Hot New Hiphop notes the incompatibility between lyrics like

I showed her a Xanax, she hurried up and took
I fucked her so good, she got up and started cooking
Rolling up big blunts, out a pound of cookies
If you ain’t got 40 bands, then you can’t book me
Pulled up on the side of your bitch, she wouldn’t stop looking
That bitch good as tooken, good as gone
I guarantee tonight my nigga, that bitch ain’t coming home
I got money to count, I got bitches to fuck
I got packs to flip, pistols to bust

and a public cafe.

One of Duke University’s cafes was playing this song for its customers when a vp of student life walked in, got wind of the pistols bitches and niggas, and took it up with an employee. The woman apologized and turned off the music, but the vp was really pissed and called the store’s management, which fired the woman and another guy who was also working the counter while the Xanax and the fucking so good wafted o’er the air.

The vp says he did not ask for them to be fired; he didn’t apparently ask for anything except for management to note that children and other non-violent, non-misogynistic people enter Duke’s establishment. The firing was management’s call.

UD doesn’t think the workers should have been fired. She does think that the cultural centrality of hiphop – like UD, I’m sure you’ve heard lyrics worse than these in public establishments – makes these incidents inevitable, and that universities need to think about whether this music is a good look for them.


UD thanks dmf.



I’ve been in public places with young kids around and thought, yikes, that song is a lot. I certainly wouldn’t go babysit for friends and throw on Dr. Dre with their 4 year-old. But even if you think the standards should change, the approach of calling out random people helplessly embedded in profane U.S. culture, as if upbraiding them is a righteous project, is not the way forward…

UD (see above) agrees; and yet think of that phrase: helplessly embedded… Really? Does that mean no one employed in a public setting has the capacity/responsibility to reject disgusting lyrics? Are we all helplessly embedded?


Another Update: The shop owner has now apologized for firing the employees. Good move.

The story is going national, which is also good. Attention must eventually be paid to the matter of – quoting from the article above – our helplessness relative to vile lyrics in public spaces.

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8 Responses to “‘It’s safe to say Young Dolph’s music isn’t the best setting [for] a coffee shop…’”

  1. Bernard Carroll Says:

    Duke is a university, for God’s sake! Are there no standards? Does Duke really have to suck up to the lowest common denominator in trash? Full disclosure: I am a Duke emeritus faculty member.

  2. Margaret Soltan Says:

    Barney: I totally identify with the vp’s rage. I don’t think I would have expressed it in the same way – I would not have said anything to anyone who works there, but would have taken out my cell phone and called management. To them, I would have expressed great anger.

  3. charlie Says:

    The company that Young Delph is associated with is Interscope Records. In the labyrinth that is the media/music business, the major distributor of the offensive music is Universal Music Group. The CEO is Sir Lucian Griange, whose pedigree has no association with the artists who create the stuff that gets people fired. If Duke U wanted to make a real statement, rather than some easy PR stunt, they would make people aware that hip hop is owned by unctuous white guys, whose motivation to produce lyrics about drug rape is profits. But that might mean actually doing something that requires a deeper understanding of the issue…..

  4. Margaret Soltan Says:

    charlie: Kinda like those beautifully suited, highly educated men who appeared in front of Congress yesterday to express shock and awe that they ran companies that dumped hundreds of tons of opiates on little towns in West Virginia.

  5. charlie Says:

    UD, yup, one in the same. The Queen of England should knight those pharma guys and make them official Lord of Drugs….

  6. Van L Hayhow Says:

    Either there has been a major misunderstanding or someone is lying. The Duke folks say they didn’t ask that the employees be fired and the employees say they were told that Duke wanted them fired. My guess is that lying is going on.

  7. David Foster Says:

    In what kind of organization are people fired without any internal documentation as to who made the decision, on what grounds, and who approved it?

  8. Bernard Carroll Says:

    Message from Duke president Vincent Price today.

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