The World Is Rated X

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"The World Is Rated X"
Single by Marvin Gaye
from the album Motown Remembers Marvin Gaye: Never Before Released Masters
B-side "Lonely Lover"
Released 1986
Recorded 1972, Motown Recording Studios, Hollywood, California
Genre Funk, soul
Length 6:27
Label Motown
Writer(s) Ezra Bolton, Marilyn McLeod, Mel Bolton and Robert Gordy
Producer(s) Hal Davis
Marvin Gaye singles chronology
"Just Like"
"The World Is Rated X"
"My Last Chance"

"The World Is Rated X" is a socially conscious song recorded by Marvin Gaye culled from sessions of the shelved You're the Man project from 1972, later issued on the Motown compilation album, Motown Remembers Marvin Gaye: Never Before Released Masters and released as a promotional single in 1986.


Gaye originally recorded the song in 1972 as he was working on a wide variety of projects. The song had two distinct versions. The initial recording was later issued while an alternate vocal version would later be included in the deluxe edition reissue of Let's Get It On in 2001. Gaye had originally wanted to release the album, You're the Man, with this song but due to Motown's mild response to the title track, the album was shelved and Gaye later released Let's Get It On.

In 1986, Motown, having helped Columbia Records feature songs on two posthumous studio albums, decided to release more Gaye recordings from the singer's Motown archives. This song was included along with other songs including Gaye's original recording of the Ashford & Simpson composition, "Dark Side of the World", later recorded by Diana Ross on her self titled debut solo album. While Gaye's 1960s recordings were overdubbed with 1980s productions, the singer's 1970s recordings including this song was left in its original versions. The song was produced by longtime Motown producer Hal Davis, who was to be the second producer on You're the Man as he had helped produce other Gaye songs from the sessions including "Piece of Clay" and "Where Are We Going?"

The song, recorded in a funk style, was a biting diatribe of the inner city, much like Gaye's previous song, "Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)", which Gaye delivered in a gospel sermon-inspired vocal, with backup from strings, horns, a solo saxophone riff, and a rhythm section.

To promote the compilation, Motown issued "The World Is Rated X" as a promotional single. It failed to make any charts though it was later issued on Gaye's Anthology set in 1995. The alternate vocal version of the song was released on the deluxe edition reissue of Let's Get It On six years later.

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