Someone needs to give a fat raise to the marketing expert who rebranded MDMA as “molly.” When the drug was known as “ecstasy,” it was something parents and radio watchdogs knew to look out for. Now that it’s widely known and referred to by a name that sounds like your kid sister, the seratonin-depleting party-starter is everywhere in pop culture. (Miley Cyrus in particular has not been shy about how awesome it is.) Of course, there are plenty of questionable things mentioned in music right now so frequently and so casually that we hardly even notice sometimes. A new video shows at least one group that’s paying attention, though: children.
Created by Jimmy Smith II and Jarrel Smith of L.A.-based agency Amusement Park, “Kids” is a video that shows a bunch of children parroting the language of rap songs. It is by no means the first project whose thesis statement is “Won’t somebody think of the children!” but it manages to raise the issue in a way that represents the pervasiveness of radio rap’s negative aspects. The video doesn’t just call out foul language or drug use, but the thick layer of misogyny and other questionable attitudes that envelope so many songs.
“We just wanted to hold up a mirror to the types of messages we pump into our heads all day,” the Smiths told us. “We hope this film pushes some of our favorite, super-talented artists to push themselves toward more honest and balanced art. Not cleaner or censored, but honest. If rappers rapped about Hot Wheels and ice cream on every song it wouldn’t be honest either. But if you have 12 songs about money, where are the songs about the things money does NOT fix? Nobody is perfect, but as creatives we can always be honest. Honesty–it’s what makes truly great art, great.”
Hearing a child parrot the controversial Rick Ross lyric that cost him a Reebok sponsorship (“Put a molly in her champagne, she ain’t even know it”) is especially galling. Kids are too young to take in the implication of such a lyric, but receptive enough to internalize it. At one point in the video, some of the kids repeat one of this year’s biggest buzzwords, “twerk”–a reminder of how family-friendly the term has become. It’s important to remember that there is a reason why kids say the darnedest things.