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'Offensive Lyric' Prompts Epic Records To Attempt The Impossible: 'Erase' The Track From The Web

from the epic's-brand-of-'forget-me-nows'-no-more-effective-than-previous-bra dept

The general rule of thumb is: once something's on the internet, it's there for good. But this simple fact eludes a great many people, many of whom demand the internet erase all the bad stuff or they'll sue/pass legislation. But you simply can't do it. There are millions of people interacting with everything everyday, and there are millions of places to hide stuff someone else wants to have disappear.

The latest entity to believe it has a shot at bending the internet to its will is Epic Records, which is now making efforts to 'erase' a remix of Future's "Karate Chop" from the web. Why? Well, apparently an "unauthorized" mix leaked into the public ear with a particularly offensive Lil Wayne lyric attached. (I hear you asking: "In terms of Lil Wayne, how does one define "particularly offensive?" Well, read on.)
Lil Wayne caused controversy with a lyric on Future's"Karate Chop" remix where he raps, “Beat that pussy up like Emmett Till," eliciting a fiery response from Till's family.
If the name Emmett Till doesn't ring a bell and you're wondering why anyone would care, here's a bit of Till's bio which, tragically, has a whole lot more to say about his death than his life.
Emmett Louis Till (July 25, 1941 – August 28, 1955) was an African-American boy who was murdered in Mississippi at the age of 14 after reportedly flirting with a white woman. Till was fromChicago, Illinois, visiting his relatives in the Mississippi Delta region when he spoke to 21-year-old Carolyn Bryant, the married proprietor of a small grocery store. Several nights later, Bryant's husband Roy and his half-brother J. W. Milam arrived at Till's great-uncle's house where they took Till, transported him to a barn, beat him and gouged out one of his eyes, before shooting him through the head and disposing of his body in the Tallahatchie River, weighting it with a 70-pound (32 kg) cotton gin fan tied around his neck with barbed wire.
His murderers were acquitted by an all-white jury and admitted to the crime several months later, protected by the "double jeopardy" shield.

Understandably, Till's family isn't happy with Wayne's choice of sexual metaphor, and with Rev. Jesse Jackson weighing in on the issue, Epic is feeling a little heat. So, its heart is in the right place and the offer to rid the web of the offending remix is noble, but there's no way it will ever accomplish that.
"We regret the unauthorized remix version of Future's 'Karate Chop,' which was leaked online and contained hurtful lyrics," the statement said. "Out of respect for the legacy of Emmett Till and his family and the support of the Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. ... we are going through great efforts to take down the unauthorized version."
Great effort will no doubt be made, but I can imagine there's going to be some collateral damage. We've already observed (several times) that many companies who attempt mass takedowns often remove legitimate content, up to and including their own offerings. Going into panic mode only exacerbates the problem.

Not only that, but is there any real reason to make this version nonexistent? I understand that many, many people will find Wayne's lyric incredibly offensive (because it is), but does erasing it from the web really serve any purpose? The information is already out there, in the form of posts like the one at HipHopDX. Killing off the remix, even assuming it were possible, changes nothing. The lack of aural evidence won't erase the written evidence. An official statement from Epic disowning this version should be all that's needed.

Let the "unauthorized" remix stay live. Bring this story to the front. This isn't anyone's problem but Lil Wayne's. He wrote it. He said it. He can live with it. No one needs to be tilting windmills on his behalf or on the behalf of those offended, and in the process, potentially taking non-offensive (OK -- less offensive) legitimate content offline.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 15th, 2013 @ 11:55am

    I have to agree...

    The answer again is MORE speech not less. More speech condemning it, not calls to remove it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Simon, Feb 15th, 2013 @ 11:58am

    Crappy thing to say, Tool named Lil Wayne needs to pay.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
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    art guerrilla (profile), Feb 15th, 2013 @ 12:07pm

    offensive, yes...

    censor, no...

    the thing is, even if you substitute just about anything for 'pussy', it is still offensive; the operable bit being making a mockery of emmett till's lynching...

    *HOWEVER*, the recourse isn't to CENSOR, but to either ignore it, or make a lesson of it, as you suggest...

    i don't want to forbid l'il wayne (or anyone) from saying ANY stupid shit they want; but i hope he wishes he hadn't said it... i sure don't see the 'point' he was making by using mr till's name...

    should have just said '...beat it like rocky balboa...' or sumpin that made *some* kind of 'sense' (albeit still crappy rappy bullshit that is offensive to woman...)

    art guerrilla
    aka ann archy
    eof

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 15th, 2013 @ 12:16pm

    spread it more vigorously with the story of Till's death added prominently and the way the court verdict was totally biased in favour of acquitting the whites that killed him. see how members of their families feel about things.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    quawonk, Feb 15th, 2013 @ 12:17pm

    Streisand Effect. Will these people ever learn?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
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    madasahatter (profile), Feb 15th, 2013 @ 12:21pm

    Streisand Effect

    It is better for Epic to make one statement disowning the work on their website than to try to find all the copies. Personally, Epic made the situation worse by try to find all the copies on the web. Many will here about and some will track done a copy even if out of curiosity. This will have the opposite effect of spreading the track further.

    The media coverage (pro and con) will stir up more interest among many who would have never heard of the track or its content.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    arron, Feb 15th, 2013 @ 12:38pm

    why is only part of the stories showing on the main page?
    how do we get it back to full stories?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
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    McCrea (profile), Feb 15th, 2013 @ 12:45pm

    I didn't know about Till. Now I do. Maybe the huff about hiding the lyrics may have a positive effect.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    icon
    McCrea (profile), Feb 15th, 2013 @ 12:46pm

    Re:

    click "expand all posts".

