Is Lil Wayne Out of Bounds?February 19th, 2013
By Gee King
Is the world out to get Weezy? Or has the flame-spitting Martian simply overstayed his welcome on planet earth? Just a week after coming under fire for his controversial reference to civil rights figure Emmett Till on Future’s “Karate Chop,” Lil Wayne is back in the news for pissing off earthlings and refusing to tone down his otherworldly style. This time the avid sports fan set his sights on the National Basketball Association and their championship franchise, the Miami Heat, who reportedly kicked Wayne out of last week’s marquee matchup with the Los Angeles Lakers and requested the league ban him from future NBA events.
Though Weezy was apparently barred from the big show at this past weekend’s All Star 2013 festivities, he joined Birdman, Drake and the rest of the music world in Houston and made his presence felt the only way he knows how: talking ish. After leading the Sunday night crowd at Houston’s Stereo Live Club in a series of chants disrespecting the Miami Heat players and organization as well as the NBA as a whole, Wayne called himself “the new Pac” and claimed to have slept with Heat forward Chris Bosh’s wife. While Lil Wayne’s actions at games are probably no more outrageous than the infamously drunken fanatics that fill the bleachers at games in Philadelphia and Boston, his low seats and high profile attract a spotlight on his behavior that likely rubbed the NBA’s conservative execs the wrong way. We can blame that on the same cultural divide that led to the league’s suit-and-tie dress code, but Weezy’s recent string of public controversies seems to be the result of much more than a generation gap.
Is Wayne still bucking the system, or has his immature act become a crutch that keeps him relevant in the face of steadily declining skills? Wise veterans like Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant extended their time in the league by mastering the mind game of the sport to compensate for the inevitable deterioration of their bodies. So with protégés Drake and Nicki Minaj musically and culturally evolved beyond Wayne’s greatest capacities, is the former greatest rapper alive simply using veteran mind games to keep us focused on his fading star? As a businessman, who can blame him? But with a generation of artists pushing a shift away from the money-over-everything mindset that Cash Money bred in him, Wayne better adapt to the future on his heels before the hip hop world’s next leader knocks him clean off his skateboard.
Lil Wayne gave his heart to the game and we will always respect him and the legacy he left, but, despite his mainstream hits, there’s no denying the fact that his days as a genre-defining MC are behind him. He’s set himself up nicely for a career as a CEO, running the game from the sidelines. But does he have the poise and self-control to keep his cool and lead a team without having the lights on him? He’s clearly not ready for that role yet, but when he officially hands the keys to the game over to his YMCMB prince and princess he may extend his influence to levels Earth has never seen. If he keeps his promise to be the next 2Pac grounded in the revolutionary ideas that drove the Thug Life icon, hip hop would happily introduce alien visitors to Weezy as their leader. If not, his legacy will be defined by his absurd antics instead of the amazing music he gave us for the better part of a decade.