Hip Hop and Rap artists, their managers, and their record labels have been scrambling all over themselves to pacify the accusatory ire of both the government and non-government organizations bent at stripping Hip Hop music of its rabid teeth9.Of the many Hip Hop and Rap performers that are now working to improve and soften their image to the now-scrutinizing public, Marshall Mathers otherwise more popularly known by the stage name Eminem has come to the forefront of Rap artists being severely criticized for their continued use of inappropriate and provocative lyrics. The “hate speech”10 that has come to be associated with Mathers in his rabid songs has propelled him to the centerstage of this growing battle between artistic license, freedom of speech and censorship. His position becomes more significant considering not only the provocativeness of his lyrics but also by the fact that his albums sell to both the buying public and the music award boards.11 Not only did his album, “The Marshall Mathers LP,” sell beyond 8 million copies in the year 2000 alone, but the same album also garnered several nominations and awards in the 2001 Grammy’s12. Aside form, the Grammy’s, Mathers also has won several award to his name. No other artist today better embodies the very phenomenon that supporters of censorship fear most: an artist with both provocative lyrics and a captive audience.This paper seeks to examine the ongoing debate surrounding the censorship of Hip Hop music. We first focus on the criticisms, forms of censorship and defenses made by various opposing sectors in reaction to Eminem’s provocative lyrics and music. The case study will include information on his life and a detailed focus on his song. A comparative study between the regulations of the U.S. and the United Kingdom on Hip Hop music.
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