In Defense of Lil’ Wayne

lilwaynehead

Truth be told, I feared defending Lil Wayne was more of a personal vendetta. I may not like him, but for all I knew he was a well-respected media artisan. I’m not that attuned to the world of gangsta rap, as you can tell by my use of the phrase “gangsta rap.” What if I’m just some dorky white kid complaining about something I don’t understand?

Well, if my research says anything, I’m not alone. There are a lot of people harboring hate for Lil Wayne. Dorky white kids must populate the earth, in an image that makes my kidneys spasm. So much raising of the the roofs…

But I’ll ignore my terrifying imaginings for a moment. First, I need to talk about Lil Wayne. Hmmm… typing “Lil” alsomakes my kidneys spasm… fascinating…

Are acute pop culture renal explosions treatable?

Are acute pop culture renal explosions treatable?

Speaking of kidney spasms, Lil Wayne was recently hospitalized for seizures. Seizures and spasms are close enough to function as segues, right? Oh well, I’ll do it anyway.

Don’t worry, Lil Wayne is not dead. After a terrifying (?) bout of drug-induced (?) seizures put him in the hospital, Mr. Wayne was released with a clean bill of health (???). Yeah, details are scarce. But in Wayne’s own words, “Kiss my fist. I’m more than good.” … I guess it’s better than “Fist my kiss.” Punching concentrated rhinestone can’t be good for the knuckles. But I digress.

In any case, Lil Wayne’s scare and recovery made me realize I’d never written about rappers. I don’t feel qualified or capable, but here we are. So how do we want to start this? Remember, I’m a loser white boy from the rural Midwest. You’re lucky I’m using a computator. Tell you what, let’s go with a list. Dislikes first.

– Juvenile, boasting lyrics
– Degrading attitude toward women
– Vicious homophobia
– Celebration of self-centered lifestyle
– Wildly inflated ego
– Mediocre rapping celebrated as culture-making
– Voice of a menopausal vulture
– Uses word “Lil” in name, ow kidneys

So a few things to address. If any were false, that’d be easy, but… Defend, Justin, defend. This’ll be hard.

I like your bracelets?

I like your bracelets?

Okay, first, juvenile boast-filled lyrics. Want another list? This one’s not safe for children, but this is a blog post about Lil Wayne. If you’re a child, why are you here?

  • “I got money out the ass no homo but I’m rich…”
  • “I like my drinks straight… not gay.”
  • “Weezy f baby, the mother fuckin’ Carter, bitches on my stick but my name ain’t Harry Potter”
  • “I wake up in the mornin, take a piss and wash my hands, take a knee and thank the man, then get back to the money”
  • “Its Lil Weezy, they cannot see me like they’re Stevie.”
  • “I beat the beat up, call it self defense, swear man, I be seeing through theses niggas like sequins…”
  • “All about my riches, my name should be Richard, cut the bullshit out, I’m Edward with the scissors.”

With some of those gems, he could have the best/worst PBS Kids show of all time. But it’s important to make a distinction here. Not all of his lyrics are complete garbage. I tried to include examples from across Wayne’s illustrious career, but the newer stuff was much easier to pick on. While reading earlier stuff, like “Lollipop,” “How to Love” and “Mirror,” I couldn’t really make fun. I couldn’t praise, but I couldn’t guffaw either. Small steps.

Teensy, teensy steps.

Teensy, teensy steps.

And according to the general opinion of his fans, Lil Wayne has shifted greatly with varying degrees of success, going from rap to rock to apparently professional skateboarding. Because of course. But his lyrical content has always been for… a particular audience. You know, an audience that does not include self-depreciating rural white nerds. Morality and humbleness are not Wayne’s strong suits.

I can accept that. Well, no I can’t. People should be better, but shit happens. I’m not going to soapbox about life choices. It’s boring and I’m tired. But if I cross off issues of morality, what can I really defend?

– Juvenile, boasting lyrics
– Misogynistic attitude toward women
– Vicious homophobia
– Celebration of self-centered lifestyle
– Wildly inflated ego
– Mediocre rapping celebrated as culture-making
– Voice of a menopausal vulture
– Uses word “Lil” in name, ow kidneys

Okay. Over half gone… wait, one of those is a trite joke about vocal quality, a matter of opinion. The other is an even triter joke about his name. So, to refresh…

– Juvenile, boasting lyrics
– Misogynistic attitude toward women
– Vicious homophobia
– Celebration of self-centered lifestyle
– Wildly inflated ego
– Mediocre rapping celebrated as culture-making
– Voice of a menopausal vulture
– Uses word “Lil” in name, ow kidneys

Dang. Thank the lord I was wrong about one entry…

'Cause you know menopausal vulture was spot-on.

‘Cause you know menopausal vulture was spot-on.

I’m not attuned to gangsta rap. So can I really say he’s mediocre? No. I can only trust my own ears and popular opinion. There are other rappers I like more, rappers whose lyrics are actually clever. But as far as who is shaping rap culture, Lil Wayne is a massive source of gravity. Like his ego.

So no matter what else I say, no matter how foul his insults or depraved his motives, Lil Wayne affects millions of people. That fact gives him immense value, and it’s important not to belittle that. He may not use his fame responsibly, but he has earned it… somehow.

And he has been through a lot. Complicated father issues, jail sentences, accidental self-shootings, drug addictions, being in a high school production of The Wiz… really tough stuff. And yet, now he’s a major culture-shaper. In a way, it’s inspiring. He had a difficult life, and now he’s everywhere and rich as… well, some guy named Richard apparently.

Seriously, he’s featured in neary 700 songs with over 50 artists. It’s kinda amazing, even if I don’t understand his art. If that many people like him, the sheer volume deserves respect. So I too will respect Lil Wayne. Ick.

I guess when it Waynes, it pours. That pun isn’t mine, it’s a direct lyrical quote. And… there go the kidneys.

Please don't fist my kiss.

Please don’t fist my kiss.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s