Good morning, Iraq

Hip-hop was a topic of debate this week in the conservative blogosphere, with online pundits outraged that Armed Forces Radio may increase its rap spins.

According to Stars and Stripes, a daily newspaper for servicemen and their families, a team of media consultants recently recommended Armed Forces Radio air more hip-hop and pop, and less country music and talk shows (including NPR and Rush Limbaugh) in order to boost ratings.

Lund Media Research surveyed 1,125 AFR listeners between January and April, and conducted 10 focus groups. Based on the findings, it recommended restructuring the two stations that broadcast globally. The first station would be pop and hip-hop and the second station would have classic rock and alternative play lists. A third station, which would only be broadcast in select areas, could feature country music and talk radio.

Lund claims that talk radio is not a major draw for listeners under 34, and that country music is difficult to mesh with other formats, given the fact that it is intensely disliked by a portion of the audience. The consulting group also suggested axing sports programming, which has a limited audience among the troops.

Conservative commentators and bloggers seem to have decided that this is a hip-hop vs. Rush Limbaugh issue. Go figure.

Fox News radio host/columnist John “Stop the War on Christmas!” Gibson gleefully sounds the alarm in this week’s column.

In the process, Gibson gets his knickers all in a knot. He balks at the prospect of soldiers being fed a “steady diet of hip-hop,” not so much because of the music, but because of the ideas expressed in it:

“In the hip-hop format, the ideas are misogynistic — women hating — plus some street guns, some pimpin’ and the whole phenomena of fathering kids and moving on.

I know there are young service people who like hip hop. That’s fine. They should be able to buy the stuff.

But does American Forces Radio really want to be pushing the ideas we hear in hip-hop?

It’s bad enough that these ideas will be drifting into the heads of our service people, but American Forces Radio also reaches a lot of people in the countries where America has bases. Do we really need to spread hip-hop in more places than it has already spread?”


There’s a whole wack of reasons why this is utterly ridiculous. To begin with, when it comes to sexism, it must be noted that Rush Limbaugh is hardly a beacon of gender equality himself. I believe the term “feminazi” is one that he’s particularly fond of.

Plus, the idea that soldiers have naïve, impressionable minds that must be protected is pretty silly. Dudes are at war. I can’t imagine there’s any act of violence they will hear on wax that they haven’t already dealt with in real life. (Speaking of violence, if conservative America is so against it, how come they support the war?)

And if absent fathers are a major concern, one has to wonder how all the army kids feel about their pops being shipped off to foreign countries for combat.

But the bit about cultural imperialism that Gibson sneaks in at the end—the idea that hip-hop is spreading like a virus across the planet, infecting other nations with its pimped-out, gun-toting shenanigans—is what’s particularly laughable.

Let’s try to get some perspective here. My guess is that folks in other countries are a lot less concerned about American hip-hop tracks invading their airwaves than they are about the U.S. military invading their streets. Just a thought.

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  • Bol

    >Plus, the idea that soldiers have naïve, impressionable minds that must be protected is pretty silly.


    You might wanna rethink that one.

  • 2chéLupe

    Im lovin the strength of hip-hop..its so cooo….
    Lupe Fiasco’s Food & Liqour in stores the 26th in UK, and the 27the for u Americans

  • Sarutama

    Conservatives in this country (or at least what passes for them these days) will take any chance they can get to attack anything they deem to by even slightly subversive.

    The fact is, regardless of what people want you to believe, the ONLY voice of dissent regarding the war, hell the current state of affairs in this country in total, that young people are going to listen to is coming out of hip hop.

    Sure, Bruce Springsteen released a protest album, but how many 18 – 21 year olds do you think really listen to Bruce Springsteen.

    I mean, look at how he phrases things. “Street guns”. Not guns mind you, because he sure as hell would piss off his conservative listening base if he were to attack guns. Not to mention the fact that the idea that a SOLDIER would be currupted by music about GUNS is like saying that that a train conductor should never listen to “I’ve been working on the railroad”. Its just plain fucking stupid.

    And trust me, the countries we have bases couldn’t give a canary fart about what music our radio stations play, not when our Soldiers are slaughtering civilians (Haditha anyone.)

  • Sarutama

    I will add that I disagree about the soldies “naive, impressionable minds.”

    I mean hell, they signed up to go get shot at in some hell whole of a foreign country so that Haliburton can give its executives a bigger Christmas bonus afterall.

