Towards the end of the song “Misunderstood” from Lil Wayne’s new Tha Carter III – the second rap song in as many years to sample arguably the most obnoxious classic rock song ever, right up there with the J Geils Band’s “Freeze Frame” – Lil Wayne lights up a blunt and launches into this ridonkulous, several minutes-long political screed. I figured it might be interesting to pick it apart and see what sense it makes, if any. So that’s what I’ve done here below. Note, as if it wasn’t already obvious, that Lil Wayne’s words are the ones in italics.
Without further ado:
I was watching TV the other day. Got this white guy on there… talking about black guys. Talking about how young black guys are targeted. Targeted by who?
If you notice, Lil Wayne speaks of the prison-industrial complex, and the disparity in crack and powder cocaine sentencing and what have you as if none of this had ever occurred to him before in life until he saw some white guy talking about it on TV the other day. To me, this drives home the fact that a lot of these rappers are just plain ignorant. The reason all they talk about is bling bling and shooting people and drugs in their rhymes is not because the TIs ordered them to talk about ignorant shit. That’s just all they know.
You see, one in every 100 Americans are locked up. One in every nine black Americans are locked up. What the white guy was trying to stress was that, the money we spend motherfuckers to jail – a young motherfucker to jail – it would be less to send his or her young ass to college.
I hadn’t been aware of the statistic Weezy cites here, but far be it for me to question the validity of a statistic mentioned on the Lil Wayne album. At any rate, I think we all know that the imprisonment rate in the black community (mostly of black men, I should note) is fucked the fuck up. Given that he ends up talking about school, I’m surprised he didn’t just go with the statistic about how more black men in this country are in jail than they’re in college. But like I said, a lot of this shit is news to Lil Wayne. He might not have been aware of that one.
As far as his point about how it would be cheaper to send thugs to college than to jail, I’m not necessarily disagreeing with him about the cost. I’m sure he crunched the number. But I’m wondering if the solution is really to send everyone to college. On the contrary, I’d argue that one of the problems in this country is that so many people are in college. Shit, even Lil Wayne himself is in college. We’d probably be better off reverting to the system we had before, where a man who’s not that smart could make enough money to provide for his family by putting together cars or whatever, and only smart people got to go to college.
Another thing this white guy was talking about was that our jails are populated with drug dealers… you know, crack cocaine. Meaning, due to the laws we have on crack cocaine and regular cocaine, the police are only logic by riding around in the hood all day, and not in the suburbs. Because crack cocaine is only found in the hood, and that other thing is mostly found in… you know where I’m going.
Listening to Lil Wayne expound on drugs, crack sentencing and what have you, you get the idea that he’s informed by his own personal experience on a couple of different levels.
First of all, Lil Wayne has obviously had his share of experience with drugs. As I mentioned before, hardly any of this shit is news to anyone other than Lil’ Wayne. But it is the rare occasion when you hear someone expound on the disparity in crack and powder cocaine sentencing from a junkie’s perspective. For example, when he talks about why crack cocaine is mostly sold in the hood, he doesn’t speak from a dealer’s perspective, i.e. what are people in the hood gonna buy? Instead, he notes that crack cocaine is much cheaper than powdered cocaine, and that’s all people in the hood can afford.
It’s a subtle difference, but it’s an instructive one, I think.
Also, as Lil Wayne mentions later in his diatribe, he lives in the suburbs now, rather than the hood. As such, I’m sure he’s discovered what those of us who’ve been living in the suburbs have known for years now – namely, the fact that, if you live at the end of a cul de sac, you could sit on your front porch and do illegal shit all day long and the police would never know. I can’t even remember the last time I saw a cop car drive down my parents’ street. My guess is that Lil Wayne just now realized this, and it bothers him that this is the case, in that, if the police would just stop patrolling, the imprisonment rate in the black community would probably drop precipitously.
We don’t have room in the jail now for the real motherfuckers – the real criminals. You know, sex offenders, rapists, serial killers… shit like that? Oh don’t get scared, I know you saw one of them sex offender papers. Don’t trip, he live right on the end of yo block. That nigga live right down the street from you – sex offender on a level three drug.
Similarly, you get the idea that there must be a sex offender living in Lil Wayne’s new neighborhood, and it bothers Lil Wayne that the police stay fucking with him just because he likes to get high – meanwhile, the guy at the end of his street once raped a child, and you don’t see the cops sweating him, now do you? I’ve lived in like five different places in as many years, and I’ve never seen any papers talking about how there was a sex offender in the neighborhood. Granted a couple of those places were near schools, and sex offenders, by law, aren’t allowed to live too close to a school, temptation being a motherfucker and all.
Mr. Al Sharpton, here’s why I don’t respect you, and nobody like you. You’re the type that gets off on getting on other people. That’s not good. No homo. And rather unhuman, I should say. I mean, given the fact that humanity – well, good humanity, rather – to me is helping one another no matter your color or race. But this guy and people like him, they’d rather speculate before they informate, if that’s a word.
I consulted Google just now, and, come to find out, informate really is a word. According to the Free Online Encyclopedia (not to be confused with that other free online encyclopedia), it means, “to dispense information, as coined by Harvard Professor Shoshana Zuboff.” Well, what do you know! (To this day, I can hardly type the name Shoshana without thinking about Jerry Seinfeld’s teenage girlfriend with the ridonkulous cans. *takes a five minute pause for the cause*)
Now, where was I? Oh yes, the Rev. Al “Mr. Do” Sharpton. Say what you will about Lil Wayne, you have to give him a little bit of credit for going at Al Sharpton the way he has here, as much as the Rev. has done over the years to throw hip-hop under a bus. Just recently, he was one of the main people responsible for the new Nas album no longer being named after the dreaded n-word. You wish he would have structured his argument a bit better than he did (what’s with the humanity crap?), but I think he gets at the hip-hop community’s main gripe with Mr. Do, i.e. how is he supposed to be helping the hip-hop community if he’s constantly attacking it?