Depreciating Morality in the Top Music

Posted on: 08/14/18 3:30 AM | by Jonathan McKee

Popular music always has provided a few vile examples that made grandmother gasp…

But never like today.

We’ve come a long way from “Like a Virgin” being shocking. In fact we’ve come a long way from, “I Kissed a Girl.” Sure we’ve seen some raunchy lyrics from top artists before… but never so potent at the top of the charts.

So far this month the Billboard Hot 100 has only one song that is not explicit in the top 10. And those that are… really push the envelope.

Drake’s song, In My Feelings, currently at No. 1, is probably one of the cleaner songs in the charts… that is… if you ignore the sampling of Lil Wayne & Magnolia Shorty near the end of the song with the lyrics:

Bring that a*s, bring that a*s, bring that a*s back!
B-bring that a*s, bring that a*s, bring that a*s back!
Shawty say the nigga that she with can’t hit
But shawty, I’ma hit it, hit it like I can’t miss
Now let me see you
Clap that a*s, you’re the only one I love
Clap that a*s, clap-clap that a*s!

This sampling (hip hop songs often “sample” or “mix” in earlier songs) is from Lollipop, Lil Wayne’s 2008 hit about oral sex.

Does it seem incongruous that I’m citing a current song which is sampling a 10-year-old song to prove my point that music is getting worse? Yeah… it was pretty bad in 2008 too… but three big differences:

  1. The top of the charts weren’t quite as potent with descriptions of sexual acts or the casual references to gunning others down  (close, but not quite)
  2. In 2008 teens didn’t have smartphones in their pockets (the iPhone only came out in 2007), they didn’t stream… Spotify wasn’t even a thing. Explicit music had a few more guardrails than now. (Now 97% of U.S. teens have access to a smartphone.)
  3. For the same reason I just mentioned, kids listened to less music in 2008 than now. In fact, America just upped their music listening by 47 minutes a day last year alone! (And adults just upped their daily media usage by 36 minutes in the last six months!)

So now when today’s top hits are more sexually charged… more kids hear it.

Cardi B’s song I Like it Like That, currently at No. 2 on the charts is actually pretty clean for Cardi B. Of course, you wouldn’t know it because much of it is in Spanish. But for those who speak Spanish, they’ll hear:

I like puerto rican girls, I like cuban girls
I like the columbian accent
How dominican girls move their a**es
How good venezuelan girls f**k…

As if that wasn’t explicit enough, the current No. 3 song on the charts is from a guy named 6ix9ine who joined with Nicki Minaj for a song called Fefe, which apparently is a prison term for something manmade (often made from a toilet paper roll) that provides sexual fulfillment. In this song the young rapper makes it clear what he thinks of women, how he treats women, questioning why he even “hit that” (had sex with her) and giving us waaaaaaaaay more description than we want (Where’s the #MeToo movement when you need it? Oh… I guess lyrics get a pass.)

Here’s the opening lyrics from 6ix9ine:

P**sy got that wet, wet, got that drip, drip
Got that super soaker, hit that, she a Fefe
Her name Keke, she eat my d**k like it’s free, free
I don’t even know like “Why I did that?”
I don’t even know like “Why I hit that?”
All I know is that I just can’t wife that
Talk to her nice so she won’t fight back
Turn around and hit it from the back, back, back
Bend her down then I make it clap, clap, clap

Nice.

And we haven’t even left the top 3 songs. I’ll let you Google the lyrics for the rest of the top 10. It’s more of the same. (Funny… one year ago I wrote a post with the latest research on “do the lyrics really affect me?”… and I made the comment, “I’ve never seen the charts this bad.”)

Remember the good ol’ days when Katy Perry just told our kids to “go all the way tonight”?

Do you know what your kids are listening to?

Are you engaging them in meaningful discussion about what they hear?

Refreshingly brutal advice to young guys

Posted on: 04/24/18 3:30 AM | by Jonathan McKee

Today’s guys face a lot of distractions… a lot more than I faced as a young man.

Let’s be honest. When I was 13 in 1983 I had access to porn, drugs, and raunchy entertainment media.

  • But porn wasn’t just a click away in my pocket, it was in a magazine at my friend’s house if we dared to sneak into his dad’s bedroom.
  • Marijuana was available, but it wasn’t mainstream or encouraged… and it sure wasn’t legal.
  • I loved movies, music and television, but my house had one screen and a boombox. Now I have a dozen screens, and my entire entertainment media library is available in the cloud. Name a movie or music video. I can watch it within seconds, regardless of rating.

But I think the biggest difference between then and now is Continue reading “Refreshingly brutal advice to young guys” »

Lil Dicky gets a lil raunchy (and how parents should respond)

Posted on: 04/10/18 3:30 AM | by Jonathan McKee

The song debuted in the top 10 on Billboard’s Hot 100. The music video is full of celebrity cameos and has already garnered over 100 million views. When I mentioned that particular song speaking at a church last Sunday morning, teens in the audience literally shouted, “Yeah!” in acclamation (and I mentioned about a dozen songs).