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 15th, 2013 @ 12:59pm

    Lil Wayne will end up like the creepy old dude that says only crap that everybody wants to get away from.

    He should enjoy his fame, until he dies in a shooting/overdose or get arrested for murder or something like Phil Spector.

    He definitely is the type of guy that will end up that way.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 15th, 2013 @ 1:01pm

    Re: Re:

    ya, then all you can't see is the last word or two hidden behind the collapse radio button.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 15th, 2013 @ 1:22pm

    Streisand Effect detected.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    icon
    Josef Anvil (profile), Feb 15th, 2013 @ 1:25pm

    We all seem to have missed the real issue

    Yeah yeah yeah it's an offensive lyric. Why hasn't anyone in Congress thought to add an exception to the double jeopardy rule which would void that protection in the case of confession.

    Murderers bragging about their crimes after getting away with it, is far more offensive than crude sexual metaphors.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
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    DannyB (profile), Feb 15th, 2013 @ 1:35pm

    It could be deliberate to increase attention

    It could be a deliberate act to leverage the Streisand Effect.

    It's like how banning a book will make it a best seller.

    Try to erase a music track from the web and make it the most pirated . . . I meant to say . . . make it a best seller.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 15th, 2013 @ 1:41pm

    Re: I have to agree...

    I didn't even know who Emmett Till was until Lil Wayne sparked this controversy. Maybe it's a good thing he said what he said.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 15th, 2013 @ 1:43pm

    Re:

    I think the Streisand Effect is a positive in this instance. Lil Wayne might take heat for what he said, but he does have people talking about an issue that was forgotten long ago by the mainstream of society.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Feb 15th, 2013 @ 1:50pm

    *puts the advocate horns on*
    Why do people feel they have a right to not be offended?
    This happens time and time again, and no one learns.

    Is the lyric offensive? Yep.
    Is the response more offensive? Yep.

    The murder of the teenager is horrible. Rather than use the new lyric to raise the profile of the case in the public mind, they want to wipe it away and pretend it never happened.

    It would be much better to have a conversation about how Justice is not evenly applied. That double jeopardy might need to be revisited in these cases, where it is clear that race not evidence lead to the finding.

    Rather than demand censorship, a much better response would have been to try and make something positive happen. We like to think what happened to Emmett Till is just a dark shadow from our history... but it still happens. Wouldn't a better outcome have been raising the profile of what happened and putting into motion something to make sure it never happened again? It would be a much more constructive use of the time and effort.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 15th, 2013 @ 2:17pm

    Re:

    no

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 15th, 2013 @ 3:06pm

    Re: offensive, yes...

    Why didn't he just say "nigger" like any real rapper would do?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 15th, 2013 @ 4:11pm

    Kids r our Future...

    Overly sensitive douche bags rule the day…sad to say.
    Dredge up the past to justify vilifying whitey, too bad the ignorant are in charge of the future to nullify allying sovereignty.

    Portland School Principal Ties Peanut Butter and Jelly to White Privilege
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/11/is-peanut-butter-and-jelly-racist_n_1874905.html

    Convicted killer says he shot 3 white women because of academia / “I was trying to prove a point that Europeans had colonized the world, and as a result of that, we see a lot of evil today,” he testified.
    http://p.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/feb/4/convicted-killer-says-he-shot-3-white-women -becaus/?utm_source=RSS_Feed&utm_medium=RSS#ixzz2K8UlKi48

    Videos Reveal Indoctrination Program Requiring USDA Staffers to Bang on Tables, Chant, "The Pilgrims Were Illegal Aliens"
    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/judicial-watch-releases-confidential-usda-013000954.html

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    icon
    G Thompson (profile), Feb 15th, 2013 @ 10:24pm

    Re: offensive, yes...

    I'm not convinced It is even offensive (which is an ambiguous concept anyway and bound to be relative to the person who sees/hears it)

    Firstly what Context are the lyrics by Lil Wayne in? Nothing seems to say that other than the actual line in question about Till.

    As for the actual line itself, coming from the outside looking in and now knowing the amount of beating that occurred towards Mr Till the lyrics make sense. Though I think the more offensive part would be actually beating a 'pussy' (if we assume it to be a female body part) to the extent that Mr Till was beaten. That borders on instigating violence.

    Though again context is everything.

    Personally trying to censor this (an exercise in abject futility) will cause more problems (especially for the Till family) than letting it go and explaining that yes it is offensive to them, these are the reasons why and maybe allowing the knowledge of the egregious wrong committed against Mr Till by his perpetrators and the community (jury) to be more embedded into the psyche of those listening to the song. Who knows maybe that was Wayne's aim in first place - Making more people aware !

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    Zem, Feb 16th, 2013 @ 8:38pm

    They would be far better off flooding the internet with a version without the "offending" lyrics and not actually saying anything about it.

    They haystack approach is how you hide something once it's on the internet.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
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    nasch (profile), Feb 17th, 2013 @ 6:29pm

    Re: We all seem to have missed the real issue

    Why hasn't anyone in Congress thought to add an exception to the double jeopardy rule which would void that protection in the case of confession.

    They can't even pass a budget, there's no way they could pass a Constitutional amendment.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    icon
    Ninja (profile), Feb 18th, 2013 @ 2:51am

    "But Mr Quixote, that's an windmill!"

    "Ah, dear Sancho how pure and innocent you are. Those are the giants trying to deceive you into believing they are windmills. CHARGE!!!"

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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