Today’s post is about clean rap lyrics. I’m not talking about inherently clean rap lyrics like DJ Jazzy Jeff or MC Hammer. They would more accurately be described as “clean rap artists.” I’m talking about the edited versions of gangsta rap like N.W.A or Ice T. Obviously in order to get radio or video airplay, the music has to conform to the FCC regulations on obscenity, so you should expect clean rap music over the air.
Clean Rap Lyrics: How the Soap is Applied
There are many ways to take a “normal” rap song and convert it into the “clean rap lyrics” version. The way most non-rap music is edited is simply to “bleep” out any profanity. This just won’t work in the rap game. If they did this, the constant bleeping would become annoying very quickly. Another, slightly less annoying, method would be to fade the vocal track out when profane lyrics were being sung. Again, this would get annoying. It seems the only way to make clean rap lyrics is to make a new recording with a completely different vocal track.
Examples of clean rap lyrics:
In the video below, the audio track is the clean version of “Gangsta, Gangsta” by N.W.A. You will notice that with the exception of the occasional “damn”, the lyrics are free of profanity.
There are many examples of clean rap lyrics in action. The first example is simply to substitute a profane word for a more socially acceptable alternative, for example “fucking up” becomes “messing up.” Another example is simply to not sing anything in place of the profane word. The most hilarious way to make clean rap lyrics is to completely replace a line with profanity with a line that has no connection at all with the original line. In the clip above, we hear the the line “We had some in the present, some in the past.” For those of you not familiar with this song, the original lyrics were “If you fuck with me I’ll put a foot in yo ass.” As you can see not only is there is a completely different meaning, the clean rap lyrics hardly make any sense.
Clean Rap Lyrics: They have their limits.
As you can here, while the clean rap lyrics version may remove the profane words, many of the ideas remain the same. For example, the theme of the song is still about dope dealing, gang banging and going to jail. There are also a few examples of misogyny that would make a Republican political candidate proud. It became apparent that to take a rap song and remove all of the “objectionable” content, one would have to make all clean rap songs into instrumentals, and then they would more resemble techno than rap. What do you think? Leave a comment!
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