R&B Featuring Hip Hop: A Lyrical Dilemma
- March 2nd, 2009
- 1 Comments
A recent study featured on EurekAlert concluded that youth who listen to music with sexually degrading lyrics are more than twice as likely to engage in higher levels of sexual activity. The psychologist who authored the study, Dr. Brian A. Primack, also suggested that teens who are highly sexually active might seek out songs that are sexually degrading. Although the study was conducted at three “urban high schools” no particular genre of music was named.
Degrading sexual lyrics were defined as songs which describe sex as only a physical act and/or where one person sexually overpowers the other. Below is an example of what teens may have been listening to at the time of the study. Since the research, which will be published in April’s issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, reviewed 279 of 2005’s top songs, they probably included Pretty Ricky’s Your Body featuring Baby Blue, which is considered R&B that features a hip hop artist:
Knock knock knock knock you down like a tsunami
Bust in you like atomi-ee
I’m ahead of my class gettin’ head in the jag
Look in the duffle bag see Benjamin heads on the cash
Apparently, not much has changed since a report entitled Exposure to Degrading Versus Non-degrading Music Lyrics and Sexual Behavior was released by the American Academy of Pediatrics a few years ago. From that study:
Listening to music with degrading sexual lyrics is related to advances in a range of sexual activities among adolescents, whereas this does not seem to be true of other sexual lyrics. This result is consistent with sexual-script theory and suggests that cultural messages about expected sexual behavior among males and females may underlie the effect. Reducing the amount of degrading sexual content in popular music or reducing young people’s exposure to music with this type of content could help delay the onset of sexual behavior.
I think that the steady nature of this trend shows that there is no stopping teens from listening to sexually charged music whether it be on their cell phones, iPods, laptops, television or at friends’ houses. And because as all marketers know, sex sells, these explicit lyrics will continue to be written.
That said, researchers do understand sexually degrading lyrics in music are far from the only factor contributing to the high teen pregnancy rate in the U.S. and an alarming percentage of adolescents with STDs. Primack states, “These results provide further support for the need for additional research and educational intervention in this area.”
Gynae is Ypulse’s new Urban editor. She currently works with The Cipher Project in Austin. She’s also been involved in Better Hip Hop Bureau Austin and is currently in training to be a Lonestar Rollergirl, which has a program for young girls called Austin Derby Brats.
For more coverage of urban/multicultural youth culture, check out the new Ypulse Urban Channel.