Tag Archives: Hip hop beef

Waka and Gucci fall 2013

Waka Flocka Flame has a diss track for the currently-incarcerated Gucci Mane.  Having been friends and label-mates, this schism seems pretty interesting.   Nice beat and a particularly scathing criticism.   Drug use, question of authenticity (“I’ve been shooting pistols since seventh grade.”) number of goons willing to shoot for them, and attacking Gucci for causing strife solely for attention.

“P.S. Don’t get caught in that/Dissin’ for promotion/All in your feelings/all in your emotions/Just for attention/you cause all this commotion/Ni**a you just talking/you don’t really want all your business in the ocean. “

– Waka Flocka Flame “Ice Cream” Oct 2013.

I actually think Waka has some good points.

He also has the status to call out Gucci like no one else can.  Waka has taken the Snoop Dogg path to success.  Astounding tour concerts.  Relentless affection for his fans, and a consistent ability to stay out of gossip blogs.

Remember Waka volunteering to go naked for PETA?  Like Snoop, Waka seems “like a grown-ass rock star” as one of his buddies puts it in a video.  He is a taylor made celebrity — with toxic violent raps and a Fozzy Bear sized lovable personality.  Waka, like Snoop before him has chosen a particularly thin road to walk for fame.   Playing cute in morning shows and rapping about shooting people at the same time.

If Waka releases videos full of debauchery and destruction, he loses a significant portion of his buying public.  Something Gucci is now facing — perhaps the myriad offenses cease to be explainable.  Fans desert you and your albums are not purchased.

But Waka (and Gucci Mane and a million other roughneck emcees) still have to articulate an image of outlaw anti-social behavior.  In most cases, they choose to emphasize their wealth (suggesting that it was garnered through drug sales and not through regular work, music, savings or investing.)  In other cases, they mark their own perpetual return to the criminal life.

Of course telling a couple of hundred thousand fans (and increasingly interested cops) about your criminal behavior has potential consequences.  It seems like cops listened to Waka and Gucci when they raided Deb Antney — Waka Flocka Flame’s manager and mom.

Antney, who heads up Mizay Entertainment, was frustrated because her company is scheduled to host a toy drive Thursday. She said when she arrived on the scene, police called her “the Candy Lady” and suggested she was the ring leader of the prostitution operation.

“Of course I’m not gonna sit back and be called ‘the Candy Lady,’ ” she said. “There was no prostitution. And we’re not gang-affiliated.”

via Waka Flocka Flame’s Mom Denies That Prostitution Was Behind Raid – Music, Celebrity, Artist News | MTV.com.

(Pause for a minute to ask ANY of you how you would do with the cops raiding your mom’s house?)

I’m not blaming musicians for rhyming about criminality.  I’m interested in how Waka stayed famous, rich and out of jail, while Gucci is alienating everyone and in prison for the next six months (at least).

Part of it has to be Waka noting that those who commit crimes when trying to rhyme are “hustling backwards.”

“Why would I try to rap and then street gangbang?” he added. “That’s hustling backwards. I’m good. I dropped the album Flockaveli, and it’s doing numbers. I think ‘No Hands’ is platinum or on the road to be. I’m in the top three albums of the year…I’m going in, man.”

via Waka Flocka Flame Addresses Police Raid | Get The Latest Hip Hop News, Rap News & Hip Hop Album Sales | HipHop DX.

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Pusha T vs. Lil Wayne: thinking about homophobia and sexual assault

Last week a simmering dislike erupted into a battle of words between Pusha T and Lil Wayne.  Pusha T is fifty percent of the Clipse, a Virginia Beach rap group whose hallmark is ridiculously hard lyrics and a cozy relationship with hit-maker Pharrell.  Lil’ Wayne is the impish high energy pop rapper with a legendary work ethic who sells a lot of ring tones.

The themes of this “beef” could have been foretold.  Pusha T was likely to argue that he was more real, having sold crack more recently than Lil Wayne (and since his former manager Anthony Gonzales, was recently sent to prison for 32 years for drug trafficking).  Wayne is likely to argue that his sales numbers put him out of the reach of a little guy like Pusha T.  Pusha was going to have some exceptionally clever jokes about neon fashion.  Both of the rappers would insult each other’s masculinity, intelligence, and strength.  They would both go after the other emcees they are affiliated with. (In fact they had almost this exact beef seven years ago.)

Here is Lil Wayne following the insult script including calling Pusha T “softer than a motherfucking nerf ball.”

The topic of this conflict that I would have forgotten about is the kiss.  In 2006 Birdman, the CEO of Cash Money Records and Lil’ Wayne smooched.

Turns out they’ve been doing it for years!  (There is no way to read sarcasm through the internet, so I’ll just tell you – I’m not bothered by two men kissing. )  Here is a video from years back of the Big Tymers, Mannie Fresh and Birdman on Rap City.  When Wayne shows up he drops a quick kiss on Birdman’s lips.

Birdman explains that he basically raised Wayne from the age of a young kid and considers him his actual child. In family relationships kissing each other isn’t uncommon.

In a recent interview, Baby, who calls Wayne his son, discusses/justifies the kiss. “That’s my son, ya heard me,” he explains. “If he was right here, I’d kiss him again. I kiss my daughter, my other son, I mean, you have children? Well, if you did you’d understand what I meant with it. I just think people took that too far man. That’s my son. I’ll do it again tomorrow, I’ll kill for him. Ride and die for him.”

via Birdman Defends Lil Wayne Kiss, Says He’d Do It Again – The Boombox.

I don’t think that Birdman and Lil’ Wayne have to justify kissing each other.  The framing that Birdman has used to help viewers interpret the kisses have been particularly masculine and patriarchal.  One spin has been that the kiss is a mafia symbol of closeness.  Another positions Birdman as a literal father of Wayne.

