Loony tunes: Lil Wayne's latest escapades
- February 2, 2009 3:24 PM |
- By Arts Online
Rapper Lil' Wayne. (Universal Music Group)
When aspiring Torontonian rapper Jimmy-from-Degrassi: The Next Gen -- sorry, Drake -- broke the news a few weeks back (via MuchMusic!) that reigning rap oddball Lil' Wayne would be following up last year's hugely successful Tha Carter III album with a collection of, um, rock songs, music fans worldwide scratched their heads in confusion.
Though it certainly didn't adhere to the conventions of any genre, Tha Carter III helped Weezy triumph in both underground and mainstream circles. Lauded by critics and long-time fans, the disc was also nominated for a Grammy for Album of the Year and stands as one of 2008's top-selling releases. As a commercial pop artist, you can't ask for much more than that. So Wayne's decision to embark on some sort of outlandish display of self-indulgent rockitude seemed like a rather nutso proposition.
The recent leak of Prom Queen, the nu-metal-shredding caterwaul that's supposedly the lead single off Lil' Wayne's forthcoming Rebirth CD (yes, the experimental rock effort now has a name) confirms that, though he may be able to blow minds in rap arenas, our boy definitely isn't a rawk 'n' roll superstar. (His vocals are grating at best, and he gets an F for guitar technique.)
And yet, in the grand scheme of Wayne's world, putting out a terrible rock album doesn't even qualify as one of his craziest moves. Here's a brief overview of some of Lil' Wayne's weird and occasionally wonderful actions of late:
1. He ripped off the Rolling Stones and somehow expected to get away with it.
Playing With Fire, a track off Tha Carter III, has been removed from all future pressings (and digital versions) of the album, after a court ruled that the tune was similar enough to the Stones' Play With Fire to constitute copyright infringement. Really, Weezy? Did you really think you could crib from legends on a top-selling album and not receive royalty-sharing demands in return? Keef may be out of it, but he can get it together when cash is involved. And natty sweaters aside, that Charlie Watts will cut you if you're not careful. Dude's the OG of grandpa drummers.
2. He rotted his teeth by eating too many Skittles.
According to a report, Lil' Wayne's gangsta grills are as much about function as they are about fashion. Not only do they convey that elusive frisson of baditude, but they also mask the fact that the candy freak's mouth is a morass of decaying teef. Guess Lollipop was actually just about a lollipop, huh?
4. He signed a cast member of Degrassi: The Next Generation to his label.
Okay, this one's kinda weird in an unexpectedly cool way. Still, before Weezy signed him, even hip hop fans in his T.O. hometown were more familiar with Aubrey Graham as Jimmy, Degrassi's resident kid-who-landed-in-a-wheelchair-after-a-school-shooting than they were with his alter ego of rising MC/producer Drake. As Wayne's most visible protege, Graham's profile as an international hip-hop artist skyrocketed before he even established himself on the underground.
5. He did a completely bizarro, disingenuous and maudlin interview with Katie Couric.
In the pre-Grammy tete-a-tete, scheduled to air Feb. 4 at 9 pm on CBS, Lil' Wayne wells up while talking about Hurricane Katrina (while claiming that "gangstas don't ask questions"), claims he dropped the "D" from "Dwayne" as a symbolic act of castrating his father (Dwayne Carter the first) and proves himself a bowling enthusiast. For her part, celebrated journalist Katie Couric is somehow reduced to girlish giggles as she asks the rapper whether he prefers to be addressed as "Weezy," "Wayne" or simply "Lil'." She also clutches his arm as though she's a little old lady with an osteoporotic hip.
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