Although I happen to enjoy his nasally vocal arrangements and eight-counts, the last Verzuz was an embarrassing time to be an Omarion fan. Between his singing, song selection, and unwise choice to go down on a watermelon with his brother, the Deena Jones of B2K did not do a good job of reminding the masses there is a reason he was the only person on the bill that night to have scored a hit single within the past decade.
Mario was the only singer that managed to sing well, though, and his ability to highlight that novelty the entire show left a lot of us remembering his old hits (about a good four and that’s very respectable) and recalling that his Go album is criminally under-appreciated.
Given how well Mario was received, all he had to do now to capitalize on the renewed attention was to release a halfway decent song. His single “Main One” might be that, but many of us are not going to bother to listen to it because of the featured artist.
Ahead of the single’s release set for Friday, Mario announced his next record feature Tory Lanez, who is set for trial later this year after allegedly shooting Megan Thee Stallion.
“This Friday dropping new music!” Mario wrote. “This one called ‘MAIN ONE’! S/O to my bro @torylanez ! We went crazy tap in!”
Mario is the same person who in August 2020 tweeted: “This @theestallion & @torylanez situation got me in awe. Sad AF? Knowing Tory personally this shit crazy to me. Black men we gotta learn how to control our ego, anger etc. at some point the switch gotta turn off! Protect black women! Heal black men. Love & respect each other!”
Almost a year to the day after that tweet, a judge increased Lanez’s bail after finding him in violation of a court order to stay away from Megan Thee Stallion with his surprise appearance at Rolling Loud. Nearly a year after that, a prosecutor in Lanez’s case accused him of leaking docs in his felony assault case—accusing him of “trying to subvert the fair administration of justice.” Lanez denied the leaking, but around this same time period saw his bail increased a second time following him going on Twitter to imply Megan was lying about the shooting.
Does this sound like a Black man that’s learned to control his ego and anger? Is a man accused of shooting a Black woman and sowing doubt about her victimization doing his part to protect Black women? I already know the answers and I’m sure Mario does, too.
“I want him to go to jail,” Megan told Rolling Stone in a recent profile. “I want him to go under the jail.”
Mario chose to collaborate with Tory Lanez anyway.
What one chooses to ignore and for what reason says a lot about that person's character. Some like to pretend otherwise, but that’s only because they don’t like the reflection that they see.
Understandably, he was called out across social media for his choices.
As one person on Twitter wrote: “The way he coulda taken advantage of the versus praise and actually revamped his career but instead is doing this!”
Mario defended the decision on Instagram.
“As an independent artist doing his thing, it’s like, you know, it’s a lot of artists that don’t work as hard as he do,” Mario said. “Regardless of whatever, the music is what it is.”
“Regardless of whatever” is a cowardly way to say he is accused of shooting a woman in the foot.
Mario wouldn’t verbalize what Lanez is still accused of doing, but he showed consciousness of it by injecting a point of view that conveniently excuses him from working with him.
“It’s like you still listen to music regardless of what’s going on in the world,” Mario explained. “Things you don’t know about. The music is what you love people for.”
In the end, Mario said he that was going to “keep the energy positive” and “if y’all fuck with the music, fuck it, and if you don’t, we’re just gon’ keep creating.”
I don’t fuck with it and I fuck even less with Mario’s excuses for a bad choice that makes him look like a hypocrite.
I couldn’t care less about how hard Tory Lanez works. He is accused of shooting a Black woman. Someone who—based on the police reporting that a lot of Lanez’s goofy, misogynistic fans didn’t actually read—did absolutely nothing to prompt the assault. And then after it allegedly happened, Lanez has continued to torment and taunt her.
We have seen that for ourselves and Mario decided to work with Tory Lanez anyway.
I don’t believe in the idea that you can separate the art from the artist, but I also know that there is no perfect way to consume entertainment. However, you don’t have to listen to R. Kelly when it’s made apparent that many of his songs are themed around sex with minors and you don’t need to work with Tory Lanez on something that will only boost his legal defense about shooting a Black woman. What one chooses to ignore and for what reason says a lot about that person's character. Some like to pretend otherwise, but that’s only because they don’t like the reflection that they see.
In Mario’s case, this is a man that heard about a violent act against a Black woman and asked Black men to do better until he decided that changing his mind and tune might make him some money.
It says a lot about the flaws in Mario’s logic and character.
Lanez has a fan base, but his presence on a song does not guarantee a hit. All it does is create noise. It didn’t have to be this way, but you can always count on some celebrities to ruin good publicity.
Mario might have won that Verzuz, but he blew the opportunity to get some of us to get excited about something he released beyond 2008.