In an interview with MTV, Lil Wayne didn’t hold back and spit the political speak. Instead, he said what he thought, and he said it straight up: flat out, he doesn’t like New York. In casual conversation between two friends, this is perfectly acceptable. New York City is stressful, dirty, unforgiving, and crowded. There are plenty of very understandable reasons to dislike New York City. Still, New York is where rap grew up, and it is representative of a huge, important, and still evolving part of the genre. New York loves hip-hop. And New York expects hip-hop to love it back.
A rapper saying, “I don’t like New York” is like a country star saying, “I don’t like Nashville.” Or maybe it isn’t — I’ve never really understood how country music functioned or how those people behave, but I imagine that most country stars don’t express much negativity towards any of the country music-loving Southern music hubs.
But should we care? Wayne has a strained relationship with New York’s most prized hip-hop station, Hot 97. He’s been arrested in New York, he’s been locked up at Rikers Island, and he’s never represented that gritty, jazzy New York style, musically or otherwise. I can understand why Wayne doesn’t like New York. No matter how much I love this city, I have to admit—it is just as easy to hate.
UPDATE: New York cares. This is a press release sent out this morning:
New York State Senator Malcolm Smith will be joined by members of the hip hop youth council and tourism officials in a press conference being held today August 22, 2012 at 3pm in Times Square after Lil Wayne insulted the Big Apple. The rapper publicly said he flat out don’t like New York. New York City is the birthplace of the Hip Hop music movement. Millions of New Yorkers listen to his music every day. His comments outraged his local fans and residents. The group today will be demanding an apology of the hip hop star. Lil Wayne has had misfortune in New York with recent gun charges and a jail sentence.
When: August 22, 2012 at 3pm
Where: Times Square in Duffy Square between 47th and 46th in between Broadway and 7th Avenue. It’s a triangle island in the middle of the street.