Sunday, May 5, 2013

Let's talk about Lil' Wayne and Rap Culture, M'Kay?

I'm a big fan of The Rap Critic on Blip.tv. He seems to be the voice of reason in the current culture of music, and certainly his voice was needed for this song:
Wow where can I start on this video? This video offended me on multiple levels, but Rap Critic does a fair job of summarizing what's wrong with this video. This song isn't what this blog is about.

Believe it or not, I actually do look up the biographies of people in music, especially when they've done a song that annoys me. Why do I do this? Simple. I want to count how many misgivings I may have had about someone.

A few years ago, I completely misunderstood Lady Gaga and wasn't a fan. But when I started reading about where her songs come from, I realized that they held more meaning than I ever gave them credit for. I stopped bitching and started reading the lyrics and learning her back story, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that she's one of a dwindling handful of celebrities who truly does charity work because she wants to, and not because it's good for PR. I went from avoiding the radio to kind of enjoying "Just Dance" and I learned not to judge a singer by a song. Since then, I've been trying to learn about musicians so I can better understand their craft.

.... This is NOT one of those nice stories.

I've never been big on Lil' Wayne, going back to when I first heard him in the background of Juvenile's  "Back Dat Azz Up" I just didn't hear anything that sounded special. He's mostly sounded bored on his tracks, so I can't see myself dancing to anything he sings. The older he gets, the more his songs are just about getting drunk, getting high and seeing how many women he can impregnate ~ without even knowing their names. There's nothing deep, meaningful or even fun. He comes across as a douchebag, but that opinion might be a tad harsh. So I went looking into his background, just to see if maybe I was wrong. Here's what I found.

He was born to a teenaged mother ~ who was actually a full time cook at the time of his birth. His father abandoned him when he was two, but he soon had a stepfather who stepped up and guided him, and then another rapper named Birdman swooped in and guided him further. So he's been surrounded by love and guidance, despite his biological father stepping out.

He was a very smart young boy, having been an honor roll student and in a gifted program, while also being involved with drama classes ~ which he excelled at. Wrote his first rap song at age 8. However he did shoot himself with a 9 mm handgun accidentally at the age of 12, just one year after officially starting his rap career.

Despite getting great grades and testing far beyond other students his age, he chose to drop out at age 14 to focus on his rap career.

One year later, he was in the video for "Back Dat Azz Up".

Wow, right there I am frustrated.

So... you were a gifted student, on the honor roll, well onto your way of becoming a scholar... and you threw it all away so you could be in "Back Dat Azz Up" reciting the following:

Now now now now now
After you back it up, then stop
Then wha-wha-what, drop drop it like it's hot
Now after you back it up, then stop
Now, wha-wha-wha-what drop it like it's hot
Now drop it like it's hot, drop drop it like it's hot
C-M-B make you drop it like it's hot
Drop it like it's hot, drop drop it like it's hot
Drop it like it's hot, drop drop it like it's hot
Ha

I want to make this crystal clear. He was in a gifted program, and an honor roll student. There is a brain somewhere in that skull, and it's a functioning one.

But he threw that away, so he could perpetuate the stereotype of the "Dumb Azz Gangsta" spittin' lyrics that are all about degeneracy.

This man has a foundation, the One Family Foundation. This is what their Change.org petition states:

"The mission of One Family Foundation, Inc. is to empower urban youth by engaging them in opportunities to cultivate their talents and skills, educating them to become productive and economically self-sufficient, and motivating them to dream beyond their circumstances."

Yet if you go to their website, all you will find is a stark, white page with a telephone number.

Right, because when I think about sending a celebrity to teach a young child about life and how to make it, I'm going to pick a fellow who:

1. Dropped out despite being a gifted student, so he could rap about "bitches" and "hoes"
2. Knows he has epilepsy ~ and yet does slizzurp like it's going out of style
3. Has been sued 8 times for copyright infringement, a string of no-shows and for not paying people who have worked on his music for him
4. Has an arrest record a mile long
5. Views women as being rabid animals and actually used an ancient torture device on several females in a music video ~ to further glorify his ability to be a man-slut, surrounded by obedient, non-questioning females.

He later got a GED and a college degree in psychology... but chooses not to use either of these things, instead focusing more on rapping about drugs, drinking and bitches. He recently lost a deal with Pepsi, after rapping an insensitive lyric about Emmett Till.

Hypothetically, he could rap about anything. He could rap about the struggles his listeners have, such as what Arrested Development did with their hit "Tennessee", he could rap about the issues we have with teaching our youth how they should view themselves and the other gender, such as Lupe Fiasco's "Bitch Bad Woman Good". He could rap about what's wrong with the media, such as Kanye West's "Jesus Walks" or Hell, he could actually try rapping about the kids he's had, just as Will Smith did with "Just the two of us" but NOPE.

Let's just keep all of the listeners down in the gutter, by having them believe that if they're not treating woman like whores, putting deadly chemicals into their bodies, drinking cough syrup like it's Kool-Aid, running with gangs, shooting to kill and scamming people, that they're something "wrong" with them.

And it's not even that he had the negative stereotype thrust onto him unfairly, like so many celebrities in the Black community.

No. He CHOSE this life for himself.

He is actively trying to become a statistic, and his music is only driving home the image of the dumb thug.

Wanna know what kills me?

Some of his music is actually on a Kidz Bop CD.

Yeah, there are tons of parents that actually tell their kids that it's okay to listen to Lil' Wayne. And by kids, I don't mean tweens and teens. I mean KIDS. The little people who can't order a Happy Meal by themselves. That bothers the Hell out of me.

By buying his music, we are in fact helping him afford to produce more videos, teaching Black youth to ditch school, ditch their manners, get high and smack a bitch.

We are teaching our youth that living this thug life is all they should ever aspire for, and that if they get an education, speak well and carry themselves as upstanding men and women, that they're a "sell-out" to "Da Man". We call them "wannabes" and demand that they "keep it hood".

We teach these boys to shun dreaming big, in favor of learning how many times you can say the N word, before it stops being acceptable.

We lie to their faces, telling them that this level of idiocy is "keeping it real" when nothing could be further from the truth.

We don't just tell them that this is acceptable, we encourage it.

We tell young boys that if they ever try to crawl out from the ghetto mentality, that they're always going to be worthless. We tell young girls to smut up their wardrobe, and that they shouldn't try to reach for anything higher than Lil' Wayne's dick.

At what point as a mom or a dad preytell, do you think it's okay, to tell your beautiful baby, that she needs to stop dreaming, live in "Da real world" cake on makeup, strap on something in leather, and aim for being a random dancer in a music video? If the answer you're thinking of is either "that's where da monay be at" or "Hey she be workin' she be keepin' it real" then you my friend ARE the problem.

We need to stop accepting this out of rap music.

Stop buying the MP3's of people who can't even spell "diction" much less understand it's meaning and use it.

Stop letting your under 18 year olds listen to this drivel on BET and start getting them hooked onto artists like Common.

We need to stop buying into the hype of "what be real" based off of what a record label wants you to imagine is popular, and start looking for talented artists. Check an INDY rap once in a while!!

And most of all, stop teaching your youth that education is a bad word. Make your kids get some kind of an education. Homeschool them, hire a tutor, do what you can, but for the love of humanity, teach your kids that they need an education, if for nothing more than a backup plan, in case their dream of covering lyrics like "Baby just make me come, then don't make a sound" in Billboard charters doesn't exactly pan out.

It's free to do better.

It's expensive to pay to be Wayne.

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