Back in the ’90s, Judas Priest vocalist Rob Halford took part in a televised conversation pertaining to explicit lyrics in music. At the time of that conversation, Halford had left Judas Priest and had formed a new band called Fight.
The show that Halford was featured on was called Midday, and he is accompanied by the show’s host, along with two other individuals. One of those individuals is a woman who dives into a conversation regarding explicit lyrics in popular music (and who ends up saying some super cringe stuff); she primarily dives into rap music, speaking to acts such as NWA and Lench Mob. Referring to her son’s music at the time, the woman shares the following:
“I sat down and I decided to listen to what my son was listening to and I couldn’t believe it! These words are demeaning to women, they are violent, they’re racist, they’re anti-white. They’re totally anti-white in our society, I mean, you’ve got young white people who are anti-white! Anti-establishment. Anti-everything!”
The conversation then bounces back and forth between this woman, the show host, the other guest, and Halford. Along with the aforementioned rap groups, some rock bands are brought up, like that of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. At one point, Halford brings up a past trial where Judas Priest were sued by the families of two kids who committed suicide (the families claiming that the band had put subliminal messages into their music that somehow influenced the kids to take their lives). Regarding that matter, the Judas Priest vocalist shared the following:
“The basic issue there was an accusation by the prosecution that we put in these so-called subliminal messages into our music, which of course was completely false. What we found out instantly when the trial began was that the real issue here was the fact that the parents weren’t doing the right job in looking after their kids, you know. These kids were running wild, drinking and smoking drugs and so forth. Now, for me, I mean I’ve been in the rock and roll profession for over twenty years of my life and I’ve been through that whole stage as a rebellious kid myself and so forth. And so I think I have a real understanding of the issues that we’re talking about here today.”
Ultimately, one of the big points made during this conversation, especially coming from Halford, is asking why kids seek out the kind of music they do. Rob Halford believes artists should be allowed to express themselves; when talking about kids seeking rebellious music, he shares that:
“To me, I think that it’s just a simple stage of progression that most kids go through in growing up and I would say that 99.9% of them come out of it completely harmless. They enjoy their music, they get the pleasure, they get the entertainment, they get the enjoyment. What kind of message or factual involvement they get from it in terms of taking what they listen to and putting it into their own lives I think is a very small percentage.”
This conversation regarding explicit lyrics in music is a wild (and at times, super cringe) ride. You can view the footage of this conversation featuring the Judas Priest vocalist below. We do want to provide a content warning that, in the footage, the woman uses really offensive racial slurs. There are also lyrics presented regarding sexual assault.
What are your thoughts on younger audiences seeking out explicit music?
CW: racial slurs and lyrics depicting sexual assault