Has Anyone Checked on Dwayne Carter?
By Jaylin Paschal
Prison. Seizures. Mental illness. Suicide attempts. Announced retirement. Controversial statements. And now these Black Lives Matter comments.
Has anyone checked in on Dwayne Carter lately?
I was never a Lil Wayne fan, but I've always been rooting for him. I hoped that after his verse on Solange's A Seat At The Table track "Mad," he was on a healthy track to mental and physical recovery; that he was staring his demons and his struggles in the face, and standing up to them. I'm afraid now that's not the case.
Again, I was never responsive to the content or even production of his music. A lot of it was raunchy, misogynistic, and so on and so forth. He himself was raunchy, misogynistic, and so on and so forth. Lil Wayne is a lot of things. But stupid is not one of them. We know this from his lyricism, his punchlines, his rhyme schemes. He's proven to be empathetic, introspective, and interested. All though his music may allude to and perpetuate ignorance, we know that he himself is not ignorant. So if not stupidity or ignorance, what's up?
Lil Wayne's recent comments on Black Lives Matter (watch clip above), his claiming that he "doesn't know what we're talking about" is dodgy. He's rapped about race issues several times, like on "My Heart Races On" and "Georgia...Bush." He's from Louisiana. He's the poster boy of "What Not To Do" campaigns by respectability politicians. He shouted "Black Lives Matter" during his performance at a Tidal just in August! He knows exactly what we're talking about. In fact, it is this very knowledge which would qualify him to have an opinion, no matter how disagreeable, on the subject.
It's not this opinion which makes this interview shocking, as horrendous as an opinion it is. I've heard plenty of black people of all nationalities, ages, and socioeconomic statuses offer testimonies and opinions similar to that of his. All similarly horrendous.
Furthermore, we've heard Lil Wayne offer corresponding opinions before, stating that racism didn't exist while citing all the white people at his concerts. A more reasonable testimony to post-racial America is Lil Wayne's story of being saved by a white police officer. And, in a disgusting lyric, he bragged about "beating the pussy up like Emmett Till," which L.A. Reid later apologized to the Till family for.
So he knows what Black Lives Matter is. He knows what racism is. And he's participated in these conversations regarding race before.
The only part of this horrendous opinion which should shock us is its delivery.
Slurred words. Twitchy mannerisms. Non-correlating examples and explanations. Suggesting that wealth or status renders you exempt from racism. "My life matters. Especially to my bitches." The tone in which he spoke to the interviewer.
There was nothing healthy about the conversation. Not the peakedness of his eyes, or his body language, or his word choice. (Not that we were expecting an eloquent speech from Lil Wayne, but at the very least a coherent message, like that from Kevin Gates and A$AP Rocky, who have similar opinions.) It's a less-than thoughtful contribution from a historically thoughtful person.
"That ain't got nothin' to do with me," Lil Wayne says in regards to Black Lives Matter.
One thing Wayne did say he felt connected to was the Bloods, to which he claimed allegiance right before walking out of the interview. "I'm connected to this fucking flag right here," he continued, pulling out a red bandanna. "I'm a gangbanger." (Complex News)
"I'm connected," he restated, while standing up to leave.
But I think he told the truth earlier in the interview, when he said "I don't feel connected to a damn thing." And that's what I'm worried about.