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?

The Newest on Teens, Social Media & Technology

Posted on: 07/24/18 3:33 AM | by Jonathan McKee

Pew Research just released their newest report on Teens, Social Media & Technology giving us the newest numbers confirming what we already knew: almost all teens have smartphones and use social media a lot!

But their numbers also revealed some interesting realities about where teens navigate and their perceptions about social media. Here are some random facts that stood out to me from their report:

Just do you

Posted on: 07/12/18 6:35 AM | by Jonathan McKee

Next week I’ll be at a conference speaking to young people about deciphering truth in the midst of lies. We’ll be looking at several influences like social media, music and other entertainment media, observing the subtle messages they communicate.

Let’s try one.

Here’s a Diet Coke commercial you may have seen– I saw it in a movie theater before the most recent Avengers movie Continue reading “Just do you” »

The CDC, teen risks, and who is vulnerable

Posted on: 06/19/18 3:40 AM | by Jonathan McKee

Fewer high school students are drinking, having sex and using drugs… but the CDC still says the findings of their most recent teen risk assessment “leaves room for concern.”

And please don’t undervalue my use of the word “fewer.” I really mean “a whole bunch!” We’re not talking a few percentage points. For example, in 1997 a whopping 37% of kids “currently” smoked cigarettes (in the 30 days prior to the survey). In 2017 only 8% “currently” smoke cigarettes. That’s a huge decrease!

Why is this? Why the overwhelming decrease in the number of kids engaging in many of these risky behaviors, and what are these concerns the CDC is referencing about their new survey results?

Let me give you the quick answers:

Why are today’s kids engaging in less sex, taking less drugs… even smoking less marijuana (yes, really) …than kids in years prior? A few months ago Continue reading “The CDC, teen risks, and who is vulnerable” »

Does Google and Apple care about your kids’ digital addiction?

Posted on: 06/5/18 3:30 AM | by Jonathan McKee

Yes and finally yes? (It’s about time!)

We’ve all heard stories of tech companies concocting evil plans to launch new gadgets and apps addicting children to their devices. Sound like a rumor? Sadly, these legends have proved to be true on many levels. Like when former Facebook president Sean Parker had second thoughts about what the social network was doing to our children’s brains and cast a little insight behind the scenes.

“It was developed to be addictive,” he admitted.

He wasn’t alone in his concerns. In fact a Continue reading “Does Google and Apple care about your kids’ digital addiction?” »

Everything’s different in just 5 years

Posted on: 05/29/18 3:30 AM | by Jonathan McKee

A few months ago I was eating dinner with a couple who had been in youth ministry for several decades, took a 5 year break, and just began serving in youth ministry again this year. The husband leaned over to me and said, “Jonathan, everything’s different! I’ve got kids who say they’re ‘pan’ or ‘a-gender’. I’ve got a girl who doesn’t want to be a she or even a he… she wants to be a ‘they.'” Then he asked me, “What the heck has happened in the last 5 years?!!”

Great question. And I answered it in this quick little YouTube video

This is what prompted us to launch the Anchored Leadership Conference… check it out HERE! (One day early bird registration is this Thursday!)

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)” »

7 Facts Undercover Adults Discovered about Teenagers Today

Posted on: 03/5/18 3:30 AM | by Jonathan McKee

I love it when research discovers something we’ve been telling parents for years. And for the last few weeks A& E show Undercover High has been revealing an eye-opening peek to many parents about the reality of what’s truly going on in the lives of the high school just down the street from you (and one of these “uncover adults” is a youth pastor).

The show unveiled quite a few realities about teen culture- seven, in fact.

1. The biggest surprise for these undercover adults was how much social media and smartphones had changed high school culture completely… and for some of these young adults, high school was only 5 years ago Continue reading “7 Facts Undercover Adults Discovered about Teenagers Today” »

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” »