A playlist to grow on
April 29, 2010 1:40 PM   Subscribe

Help me fill an mp3 player for my 10 yr old son full of quality but age-appropriate music that will help him develop tastes he can take with him into adulthood. With a good beat.

I was able to somewhat influence my daughter when she was younger, steering her to positive examples of strong women by exposing her to a wide variety of alternatives to Brittney.

Now I would like to attempt something similar for my son. He is a black kid in a Catholic family that kind of resembles a rainbow coalition. Our approach to parenting has been kind of post-racial, but I'd like him to be exposed to some positive examples of hip hop. Bonus for artists who are good examples in their own right.

Thing is, I don't want kid music, or tweener music, or (exclusively) christian rap. I want music that adults and critics also like. Best of genre music. But age appropriate. (I found this post, but would like to find stuff more current than 2006, tho classics are classics)

And with a good beat. I'm thinking stuff like 'Work it Out' by Jurassic 5. What can I add to the playlist?
posted by cross_impact to Media & Arts (22 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
The Mighty Underdogs
posted by box at 1:46 PM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

Lupe Fiasco
posted by ellieBOA at 1:55 PM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

Deltron 3030 is an amazing rap concept album. I'm not remembering much, if any, cussing. But check behind me on that because I don't notice since I don't mind.

Atmosphere also comes to mind, mostly because he has a song about a girl who got messed with at a concert of his and how bad that is. But definitely check behind me for language on that one.

You've already got Jurassic 5 on your mind so I'll just have to give you a lot of cool points for that one.

My brother has gotten me into A Tribe Called Quest lately. I've always heard of them spoken of in a positive way.

Erik B. and Rakim, KRS One, and X-ecutioners also come to mind.
posted by theichibun at 1:56 PM on April 29, 2010

Arrested Development comes to mind, and maybe some solo Lauryn Hill?
posted by knile at 2:08 PM on April 29, 2010

Check out k-os. Very uplifting; very musical; positive hip-hop role model.

Man I Used I to Be
Sunday Morning
and Crabbukkit (His amazing, non-sensical breakout hit)
posted by 256 at 2:11 PM on April 29, 2010 [2 favorites]

Eric B and Rakim? Arrested Development?

OP: would like to find stuff more current than 2006
posted by box at 2:26 PM on April 29, 2010

Blackalicious has some impressive and innovative flows and beats, and it's conscientious and age-appropriate. It's definitely not in the "Christian rap" genre, but it occasionally has Christian themes.
posted by domnit at 2:26 PM on April 29, 2010

I got one song for you : Like They Used To (Toad Remix)
posted by dabitch at 2:41 PM on April 29, 2010

When I was his age, I loved 'The Big Chill' soundtrack.
posted by gnutron at 2:54 PM on April 29, 2010

Scripts n Screwz - Boom - a curse or two, but anti-drugs (but hot enough that he may not notice until he likes the song a whole lot).
MercuryWaters - One
Mos Def - Wahid ("Fret not ghetto world guess what? God is on your side!"), Priority ("Love, power slay the hate".)
Mos Def's verse on Taxi (2010) is great - just have to fade out before the second verse.
Zion I - Gotsta Chill w/ Talib Kweli, Inner Light (remix), Silly Puddy.
posted by cashman at 2:57 PM on April 29, 2010

Strange Fruit Project is a positive, politically aware hip-hop group from Texas. There are no swear words on their albums, making them super kid friendly. Check out their most famous album The Healing.
Mos Def and Talib Kweli are amazing, talented artists but if you feel uncomfortable with swearing or explicit diatribes on drugs, violence, and poverty then they might be too mature for him. But keep them on your radar for later - they make incredible music.
posted by missmary6 at 3:55 PM on April 29, 2010

Best answer: Fun question, thanks for asking it. Here are some of my thoughts, prefaced by a couple caveats. 1) Gosh, the post-2006 thing is hard for my aging tastes; I'm going to respectfully ignore it. 2) Any of these might have some (not too much) offensive language in the lyrics, so listen on your own first.

Michael Franti- I don't really dig his most recent stuff as much, and he is pretty excited about marijuana in some songs, but he has addressed themes like panhandling, poverty, racial profiling, the death penalty, pacifism, AIDS, etc.

Heartily seconding Blackalicious and Tribe Called Quest.

I would think a young black man would need to be hep to Marvin Gaye and Smokey Robinson - hope you're including a little of that legacy stuff.

Shifting away from race... Bruce Cockburn is a really great songwriter who is devoutly Christian but still writes positive, ethically aware stuff that resonates with me (a non-theist). I'd say Ani DiFranco for similar conscience-cultivating reasons, but I'm not sure she works for you as Catholics. Catholics come in many flavors, you decide.

At this age, a lot of what they listen to is just fun, though, and they're not captive of any particular genre yet. My 10-year-old loves They Might Be Giants, Bach, Philip Glass, the Shins, the Decembrists, Star Wars soundtracks, and the Beatles.
posted by richyoung at 4:32 PM on April 29, 2010

Ugly Duckling! Socially conscious hip hop without all of those crazy swear words. I think their album "Taste the Secret" might particularly appeal to a 10 year old. Mmm, meatshake.
posted by scarykarrey at 4:44 PM on April 29, 2010

How about going way back and finding some kid-appropriate jump blues? It's fast and fun and often nonsensical, such as much of what Louis Jordan recorded. Slim Gaillard also recorded quite a bit of novelty music that should be kid-safe.
posted by chez shoes at 4:49 PM on April 29, 2010

Ooh seconding Ugly Duckling!
posted by ellieBOA at 4:51 PM on April 29, 2010

as a ten year old, I really enjoyed eurythmics and kansas. I don't think I started listening to contemporary music until several years later!

you could always find music in another language and not have to worry about the age appropriateness
posted by rubah at 5:47 PM on April 29, 2010

Our girls (9 and 7) have really enjoyed tobyMac, a christian rapper.
posted by johngalt at 6:18 PM on April 29, 2010

and Matisyahu is described on wikipedia as an "American Hasidic Jewish reggae musician." Hows that for rainbow collection in one body? Haven't found a track yet I'd skip b/c of kids.
posted by johngalt at 6:40 PM on April 29, 2010

I really like K'naan, his song Wavin' Flag seems popular right now with tweens with it's uplifting message.
posted by saucysault at 7:09 PM on April 29, 2010

Best answer: Oh, man. You need to check out Wired's Geekdad.com. They have a podcast, half of which is sorta inside baseball stuff about the site, but the other half (alternating weeks) is exactly what you're looking for.

You want to D/L the Hip Tracks episodes. They'll point you to a bunch of family-friendly tracks (half of which are free D/Ls themselves) that are safe, smart, and as often as not in a HipHop vein.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 10:26 PM on April 29, 2010

Response by poster: Great stuff folks. Thanks! I've got a list and now I'm going shopping!
posted by cross_impact at 10:13 AM on April 30, 2010

Consider Spearhead.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:56 AM on April 30, 2010

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