Yesterday I wrote a blog saluting the living legends like Prince, Jay and R. Kelly. At the end of the entry I made a list of honorable mentions, one of which was Lil Wayne. A few of ya’ll took exception, but it got me thinking: Why do folks hate on Weezy so much?
After MJ passed it’s as if the world collectively realized how great of an artist he was, except the material has always been there. It’s an amazingly beautiful thing that Mike has the top 3 albums this week, but it would’ve been more beautiful if he were alive to see three of his works still be THAT sought after 20 years later. Maybe that’s nitpicking because for the most part MJ was appreciated. At every turn he was greeted with adoring fans (as well as the dreaded paparazzi, but hey). Now Lil Wayne isn’t MJ status, but as far as hip-hop goes he sits atop the mountain whether folks want to admit it or not. So what happens when Wayne eventually passes away? It’s not that I wish death upon him, but I’m just saying none of us lives forever. Will it take Wayne’s death for us to realize his greatness?
I can see ya’ll reactions now. I bet members of the Commission are like, “Wayne’s greatness?!? Rob is trippin’.” But I’m dead serious and ya’ll know that I’m right. Coming up I seen the same shit happen to B.I.G. As a matter of fact I can remember that it was Puff who first declared Biggie the G.O.A.T on MTV a week after Big Poppa died. Then Canibus saluted B.I.G. On “2nd Round Knockout” when he taunted LL saying “The greatest rapper died on March 9th.” The truth is Bis’s proclamation was more of a swipe at LL’s G.O.A.T claims and less of a homage to Frank White – or maybe it was both. The point is this: while he was alive few (if any) were calling Biggie the greatest of all time. As a matter of fact it was quite the opposite.
Wu-Tang’s Raekwon and Ghostface seemed to subliminally take exception to Big’s Ready to Die album cover on their “Shark Biters” skit off of OB4CL. I was a huge Wu fan, but that shit baffled me. Illmatic‘s album cover is amazing; one of the best album covers ever, but the only real similarity between Nas’s album and Big’s was the fact that they both featured a little kid on the cover. Who gives a fuck? I was a fan and copped both CDs. And furthermore why would Rae and Ghost even give a shit? It just seemed frivolous.
Things got weirder when Nas dropped It Was Written and threw some sublimes to Frank spittin’, “There’s one life, one love, so there could only be on King.” I think it was The Source who first crowned Big the King of NY, but I could be wrong. Even still while that was a major compliment, being the King of New York is a far cry from being the G.O.A.T. Of course Big got back at Nas, throwing a sublime of his own, “Its funny MCs used to be on some cruddy shit/Took home Ready to Die studied it.”
Shit even got dicey in my beloved Brooklyn when the Boot Camp Click started throwing shots. In O.G.C.’s “No Fear” video BCC members are acting out a scenario where they are throwing a Big look-a-like off the stage much like KRS did to Prince B from PM Dawn. I wasn’t really sure what prompted that beef, but I do remember hearing that after the video Starang Wondah, one of the Boot Camp members, got jumped by Big’s Junior Mafia. Even the Roots mocked the Cristal-sippin’ lifestyle that Biggie represented in their “What They Do” video. You know that’s some real angst when the Roots get at you.
The sad part is that the fans got caught up in all of this. Even in Brooklyn there was a lot of hate for Big. Or maybe the fans started the hate and the artists picked up on it. Who knows? But the fact was that when he was alive Chris Wallace was way more popular than anyone who ever went against him (except Pac). So to me it just seemed like a lot of jealously. It wasn’t Big’s fault that his records played on the radio 100 times a day. Shit if I was a radio programmer I would’ve played “Glaciers of Ice,” “I Gave You Power” and “Leflaur Leflah Eshkoshka” 100 times a day too, but I guess that’s why I work at XXL and not Hot 97.
It’s great that Biggie is so well regarded now, thank god! I just wish he would’ve been alive to see it. The funny thing is, all of his remixed, posthumous work has been shitty; the real gems were released while he was still alive. So why did it take for him to die before we really celebrated Big’s life? It isn’t too late for Lil Wayne though. Trust me, we’re gonna miss him when he’s gone. – Rob the Music Ed