Sunday, March 06, 2011

Lil Wayne vs. The Lil Girls

     I wasn't exactly sure how to go about starting this post, because I always like to start it in a sort of interesting and snappy way, with a little tease to get you interested or to lead you the wrong way to sort of make you confused and heighten the tension.  But I couldn't figure out a way to do that here today so I am just going to start is like this:
     Rapper and record label owner Lil Wayne has been accused of using lyrics in his song that degrade women and promote drug use.
     Well no shit.  A rapper using lyrics that promote drug use and degrade women?  I refuse to believe it.  Next thing you know you are going to tell me that cows shit a lot and that doctors make a lot of money.  I can't believe that a young rapper from the streets would swear and use drugs and degrade women.  Now, I am not saying necessarily that Lil Wayne does those things, because I don't know him and I have never been invited over to hang out with him and he have never accepted my invitation to come over to the Worldwide Headquarters to have milk and cookies and play Wii.  But the fact that he would use those sorts of ideas in a song that is part of a culture that is rife with those sorts of ideas doesn't shock me.  This shouldn't surprise anyone.
     What should surprise everyone is who was surprised by the lyrics to Lil Wayne's song "I'm Single."  He was called to task for his lyrics by three young girls from Baltimore who are involved in the music business themselves.  Their names are Nia, Nya, and Kamaria (because apparently they couldn't think of another letter to go between "n" and "a" and make a name) aged 10,9, and 5, respectively, and they make up a music group that you have never heard of called Watoto from The Nile.
    Apparently they heard "I'm Single" on the radio and were astonished by how many of the lyrics were bleeped out because they were offensive, profane, or inappropriate.  So they came up with a song of their own called "Letter to Lil Wayne" in which they question is lyrics and methods.  They released it on an independent label somewhere and have managed to get a lot of free publicity out of it.
     There has been, of course, a lot of response to their little song.  Most of it positive from people who support what they have to say, and the way in which they said it.  They are almost overly respectful in their song, calling Lil Wayne "Mister" and "Sir" over and over and over, and they ask him some pertinent questions - including but not limited to - who they should listen to regarding drug use, Lil Wayne or the people who are telling them to avoid drugs, and if he speaks to his daughter the way he speaks about women in his songs.  Valid points to be sure.
     There has been some negative response as well, from people who have made threats to the girls and their family to other rappers, including someone I have never heard of named Chase Million$$$ who rapped back with a song called "Letter to Watoto From the Nile" in which he correctly states "There's some things you won't understand because you're just a child."  And he has a good point.  Kids don't always understand.  But at least these kids are getting some sort of input from somewhere that leads them to question the things that they don't think are right, and the courage to do something about it.
     Now, I am not coming out in support of or in opposition to either side of this issue.  I don't think that anyone is in the wrong here.  Do I support using drugs and demeaning women just because they are women?  No, you won't see my typing out that it is okay to do those things.  But am I ragging on Lil Wayne for the lyrics he puts in his songs?  Of course not, he's not Rush or U2.  He can do what he wants, and he has every right to cater to what he thinks his industry demands.  Plus, let's be honest, there are lots of bad messages that those girls are getting every day if they are listening to the kind of radio station that would play "I'm Single."  So they need to be able to filter out what is what.  But at least they are willing and able to speak their minds.

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