20 October 2017
Evolution of Language through Lyrics
Over the course of many years, various genres of music have incorporated explicit lyrics in their songs. These different genres vary from heavy metal rock-n-roll to rap. However, this music has been influencing speech in society for generations. Not only has “slang” altered with the music in pop culture, but profanity is now used in the everyday language. Because music has been infused with explicit lyrics for decades now, society is more accustomed to profanity in everyday communication than ever before, and as an outcome, this music has changed the way the culture views profane language as a norm.
Jazz was the hot music of the 20th century. Beats and instruments used to produce jazz were velvety and mellow. Music shifted to doo-wop in the 40s and 50s. By the time the 60s came rolling in, rock-n-roll came on the scene took over the hearts of the people. Around the 80s and 90s, rap and pop music began to gain its popularity. However, it wasn’t until the late 80s and early 90s when you would begin to hear profanity make its mark in music and on the radio. As time progressed, language and music both evolved because there is a direct relationship between the two.
When discussing explicit music lyrics, many would automatically think rap music. 80s and 90s rappers such as N.W.A., Tupac, and Juvenile are some of the most well-known profane artists in music history. Juvenile, on average, used about 33 curse words per song tying with N.W.A. and Tupac using 29 per track (Powell- Morse). However, none of these artists’ net worth is less than 2 million dollars, with one member of N.W.A. reaching more $780 million. According to the numbers, these rappers with their vulgar words, still seemed to be successful.
Proponents argue that their use of profanity is to get their point across and display their pain or a message through their lyrics. One example of a group who tried to convey this message is N.W.A. During the time their hit song “F*ck Tha Police” dropped in 1988, the members of this group were facing racial profiling on an everyday basis. They were constantly harassed by police because of their skin complexion and type of music they used to express themselves. In the song, Ice Cube and Eazy-E both exclaimed their extreme hate for policemen because of the harassment they’ve received for no valid reason.
Rock-n-Roll was the extremely popular genre from the 1950s to the 1990s. Bands such as, The Beatles, The Who, Queen, and Guns N’ Roses took over the music industry. However, the content of the music evolved greatly over that span of time. In the beginning, profanity wasn’t common in rock music, but as the genre evolved explicitly began to come out more in their music. Moreover, The Who first used some colorful language in their song “Who Are You?” in 1978, causing an extreme uproar because it went against the status quo of rock music.
Although foul language wasn’t...