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10 Hip-Hop and R&B Songs That Have Been Banned

Robin Thicke Ciara Tyrese
Bryan Steffy/Mike Coppola/Frazer Harrison, Getty Images

We’re in the 21st century, however, there are still struggles with gender, race and sexual preference that are still unavoidable in the world today. From whether or not homosexuals can get married to a woman’s right to choose, these are just some of the hot topics that artists have tapped into, causing a stir with critics.

Take for instance the fact that some states are pushing to ban hip-hop music altogether because of the violent and sexual nature of the lyrics. The debate on what music is appropriate to play rages on. Robin Thicke, Ciara, Lil Wayne and Eminem are just a few of the artists whose work has suffered as a result — their songs taken off radio, TV or even removed from the local bar’s playlist. Here’s 10 Hip-Hop and R&B Songs That Have Been Banned.


Robin Thicke
Bryan Steffy, Getty Images
10

'Blurred Lines'

Robin Thicke
 
 

While the song was a smash hit all over the world and catapulted Robin Thicke to headliner status, the song and video have both caused controversy. Recently, Edinburgh University prohibited the song from being played in any of the student buildings, which includes the student union as well as its bars and clubs. Other universities in the U.K. have followed suit, including the University of Leeds, University of Derby and University of West of Scotland. Student organizations at these schools have pushed for the ban because they believe the song objectifies women, "trivializes rape" and promotes sexism.

 
Ciara
Mike Coppola, Getty Images
9

'Ride'

Ciara
 
 

Ciara has never been shy about embracing her sexuality. But when she released the video for 'Ride,' featuring Ludacris, in 2010, BET refused to air the visual due to the explicit sexual images and dubbed it risque. Fans even started a petition to get the video back on the air. The songstress stands by her visual and never intended to make something that could just be too hot for TV.

According to BET reps, the network didn't necessarily ban the video, but asked her to re-edit it for the channel. Despite this fact, it's not the first time the 'Body Party' singer has had issues with getting her visuals shown on BET. "In my past experiences with BET, in particular, they have asked me maybe to take out a few things so normally you expect that -- not necessarily banned. That was the first time for me and that was definitely something that was unexpected," she told MTV.

 
Lil Wayne Rick Ross
Ethan Miller/Jeff Fusco, Getty Images
8

All Songs

Lil Wayne & Rick Ross
 
 

After Weezy's line about Emmett Till in the remix version of Future's 'Karate Chop' and Rick Ross' date rape allusions on 'U.O.E.N.O.,' Michigan's WUVS 103.7 banned their entire song catalogs from the station's airwaves.

“Effective immediately Muskegon’s WUVSlp 103.7 the Beat has pulled ALL Lil Wayne and Rick Ross music from rotation. We pride ourselves on playing music that is non-degrading and non-violent. While we believe in freedom of speech, creative writing and individualism, we refuse to be part of the problem by spreading messages that could harm or end someone’s life,” the station wrote in a statement.

 
The-Dream
Larry Busacca, Getty Images
7

'P----'

The-Dream
 
 

From the title alone, the song is already asking for criticism. The-Dream-penned track, featuring Pusha T and Big Sean, praises the female body, and the video for it does the same as well -- something that is just NSFW or possibly anytime. The striptease and allusion to masturbation on The-Dream's album cover just triggered YouTube's censors, and the site removed the visual. But that doesn't mean you can't view it. It is the internet after all.

 
Beyonce
Buda Mendes, Getty Images
6

'Video Phone'

Beyonce
 
 

While other music videos on here are banned due to explicit lyrical or visual content, Beyonce's 'Video Phone' is a bit different. Germany has decided to ban the video from airing due to an alleged copyright infringement claim from underwear brand Triumph. According to the claim, the outfits Bey and Lady Gaga were wearing in the video look like knock-offs of designer Iskren Lozanov. Although Sony says that the outfits were inspired by Picasso, German courts sided with the brand and designer.

However, Bey's TV ad for her fragrance, Heat, did go under fire in the U.K. and was prohibited from airing before 7:30PM.

 
Tyrese
Frazer Harrison, Getty Images
5

All Songs

Tyrese
 
 

Like Lil Wayne and Rick Ross, Tyrese's entire song catalog is not allowed to be played in Delaware anymore -- or at least the state's largest hip-hop radio station. While it wasn't for singing offensive lyrics, it was for voicing his opinion. He reportedly offended fans of KISS 101.7 when he referred to them as "homies" during a radio interview -- he was subsequently kicked out of the station. The station owner felt he was being condescending.

 
Eminem
Kevin Winter, Getty Images
4

All Songs

Eminem
 
 

If there's one rapper who doesn't censor himself it's Eminem. And because of his no-holds-barred approach to the mic, the U.K.'s University of Sheffield has banned all of his music from being played on campus. "Eminem's misogynistic and hate-filled language is intimidating and extremely threatening," says Rachel Agnew, the Union's Women's Officer told ABC News. "We are trying to build a union for all our students. Women and homosexuals should have the right to go out in the union without having to face these sorts of attitudes."

The proposed ban caused a split amongst the student body as some still feel they should have the right to listen to what they want and such a ban oppresses their freedom.

 
M.I.A.
Ben A. Pruchnie, Getty Images
3

'Born Free'

M.I.A.
 
 

M.I.A. is another rapper who doesn't care what people think. She will say what she has to say. However, when her video for 'Born Free' hit the web, YouTube quickly said no due to the graphic violence. In short, the video presents military officers, who wear American flag badges, going into a city and rounding up a bunch of redheaded boys. Then they turn their weapons on the young men. The cops also beat anyone who gets in their way.

 
Nick Minaj
Neilson Barnard, Getty Images
2

'Stupid Hoe'

Nicki Minaj
 
 

Nicki Minaj has been known to make some trippy music videos. But nothing could be as visually odd as 'Stupid Hoe.' Teaming up with Hype Williams, the video features quick and short clips of naked barbies, butts and Nicki making her off-the-wall faces. While there isn't anything too offensive there, BET chose not to air the visual on its network. One of the possibly offensive aspects is the hook at the end of the song. "F--- a stupid hoe" is repeated over and over again, which would result in a very long beep from the censor guy. While no real reason has been revealed on why a majority of the public has not seen the visual on TV, it seems that this might actually be a good thing considering the nature of the song.

 
Justin Timberlake
Bryan Steffy, Getty Images
1

'Tunnel Vision'

Justin Timberlake
 
 

Justin Timberlake may be a married man, but that doesn't mean he can't pay homage to the female form. And he clearly does that in his visual for 'Tunnel Vision.' Within seconds of pressing play, nude women are dancing all over the video, leaving practically nothing left to the imagination. With everything is left out there in the open, YouTube quickly took the video down and deemed it inappropriate.

As a result, that disappointed many fans, but the ban didn't last take long. YouTube lifted the ban after the visual was said to be "artistic," making the nudity OK.

 

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