Why Deleting 90.44% of My Best Music Made Me Feel Super – SASM 094

Joel Zaslofsky Smiling at You Picture

What does the soundtrack of your youth feel like?

Is it about love, compassion, and gratitude? Or is it like mine – horribly divorced from my current values – and about hate, violence, and complete disrespect of anyone different?

I recently realized that a huge part of my music collection, including some of my favorite songs, actively promote a worldview I'm against. That's unacceptable to me and I had to do something drastic about it.

So I went through all 272 of my hip-hop or rap MP3s and decided to either keep or delete them based on whether the song supported my personal values and the type of conversations I want to hear.

If I'm going to live by my top values – connectedness, self-awareness, gratitude, simplifying, and authenticity – I need to align my experiences with those values. If focused family time is so important to me, why should I listen to people label their brothers, sisters, parents, and children as liabilities or try to ruthlessly tear them down?

Can I in good conscience still sing along to music that glorifies murder, misogyny, or hard-core drugs?

No. I can't. And no … I won't.

So that's why I deleted 90.44% of my rap and hip-hop music in the past week.

Now, know that rap and hip-hop are huge musical genres. I'm sure there's tons of stuff out there like conscious rap or alternative hip-hop that's good for more than just a sweet beat. But my comments center around rap and hip-hop as I know it – pre-2004 and mostly West Coast gangster rap.

I'm not looking to judge anyone who continues to listen to music like gangsta rap. I don't think that I'm better than anyone who might become empowered by the same experiences that make me sad.

All I know is that I wouldn't sit through a hateful speech promoting utter disrespect for all women. I wouldn't read a book, listen to a podcast episode, or watch a video that glorifies murder and drug addiction. So why should I continue to hear those same things just because they are lyrical and have a sweet beat?

My goal for this episode is to have you search for what you're still letting in that's burdening you, makes you feel bad, or directly contradicts the values you want to live by.

Is it a certain kind of relationship for you? Is it the vengeful letters from a friend or ex-lover that you occasionally read so you can feel righteous anger?

Whatever may be holding you back, I hope my example with music helps you do something about your version of gangster rap.

Crank this episode up and let's explore together!

You're about to Learn ...

  • What artists influenced my youth – and that I'm now disowning.
  • Attributes of the 26 songs I kept and the 246 I deleted.
  • How to reassess what experiences you invite into your life.
  • How hard it was to produce this episode without including explicit content.
  • Why I'm open to becoming a huge hypocrite.
  • What musical genre dominates my at home yoga playlist.

Resources and Items Mentioned in This Episode

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Timestamps and Topics

  • [00:30] What I'm grateful for and excited about right now
  • [06:22] Context about why I deleted so many songs
  • [12:21] My history with and nostalgia for hip-hop
  • [15:01] The stats and exceptions of my hip-hop purge
  • [18:20] Songs I used to love and can't accept anymore
  • [23:22] How to challenge yourself to remove what you know is toxic
  • [25:51] New ways to support this show (thanks in advance!)

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I appreciate the personal nature of Joel’s style and his authenticity that I believe most people really crave. His varied topics has also been encouraging and informative in my journey of simplicity. Keep up the great work!”

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