Tuesday, July 15, 2008

"Never Again" by Wu Tang Clan

Wu Tang Clan "Never Again"

A few years ago, my son wanted to challenge my dislike for hip hop music and rap. Although I was hard pressed to think of any music in that genre that pushed a positive social message, I conceded the theoretical possibility. One day he asked me to listen to a rap song about the holocaust. I told him not to make such tasteless jokes. He insisted that he was not joking. I agreed to listen to it. The song joined my list of songs not to listen to when driving. The emotional pull of the lyrics was too strong to be compatible with safe operation of a motor vehicle.
Since then, I my children turned me on to some songs by Eminem, who dealt in an emotionally touching way with the effects on him of growing up in a broken home. My children succeeded in changing my opinion of that type of music. I have heard rap music in French, Hebrew, Arabic, Chinese, German and Albanian among other languages. My only misgiving is my conviction that musical traffic should be a two way street. I'd like to see more Afro pop from Africa make it to America.
I have heard religious fundamentalists condemn popular music. Billy Joel did a song years ago called "Only The Good Die Young" that understandably offended Roman Catholics. I have come to the conclusion that songs should be treated like deeds. Some are good and others not. I would not boycott a singer if he made one offensive song, if he were otherwise passably O.K.
Hip hop is a major stylistic break from the music of my youth. My reaction to it gives me some insight into my parent's feelings about my music. A lot of rap is hateful and misogynistic. Plenty is not. Music of any genre can be and often is used for good things.
I am presenting in this posting the song "Never Again" by Wu Tang Clan. It is stylistically distant from Jewish music but addresses Jewish concerns in an emotionally gripping way. It broadened my musical horizons and I am therefore presenting it to my readership.

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