We need to be really careful here because Birdman is not Wayne’s parent or guardian.  Birdman AKA Bryan Williams was a rap star and label head when Wayne was onstage in grade school plays.

Lil Wayne was born Dwayne Michael Carter, Jr. and grew up in the Hollygrove neighborhood of New Orleans, Louisiana.[3] Carter was born when his mother, a chef, was 19 years old. His parents were divorced when he was 2, and his father permanently abandoned the family. Carter enrolled in the gifted program of Lafayette Elementary School and in the drama club of Eleanor McMain Secondary School.[4]

He wrote his first rap song at age eight.[5] In the summer of 1991, he met Bryan Williams, rapper and owner of Cash Money Records. Carter recorded freestyle raps on Williams’s answering machine, leading him to mentor the young Carter and include him in Cash Money-distributed songs. He also recorded his first ever collaboration album True Story with rapper B.G.. At the time, Carter was 11, and B.G. was 14, and was billed as “The B.G.’z”.[6] When he was 12, he played the part of the Tin Man in his middle school drama club’s production of The Wiz.[7] At age 13, he accidentally shot himself with a 9 mm handgun, and off-duty police officer Robert Hoobler drove him to the hospital.[8] At McMain Magnet School, Carter was an honor student, but he dropped out at the age of 14 to focus on a musical career.[9]

via Lil Wayne – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

If you’ve seen The Carter documentary on Lil Wayne then you’ve seen the disturbing scene where Wayne describes being raped as a kid.

In the middle of The Carter, an obviously high Lil Wayne jokes openly about being raped at the age of 11 with the encouragement of his surrogate father, Baby—and informs Lil Twist, a 15-year-old member of Wayne’s record label Young Money, that Wayne is going to help him get raped, too.

via Lil Wayne Jokes About His Own Rape – The Sexist.

This gives some insight into the relationship between Wayne and Baby Birdman.  I’ve been thinking about using parts of this clip and the Jimmy Kimmel interview referenced in Amanda Hess’s Washington City Paper essay to talk about male sexual assault.  In particular the idea that because men are socialized to be sexual all-the-time, then any predatory sexual attacks against men are okay.  This terrible notion is essentially the idea that anyone who says “no” is really saying “yes,” and that men are saying “yes” all the time.

I wonder if kissing Birdman isn’t a power thing?  A move of control?  A sign of closeness?  I don’t think it quite counts as parental given the exploitative sexual history between the two.   The kisses don’t seem particularly sexual or erotic.  Perhaps Wayne and Birdman are lovers.  I don’t know and honestly it seems a little bit junior-high for a person with a Ph.D. to spend so much time writing about two grown ups kissing.

But then again, I’m not the only person fixated on this kiss.

The song Exodus 23:1, Pusha T’s diss track is actually fairly generic.  Pusha T had to explain that the song was about Lil Wayne.  Wayne confirmed it by tweeting: “Fuk pusha T and anyone who love em.”

This morning No Malice, the non-violent, higher road-taking, reinvigorated Christian half of the Clipse tweeted his opinion about the Pusha T/Lil Wayne beef.

“Well I LOVE Pusha! That’s my blood and I ain’t never kiss em.”

Obviously beef sells records, but I think that Pusha T chose Lil Wayne because he thinks that the kiss gives him some annihilating ammunition against him.   You might call it a Ronald Reagan electoral strategy of fear.  Making your arguments based on the assumption of prejudice in the general population.   At the heart of the attacks on Lil Wayne so far is simply homophobia — and a particularly twisted desire to police male sexuality.

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Filed under hip hop, homophobia, music, representation, Surveillance

hip hop 2011: Building vs. Beef

I cheer for a couple of rappers who have successfully avoided beef.   I know that a lot of people still make money through simple controversy, but I wanted to acknowledge a couple of rappers who took the classy road.

I’ve been listening to Big K.R.I.T.’s Return to 4eva all day long.   Check out “Sookie Now,” the spicy track that K.R.I.T. rocks with fellow Mississippian David Banner.

You might remember David Banner back when he was rapping and scaring folks as a Southern political rapper.  Or perhaps you are one of those liberals who remembers him as the rapper who drove a tractor trailer of water and supplies to New Orleans in the aftermath of Katrina.  Either way, he is an absolute boss, and for a rapper coming up in Mississippi he had to be the paragon.

K.R.I.T. invites him on the track, gives him props in interviews — does what a gracious up-and-comer should do with an elder.  Pay his damn respect. The result on “Sookie Now” is just awesome.  Banner’s verse is blood-chilling.

Today, the big hip hop news is that Curren$y and Lil Wayne have a collaboration — “Smoke sum’n” — a track released on the 110% badass DJ Drama mixtape Verde Terrace.  (Actually Curren$y’s verse is on Verde Terrace, Lil’ Wayne sent in his verse a week later, whoops!).

(Thanks and props to The Smoking Section one of the best hip hop blogs running.)

Curren$y spent time on a couple of labels before meeting up with an appreciative audience.  His time with Lil’ Wayne and Young Money resulted in some great tracks.  “Poppin’ bottles” and “Where the cash at?” on Dedication 2 are standouts.  Despite leaving the label and setting up his own projects, Curren$y passed on every opportunity to attack Lil Wayne and his folks.

I hear some bitterness on the tracks of “Independence day,” but they aren’t explicit Lil’ Wayne slams — they are complaints about the industry.

I guess I’ll add Gucci and Waka to this conversation and note that despite various potential provocation they have never turned on each other that I know about it.  Ferarri Boyz get’s a solid 3.5 from this fan — it’s a solid undertaking.   But kudos to continuing to build with each other.

Respect to the emcees who take the high road.  Those emcees who simply step past the petty bullshit and make good music.

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