Friday, December 15, 2006

In Defense of Lil' Wayne: Part 1

It’s 3:00am and I’ve just returned to my apartment from a night out with the fellas. One of my brothers (Brother Shirley-T) happens to work for HBO and was gracious enough to call a brother up with a free ticket for fight night. The seats were ringside so, of course, I couldn’t pass them up. Plus, the last time I went to one of these fights an actual brawl took place. I wasn’t about to pass up the opportunity to see black folk indulge in negrodian (copyright Wendy Williams) behavior.

Fat Joe is in plain view to my left and to my right is Dame Dash. Engulfed in a CEO hoodie is a young man who I believe is Dame’s son. I point out to Brother Shirley-T the irony in giving his new clothing line the moniker of a company title that few of its wearers will ever attain.

The fights are intense. It's only a matter of time before we begin to surmise how long we might be able to last in the ring. We try to take into account as many factors as possible. Then, all of a sudden, it happened. The scantily clad woman with the ring card begins to circle the audience but the crowd seems more interested in the song that accompanies her strut than in her rotund figure.

”Vrrrrmm on a Yamaha, Chromed Out Eleven Hundred…”

Everyone sings along “I be stuntin’ like my daddy”

And then the following discussion took place:

Brother Shirley-T: Yo. Lil’ Wayne is….I can’t even say it right now because you might think I’m crazy.

Brother Smartness: You ain’t even gotta finish that statement, man. Lightness and Spotless have been giving me hell for saying exactly what you were thinking. You should check out what I wrote on him a little while back.

Brother Shirley-T: Have you heard that track on hip-hop game…”Cry Out”

Brother Smartness: (I open my hand up to give this brother a dap) I’m so glad someone else is hearing this stuff.

Brother Shirley-T: The way he was talkin’ about his father on that joint. I listen to that track everyday.

Brother Smartness: Yeah I know…me too. It was so real. There’s another joint on hip-hop game that I listen to even more…

Brother Shirley-T: “All Alone”

Brother Smartness: Bingo!

Brother Shirley-T: He kinda came at Hov though. But Wanye today…and I don’t mean Carter I or Carter II Wayne…but Wayne today…no one can touch him.

Brother Smartness: He’s the only person I’m excited to listen to right now. Papoose…Saigon…DipSet…none of them are really-

Brother Shirley-T: (cuts me off) I don’t believe in Papoose

Brother Smartness: Yeah I know, he’s wack

Brother Shirley-T: He’s not nice at all.

Brother Smartness: You ain’t neva lie! But Wayne though…his stuff is just witty and he keeps coming out with something new

Brother Shirley-T: No one is playing Hov’s new joint in the hood. But Wayne’s joint is bumpin’ all over these streets…(looks over to Fat Joe)…Why you think Fat Joe ain’t have him spit a verse “Make it Rain”. He would have murdered that…

Brother Smartness: (Nods in approval)

Brother Shirley-T: No one can touch him right now…nobody


Brother Darkness said...

Well I'm not lucky enough to have access to Wayne's stuff but I do think that track Cry Out is very serious. And I do think he is probably the best artist right now b/c he's finally hitting his prime as an artist and understands how to cut a good record. And one thing that has really impressed me is he is true to himself and doesn't put out a radio friendly track just for exposure. Yes, he did go at Hov and that made me shake my head but its that same confidence that has him in the position that he's in today.

Brother Spotless said...

The state of rap music and its listeners are performing a piece of art I call "The Lowering Of Standards."

Do you feel the pain and lost hope?

*snap* *snap*

*snap* *snap*

Brother Smartness said...

I think in addition to the lowering of standards, there is an element of romanticizing over the past.

Spotless, have you listed to Dedication 2 or Like Father, Like Son?

Should you permit your eyes to see, you will find the very same growth in Hip-Hop that we here at PGM demand of every artist. Granted, Wayne's growth is more evident in his flow and voice than his content (although the content is beginning to morph into something more personal and, therefore, real).

Where's Brother Afrocan on this one. I know he's got to have something to say.


Also keep in mind that this is installation 1 of many.

Furthermore, Brother Darkness is in China (12-hour time difference).

