Critics expected to take on MCA for explicit rap lyrics

Los Angeles Times Staff Writers

Adversaries of explicit music lyrics are expected to attack MCA Music Entertainment today at a Washington news conference organized by former drug czar William Bennett and C. DeLores Tucker, chairwoman of the National Congress of Black Women.

The two launched an anti-rap campaign last year that pressured Time Warner to dump Westwood-based Interscope Records, which now releases controversial music by such affiliated labels as Nothing and Death Row through Seagram-owned MCA Music, a division of Universal Studios. MCA paid $200 million in February for half a stake in Interscope, which is currently the hottest record company in the industry with five albums in the top 10.

Seven months ago, Bennett and Tucker applauded MCA for “taking steps in the right direction” because its new contract with Interscope allowed MCA to refuse to distribute any album the company deemed offensive.


Tucker and Bennett are expected to admonish MCA today for deciding to manufacture and profit from new profanity-laced albums by such artists as Tupac Shakur, Snoop Doggy Dogg and Marilyn Manson.

Bennett, Tucker and Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.) also plan to use the news conference to praise Wal-Mart Stores, the nation’s largest retailer, for refusing to stock albums that carry explicit-lyric stickers or suggestive artwork.

Why Bennett and Tucker have chosen to salute Wal-Mart at this juncture is puzzling for many in the music industry. The mass merchant has rejected stickered product for at least five years--as have several other retailers.

Other giant sellers this month that aren’t carried by Wal-Mart include rap recordings by Mobb Deep, Mo Thugs Family, Lil’ Kim, Westside Connection and Ghostface Killah, which are manufactured and distributed by MCA’s five major record competitors.