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Freeze! It's the Vice Squad! Part 2: The Rap Edition

Recently we discussed Iran’s new, improved, and super charged vice squad.  It appeared, at first glance, it was more about fashion than morality, with the targeting of those racy Iranian women who wore make-up or showed off some hot ankle.  Now Iran is learning what pop culture junkies here in America have known forever, fashion and music go hand in hand.  So while those feisty ladies have been rebelling in fitted jackets, the disenfranchised male youth of Tehran have turned to a musical culture founded on the struggle of impoverished youth battling against authority…that’s right, hip hop.
The use of profanity has made rap music the latest cultural endeavor to end up in Iran’s vice police cross hairs.  As those of us “old school” rap fans here in America know, sure, the swears words concern Iran, but the anti-authority, revolution inspiring themes, are what is really causing the Culture and Islamic Guidance Ministry to crackdown on the genre.  According to Mohammad Dashtgoli, the official for music at the Ministry, as quoted in a Breitbart.com article, “Illegal studios producing this type of music will be sealed and the singers in the genre will be confronted.”  He also states that “a large number of illegal rap singers have been already identified.”
Can you imagine an America where Public Enemy not only had to struggle with the conditions of their communities, but also with the sticky wicket of getting arrested for expressing their concerns musically?  “Fight the Power” indeed.  I don’t even want to imagine what would have happened if N.W.A. released their classic track “F*** the Police” in Iran.  But, don’t despair, just like the rap hustlers of the early 80’s discovered, there is always a way to get the music out to those who want it.  There is a brisk black market trade of rap albums in Iran.
Iran has cause for concern.  This is a symptom of a greater disease for their government.  Iran is coming down with a bad case of democracy. 
On a related, but unrelated note.  To the American public:  Let musicians express themselves however they want to in their music.  You don’t like an artist’s language or message, don’t buy their music.  If I ever, ever, hear another round of politicians suggesting that there must be a way to quasi legislate an answer to the fact that rappers use the n word and call women hos I will be forced to take drastic action.  In an effort to not incriminate myself, I will just say that it will probably involve Al Sharpton and a pair of hair shears.


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