If it’s not clear from the title of this thread, the following video is Not Safe for Work, excluding perhaps, those of you working as fishmongers and truck drivers. Take caution before clicking Play on this video.
Despite becoming a super-square and super-late-to-the-party fan of Ice Cube through his Barbershop movies and other mostly family fare Hollywood movies, I didn’t purchase any of his music until yesterday, when I bought N.W.A.‘s Straight Outta Compton album. I knew a couple of songs from that album and a couple of solo Ice Cube songs from mix CDs friends gave me through the years, and I liked them. However, I objected to supporting any band with a name containing any variation of the word nigger. Despite liking the music I heard from this crew, the band’s name and the frequent use of that word and constant cursing in their songs always struck me as that set of highly inappropriate and unnecessary things out there that I could easily avoid, much like I avoid buying a bag of pork rinds, no matter how appealing those things sometimes look to me.
Well, yesterday I bought this musical bag of pork rinds. I don’t know how or when I’ll be able to listen to this stuff. I don’t support the language, but the music is excellent. I even dig the nasty language in the context of the music, much like I dig extremely foul language and brutal violence in Martin Scorsese’s movies. For some reason, though, watching a movie with NSFW content in the company of other people doesn’t bug me. Listening to music that goes well beyond my personal rules for social engagement, however, is a more difficult hurdle for me to overcome. Why?
Is the way content is framed within a film somehow safer than the way the same content is framed within a song? We don’t drive down the street with our car projecting scenes from Taxi Driver for pedestrians and other drivers to see. Would I subject others to that if I could? I can’t imagine driving down the street blasting a song like “Straight Outta Compton.” That makes sense, doesn’t it?
When can I listen to my Straight Outta Compton album? Can I play it in my backyard with my fellow middle-age, upper middle-class white friends this weekend? Can I play it in the car, with the windows up, as I drive around with my boys, or even alone? Can I play it while I’m cooking dinner? Can I play it on my iPod while I’m working out at the gym? Do I need to beware of the people around me, in case they can hear the music bleeding through my headphones? You know, headphones aren’t my bag.
Do you see what I’m getting at? Do you run across this with certain NSFW music? I like being as free and easy as the next rock ‘n roll rebel, but are there limits?