half the story. So instead of trying to do that, let me give you a real example.

Tony Kaizen: [00:02:27] Back in 2015, Kendrick Lamar performed his hit song 'Alright' at the BET Awards. And for those of you that don't know, B.E.T stands for Black Entertainment Television. The performance featured Kendrick rapping on top of a vandalized cop car while he sang his famous lyrics, referencing the problem of police brutality in the U.S.

Kendrick Lamar: [00:02:49] Wouldn't you know? We've been hurt, been down before, nigga

Kendrick Lamar: [00:02:53] When our pride was low. Lookin' at the world like, "Where do we go, nigga?"

Kendrick Lamar: [00:02:58] And we hate po-po

Kendrick Lamar: [00:02:59] Wanna kill us dead in the street for sure, nigga

Kendrick Lamar: [00:03:02] I'm at the preacher's door

Kendrick Lamar: [00:03:04] My knees gettin' weak and my gun might blow

Kendrick Lamar: [00:03:07] But we gon' be alright

Tony Kaizen: [00:03:09] This performance was seen by thousands, if not millions of people, and it naturally sparked a lot of debate about police brutality, the validity of Kendrick's lyrics, and whether or not he was sending the right message to his listeners. I'm going to play a clip of some Fox News anchors talking about Kendrick's performance, and I want you to pay attention to the points they make while critiquing him.

News Anchor 1: [00:03:30] Rapper Kendrick Lamar raised some eyebrows last night when he opened the BET Awards singing on top of a vandalized cop car.

Kendrick Lamar: [00:03:38] Wouldn't you know? We've been hurt, been down before, nigga

Kendrick Lamar: [00:03:42] When our pride was low. Lookin' at the world like, "Where do we go, nigga?"

Kendrick Lamar: [00:03:46] And we hate po-po

Kendrick Lamar: [00:03:48] Wanna kill us dead in the street for sure, nigga

Kendrick Lamar: [00:03:51] I'm at the preacher's door

Kendrick Lamar: [00:03:52] My knees gettin' weak and my gun might blow

Kendrick Lamar: [00:03:55] But we gon' be alright

News Anchor 1: [00:03:57] Did you catch that? Lamar stated his views on police brutality with that line in the song quote "and we hate the po-po, want to kill us in the street, for sure." K.G.

News Anchor 2: [00:04:06] Oh please, oh, I don't like it. I mean, you know, I don't like it. That's why you came to me. I get it. That's his right to express himself. Let the free market decide. Personally, it doesn't excite me. It doesn't turn me on. Doesn't interest me. I'm not feeling it.

News Anchor 1: [00:04:22] Geraldo, not helpful with those song lyrics.

Geraldo Rivera: [00:04:25] To say the least. Not helpful at all. This is why I say that hip hop has done more damage to young African-Americans than racism in recent years. This is exactly the wrong message. And then to conflate what happened in the church in Charleston, South Carolina, with these tragic incidents involving excessive use of force by cops is to equate that racist killer with these cops. It is so wrong. It is so counterproductive. It gives exactly the wrong message. It doesn't recognize that a city like Baltimore, where remember Freddie Gray? They've had a homicide a day since Freddie Gray, no one's protesting that. Baltimore, a tiny city, 7% the size of New York, has just as many murders as New York. You know, we've got to wake up at a certain point and understand what's going on.

News Anchor 1: [00:05:12] And the timing is everything, and this may be a little too soon.

News Anchor 3: [00:05:15] The thing I was thinking about this, too, it's not like it was somebody on cable news who just happened to say something that they regretted and that they had to go then apologize for. This was planned. There were probably a thousand people, at least several hundred, if not a thousand people who all knew that this was all going to happen. And nobody raises their hand and says, "maybe this isn't the best idea to do today".

News Anchor 1: [00:05:35] What's going on, Tommy? Look at that police car.

News Anchor 2: [00:05:37] It incites violence!

News Anchor 4: [00:05:38] You sure it was planned? It looks like a spontaneous demonstration to me. A rapper who's anti-police? I mean, it's never happened before.

News Anchor 1: [00:05:46] Let's move on to this one.

Tony Kaizen: [00:05:48] All right. So just in case you had a hard time following the conversation there, let me summarize everything that was said in five main points.

Tony Kaizen: [00:05:56] Number one, this message is wrong and counterproductive.

Tony Kaizen: [00:06:01] Number two, we must remember that black people kill black people more than racist cops do. And no one is protesting or talking about that.

Tony Kaizen: [00:06:11] Number three, this was premeditated and no one stopped it, and therefore it is unforgivable.

Tony Kaizen: [00:06:18] Number four, a performance or a message like this incites violence.

Tony Kaizen: [00:06:24] And number five, well, number five isn't really a point, but the person who had the last word during that segment sarcastically or ironically said it's nothing new to find a rapper who hates the police.

Tony Kaizen: [00:06:36] And we're going to come back to each of these points in just a minute because the story doesn't end there. Kendrick Lamar eventually heard about the Fox News segment. So here's a clip from an interview he did with TMZ responding to the comments made by the news anchors.

Kendrick Lamar: [00:06:52] How can you take a song that's about hope and turn it into hatred? You know what I'm saying? The message, the overall message is we're going to be alright. It's not the message of I want to kill people. I want to express myself in a positive light the same way other artists are doing. Not going out in the streets, going to the booth and talking about the situation, you know, and hoping these kids can find some type of influence on it and in a positive manner.

Tony Kaizen: [00:07:19] As you can see, Kendrick feels that the news anchors completely misinterpreted the message of the song. There wasn't a single line in the song that said, "Kill the police '' or "Go commit violent crimes". In fact, it's the exact opposite. He's saying even though we have to deal with things like poverty, gang violence, and police brutality, we're going to be alright.

Tony Kaizen: [00:07:43] So two years later, in 2017, Kendrick dropped his fourth studio album, Damn. The second song on the album, DNA features the audio from that Fox News segment of Geraldo Rivera saying that hip hop has done more damage than racism in recent years.

Kendrick Lamar: [00:08:00] I got loyalty, got royalty inside my DNA (This is why I say that hip hop)

Kendrick Lamar: [00:08:04] I got loyalty, got royalty inside my DNA (Has done more damage to young African Americans)

Kendrick Lamar: [00:08:07] I live a better life, I'm rollin' several dice, fuck your life (Than racism in recent years)

Tony Kaizen: [00:08:10] In the third song on the album, YAH, you can hear Kendrick taking a direct shot at Geraldo Rivera in the second verse of the song.

Kendrick Lamar: [00:08:19] Interviews wanna know my thoughts and opinions.

Kendrick Lamar: [00:08:22] Fox News wanna use my name for percentage.

Kendrick Lamar: [00:08:25] My latest muse is my niece, she worth livin'.

Kendrick Lamar: [00:08:29] See me on the TV and scream: "That's Uncle Kendrick!"

Kendrick Lamar: [00:08:34] Yeah, that's the business

Kendrick Lamar: [00:08:35] Somebody tell Geraldo this nigga got some ambition

Kendrick Lamar: [00:08:39] I'm not a politician, I'm not 'bout a religion

Tony Kaizen: [00:08:43] With Kendrick being one of the world's biggest artists, it didn't take long for Geraldo Rivera to hear about his name being mentioned in one of Kendrick's songs. He decided to respond to Kendrick's lyrics by clarifying what he meant to say that day on Fox News.

Geraldo Rivera: [00:08:57] I have no beef with Kendrick Lamar. I think that Kendrick Lamar is, as I said, along with Drake, the most talented hip-hop artist, rapper, whatever you want to call it. Maybe the biggest problem I had with my original statements about how that's why I say hip hop has done more damage to young African-Americans than racism in recent years.

Geraldo Rivera: [00:09:18] The problem with a statement like that, though true, is that it is too general, and I don't want to smear everybody or tar everybody with the same brush. I say, and Kendrick Lamar is a great artist. But if your symbolism is all going to be, "the cops are bad and we are the victims of bad cops and we have no chance because of bad cops or the system being stacked against us."

Geraldo Rivera: [00:09:42] That's self-defeating attitude... It's not going to do you any good. It's not going to do your brothers and sisters any good. It's not going to do your kids any good. You have to take responsibility for yourself. Do the best you can, be practical, be hardworking. And again, I have no beef with Kendrick Lamar, anyone else in the business.

