© 2019 - Josiah Dean Williams / JDeanWilliams Productions 

Contemporary Radio Lacks the Message Our World Needs

June 17, 2014

I remember being in the car with my girlfriend, Brianna, the first time that I heard “Fancy” by Iggy Azalea and Charli XCX. Of course, being a fan of Rap music, I was immediately drawn in by the Hip-Hop influence, heavy bass and Southern dialect of this Australian-born, female rapper! Bree was completely in her zone throughout the song, and knew all of the words… I was simply enjoying the rhythm and style of this (then) new hit!

 

With “Fancy” being a chart-topping single, it would be played over-and-over on all Rhythmic Contemporary radio stations. As I continued listening to this track, I realized that I had ignored the lyrics for quite some time… so I gave it a full listen, ignoring my favorite elements, and discovered what I know to be true for most mainstream music: the content has nothing positive to offer.

 

Be clear, Iggy Azalea is a very talented artist, who has helped craft a few successful, top-charting tracks in her early career. I am not disrespecting her artistry, or putting her down as an individual…

 

But, is this the message that I would want my siblings to hear? Iggy spits: “You should want a bad b*tch like this / Drop it low and pick it up, just like this” … “And my flow retarded” … “Slaying these h*es, gold trigger on the gun.”

 

Taking a look at the Billboard Hot 100, my same concern applies to most of the listed tunes. Jason Derulo’s “Wiggle (feat. Snoop Dogg)” / “Talk Dirty (feat. 2 Chainz)” and Usher’s “Good Kisser” all feature heavy sexually suggestive themes. DJ Snake & Lil Jon’s “Turn Down 4 What” only features two lines in the entire song, which focuses on drugs, partying, and alcohol. YG’s “Who Do You Love (feat. Drake)” presents elements of street violence. And Chris Brown’s “Loyal (feat. Lil Wayne and French Montana/Too $hort/Tyga)” features all of the above…

 

My iTunes and Spotify collection features a wide array of creative artists: John Legend, Drake, Justin Timberlake, Chris Brown, Michael Jackson, Jonathan McReynolds, Backstreet Boys, Lianne La Havas, Jhene Aiko, Eminem, Tye Tribbett, Owl City, Lil Wayne, the list goes on… And I find myself having to delete some of my favorite tracks from playlists, because as I get older, I continue to realize that these songs aren’t always offering me anything beneficial.

 

We live in a world where entertainment is extremely accessible, and these artists have an incredible impact on our world, especially the youth. Brianna and I often talk about artists like Rihanna and Beyoncé, who have an incredible amount of influence on the entire female population, throughout all ages. Once again, I will always respect their creativity and who they are as musical artists. However, we feel that these stars should be doing so much more with their influence. Young girls around the world are looking at Rihanna’s exposed image, and listening to Bey’s “Partition,” and aspiring to be sexual icons, with a misconstrued understanding of “beauty” and what it means to be a woman.

 

As a Hip-Hop recording/performing artist, and a follower of Christ, I also have had many conversations about Secular music, which is most simply defined as “music that does not promote religion.” I must admit, I am not perfect. I enjoy all kinds of music, and have a genuine love for many contemporary artists…

 

However, I do like to filter my music intake, and try to follow the path of “music with substance.”

 

For example, John Legend, one of my favorite musical artists, recently released “Love in the Future” (Aug. 2013). My favorite song from the album “You & I (Nobody in the World)” captured my attention after the first few seconds. This track simply speaks to their marriage, along with showing appreciation for his soul mate/her beauty, and lacks the themes of most modern radio singles (violence, sex, alcohol, drugs, etc.) Or how about “Loving You (Original Version)” from “XSCAPE” (May 2014), Michael Jackson’s posthumous album? Such a beautiful piece of art, easy listening, and family-friendly…

 

It’s very clear that contemporary radio is made for chart-toppers only, and home-hitting songs with uplifting messages seem to be out of style, and overlooked…

 

 

 

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