Breaking Down Lil Wayne Public Service Announcement


Late Friday, Lil Wayne released a video (a public service announcement, as it was labeled) where he questioned and broke down his legacy [Watch above]. What started off as a reflection on the life of Steve Jobs soon evolved into a diatribe where Weezy ran through some of the things he's become known for—drinking lean, rocking long hair, having a body full of tattoos, doing a rock album, and skateboarding—and wondered why others followed suit. Not an attack on kids that look up to him, the platinum-selling rapper seemed to be calling out other rappers and adults. XXL decided to take a look at the claims Tunechi makes about his legacy. —XXL Staff

lil wayne lean

Sippin' On Some Sizzurp
Pre-Wayne: That purple drank has been around for a while, and popular—especially in the South—for some time. Houstonians, especially, have been known for their syrup proclivity and expressed it through their music. DJ Screw, Three 6 Mafia, UGK, and a handful of others helped to popularize the drink through their music in the 1990s and 2000s, and both Screw and UGK's Pimp C passed away from codeine-related deaths.

Wayne: Weezy has been rapping in the limelight for nearly a decade and a half. It wasn't until a few years ago, in the mid-2000s, as he began to reinvent himself to become the workhorse Martian that propelled him to superstardom, that Wayne began spitting prominently about lean in his rhymes.

Post-Wayne:Lean has certainly gained more prominence in the hip-hop community since becaming a mainstay in Wayne's rhymes and image. Maybe most notably, Young Money's own Drake has been talking about the drink frequently in his raps as of late.

lil wayne hair

Long Hair, Don't Care
Pre-Wayne: Hair is a great way for anyone—rapper or otherwise—to express themselves. Hairstyle has always been an important part of hip-hop fashion, and a handful of MCs including Busta Rhymes, Snoop Dogg and Ludacris all were known for their unique hairstyles in the 1990s and early 2000s.

Wayne: When he first came out, Wayne was a teenager rocking braids. It didn't take long for him to keep growing things out, and Mr. Long Hair Don't Care's dreads soon became a crucial part of his image.

Post-Wayne: Rather than more and more people growing their hair out, it seems in recent years that longer hair—specifically braids—have seemed to lose favor among many. Busta, Murs, Ludacris, Jim Jones, Slim Thug, Chamillionaire and Bow Wow have all chopped their long hair over the last few years.

lil wayne guitar

Rock Star Lifestyle
Pre-Wayne: In 1986, Run-D.M.C. covered rock group Aerosmith's 1975 song “Walk This Way,” and included it on their album Raising Hell. The track was a watershed moment in the bridging of rap and rock, and set the stage for future genre-bending. Meanwhile, Wyclef Jean and Lauryn Hill haven been known to strum away on their guitars.

Wayne: In his “Leather So Soft” video in 2006, Wayne strums the guitar (and show's the instrument in the video). He also released his rock album Rebirth in early 2010.

Post-Wayne: In the wake of Rebirth, other MCs have expressed their interest in doing rock projects. KiD CuDi has had ties to rock, and formed 2 Be Continuum in 2010; the duo are prepping their debut. In addition, at a recent New York city concert appearance, Mac Miller played guitar while on stage.

lil wayne skateboarding

Pre-Wayne: Skater culture and hip-hop have been on the brink of fusion for years. Pharrell had already been making his mark as a producer when he began venturing into artistic ventures via N.E.R.D. and his own solo material. When he did, he brought his unique Skateboard P style and influences with him. Other rappers have created homages in song form to skating, most notably Murs on his 2003 The End of the Beginning cut “Transitionz Az a Ridah” and Lupe Fiasco's 2006 hit “Kick, Push.”

Wayne: Only recently has Wayne started skating, but he seems to be trying his best to hone his skills. As shown in the video, there's a small half-pipe in President Carter's crib. Also shown in the video: he's not that good yet.

Post-Wayne: No rappers have prominently taken up skating in the short time since Weezy has.

lil wayne tattoo

Ink My Whole Body
Pre-Wayne:Rappers have been getting tatted for years, but one of the early notables who showed his off was 2Pac. Though not covered nearly as heavily as Lil Wayne, 'Pac had visible ink on his arms and chest, and influenced Tunechi, Nas and others with his stomach tattoo in particular.

Wayne: As he shows in the video, Weezy has quite a bit of ink, which he's been accumulating over time (he mentioned when he got his first tattoo as a young teen). Now, he has tats everywhere—arms, legs, face and beyond.

Post-Wayne: Ink-filled bodies are all over in rap these days, as everyone from Wiz Khalifa to Rick Ross to Kid Ink are tatted from head-to-toe. But can Wayne really be credited for this trend?