Feb 2, 2008

Inappropriate music

Inappropriate music story #1:

While riding the Beijing light rail after work one day this week, I was just getting ready to plug into my iPod. Just then, I heard what sounded like the beginning of an old-school N.W.A. rap song being played nearby. The newly-installed LCD televisions in the light rail car, which normally show Chinese government propaganda and news to captive audiences, was showing clips from a local variety show. They had just started a clip showing a dance troupe bouncing around to "Straight Outta Compton", by Ice Cube and his N.W.A. brethren, lyrics uncensored and at full volume. For those of you who didn't come up from the 'hood listening to this genre, as did I, you can check out the original video for the song on YouTube.

Standing in the middle of the crowded light rail car with families, old people, and children all watching this broadcast, a grin came across my face as I heard Ice Cube yelling, "Straight outta Compton, crazy motherf*cker named Ice Cube". My grin got wider still as I heard "Goin off on a motherf*cker like that; With a gat that's pointed at yo ass". By the fourth mention of the word "motherf*cker", I started to chuckle out loud and more than a few people were staring at me.

The video eventually cut away before we got to hear from MC Ren and Eazy-E, which was just as well, since we were just getting to my stop.

Inappropriate music story #2:

A while back, I was sitting with a friend in the McDonald's near the west gate of People's University, in Shuang An. It's a fairly upscale area right near the Friendship Hotel, with quite a few foreign visitors. There's a Häagen-Dazs, a 4-star movie theatre, a Pizza Hut, and a bunch of other multinational chains.

The two of us were sitting in the McDonald's in the early afternoon, and just like the subway, the place was full of young families, kids, and seniors. Suddenly, McDonald's started to blast over the public address system what may be the most inappropriate song ever for families, "My Neck, My Back" by Khia, the uncensored version. Remember, we didn't even get to hear this unedited version over the radio back in the US when it first came out. How very fortunate we are, indeed, to be living in the wonderful open society of the People's Republic of China. (Note: Here is the YouTube video, skip it if you have sensitive ears)

As far as the McDonald's incident goes, I was conflicted between feeling downright embarrassed for this huge mistake that McDonald's had made, and feeling highly entertained at how clueless the restaurant management and patrons were.


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