When Dwayne Carter was 12, he put a gun to his chest and pulled the trigger. He lay on the floor bleeding to death until Robert Hoobler, an off-duty police officer who Lil Wayne now affectionately calls “Uncle Bob,” found him and saved his life. That life-changing moment has influenced the rapper’s relationship with police and those who align themselves with law enforcement — an effect you’ve noticed even if you weren’t aware of the cause.
Earlier this year, for instance, he went on Fat Joe’s Instagram Live interview show to discuss George Floyd and replaced his usual red flag with a blue one, pointing his ire at the victims of police violence. “If we want to place the blame on anybody,” he said, “it should be ourselves for not doing more than what we think we’re doing.” He followed up that comment by praising “Uncle Bob” for holding him in his arms in the back of a cop car until medical care arrived. Maybe that story is why Wayne has been so adamantly anti-Black every time the conversation involves anything remotely political.
If you recall, when he was asked about Black Lives Matter during a Nightline interview in 2016, his response was essentially that it didn’t concern him because he’s a celebrity with rich fans. “That just sounds weird,” he said. “I don’t even know why you put a name on it. It’s not a name. It’s not ‘whatever, whatever.’ It’s somebody got shot by a policeman for a fucked up reason… I am a young, black, rich motherfucker. If that don’t let you know that America understand black motherfuckers matter these days, I don’t know what it is. Don’t come at me with that dumb shit, ma’am. My life matter, especially to my bitches.”
There’s an argument for Wayne on rap’s Mount Rushmore. But that’s no longer the extent of his legacy.
Both of those comments are embarrassingly stupid, but I think some people were holding on to a belief — or more precisely, a hope — that the comments were more a reflection of whatever Wayne was sipping at the time. After all, this was still an MC who could go in the booth and make a song like “Georgia…Bush,” lambasting a president for his Katrina response, or scream “fuck the police” whenever he had the chance (sometimes literally). Maybe it was an assumption that folks like Wayne would come around when we really need them. Maybe it was just the undeserved grace we dole out to men no matter what they do to us.
Cut to: yesterday.