An interesting development has recently occurred, fueling discussion on the topic of online censorship — with particular emphasis on hip-hop lyricism. YG’s “Meet The Flockers,” a Mikely Adam-produced track from 2014’s My Krazy Life, was recently removed from the rapper’s official YouTube channel; subsequently, My Krazy Life was removed in its entirety from both Spotify and Apple Music.
Last week, it was reported that YouTube staff members were fighting to have YG’s “Meet The Flockers” removed from YouTube, citing a violation of the hate speech policy. At first, YouTube moved to keep the song uploaded, though they acknowledged that they were indeed offended by the song’s lyrical content. Yet they eventually changed their minds, and YG’s controversial song was summarily scrubbed from the website. Shortly thereafter, the album followed suit on several prominent DSPs.
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The about-face prompted backlash from many of YG’s fans, though it would appear that YouTube was not looking to remove “Meet The Flockers” entirely. As of now, a censored version has been added to the rapper’s official channel, with the reference to Asian-Americans being scrubbed out. It is as of yet unclear is those critical of the song will feel this measure is sufficient. In the meantime, check out the censored version of “Meet The Flockers,” which features an upload date of April 5th, 2021.
Though some applauded YouTube’s decision to take action, given that “Meet The Flockers” featured lyrics that singled out Asian-Americans, others expressed concern that YouTube’s decision marked a slippery slope — particularly where hip-hop is concerned. In a musical genre where a vast majority of albums are slapped with the “Parental Advisory: Explicit Content,” and there is little doubt many bars would be deemed problematic by today’s standards.
It seems as if YouTube themselves acknowledged this, having noted in their initial response that “removing this video would have far-reaching implications for other musical content containing similarly violent or offensive lyrics, in genres ranging from rap to rock.” Given that they ultimately went on to remove the song anyway, it should be interesting to see how these “far-reaching implications” come to manifest in the future.