Tipper Gore, wife of former Vice President and Senator Al Gore, was one of the founders of the Parents Music Resource Committee. This committee was formed to increase parental control over the access children had to inappropriate music. The committee suggested a rating system similar to the one we use for movies (G, PG, PG-13, R, NR). In the eyes of the committee this would prevent inappropriate music from falling into the hands of gullible teenagers who will be influenced poorly by listening to it.
Because of this radio stations took it upon themselves to begin making ‘clean’ versions of these songs by taking out certain words mainly profanities or negative slang words such as nigger or hoe. I understand why this was done, however i think it ruins the integrity of the music. The artist produced the songs using those words because that is how they wanted their music to be portrayed, changing or omitting words to make a ‘clean’ version distorts the meaning of the song. This committee also led to the creation of a parental advisory sticker placed on the front of albums with inappropriate content. Some stores refused to sell the albums with these stickers, one of the most notable being Wal-Mart.
The creation of this sticker made a lot of music unsellable and caused a significant amount of outrage within the rap community. Many rap musicians criticized or parodied the Parents Committee or Tipper Gore herself. As terrible as this is I found this one especially hysterical.
I know Tipper was just trying to do everyone a favor and had nothing personal against the music or any of the artists. To me what she was trying to do made sense even though it would slightly ruin the integrity of the version of the songs to be played on the radio. It would make sense to sensor the material available to the youth with music the same as we do with movies. You can view and hear more inappropriate things the older you get. Even though I know that in a word like today’s where everything is on the internet and the rating system would be useless at best. Tipper doesn’t deserve the kind of public shaming she received from the music community, she was just trying to make the US a better place.