(two sexually repressed Boston area teens discuss moving to Rhode Island)
Boston-area high school administrators, worried about students’ increasingly vulgar music tastes, have been delivering a pointed message to DJs: Keep it clean, or we keep the paycheck.
As teens gravitate to hip-hop hits like ”Candy Shop,” ”Magic Stick” and ”Get Low,” which are loaded with sexually explicit lyrics, school administrators say they are facing more pressure from parents to police the playlist for next month’s proms.
In the past three years, principals have been pulling disc jockeys aside before school dances and warning them to avoid vulgar songs or play the less explicit radio versions, DJs and principals say. DJs say parents are more knowledgeable about the music being played, and principals are listening more to parents’ concerns.
A Cambridge high school administrator said she carried through on a threat last year and withheld pay after a DJ played a raunchy song at the senior prom.
At Marlborough High, student dance organizers hire the DJs and submit a playlist ahead of time. Administrators rely on the DJs to filter out the vulgar or sexually suggestive songs because the DJs are more familiar with the lyrics, said Paul Kamataris, assistant principal at the school for 25 years.
”If things aren’t going right, we’re going to shut down the dance,” Kamataris said. ”They’re aware of their responsibilities. They know what’s appropriate. I control the purse strings, and you’re going to play the music I want or you’re not getting paid.”
Ken Cosco, the chief entertainment officer of A Touch of Class DJ’s in Marlborough, which entertains at hundreds of school dances, graduation parties, and other teen-oriented events every year, has a do-not-play list — topped, he said, by rapper 50 Cent’s ”Candy Shop.” The song makes thinly veiled references to oral sex by using a lollipop as a metaphor for the male sexual organ.
At Brookline High, radio versions of most songs usually pass muster, but not ”Candy Shop,” said Gretchen Tucker-Underwood, the dean of students.
”Don’t tell me he’s only talking about lollipops,” Tucker-Underwood said. ”I don’t want to have to go through the double-entendres.”
No, god, please. Anything but that.