Imagine a mix of N.W.A's violent imagery and 2 Live Crew's sexual nasties.
Meet the Geto Boys--a Houston rap group that comes to us courtesy of the man whose record company gave us Andrew Dice Clay.
The language on the record is so . . . shall we say . . . "colorful" that executives at Geffen Records, which distributes Rick Rubin's Def American label, are . . . shall we say . . . less than enthusiastic about having their name attached.
In fact, Geffen's name and logo won't be on the Geto Boys album--just as they weren't on at least three other Def American releases, including the Andrew Dice Clay album.
Label executives were unavailable for comment this week, but Rubin said the company insisted that the record carry a disclaimer. The notice will read: "Def American Recordings is opposed to censorship. Our manufacturer and distributor, however, do not condone or endorse the content of this recording, which they find violent, sexist, racist and indecent."
Among the songs on the album are "Mind of a Lunatic," a first-person narrative of the adventures of a sadistic rapist-murderer, and "Gangster of Love," which uses a line from Steve Miller's "The Joker" as a backdrop for a sexually graphic tale spouting a philosophy that won't make any friends in the National Organization for Women. Several song titles aren't even printable in a family newspaper. (Never mind the lyrics.)
Group member Bushwick Bill defended the content as "reality," but said it was reality seen, at least in part, from the viewpoint of contemporary horror movies.
"This is the reality I've seen on the news and around me growing up: 'Texas Chainsaw Massacre' and Freddie Krueger," he said. "When I turn on the TV there's always someone getting raped, someone getting killed."
But Bill also said that as far as he is concerned "there is no line between reality and exploitation."
And Rubin, asked how far things can go, said, "I think this pretty much covers it."
Not surprisingly, both Bill and Rubin expressed support for 2 Live Crew's fight against obscenity charges and seemed concerned about the social climate regarding free speech.
"We're in the entertainment business and I would just assume politics not be involved," Rubin said. "That goes along with not believing that kids commit suicide from listening to heavy-metal albums, or that by preaching that kids should stay in school or not take drugs you will help those problems."
Added Rubin: "I don't think (some people at Geffen) like the record very much, and I can understand why. I don't think it's unreasonable for anyone not to like it."
But Rubin likes it, and that's all that matters, he said, noting that Geffen is contractually obligated to release whatever Def American produces.
But he also said, "If they wanted to not put it out, they could make it not happen. . . . So considering how much they don't like the record, I think it was bold of them to put it out.
"But if they'd asked me not to put it out they would have looked like hypocrites. . . . They've come out defending 2 Live Crew and against censorship. Why would they unless they do it (with their own releases) too?"