Brother Lightness said...

We don't believe you, you need more people...

Brother Smartness said...

ha HA!

Blinded by your own affection for Old Man Hov.

In quoting him you only demonstrate your severe myopia.

You probably couldn't name a track off the Dedication 2.

So in the words of Farrakhan (see the following youtube clip to truly understand the humor in what I'm about to write:

"I think you should be quiet."


Brother Spotless said...

True the past will always be romanticized, and will therefore be remembered better or worse than it really was. However, I don't think that there's much denying the fact that if you took a snapshot of most years before 1999, the collection of rappers (and therefore rap songs) would be better than they are currently.

Maybe Lil Wayne is the best rapper out now (although I'd still take Jigga's body of work over his in a heartbeat). But to me he's a lot of hype; I'm not saying he's more hype than substance, but it's 55-45...

He reminds me of a college basketball player who has been drafted based on what he could bring to a team because:

-he's only 19 and still growing

-he is 6ft 9in. with a 7ft 4in. wingspan

-he had one or two "great" games against sup-par talent.

There's inevidably much talk of "potential greatness," but the few times I've actually watched him play againgst good teams he'd have 11 pts, 7 rebounds, and 4 assists...and his team lost. If you've ever watched the NBA Draft, you know what I mean...

A player like this is usually drafted high because he could become great, but almost always becomes a solid role player when playing against the NBA talent. That's the place Lil Wayne holds in the grand scheme of rappers.

Brother Spotless said...

How...DARE YOU!!!

Brother Smartness said...

lmao on the "How DARE YOU" comment.

But I think you're analogy is flawed in one respect. He's no college phenom. In the words of the late great B.I.G., he's "been in the game for years."

Forget all talk about "potential." The man is (and I hate to use this redundant phrase but it seems most fitting) "human crack in the flesh."

Nas did an interview on Hot 97 a couple weeks ago (before Wayne opened his mouth about Hova) and when asked who he listened to, he of course replied "Wayne."

I say all this to simply put it in your heads...pause...that perhaps it isn't so preposterous for Wayne to assert that he is the best out there right now.

Brother Spotless said...

Yes, he's been in the game for years, but playing against the talent around him. The analogy I formed is a comparison between today's rappers and college talent. Follow me:

I don't listen to him often, so most of what I hear comes from the media (or you, Smartness), like the ESPN sportscasters who play up the talents of college players.

Yes, he out raps those of lesser talent (today's talent pool), and so his legend grows. When I do listen to him (and because I always hear about how great Wayne is) I inevidably compare his talent to that of other rappers I consider great. This is where he becomes a solid rapper, at least in comparison to the other greats.

Maybe I am at fault for comparing him to other greats...

Brother Smartness said...

No, I just need to get you a copy of Dedication 2 and Like Father Like Son.

Anonymous said...

btw, this is rob

As soon as i finish this paper, I'm going to upload lilwheezyana for you guys. It's right up there with with dedication 2 for mixtape of the year.

This blog entry has 2 of his newer tracks and one of the better write ups explaining why he's on top of the game right now.

more evidence

The thing is, Wayne is a throwback to the early nineties mixtape/backpacker steez; it just doesn't seem that way because he has a platinum grill and got his start with cash money. Unlike a lot of your current mixtape guys (cassidy, fab, jada, etc) He's less concerned with punchlines and more concerned with flow, cadence. Not to say he doesn't have punchlines, but he doesn't over emphasize them a la your typical new york emcee.

With that said, I have no idea how you determine who's the best rapper alive.

Brother Spotless said...

While an entertaining undertaking, it's always difficult to determine the absolute best of anything, let alone the best rapper, who's lyrics are at their base works of art and therefore have little objective value.

I look forward to hearing the latest and greatest from Wayne. While I sense a tinge of bias from Rob (we all posess some form of bias), I will do my best to clear my mind of such before listening. However, Rob's statement that "Wayne is a throwback to the early nineties mixtape/backpacker steez; it just doesn't seem that way because he has a platinum grill and got his start with cash money" ups the ante for me, since one of my favorite groups was Tribe called Quest. I'll wait patiently...