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Polis Report

Chill Out

By Richard Sine

Praying for snowflakes in hell, you pick up the new rap benefit album "America Is Dying Slowly" thinking some gangsta rappers have finally changed their ways. Rappers like Coolio, Mobb Deep and Wu Tang Clan are busting rhymes for safe sex--surely a noble cause when AIDS is the leading cause of death among young adults. The cause is especially crucial for the target audience: the AIDS rate is nearly six times higher among black men, and 20 times higher among black women, than among whites.

But look at the song titles: "Stay Away from Them Nasty Hoes," and "No Rubber, No Backstage Pass." Now listen to the lyrics, in which a rapper complains, "that bitch gave me HIV, purposely."

Ain't nothing changed here. For years, gangsta rappers have promoted safe sex seemingly because it gave them a chance to rap about exploitative sex. The rest of their lyrics still equate happiness with driving Beemers and blasting any chump who looks at them sideways.

One fact missing from the liner notes: In heterosexual sex, men more often pass AIDS on to women, not the other way around. Which begs the question: why should any man listening to this album use a condom to save a "ho," a "bitch" or a "pussy"? Why, for that matter, save your life or anyone else's when all it's worth is a boast and a gold chain? Great concept, preventing the spread of AIDS, reaching people through the music they listen to. But if life is that bleak and self-destructive, wearing a condom is pretty thin life insurance.

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From the July 3-10, 1996 issue of Metro

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