Lil Wayne, “Space Oddity” (Originally Published August 2008)

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Exactly. ’Cause I am what I say I am and what I do. Somebody asked me the other day, “Do you say what you mean and mean what you say?” I said, “Fuck no. I am what I say.” If you are giving me the opportunity to mean what I say, then I can also not mean what I say.

How often does that put you in a situation where you feel like you have to clarify yourself?
I’ve never been in a situation where I feel as though I had to clarify nothing. God knows who I am. My daughter smiles every time she see me, and my Momma still cook whatever I say cook. And my bitches do whatever I say do, and my goons shoot whoever I say shoot. I represent something way larger than life itself. I have [followers] I don’t even know.

You have followers. But with the kind of success you’ve achieved, does that pressure bring out more haters, too?
If you walk around thinking it’s pressure with muthafuckas hating you, then you are the most pressure yourself. Hate is hate. You feel pressure by another person, and that person ain’t God, you crazy. You shouldn’t even have mirrors in your crib. You shouldn’t look at that wack muthafucka that’s inside you. I go wherever I choose comfortably. My jab back at your hate is my success. You be the speed bag and I’ll punch the piss out you.

How about the arrests and criminal charges you’ve been subject to this past year? Isn’t that hate from the police?
Aww, that’s my skin color there. That’s having too much of that money and being black. Michael Jackson proved that even if I go White, that still ain’t gonna change. I’m the nigga that when they get the other niggas, they asking them about me. Muthafuckas behind the desk and deputies and all that snapping pictures with they phone. “Oh, my god, I’m in love with you! Can you talk to my…” I’m gonna make sure I’m not rolling with enough to do some time. That would be dumb on my part.

Let’s talk about drugs. What’s your position on why you sip what you sip and smoke what you smoke? Do you feel it enhances your talent? Or impedes it?
On a personal opinion, I say it don’t. ’Cause shit—the work speaks for itself. As far as why I do it: life, straight the fuck up. There is no reason to be battering your body or yourself so close to death. But who am I to change life? I can’t even change mine. I will some day, if I get that chance.

The other Hot Boys had issues with substance abuse, too. Do you feel like you slid into one of their slots, like when they were going through their issues?
Nah, that shit was heavier what they were doing. I can’t speak for dope, brother. I might pop a Vicodin for a backache or something instead of Tylenol, or half of that. I keep doing my shit ’cause, muthafucka, I’m drinking cough syrup and smoking weed. Okay. I be like, man, Fuck the world. They just don’t got nothin’ else to do but point fi ngers. Like they ain’t about to go home and do what the fuck they vice is. So what. You might like to eat, you fat motherfucka. Stop fuckin’ eating. You might like to lie, you lying bitch. You need to stop lying. I am a multimillion-dollar artist and producer. I’m not talking about music. CEO. President. Chairman. Wonderful father. And by the way, I drink that and smoke this. I won’t say that that shit won’t ever change. That my status in this world, if it were to become more important, to make changes that I would have to make, I won’t say that I won’t do that.

A lot of people relate the drug use to the space-alien theme that’s been so prominent in your lyrics lately. You call yourself a “martian.” What’s your fascination with alien life forms?
Umm, I’m a big Cee-Lo fan. I’m a fan of anybody that’s out there like that. I’m different from y’all. So instead of saying, “I’m different,” I have a cool way of saying, “I’m a martian.” I’m so glad that I’ve developed into that type of artist. ’Cause I never could see that shit from the Hot Boys days, to become a nigga that’s just lyrically out there. And make a muthafucka love it. Even though you could talk about nothing and put something to it to make it mean something.

Being different is often frowned upon, though. Especially in hip-hop. People talk. People tear difference down. How do you deal with it? Like when the pictures of you and Baby came out? Or reports about your love life. “Wayne deals with this chick over here…” That stuff outside of the game. It could throw you off. How are you dealing with it?
I got my mind. And where I’m from, my city, is called New Orleans. I don’t know if you ever been there, but it ain’t one of the hardest places to go to. It ain’t one of the toughest places to go to. It’s one of the realest places to go to. What I mean by that is: The South, we simplify. Up there in New York, y’all got 131 adjectives, you know what I mean? We simplify. A New York nigga would hold a whole conversation and you wouldn’t know what the fuck he just told you, ’cause he ain’t never got to the point. Like, “Yo, son, that shit was drastic! Word to my mother, B, I’m telling you, son…” And you like, “Yeah.” That was stereotypical right there. But I mean, like, even when they are explaining something. “Shorty came down with the, the, the, crunchy Doritos blue face bag, yo!” In New Orleans, nigga walk up: “Nigga, I don’t like you.” Or, “Sweetheart, I wanna fuck you.” “Nigga, you fake.” “Nigga, I got a gun on me and I’ll bust your muthafuckin’…” New Orleans is real. So to answer that question: I’m real. What a muthafucka say about me ain’t gonna do me nothing. I’m real. I’ll let you know now: I’ll knock your muthafuckin’ head off your shoulder and go sit my ass in that chair. That’s where I come from. I’m gonna die a nigga.

When 50 Cent made disparaging comments about you, you didn’t go back at him. Clearly, it didn’t affect your popularity. 50 has complimented you for not taking the bait. Was holding your tongue a strategy?
My god didn’t send me here for that. My Momma ain’t birth me for that. That’s not me. I’m not a confrontational dude… I’m the New Age artist. I don’t beef. I do the song, smile, do a few dance moves, put on nice clothes, wear cologne. I don’t want my music to have to go towards how I feel about you or how I feel about your music. I’m dedicated to making your heart, making your mind feel a certain way when you hear me.

Did you appreciate it at the time? That 50 felt you were big enough to come at?
I said it before and I’ll say it again: Thank you. He catapulted me, in my eyes. Shiiiit, they ain’t even know who the hell I was.

Are there any steps along the way that you regret? People see the teardrop tattoos…
Uh, naw. I don’t regret nothing about it. I think that anybody that lives with regret, you might want to kill yourself.

Why is that?
For you to regret anything that happens to you, you are just dumb. Not intelligent. Intelligence is learning from what happens to you, instead of regretting it. Now, if you want to regret some shit, then go’n kill yourself, ’cause you gonna be regretting your whole muthafuckin’ life. You’ll be 60 with a life full of regrets, instead of a life full of learning.

Do you see yourself in the future expanding into other…
Seeing something in the future is expecting something. Expectations is for kids and bitches. As a man, you not supposed to expect a damn thang. Go get it. I never expect nothing. You take care of right now and see how long you can stretch right now. ’Cause if I’m thinking about that, my mind ain’t on this. If I’m thinking on then, my mind ain’t on now. So if my mind ain’t on now, anything can happen to me now. But if I’m focused on now, then I’m alright. ’Cause if I want to get to then, now is going to get [me] there. ’Cause once I’m there, there is now. So fuck then, ’til we get there.