May 21, 2007, News 12 at 6 o'clock
AUGUSTA, GA---"Pimpzilla" is arguably one of the biggest names on the regional rap scene. He has created a sound he calls "kush," short for krunk underground street hits.
His lyrics, like those of many hip hop artists, are laced with profanity, and in the songs, women are referred to as anything but.
"I use the word nigga, i use the word bi***, i use ho in lyrics," he said. "It's my right to do it. It's my First Amendment right, and I'm definitely going to exercise that."
Recent comments made by radio host Don Imus have prompted a national conversation about rap's lyrical content and whether rap is ultimately to blame for how women are viewed.
Brendolyn Jenkins is president of the Aiken NAACP. She says the music is "very degrading, very misogynistic, very troubling. The language in and of itself is abusive. "
Jenkins has recently spoken out against rap's lyrical content as a part of a national Clean Up the Music campaign, led by Rev. Al Sharpton. After speaking in local schools about hip hop, Jenkins says she's finding most young girls don't know the meaning of many rap lyrics.
"They didn't know what fettuccine alfredo meant. They didn't know what carrots mean. They thought they were talking about their mother's vegetable," Jenkins told us.
She says the images in the videos and the words coming from the rapper's mouths don't just affect how women are viewed by others, but how they view themselves.
"When the DJ calls all my hoes to the stage, the young girls go, unless you realize 'wait a minute, that's not me', " Jenkins says.
Kamille Bostick is teen reporter for Augusta Chronicle and mentors young girls in the Augusta area. She agrees with Jenkins and adds that the acceptance of abusive language is a sign of the times.
She says, "You can't walk up to an 80-year-old woman and call her a ho and she's going to be okay with it, but if you walk up to a 16-year-old girl, there's a good chance she will not slap you, because she's been conditioned to think it's okay."
But Pimpzilla says the words these woman call explicit, he considers endearing.
"I could be talking to my mother and use the word bi***," he said. "It is what it is. My mom understands. We come from that particular background."
But who's responsibility is it to turn rap around? Mona Gordon is the manager of Pyramid Music in Augusta. She says she even plays a part.
"I'm getting to the point where I don't even want to sell a lot of this stuff, because it bothers me, and I feel like I'm contributing to the problem," Gordon said.
The conversation will continue as long as rappers make music that millions want to listen to, and as long as there are people who speak out against it.