Tony Kaizen: [00:10:11] So just in case you had difficulty following that little piece of the episode, let me summarize what Geraldo said. This message that the cops are bad, you know, and we, as black people, are the victims and we have no chance because of these racist cops and, you know, the system is against us. That self-defeating attitude won't do you any good. You have to take responsibility. Do your best. Be practical and hardworking.

Tony Kaizen: [00:10:41] So now that you've heard the entire story, let's go back and analyze the critiques of the Fox News crew and many other Americans across this country.

Tony Kaizen: [00:10:50] Number one, this message and this kind of performance are wrong and counterproductive. We've already kind of established and we heard from Kendrick himself, the message of the song is even though we have to deal with all these negative things, gang violence, police brutality, poverty, no options, you know, no education, we're still going to be alright. That's the message of the song.

Tony Kaizen: [00:11:15] So I guess I might ask you or anyone, how is this message wrong or counterproductive if you're interpreting it correctly? You see what I'm saying? And I guess you can understand the other perspective from the Fox News anchor saying, by saying we hate the police and we know they want to kill us and we have no chance everyone is against us, you're making it harder for black and white people to create some type of healthy relationship. You're making it harder for black people to move forward or overcome these difficulties that we face.

Tony Kaizen: [00:11:47] I guess I can understand that perspective. I can understand that statement, let's say. But people talking about the reality that they have to deal with, that's different from yours, isn't wrong or counterproductive in any way. Because, again, the message of the song is even though this shit is going on, we're going to be alright. That's just my opinion. Point number two, we must remember that black people kill black people more than racist cops do, and no one is protesting that, no one is talking about that, no one is mad about that.

Tony Kaizen: [00:12:21] Now, although that's true, that's 100% true, black people kill black people more than racist cops kill black people. That statement is 100% true. However, it has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that there are racist cops killing black people. It's two completely different situations, two completely different problems. So what Kendrick was talking about in the song is police brutality, racist cops targeting black and brown people and harassing them, beating them, sending them to jail, and stuff like that. That has nothing to do with black people killing other black people or brown people killing other brown people. So it seems a bit disingenuous to bring that into the conversation when all you're really doing is diverting the attention away from the real problem and trying to put it somewhere else so that we don't have to talk about the real problem. And again, that's my opinion.

Tony Kaizen: [00:13:15] Number three, this performance was premeditated and no one stopped it. Therefore, it's unforgivable, right? That's really what I think this woman was trying to say. But I guess that's really just a question of opinion. I mean, of course, the performance was premeditated. But one of the great things about this country is everybody has the freedom to express themselves however they want. So in her mind, for her to think somebody should have raised their hand and said, "Yo, this is wrong. This cannot happen." It's a little silly to me because she has the right to sit up on Fox News and express her opinion about how she thinks it's wrong or counterproductive or unforgivable. But another individual doesn't have the right to go and express themselves. I think it's kind of hypocritical. I'd love to know what you think.

Tony Kaizen: [00:14:02] Let's move on to point number four, which is this performance of Kendrick on a vandalized cop car saying, "We hate the police, they want to kill us because we black". That type of thing incites violence, in their opinion. But the thing about violence is, you know, you can incite violence all you want, but unless the people decide to become violent, nothing happens.

Tony Kaizen: [00:14:26] Like, imagine you're walking in the street, somebody walks up to you and says, "Hey, go kill that guy." "Hey, go punch that lady in the face." That's inciting violence. You're encouraging violent behavior. But unless I make the choice, or in this case you, unless you make the choice to go kill that guy or punch that lady in the face nothing happens. So to put all the blame on Kendrick. First of all, he wasn't even inciting violence. He was just telling a story and sharing his opinion. But in your opinion, he's inciting violence. So even if that's the case until the crowd decides to become violent, nothing happens.

Tony Kaizen: [00:15:00] So I think at some point we have to, like, talk about personal responsibility and understand, even if I'm saying, "let's get violent" nothing happens unless you decide to get violent. You know? I don't know, it's my opinion.

