Grammy Award Winning Producer Carvin Haggins calls for a rage against “the rachet” on urban radio.
First, you might ask, “Who is Carvin Haggins?” Even if you don’t know his name, I can promise you that you know his work! Carvin “Ransum” Haggins is a two-time Grammy Award-winning writer and producer who’s collaborated with artists ranging from Will Smith, Jill Scott and Musiq Soulchild, to Justin Timberlake, Patti LaBelle, and Chris Brown. The multi-platinum songwriter has received 21 Grammy award nominations and 10 ASCAP writer awards (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers).
When Carvin says, “ratchet” (the formal term is actually “wretched” which means “despicable” and “contemptible”), he’s talking about the sexual lyrics on “prime time” radio, which kids are likely to be awake and are likely to hear it. He takes issues with the music that he describes as “disrespectful, degrading, tearing our children down, over-sexed, and super lawless” and that promotes, primarily, “sex, murder, kill, drugs, and drinking”.
Ladies (and gents) of the “Beyhive”, he comes for you and Partition! He asks why is it okay for ‘Yonce to talk about Jay-Z “Lewinskying all on her gown.” Likewise, he wants to know how Chris Brown’s “Loyal” gets airtime on free radio. (Hook: when a rich n***a want ya, and your n***a can’t do nothing for ya. these hoes ain’t loyal. these hoes ain’t loyal. yea, yea, let me see. Verse: Just got rich. Took a broke n***a b***h, and I can’t make a broke b***h rich, but I don’t f **k with broke b***hes.) Finally, he says the saddest part is that women are singing along with these lyrics.
Ultimately, Mr. Haggins issue is that song writers and radio stations have an obligation to build and uplift the communities they serve, and he asserts that music like this doesn’t to that. More than anything, however, he says that artists have a right create what they choose; however, we, the community, should have something for children and families to listen together.
Lets call a spade a spade: Yonce and Chris Brown are on the radio early in the morning and in the afternoon when kids can hear it. Now, are you okay with your four year old singing those lyrics. Children do repeat what they hear! Lets face it: we all do. How many times have you caught yourself singing Pharrell’s “Happy” and you weren’t even thinking about it?
Now, here is what Mr. Haggin wants: he wants the powers that be who control urban radio to change what’s acceptable on urban radio. He talked about how certain words and lyrics are censored for pop radio, but those very same words and lyrics are okay for urban audiences. He wants “better” radio.
So, what’s your take? Do you agree or disagree with Mr. Haggins? How would you define “better radio”?
Mr. Haggins is holding a rally at the Power99 Station on June 7, 2014
Power 99 WUSL-FM
Clear Channel Radio
111 Presidential Blvd.
Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004-1009