By Stephen M. Silverman
July 03, 2001 01:00 PM

A First Amendment case that pits Eminem and other hip-hop artists against the Federal Communications Commission is brewing on Capitol Hill, reports Variety. The FCC levied an unprecedented $7,000 indecency fine against a Colorado radio station after it played an edited version of Eminem’s “The Real Slim Shady.” The commission’s ruling, contend attorneys for Colorado Springs station KKMG-FM, could conceivably keep all rappers, with their hardcore lyrics, permanently off radio airwaves. The FCC’s enforcement bureau determined that, even in its edited version, the song was still provocative and raunchy. No other radio station has been fined for playing the song in question, attorneys noted. In addition, the lawyers argue that society has accepted the Eminem song in question, as evidenced by the fact that it made national play lists, spent 16 weeks on Billboard’s Top 40, and received this year’s Grammy for rap solo performance. They also likened KKMG’s presentation of the song to ’50s TV host Ed Sullivan groundbreaking presentation of Elvis Presley (albeit from the waist up only) at a time that the musician was considered too controversial for mainstream audiences. FCC chairman Michael Powell has made no public comment on the KKMG situation.

Advertisement