Tony Kaizen: [00:15:13] So number five, again, is not a point, but the news anchor sarcastically said, "Oh, a rapper who hates the police. That's nothing new. Give me a break." And that just makes me go back to point one, which is how is that comment correct or productive in any way? When you're sarcastically and arrogantly disregarding somebody's life experience. I mean, like, black people in many places around this country have to deal with police brutality, racist officials, racist authority figures.

Tony Kaizen: [00:15:42] And you're sarcastically saying, "Oh yeah, that's nothing new, huh? Oh, you hate the police? Wow. How novel". I don't see how that comment in a conversation that, in your opinion, is supposed to be productive and healthy... I don't see how a comment like that is productive, healthy, or helpful in any way when you're looking down and sarcastically trying to disregard an experience that's completely different from yours. So again, it seems a little hypocritical, in my opinion.

Tony Kaizen: [00:16:10] And then we go to the last clip I shared with you of Geraldo Rivera responding to Kendrick Lamar by saying "this self-defeating attitude and saying the cops are bad, the cops are racist. Everyone's against us. We have no chance. That kind of attitude and mentality won't serve you in any way. The solution is to take responsibility. Do your best. Be practical and be hardworking." I can't even keep a straight face when I say it, because, in his words, that is how you beat racism, that's how you overcome racism. That's how you overcome the fact that you have to deal with racist cops harassing you just because your skin is darker than theirs, or just because you're from a different neighborhood than they are. Doing your best. Being practical and being hardworking is going to solve all those problems. Gang violence, drug abuse, no father at the house, racist cops harassing you, no opportunities to start businesses or get jobs, no real education. Just be practical and hardworking, and you'll be fine. That's what I understood, maybe that's not what he meant, but that's what I understood, right?

Tony Kaizen: [00:17:22] But let me give you my final thoughts. There are a lot of rap songs out there that talk about doing very bad things to people or living the lifestyle that can get you an STD, locked up, or killed.

Tony Kaizen: [00:17:35] Rob me a nigga

Tony Kaizen: [00:17:37] Pop That

Tony Kaizen: [00:17:38] Druggys with the Hoes Again

Tony Kaizen: [00:17:40] Lay It Down

Tony Kaizen: [00:17:42] Wet Ass Pussy

Tony Kaizen: [00:17:44] If you listen to some of the things they're saying in their songs, you'll notice it's some pretty graphic shit. Things that most parents hope their children never do or witness in their lifetimes.

Tony Kaizen: [00:17:55] And the argument a lot of people are making here is that these rappers are glorifying very dangerous lifestyles in their music. Then the kids are listening to that music and then doing what they hear the rappers talking about in their songs.

Tony Kaizen: [00:18:06] But the reality is these artists are just telling the stories about their lives. Real rap is all about storytelling. And the graphic stories being told in their music is or was a part of their reality. So even if some of these artists are in fact glorifying a lifestyle that you don't agree with or support, they still have every right to express themselves.

Tony Kaizen: [00:18:29] It's up to the individual to decide whether or not they like what's being said in the songs. The individual decides what action they take after listening to the song. Like, I've heard the song ‘Rob Me A Nigga’ hundreds of times, but I've not once thought about getting a pistol and committing an armed robbery, even when I had no money. Why? Because I make my own choices and I know my choices have consequences.

Tony Kaizen: [00:18:57] So you can say, "Freddie Gibbs turned my son into a thug." "Cardi B turned my daughter into a hoe." and that might be true. I don't know for sure. What I do know is that there are certainly a lot of young people out there that only smoke weed and do drugs because they heard about it in a rap song. In fact, I'm probably included in that group.

Tony Kaizen: [00:19:19] There are young people out there having unprotected sex with multiple people because some rappers talk about that in a positive light in their songs.

Tony Kaizen: [00:19:27] There are young people out there who walk around with their pants hanging off their ass simply because their favorite rapper does the same thing.

Tony Kaizen: [00:19:34] There are young people out there who fantasize about wearing gold chains, driving fancy cars, and fucking somebody else's bitch just because that's what their favorite rappers talk about in their songs.

Tony Kaizen: [00:19:44] But even if that is the case, mom and dad, the question is who allowed all that to happen?

[END OF EPISODE]

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