'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.

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Comments on “'Offensive Lyric' Prompts Epic Records To Attempt The Impossible: 'Erase' The Track From The Web”

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24 Comments
art guerrilla (profile) says:

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

G Thompson (profile) says:

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 !

madasahatter (profile) says:

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.

Josef Anvil (profile) says:

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.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

*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.

Anonymous Coward says:

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

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