Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Beefs Part 2 : Lil' Wayne


It’s 2009, and I am trapped in a weird office space and forced to listen to hours of classic rock and or new rap/R&B music. I work with an elderly white man and a young black woman. Lucky for them, I am a Russian gymnast of taste. I enjoy Ghostface Killah and Bob Dylan with reckless abandon. I don’t have a direct beef with a saxophone, and I appreciate the fluidity of a well spoken freestyle. I also enjoy the piano compositions of Chopin and the skank of some classic Jamaican ska. The radio is not my enemy. I can, and often do, find a friend between its strange electrical signals.

I have also had the pleasure of growing up in the sprawling cow-town known as Chicago. Polish polka, rap, salsa, and butt-rock have perforated my very being. Sadly, I am equally at home at a Mexican sweet sixteen party and a cock-rock, blue collar bar blaring ACDC on a non-stop loop. I find my point of reference and dig into it like a musical hedge-hog.

Today I listened to Lil’ Wayne’s new song entitled “Every Girl”, in which he espouses his desire to bone Miley Cyrus when she hits 21, and every single girl in the world. He can’t make up his syrup filled mind, there are just too many open legs. It’s a song of complete irrelevance and subterranean brain freeze. It does away with metaphor and poetry and just puts its naked cards on the tableau. As I listened to Lil’ Wayne’s pop song, I thought of a few things: our society’s increasing single mother frequency, poverty, consumerist attitudes about sexuality, and our culture’s complete lack of cleverness and soul.

In the 1600’s hundreds of thousands of black, African slaves were brought all over the world. Their suffering and death rattle serves as a learning lesson for future civilizations-slavery doesn't really work as a concept. However, out of the horrific ashes of slavery rose the majestic gift of African-America music.

Scott Joplin bloodied his fingers playing rag-time tunes that were the foundation of jazz, Duke Ellington led big bands filled with elegant coke heads, Howlin’ Wolf sung symbolic tales of semen and guns, Sly Stone redefined psychedelia as soul music, Tribe Called Quest redefined their grandfather’s jazz records as classic hip-hop, and MF Doom would make Joseph Beuys proud.

So I say, Fu#k Lil’ Wayne, there is too much on the line.


Casey Brewer said...

Wayne is terrible.

frank adam said...

Yes. A pop-culture disaster gone wrong. He is the Frankenstein of rap. Write something.

Casey Brewer said...

Every three to four years there's a new mediocre phenomenon that captures the imagination of the 7 out of 10 of us who are mouth breathing chair sniffers.

Wayne is currently riding his last wave in that cycle.

I mean for god sakes, American Idol is still on the air isn't it?

I will give Wayne's production team some credibility however. They have a tendency to make him sound much more prolific than he actually is.

I've argued with friends that his flow is nothing more than a brain addled stream of consciousness.

Doom can do that, and it takes 10 listens to realize he had just unveiled the secrets of the Russian space program. He's that much of a hip-hop genius that his concepts layer and layer and layer. And they actually mean something in the end. Imagine that.

Wayne's spit is exactly that. Spit.

chris liakos said...


americanmidwestsamurai said...

WOW. How are there only 4 posts about this?

I think its interesting you put his name in the same paragraph as Joplin or Ellington. They made music.

But maybe we shouldn't be thinking of Li'l Wayne as a musical artist (because clearly he's not). He's here to make money. And he'll do whatever he has to do to make it.

But at some level, isn't this the natural course and evolution of culture?

Maybe I'm just being an argumentative prick here (usually this is the case), but if Bach or Beethoven or Mozart would have heard the Duke, or Bird or Stan Getz or Tribe they would have probably thought it was shit.

Or if Hitchcock saw some of the shit Speilberg made, he'd probably think it was awful too.

Maybe its just my twisted sense of things, but when I hear Li'l Wayne I don't put it in the same universe as Tribe or Wu. I don't even register it as music.

It's shit. But sometimes shit is hillarious. And its good to laugh at.

Just my take, though.