Lil Wayne backlash proves that rappers will stand up — for a basketball team

Lil Wayne backlash proves that rappers will stand up — for a basketball team

Where was this focused criticism after Wayne’s flippant Emmett Till reference? What about the arrogant silence he gave Till’s family? That didn’t warrant any finger-waving from hip-hop notables? That wasn’t worth denouncing? Luke was quick to call famed director Spike Lee an “Uncle Tom” for Lee’s dismissal of Quentin Tarantino‘s controversial film Django Unchained. Wayne’s Emmett Till crack is apparently less egregious to the former 2 Live Crew frontman.

Coalitions are being discussed. Diss records are being released. Hot 97’s Peter Rosenberg called Wayne an “embarrassment” for his rant. Other rappers are being called out for not calling out the superstar.

Because he dissed a basketball team.

Imagine Chuck D releasing a fiery anthem in response to someone clowning Patrick Ewing. Could you see Ice Cube writing “No Vaseline” in defense of James Worthy?

Hip-hop has been a soundtrack for urban rage since the late 80s emergence of acts like Boogie Down Productions, N.W.A. and Public Enemy. With an industry that bleeds the culture and music dry for the sake of crass commercialism, with many superstar artists who have seem to lost any sense of respect for history and art, with a political climate that continuously grows more divisive and inner cities in the grips of economic crisis—this is what gets rappers angry?

We can’t expect recording artists to lead the people–that position is naïve and reckless. Not everyone has a mind for socio-political issues; but artists so full of outrage over something so trivial speaks volumes.  It would be better if you stayed silent.

Or at least be willing to speak up for more than just your city’s NBA team.

– stereo williams

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