I was bored on youtube and found myself watching the Katie Couric’s interview with the rapper Lil Wayne.
I love hip-hop. I’ve been a fan all my life. I could always relate to the lyrics and feel the beat. But many adults hate the music and blame it for everything wrong in society. To hear them, young folks, especially blacks, would not have any problems, if they did not listen to this music.
Rap music has had a strange journey. It started as a political musical genre back in the 80s, but as the struggle for black liberation subsided, rap exited the political highway and took to the back roads of “partying” and “fast life” found in the crime and violence of the inner city. By the 1990s, the music had embraced a new gangsta style and rappers too often degraded women and used profanity. But there was always more to the music than these negatives.
Ok, history lesson is over.
Today’s image of rap music is largely negative. So, when saw a video that showed Katie Couric interviewing Lil Wayne, I said, “Here we go again, more negative media for hip-hop.”
Couric gave an insightful interview. She sought to discover the man beneath the dreadlocks and tattoos. She wanted to gain insight into the content and the character of this famous rapper. For example, she says that Lil Wayne has the stereotypic image of a rapper, including the “attitude.” Lil Wayne says to Couric, “I am a gangster.” And she insightfully replies, “What does that mean?” He says that it means that “I do what I want to do.”
Couric suggests that Lil Wayne’s notion of gangsterism is nothing more than a sense of fierce independence, which allows him to shape his own music.
The interview reveals the hidden side of Lil Wayne; the love and passion that drives him. At the same time, it shows how that music was shaped by his humble background and pain of growing up without a father; a pain that it still with him. Couric asks Lil Wayne why he dropped the “D” from his name.
He says, “I was a junior, but my father was never in my life. So, I didn’t want to be Dwayne. I dropped the ‘D’ and became Wayne.”
Journalism can hurt people, but good, insightful reporting can also help people. The Couric interview did that. Indeed, folks who saw that interview have a better understanding of hip hop, and one of the leading performers in the field.