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Rap Foes Put 20 Artists on a Hit List

Pop music: Leaders of a crusade against explicit lyrics expand their protest against record labels and bands. Early industry reaction: Stickers are enough.

May 31, 1996|D.J. SALEM-FITZGERALD and CHUCK PHILIPS | TIMES STAFF WRITERS

Industry observers believe that Bennett's radio ads will have little impact on forcing companies to drop potentially offensive rap and heavy metal artists. Unlike Time Warner, the corporations targeted are foreign-owned and unaccountable to American stockholders. In addition, they own no cable holdings, as does Time Warner, so are not as susceptible to political pressure.

Since forcing Time Warner to sell its interest in Interscope, Bennett has shifted his criticism of pop culture from rap to TV talk shows, and has spent most of the past few months on the lecture circuit.

Tucker, whose credibility as a rap critic has been challenged by accusations that she profited from ownership of slum properties in Philadelphia, has spent much of the past few months defending herself against a civil lawsuit filed by Interscope. The suit suggests she had an economic motive for criticizing rap music.

Rosen said that the Recording Industry Assn. of America initiated a program last year in which retailers are provided with posters alerting parents and children that some recordings may include graphic language.

The press conference was attended by about a dozen Rock the Vote protesters wearing "Censorship is Un-American" T-shirts. Mark Strama, program director for the organization, said: "If you turn off the music, the problem of the inner city won't go away."

* Salem-Fitzgerald reported from Washington, Philips from Los Angeles.

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