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Wal-Mart, Kmart Remove 'Smack' Album

Music: Warner executives continue to back controversial Prodigy song, which band says is not about domestic abuse.

December 06, 1997|CHUCK PHILIPS | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Sources said that about 700,000 copies of the amended album have been sold to U.S. retailers since April. It is unclear how many of those records were sold to Wal-Mart and Kmart, but both companies said they plan to cancel reorders for more copies and ship back whatever they pull off the shelves. A representative for Target said the Minneapolis-based discount chain was reviewing Prodigy's lyrics on Friday and would make a decision about it next week.

Thousands of independent record stores and record retail chains, such as Musicland and Tower, have no intention of pulling the Prodigy album or single. They note that the lyrics on Prodigy's recordings are no worse than any of dozens of stickered albums containing violent and sexually explicit lyrics released by Time Warner and its competitors.

"Smack" also continues to be played uncensored on about a dozen stations across the nation, including KROQ, the top rock station in Los Angeles. By contrast, KKBT, the top hip-hop station in Los Angeles, voluntarily bleeps violent and sexually explicit words--including "bitch"--in every rap song it broadcasts.

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