Is Lil Poopy Really a Product of the Culture?

February 26th, 2013

(Photo: YouTube via Lil Poopy)

By Gee King

For years, rappers have combated critics’ claim that hip hop is destructive and exploitative with the argument that they are simply products of their environment. But few MCs can claim that more authentically than 9-year-old French Montana-affiliate Lil Poopy, who has been thrown into the center of the battle for political correctness since becoming an unlikely star of Montana’s Coke Boy movement earlier this week. Poopy, aka Luie Rivera Jr., is making headlines after Massachusetts authorities’ decision to investigate whether the precocious young spitter is being neglected by family members. Local police suggested the Department of Children and Families look into Poopy’s home life after a local news outlet ran a feature on his budding career, shedding light on music videos that feature the fourth-grader in some morally compromising positions.

Poopy’s attorney claims the investigation is racially tinged, suggesting that theconcern is rooted in police’s misunderstanding of hip hop culture. But while the government’s choice to get involved is laughable to those within the rap community, it’s not hard to see why moral adults may be concerned that Poopy is being corrupted and exploited by the adults in his circle. According to his lawyer, Poopy is “a thriving, well-adjusted fourth-grader with a good home life, good grades and musical talent.”

Critics of Poopy’s music cite a now viral music video that features him rapping over Montana’s hit “Pop That” in front of a luxury car and voluptuous model. Spitting clever but suggestive lyrics like  “Coke ain’t a bad word, it’s only soda,” while holding bags of money and smacking a dancer on her backside, Poopy does a spot on impression of his mentors Rick Ross and French Montana, who make cameos in the video. Police and web viewers alike are expressing concern about how Poopy’s portrayal of this lifestyle will affect his development. And his lawyer’s dismissal that “whoever watched it probably doesn’t understand rap,” should raise the eyebrows of those who still value the core tenets that birthed hip hop and its many subcultures.

If Poopy truly aspires to be an artist, he definitely has a leg up on his peers. But the fact that his music doesn’t express anything beyond empty materialism is no cause for optimism about his long-term ambitions. Clearly a long-existing cultural divide sits at the base of this issue. But with technology rapidly increasing the rate at which young people mature, this could be the perfect moment for us to address the widening gap between what’s real and what’s ideal.

Poopy is innocently mimicking what he sees and hears the adults around him doing and saying. But at what point does a child emulating adults stop being cute and start being cause for concern? Police may have jumped the gun with their decision to investigate his family for child abuse, but the leaders and influencers of hip hop culture would be within their jurisdiction to call foul. Anyone with their eyes and ears open can clearly tell that he is not the only young mind that may be lost in mainstream hip hop’s unsettled seas.

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