Three artists whose songs have been banned from the radio
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Three artists whose songs have been banned from the radio

In all anti-establishment and counter-culture movements, individuals risk offending people. However, hip-hop is particularly frowned upon by many in society, especially by more conservative figures. Before anything, the arts, more broadly, are a means of self-expression. However, when artists and thespians abuse their freedom of expression contrarily to address contentious issues and make incendiary statements, sometimes the establishment fights back. This is when material from artists like Kanye West gets banned.

Censorship in music is a phenomenon that has been around for a while. In the 18th century, certain classical chords were banned from being played in churches because they sounded so evil they were considered musical embodiments of Lucifer, and, to this day, institutions continue to shame and prohibit art they deem to be wrong. However, it is indisputable that, along with the film, hip-hop has been heavily affected by this kind of censorship.

Although rappers, for the most part, are free to use profanity as long as they put a ‘Parental Advisory’ label on their material, sometimes the music is so outrageous it is removed from streaming platforms and banned from airplay on both the radio and television. This attack on hip-hop started with gangsta rap and has become more commonplace over the years. In a contradictory manner, record labels rarely promote or invest in conscious rap. However, when the provocative, angsty hip-hop they invest in gets too intense, it is quickly shut down.

Several artists have been cancelled for their views, music and audio-visual output over the years. However, nowadays, it happens far too frequently. Although hip-hop has evolved, it has (in the eyes of many) regressed and become far more vulgar. Below we have compiled a list of three artists whose songs have been banned.

Three artists whose songs have been banned from the radio:

Lil Wayne

At the height of his career, when Wayne released Tha Carter III, he was considered untouchable. He was the next big thing, churning out number ones and platinum-certified records. However, as the hot new rapper, there is a lot more you can get away with compared to when you’re on your way out of the game.

In 2014, Wayne collaborated with Future for a remix of the Atlanta rapper’s track ‘Karate Chop’ However, in the era of cancel culture, Wayne found himself receiving some severe backlash for what can only be described as a lapse in judgement when writing. Carter saw it fit to rap a lyric that mocked the murder of Emmett Till. Carter’s attempt to incorporate Till’s death into some lyrical metaphor provoked an unfathomable amount of hate towards him. As such, it was banned from play on Michigan radio station WUVS 103.7.

Nicki Minaj

Young Money female emcee Nicki Minaj is a fiery character who does not hold her tongue. Having had feuds with Miley Cyrus, Taylor Swift, Lil Kim, Mariah Carey, Cardi B, Remy Ma, Safaree Samuels, and Wendy Williams, many renowned figures have been on the end of Minaj’s frequent online rants. Minaj has never responded well to criticism and pays attention to what’s being said and done by her counterparts on social media.

Upon her emergence in hip-hop, Minaj had a shady and evident disdain for Lil Kim and in 2012, she wrote a petty diss track entitled ‘Stupid Hoe.’ However, BET did not care for the song or its music video. With the Queens musician repeatedly screamed the word “hoe” and bragging about she’s happy to “piss on bitches.” The video featured naked Barbie dolls and seemed to be an ironic, colourful, but perverse video aimed at children. Hence it was banned.

Kanye West

Kanye West is a highly controversial figure and has been an agent of chaos since he jumped on stage at the 2009 VMA’s. As a self-proclaimed genius and undeniably fantastic artist, West has a love-hate relationship with the establishment. However, his creativity and self-expression often cross the line and make for both uncomfortable listening and watching. Kanye’s 2016 track ‘Famous’ was highly contentious, and its supposedly artistic music video was disturbing. The song’s visuals saw life-like wax models of various celebrities lying in a large bed completely naked, which many found strange. His music video for ‘Monster’ was also disturbing to such an extent YouTube removed it.

However, his music wasn’t banned because of its content but instead because of his 2018 meltdown rant, during which he asserted during a TMZ interview that “Slavery was a choice.” The African-American community, along with many black communities, including the UK and Canada, took great offence to the notion that their ancestors chose to be enslaved. Following this, West’s music was banned from airplay on Detroit’s 105.1 The Bounce radio station and Sacramento radio station Hot 103.5. Furthermore, many DJs refused to play his music during the aftermath.