Lil Wayne Offended Emmett Till’s Family, But Was It Really As Offensive As They’re Making It?

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Lil Wayne has done a lot of stupid things in his career.

Some have been more offensive than others, but his recent verse on Future’s “Karate Chop” remix has caused quite a stir. In the song Wayne raps, “Pop a lot of pain pills/Bouta put rims on my skateboard wheels/Beat the pussy up like Emmett Till.” 

While I thought it sounded like a clever lyric, the family of Emmett Till was not pleased. They ended up creating enough of a backlash that Future’s label Epic removed the song from iTunes and have begun “damage control.” Radios have been instructed to block out the line referring to Emmett Till, and the label has gone as far as suggesting that Wayne re-record the verse with a different punchline.

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I’m probably going to get a lot of backlash for this, but secretly, I know that a lot of people will agree with me: I was not fazed by the line at all and I’m not sure what the big deal actually is.

With that said, I would like to make sure that you, as the reader, know that I am in no way downplaying what happened to Emmett Till. It was a dark day in American History and it should never be forgotten, however let’s be honest – It probably wasn’t that deep for Wayne. 

Some might say that is the source of the problem, however I’m pretty sure that Wayne is very familiar with the legacy of Emmett Till. Do not fool yourselves into thinking that Wayne is not an intelligent person because some of things he says may be juvenile. He simply wanted a good metaphor for the line. Sure, he could have beat the pussy up like something a bit less insensitive, but he chose to say Emmett Till. 

Biggie talked about blowing up like the World Trade, on another track, Wayne spoke about shooting you in the head like Abraham Lincoln, and Wiz Khalifa rapped, “Glocks like it’s Columbine/I’m a star, ain’t a choice so I gotta shine” on “Young Boy Talk.” Those lines never got anyone upset. So why now?

Some might argue that it’s Black History Month so we should be more conscious of the images we put into the world concerning Black culture, but I’m confused as to why this isolated incident has caused so much controversy. There have been so many other references of violent acts, murders, or even acts of terrorism that have been referenced in hip-hop and we never though twice about it, so what makes this one so different?

You may also hear the argument that Wayne’s rap wasn’t creative and he could have said something better. While I think that is solely a matter of opinion, I also think there are now a group of kids who probably had no idea about Emmett Till and the lyric brought his legacy to their attention. 

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There’s no real way to get into the mind of Lil Wayne, but I can honestly say that I doubt he had any cruel intentions when reciting the line. Wayne was probably in the studio, trying to find a way to once again tell us how exactly he beat the pussy up, and this is what he came up with. I’m sorry if the family of Emmett Till was offended and they have every right to be, but there’s no reason for us to get this worked up over the one line and not for any other insensitive thing that Wayne or any other rapper has said in the past. 

We can’t be selective about what we find offensive and then expect to win a battle about being offended. What goes for one should go for all.  

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