I’m talking about the brand new racy music video from Lil Dicky, Freaky Friday, where Lil Dicky wakes up as Chris Brown and Chris Brown as Lil Dicky. The music video is creative, kids think it’s hilarious, and it’s full of sexual references and imagery. Continue reading “Lil Dicky gets a lil raunchy (and how parents should respond)” »

Gunning Your Kids Down

Posted on: 02/26/18 6:48 AM | by Jonathan McKee

Today’s young people might be a little more familiar than you think with solving their problems with a gun… because they literally hear it all the time.

“Got an AK on my lap”

“Call up on an Uzi”

I find it intriguing that while the world is debating the gun issue, the majority of the musical “artists” in the top 10 right now have songs about revenge, “popping” people, or gunning you down… and I kid you not… some will even tell you what assault rifle and which high capacity clip they prefer Continue reading “Gunning Your Kids Down” »

The math behind 300 one night stands

Posted on: 01/31/18 2:13 PM | by Jonathan McKee

The song has been on the top of the charts for 20 weeks now peeking at No. 4, currently at No. 10. It’s called “No Limits”… and it truly lives up to the title. A song where the chorus simply repeats, “Ayy, yeah, f**k with me and get some money.”

The man behind the lyrics explains to Genius.com the chorus means he’s a cash cow. He’s so popular everything he touches turns to money. Sadly, I’m not sure he realizes quite how ironic his chorus is.

Allow me to explain… Continue reading “The math behind 300 one night stands” »

Mom, Is Justin Bieber a Christian?

Posted on: 01/9/18 3:30 AM | by Jonathan McKee

It’s a question kids are asking, and a question Moms don’t quite know how to answer.

Similar to the question, “Mom, is Chance the Rapper a Christian?” …you can’t help but wonder, who am I to even answer that question?

But it’s being asked.

Maybe we’re confused because we’ve read about Justin’s troubles with the law (from 2014 granted) or heard him singing and collaborating on some pretty worldly tracks (okay, maybe that’s a little more recent)… and then moments later we see him unashamedly dancing to worship music or posting a powerful Instagram post praising Jesus for “changing me from the inside out.” Continue reading “Mom, Is Justin Bieber a Christian?” »

Over 4 hours a day

Posted on: 12/19/17 3:30 AM | by Jonathan McKee

America loves their music… which is probably why the average person over 13-years-old now listens to over 4 hours of music per day. That’s an average of 47 minutes a day more than they did last year alone.

The question is… what kind of music?

Every December we wrap up the year with one final Youth Culture Window article unveiling every No. 1 song of the year. This year there were 12 songs that hit No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100… and half of them were rap/hip-hop.

Any guess as to what the common theme was this year?

Take a peek in our newest Youth Culture Window article, The Biggest Hits of 2017.

Answering top questions from today’s parents PART I

Posted on: 11/14/17 3:30 AM | by Jonathan McKee

The questions began rolling in…

What age do you recommend giving our kids phones?

What is the easiest way to monitor a child’s online safety?

What are the dangers of the app Musical.ly?

These are just a few of the countless questions I just received from parents… and in the next three days I’m going to answer all of them in this blog. Each day I’m going to narrow it down to the top 10 Continue reading “Answering top questions from today’s parents PART I” »

Media Use by Kids Age Zero to Eight

Posted on: 10/19/17 10:54 AM | by Jonathan McKee

Common Sense Media just released a brand new report about the evolution of media use by kids age eight and under.

Yes… eight and under!

If you found it difficult to believe that the average age today’s kids receive their first smartphone is 10 (yes… that’s just the average), then you’ll find it even more intriguing how much and what kinds of technology kids are using in the years prior.

I think parents are slowly realizing that kids are being inundated with entertainment media and technology at younger ages. In my parent workshops, churches no longer just market to Continue reading “Media Use by Kids Age Zero to Eight” »

Does Sexy Music Really Affect Me?

Posted on: 08/30/17 1:30 PM | by Jonathan McKee

I guess it’s a good time to ask this question when the No. 1 song on the charts articulates, “I want to show my mouth your favorite places, let me trespass your danger zones until I make you scream.”

Whenever I speak to parents I tend to provide them with a glimpse into the world of youth culture: the apps young people frequent (on their smartphones at an average of 2 hours and 38 minutes a day), the games they’re playing (teen boys play an average of 56 minutes per day), and the music they’re soaking in (at an average of 1 hour and 54 minutes per day) (Media Use by Tweens and Teens, page 19 and 31). Sometime I even play YouTube videos or paste lyrics of the top dozen songs right on the screen for parents to see firsthand. The reaction is always the same:

“I didn’t know it was this bad!”

Well, I’ve been doing this two decades now… and I’ve never seen the top 12 songs this bad Continue reading “Does Sexy Music Really Affect Me?” »