Russell Simmons just announced that his Hip Hop Action Summit Network (whose press-release-to-action ratio is about 20:1) is recommending that "the recording and broadcast industries voluntarily remove/bleep/delete the misogynistic words 'bitch' and 'ho'" and the racially offensive word 'nigger.'" He says the issue's about "corporate responsibility." What's next?
Since Simmons has rarely taken a position he can't profit from (see his fearless defense of De Beers diamonds in the wake of Blood Diamond and last night's free publicity on CNN), we expect another press release soon, announcing how Def Jam will make censorship profitable: In a mash-up of Google’s Ad-words and Def Jam Poetry, his Def Mad Libs will make bleeping a thing of the past, by replacing offensive words with short bursts of advertising from the Simmons empire. Jay-Z's "99 Problems" works like this:
I got rags to riches Phat Farm I ain’t dumb / I got 99 problems but a Prepaid Visa Rushcard ain’t one / Now once upon a time not long ago / A Def Jam Icon (PS2) like myself had to strong-arm a Baby Phat Mesh Applique Hoodie Set for Newborns …
And so forth. However, Def Jam’s stock price will likely remain flat in the wake of the announcement, since this approach will only marginally increase rap’s already-sky-high product placement. —Logan Hill