If you ever needed proof that time are achangin’ look no further than the lyrics kids listen to.
“I wanna busta cap in dat Mother#u!ka*’s head” and “I wanna get f*!k*d” are par for the course in much of today’s youth music culture, and it makes the sixties Beatle song “I wanna hold your hand” seem so innocent by comparison; even Marvin Gaye’s “Sexual Healing” seems quaint.
Parents are often upset about the explicit violence and sexuality in the media that kids are exposed to today. And it’s not only in music. Movies and video games are just as strong.
What’s wrong with youth culture?
Maybe nothing. As weird as that may sound, the violence and sexuality is as strong and explicit as it is because that’s how far the line has moved for today’s generation to stand out, to push buttons.
Every generation seeks to define itself as other than what came before it; especially just before it: their parents generation.
It’s a natural seeking of humanity to differentiate itself from generation to generation. Social mores, religion, and lack of exposure to the greater world worked to keep that tendency in check and even reverse it, but with today’s technology, air travel and social media those barriers have been breeched and kids are using modern day technology to belong to their generation by standing out from ours.
Is moral decay and destruction inevitable?
I don’t think so.
We’ve already gone over the edge and come back.
In the ’70’s the hippie generation defined itself by being anti-establishment and it’s embrace of free love and drugs. They (we) did what we’re essentially afraid our kids may do: have pre-marital sex (lots of it) and do drugs.
They (we) turned out alright.
Ok that’s debateable but the hippie generation surely didn’t bring down the walls of the establishment; rather they became it.
Don’t worry about it
Your cringing and ranting against all of that violent and sexual rap music is exactly the reaction kids want from you, because they are going through a phase of being NOT you. Wearing clothes that shock, getting tattoos, and listening to that music gets them just that.
Let them be.
The worst thing you could do is forbid kids from listening to this music. That’s like trying to stop a breaking wave with your hand. The force is unleashed and you better learn to ride that wave. And don’t forget that much of the same fears, concerns and criticisms of hip hop and rap music was also levelled against rock & roll music.
My only deep sorrow is the unrelenting insistence of recording and motion picture companies upon purveying the most brutal, ugly, degenerate, vicious form of expression it has been my displeasure to hear—Naturally I refer to the bulk of rock ’n’ roll.
Expose them to your music
A better strategy is to expose them to the music that you like and get to appreciate theirs. In the same way that their music is a natural expression to be different and provoke, it’s also a natural tendency for beauty and wisdom to eventually find itself.
Kids will—eventually—learn what’s appropriate from what’s not, and what’s appropriate will be redefined to include very broad grey areas. That’s a good thing because it will cause more of us to become more accepting and appreciative of the world around us; even when at first we don’t like it. What’s more—with our help—kids will also come to appreciate the beauty of music in generations before them.
They will come full circle
And if history is any guide, they will turn out alright.
A couple decades from now they will find themselves listening to Frank Sinatra, Sergio Mendes and Burt Bacharach and say to themselves “My God, I can’t believe I actually like this music.”