A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this music.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this is an album littered with profanity, violence, drug references, and racial expletives (including the "N" word). Additionally, the infamous "gangsta" lifestyle is glamorized on many of the tracks, with lines about drug dealing, pimping, and shootings intermixed with illusions to the "good life" of designer clothes, cars, and women. There are, however, some redeemable traits to this album, including subtle explorations of American society and culture (social injustice and racism) and clever lyrics.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Although Styles P's latest album, SUPA GANGSTA (EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMAN) contains material that might not be appropriate for kids or even mature teens, the album does have some lyrical gusto. And as the title implies, there is a dichotomy to this piece -- an ambivalent struggle between right and wrong and the privileged and the poor. For example, \"Cause I'm Black\" is a verbal discourse on American society's ills, as it details racism, police brutality, and political dysfunction with clever rhymes that rise above mere filler between hooks (\"I'm trying to break free of the hole but five out of ten brothers gonna see a parole...Take one step forward and do the moonwalk back/gimme the peace prize like Al Gore/I gotta mind like Malcolm X\").
Is it any good?
This album is littered with profanity, violence, and glamorizes the gangsta lifestyle. Yet solid beats and samples with a powerful message sometimes -- just sometimes -- break out of the mold of conventional rap mantras of sex, money, and guns. Other tracks veer into more typical rap territory, with tracks such as "Holiday," a rap anthem to money and the trappings of wealth and ill-gotten gains. The charging beats and riffs however save this track from becoming a clichéd brag-a-thon.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why rappers feel the need to put out R-rated CDs. Do you think glamorizing drugs, violence, and the "gangsta lifestyle" will sell more albums? How much is real and how much is fictionalized? How does this urban mythology inspire and empower the underserved and how much does it exploit and stereotype? Also, Styles P tackles some tough topics on this album, like social injustice and racism. How do artists throughout history play a role in politics and social change?