By DAINA STANLEY
If you are a ‘90s baby and you haven’t heard of Lil Wayne, you must have been living under a rock — he is the hip-hop legend of our generation. From Lollipop to A Milli, his series of self-titled Carter albums have birthed tracks that will go down in musical history. I have never been much a fan of Lil Wayne’s music. After his recent comments about the Black Lives Matter movement, I dislike him more. But I’d be lying if I told you that I couldn’t be caught twerking to his verses. I can admit that he’s a genius lyricist in his own right, but I also think he’s a hypocrite.
In a recent ABC News Nightline interview, he made statements said about not connecting to the Black Lives Matter that bothered me more than his demeaning lyrics. When I first heard about his interview, I didn’t believe it. I mean, next to Kanye West telling the world that “George W. Bush doesn’t care about black people,” Lil Wayne was one of the most influential celebrity advocates for the black community after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005. I specifically remember my thumb being glued to the replay button on my MP3 player every time the song Tie My Hands (ft. Robin Thicke) ended. The sentiment and vulnerability in that track used to bring me to tears.
One of the verses says:
Excuse me if I’m on one, and don’t trip if I light one/ I walk a tight one/ They try to tell me keep my eyes open/ My whole city under water, some people still floatin’/ Then they wonder why black people still voting/ Cause your presidents still chokin’/
I rocked with those lyrics, like I rock with the Black Lives Matter movement. I understand that everyone has their right to an opinion, and it is possible that beliefs and thoughts can change. However, the one thing that hasn’t changed about Lil Wayne is the fact that he’s a black man.
His statements became hypocritical in the interview after this. “I am a young, black, rich motherfucker. If that don’t let you know that America understands black people I don’t what is. Don’t come at me with that shit, okay. My life matters, especially to my bitches,” said Wayne. But didn’t he once reference the fact that the President (i.e. Head of America) wasn’t standing up for black people? Let’s be clear, Lil Wayne is a black man in America who came from the hood. Of all people, he should know that racism exists. It seems that at one time he did, but maybe the fame has tainted his view.
In his track Cry Out he speaks on police brutality:
Ghetto birds still shittin’ on us, government still quittin’ on us/So we got the names writtin’ on us/White folks still spittin’ on us/And then bitch ass police canines, teeth still grittin’ on us/
So, he can acknowledge police brutality, but in the interview he says “don’t feel connected to a damn thing that ain’t got to do with me. If you do, you crazy as shit. You. I’m connected to this flag right here. I’m a gangbanger man. I’m connected.” That’s ridiculous. Clearly, his months away in prison at Rikers Island made him forget where he came from.
So, when he talks about being a man, it includes being an example. He only became the hip-hop legend that he is, because he sold his first million records to a generation of young black and brown men who related to the street life that he came from. Just because white boys jumped on the bandwagon when hip-hop became cool, it doesn’t change the fact that he will forever be connected to those young street negroes who look up to him. Because of that he should always feel a connection to the Black Lives Matter movement.