In light of Lil Wayne’s recent health issues I thought I’d take a moment to say I’m a big fan. I hope he recovers and if his problems are related to drinking sizzurp I hope he moves on to a cocktail less likely to kill him.
Doctors say I’m the illest cause I’m suffering from realness
That’s not Lil Wayne, that’s Kanye West, but it’s one of my favorite lines in recent years. It just works on so many levels but my favorite way to think about it is how much Kanye does suffer from his own realness. Kanye’s taken a lot of shit in recent years for saying things that other humans would have realized were better left unsaid.
Kayne is not alone in suffering from Realness. Realness being the concept that you have to actually be real, in a narrowly defined way. Realness is like masculinity in that it must be constantly defended. And in the same way you’ll never hear a man’s man say “I do what I want, no one can tell ME what to do! Now you just wait here while I go apply my make-up.” there are maybe thousands of rappers out there who probably want to rap about things beside whatever is currently defined as Real, but are afraid they will hurt their careers if they do it. Realness actually results in a lot of UNrealness.
Lil Wayne, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to be suffering from Realness at all. He’s embraced Realness for what it really is- doing whatever the fuck he feels like, no matter what. That’s why I love Lil Wayne.
I know there are plenty of valid criticisms of Lil Wayne- his raps make no sense, his voice is an acquired taste, he’s interesting looking (to put it mildly). All true. I still don’t care. And sure, you can say that I’m only a fair-weather friend of rap, I am outside the community and my opinion doesn’t mean shit. This is true too. I’m just one man with half a blog and I’m saying what I want to say.
Besides maybe Andre 3000, what other rapper would do all these?
Become a singer-songwriter:
Quit music to become a skateboarder:
Not all of it’s great. Some of it’s not even good at all. But you can tell he’s having fun and he doesn’t give a shit. I wonder if it’s because he doesn’t have the burden of an I came up from the streets sellin’ dope backstory. He’s been making hits since he was fifteen, and the only time he ever got shot was the time he accidentally shot himself. But that frees him to be who he wants to be.
That being said, doing whatever you want all the time is can lead to a pretty uneven catalog and I’m generally in agreement that Lil Wayne does his best work when he’s guesting:
A mid 2000’s classic:
Out-rapping Busta Rhymes and that asshole Chris Brown:
And, before the face tattoos and diamond teeth: