I’m a fan of Lil’ Wayne. Actually, I’m not so much a fan of Dwayne Carter anymore. Nowadays, In my opinion, his music is just noise. Is it rap? Hip-hop? Rock? Pop? Grunge? It’s still better than the Black Eyed Peas (actually, everything is better than the Black Eyed Peas, curse their retched, talentless, annoying souls), but I don’t think about how dope of an artist Mr. Carter is while listening to his more recent music. Whether it’s “Lollipop”, “A Milli”, or just about every song that he’s featured on, he gets a “Child, please” from me. All I think of now is how all of that lean he’s consumed has made his brain soupy, and whether or not he can get through an entire verse without using “like” and “as” (trust me, the dude loves similes), or a sentence fragment in every other line. How long are people going to be captivated by a man who once rapped the entire alphabet in a verse? (Listen to “Ransom”, Drake ft. Lil’ Wayne, if you don’t believe me)
Alas, I digress. The majority of the reason that Dwayne has lost me is his change of persona since the release of Tha Carter. When I first heard Tha Carter, I thought Dwayne would eventually supplant Jay-Z as the best rapper alive. That was before Dwayne rapped, “Best rapper alive/Since the best rapper retired”. He sounded mad hungry. His delivery was crisp as it could be for someone from New Orleans, and the listener could tell that he wanted them to feel every word, especially on “BM Jr.”. Mr. Carter had a little success with the album and then with his next, Tha Carter II…and would go on to completely lose his marbles.
After Tha Carter II’s release, he put out mixtape after mixtape and appeared to become rather eccentric. You would hear a high-pitched, maniacal laugh or the sound of him taking a drag on a blunt. His dreads got longer and longer, and he claimed to be getting in touch with his Rasta side. He seemed to get a new tattoo every few days. Gone were the “white tees, Girbauds, and fresh Ree’s” (shoutout to Juvie). In were leather vests, snug undershirts, and tattered denim. Dwayne, along with the “artists” behind “Party Like A Rock Star” (I refuse to acknowledge the group behind that piece of shit disguised as a song) inspired douchebags of every race, creed, and color to wear Ed Hardy, jeans with chains hanging from them, spiked bracelets, and rock Chuck Taylor’s as if they were leather Louis Vuitton loafers. It became cool to listen to rock music, even though the closest to the genre that most of the new followers had ever come was “Party Like A Rock Star”. If you were wondering, this song wasn’t even a rock song. Just years prior, I’d heard so many guys whine and bitch about tight tees and tight jeans. Suddenly, they were wearing undersized v-necks with elaborate, nonsensical designs and dragons on them.
LRG was supposed to be a label for dudes like me. Hipster, slim, geeky guys that just cannot go for wearing their jeans so low that you can see their underwear. We prefer to wear shirts that fit; those that don’t resemble stylish hospital gowns. Instead, once the line gained popularity, it became more mainstream. Soon enough, 5’10”, 150 lb guys started wearing 3XL Lifted Research Group shirts and denim that would barely fit the old Drew Carey.
Slowly but surely, the “in” style became the nerdy look. Never mind that guys like myself realized that cardigans, skinny ties, and slim-fitting jeans were a better look around 2007. Those who had been ridiculed for sporting this look are now being emulated. Sneaker lines like Creative Recreation, Supra, and Alfie would have been totally dismissed by the masses 5 years ago. Now? Move over Air Force Ones and Jordans. I’ve worn glasses since I was 10 and have hated them since day one. I have been called “four eyes”, “nerd”, “dork”, “geek”, “dweeb”, “professor”, and Urkel by complete strangers, friends, and classmates. Wearing glasses was once like a social death sentence. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that wearing glasses would be fashionable. I’m not talking regular ol’ glasses, either. I’m talking about the vanilla, big-framed, square glasses that would make the average person think of George Burns before a fashionable 20-something.
The Huns are even moving in on sports, mannerisms, and music. Since when did so many wannabe Tony Montana’s and Nino Brown’s consider themselves skateboarders and hipsters? As someone who’s been skating since the age of 7, it sort of offends me to see so many walk around with something they don’t even know how to use or really know anything about. Skateboarding is just as much a culture as it is an activity/sport. Lupe Fiasco’s “Kick Push” brought skating to the forefront even more, admit it or not. I originally thought it would help improve skating’s image (it’s been thought of as something usually enjoyed only by outcasts, rebels, and loners), but it has only bred an asshole of posers. I assume those delusions of grandeur you once had of popping bottles in the club finally hit you as far-fetched, huh? People like me stayed away from that thinking for a reason. And now you’re a politically conscious, philosophical, hippie stoner. Riiiiight. The word “awesome” isn’t so lame now that you’ve decided to use it, I see. So you’re a fan of Hayley Williams now? Pssst…she’s in a group called Paramore, you know. Radiohead? HAH! Janelle Monae and Little Brother are on your dope list now? How can you argue that you’re such a huge J. Dilla fan when you were just made aware of how dope he was? Oy vey.
I understand that this country (at least the more affluent parts) revolves around trends. TV, music, movies, fashion, language, technology, etc. MySpace was the shit in 2005 and later gave way to Facebook. Now, Twitter is the new craze. When I was in the 7th grade, you didn’t look good unless you were wearing Hilfiger, Polo, FUBU, or Maurice Malone. Upon entering high school, Sean John, GUESS, Ecko, Nautica, and Eddie Bauer were flying off store racks and shelves. Gangster rap, out. Conscious rap, in. Conservatives, out. Liberals, in. Alcohol, out. Weed, in. (Pardon me, for my last 2 lines were nothing more than me once again being a victim of wishful thinking. I should be granted some sort of lenience, for I am a diehard Chicago Cubs fan.)
What pains me about people who are steadily following trends is that it appears they aren’t even giving themselves time to discover what it is they really want out of life. They’re so consumed by whether what they have is popular or not (I see you, iPhone and iPad owners), that they have failed to remember that what they enjoy and choose to do shouldn’t be affected by what’s seen on TV, in the movies, videos, or whatever trashy outlet they appear to be getting their lifestyle tips from.
I’m all for guys who want to wear skinny jeans and skinny ties if they feel the look suits them. I don’t mind seeing a woman (Sarah=EEE!) in a flannel shirt and boyfriend jeans. However, I frown upon posers. Perps. Wannabes. Biters. Fakes. Phonies. I was once called out for wearing a skinny tie along with jeans that didn’t have the brand’s name all over them. Riding a skateboard on the south side of Chicago doesn’t exactly make you popular. My “hipster music” was called uppity, elitist, and sometimes, corny. I took the insults, Shannon Miller’d the parrot a few times, and kept it moving. I refused to care because I knew that the people who were into what I was into had a genuine interest. It wasn’t for show. We couldn’t care less about being perceived as different. I’m from Earth. I don’t need to broadcast to the world that I’m a Martian. This nation is already in bad enough shape without the abundance of imitators.
I’m asking you politely now: GET OFF OF MY CLOUD…
P.S. I miss Karen and the Moondance Woman!!!
P.P.S. Seriously, now. Who says Leonardo is their favorite Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle?