White Wayne, Snooper Cat, & The Myth Of Being Young Forever

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Words by Tony Grands

Before 2010, Lil Wayne had convinced the Hip Hop nation that he was the best rapper alive. In 2010, he dropped Rebirth (which I still believe must have been the result of a lost bet or a point he was trying to prove to his mom), which became a pivotal moment in his career.In hindsight, it may have been when Lil Wayne began to run out of things to say in his raps & got bored with the culture altogether. Of course that sounds far fetched, but if you factor in the amount of time he’s been rapping & the self-imposed creative box he broadcasts from, it’s quite feasible to think that, after so many years, he simply grew weary of running laps around the track. He wouldn’t be the first or the only rapper to experience such a thing, either. Hold that thought, though.

For years, the rap circuit worked similarly to the stand-up comedy circuit, in terms of it being the gateway to bigger & brighter stardom. Take Richard Pryor, for example. He began performing stand-up, moved on to bigger stages, & through his natural talent & artistic charisma, ended his career as a virtual movie star. The same storied template can be applied to Bill Cosby, Eddie Murphy, Bernie Mac, Adam Sandler, etc. In the same vein, during the 90’s, rappers made their names known, began reaching broader audiences, & eventually graduated to either the small or big screen, traveling onward from there. The last arguably great rapper to pull off this feat of hollywoodry was/is Will Smith. (Ice Cube is a close second.)

Through his lovable antics & user-friendly, almost caricature-like personality, Will conquered Hollywood just as easily as he had Hip Hop. Five years after he’d become a household name for his G-rated records, Smith began acting on The Fresh Prince of Bel Air & has been a global icon ever since. Did he outgrow the music? No, because he continued his musical career until 2005. What he did seem to do, though, was mature & grow as an entertainer. That’s the way the conveyor belt of entertainment is supposed to work. & technically, that’s no different than Snoop Dogg Lion changing his name & replacing Long Beach rap twang with do-it-yourself patois & reggae music. It may have taken Snoop a while longer to come to his realization, but the outcome is still the same: expressive maturation. The same way the aforementioned comedians ascended from stand-up comedy routines.

For what it’s worth, I think Wayne’s situation is somewhat the same as Snoop & Will’s, respectively, except Weezy is noisy & messy & instead of quietly shifting proverbial life gears, he caused as much ruckus as possible. As his interests transferred from ballin’ to spanking the guitar, from baggy jeans & tennis shoes to zebra jeggings & space boots, he maintained his stronghold on rap culture, & that confused some people, including himself. It was obvious that the requisite redundant rapper rhetorical lifestyle had began to bore him, because he was becoming a singing rock ‘n’ roll star before our very eyes. But instead of detaching his escape pod under a veil of darkness, he continually force fed his fans until they literally threw up at his whimsical feet. Now, as he moves even further away from the urbanized community that made him who he is (meaning his original core fanbase didn’t skate, listen to rock, or dress like homeless schizophrenics), I can’t say that I blame him. After so many hit records & concert encores, the only thing left to do is something else, if that makes any sense. Much like Snoop, Will Smith, & even Cube, Wayne has done all that he can in the rap game it appears, & it’s time to take his talents to a newer, fancier arena, so to speak. That’s understandable.

Entertainment is bigger than a singular genre of music. & when rappers begin to get complacent, redundant, or just plain obviously lack focus, I always wonder if they’ve overlooked grander opportunities for the sake of continuing to make rap records. Or even worse; maybe some rappers don’t perceive a career past rapping, & every album after the third one is nothing more than a virtual day’s work for the next paycheck.

Everybody can’t be Jay-Z, who has never ventured too far from the recording booth but has somehow always been in the “game.” Rap should be a springboard for most, unless you happen to possess the natural talent to sustain you otherwise.

Words by Tony Grands
@TheTonyGrands

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3 comments on “White Wayne, Snooper Cat, & The Myth Of Being Young Forever

  1. Capital G says:

    You win the game of Internets with this post. SnooperCat is gonna have me rolling for a long time.

    Like

  2. DV says:

    Lolz @ “do-it-yourself patois”.

    Like

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