  • Katari

    Damn, country music aint really much better than rap. I mean the lyrics have the same meaning. I guess if a country artists sings about a one night stand its sounds better than a rapper saying a sexed that hoe(garden tool).

  • Ian

    No it’s just that back in the 80′s hip hop was seen as a fad that would go away after a few years. It’s 2006 and most likely suburbian kids want to be a rapper. They get tired of their everyday lives so they throw on a gangsta rap cd and they too are gangsta for seventy minutes. That’s what’s getting to them, people like Diddy, Jay, 50, and Eminem all have multiple outlets. (Clothes, water, books, shoes, Fragrents, watches, labels, President of a major label, ect.) Hip-hop is all over the place and they’re scared of it, but I don’t know why.
    1.Rush was on pills, hip-hop now a days is about the dope boy music, so T.I or Jeezy probably sold the pills to him. lol
    2.Mel Gibson brought Jesus to the movies, Prodigy beat him up and Kanye brought Jesus to the strip clubs.
    3.Probably should’ve left this out, but Mel Gibson says our soldiers shouldn’t hear about “street guns killing people” Gangsta rap has gun play four bars into the song, so what the hell are they doing over there, talking? Hell no they’re blowing people up.
    So many things we have in common.

  • Mikey Ess AKA SukedowN

    Say what you want, but there is not one positive effect on either the soldiers or the Armed Forces themselves by creating a hip-hop station.

  • DANJA29

    Yeah… if there’s one thing the soldiers don’t need, it’s music that suggests that it’s OK to shoot and kill people for no apparent reason.

  • lone1

    Well…I’m stationed in Iraq…(65 to go out of this year)…and all you really here is country…country…and classic rock…some old shit…country…and some classic rock as well…

    Now as far as the fact that they think we are impressionable human beings…that is type funny…who cares if the shit is misogynistic…there aren’t that many females here anyway…and shit…they do what they do…if nothing at all..they are worse than the males…guntalk?…I walk around with an M-4 all damn day with a enough magazines and bullets to last me a life time.

    Endstate..I applaud the fact that we finally get some shit to listen too when we turn on AFN…grant it…it’s been a long time coming…but hey…it’ll be all good for the next soldiers to come…I can’t live without my music…and AFN…just a simple radio station…could’ve possibly made the shit go by a tad bit smoother.

    SSG Banks,
    2-1 Inf Bn, 172d SBCT
    Mosul Iraq

  • ummmm

    yeah, so, ian? mel gibson does not = john gibson

  • Giangaby..Haciendo Ruido Fam

    hey’I'm in Iraq living in the middle of Fallujah city n to be honest when ever the boyz n me get a chance to listen to some hip-hop,rap or reaggeton n spit some lyrics may be the only time that we may have to relax n put our mind at ease, a woman is going to be a woman n a hoe is going to be a hoe regardless of the situation, and by first hand knowledge the content of a few hip-hop song doesn’t make me a better or worst Marine, they can ration how much music we get on the radio if they wanted too but we still have cd’s mp’3 n by the way the iraqi people love it, even though they dont know how to dance!!! the bottom line is the military and the goverment agencys can attempt to control what we listen too, even what we eat or the way we live but there is no body that can control our hearts n minds… specially if this music has become part of your culture…hey i guess we got somebody in white houses that likes hip=hop how’s that condolisa cause i’m sure is not G.W

  • Projectnrm

    Great column. I agree completely with everything that you said here, Tara.

    True, a lot of the people who signed up in Iraq were young, impressionable kids who had little to no idea of what they were getting themselves into. But after being a part of the goings-on there, and experiencing the things they’ve experienced, chances are they’ve become a lot more mature than the spoon-fed trust fund babies who govern our nation today.

    Conservatives are just afraid of losing control, and the situation in Iraq is an example of that. They’re trying more and more to hold on, but its all just slipping through their fingers.

  • Erik

    Damn, I love wikipedia:

    On the May 11, 2006 broadcast of “The Big Story”, Gibson called for his viewers to have more children. His reasoning appeared to be in part to prevent Hispanics (who he doesn’t consider White) from ever being the racial majority in America. [13] [14]

  • Combat Jack

    good post

  • jimi izrael

    monster post. took my breath away. good job.

  • Blaq Thought

    where the fughk are you all getting this Mel Gibson stuff from when the writer of the article is John Gibson – Fox news propaganda commander not Mel (If I could be like Christ) Gibson . . . .or did I read the article wrong on Fox!!!????

  • Matt Herbein

    Got DAMN girl, I love you cause you’z is so intelligents! I love you!

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