New York rapper Talib Kweli has discussed his thoughts on Lil Wayne and Rick Ross recently losing mega endorsement deals over their music content and offered an interesting take on the buzzing debate.
Talib believes both rappers should have apologized sooner over their controversial rhymes but also acknowledged why the multi-million dollar corporations are also at fault.
“I feel like Lil Wayne and Rick Ross should get money. I was disappointed that they got dropped,” Talib said in an interview, referring to Pepsi Co Inc and Reebok parting ways with the rappers. “I wish they would have came with stronger apologies sooner and kept they money. The reason I said something, I wanted them to keep their money. I don’t want to see no Black man lose nothing. These companies obviously don’t have our best interests in mind. They obviously don’t. It’s also a money thing. It’s a look. That’s also why you can’t say these artists aren’t hip-hop. You can’t say Lil Wayne and Rick Ross ain’t hip-hop. From the outside looking in, these men have dedicated their lives to the music. Whether you like their output or not, they represent hip-hop for millions of people and that can’t be fronted on.” (“Sway In The Morning”)
This week, Atlanta’s Future spoke up for Wayne over his cited “Karate Chop” remix lyrics and said people should embrace the fact he brought attention to civil rights symbol Emmett Till.
“We did the song with great intentions,” Future said in an interview. “I never thought it was going to get so much attention. But I think, overall, with the whole situation, he did bring light, in a positive way, to what happened. Even though they might thought it was negative, he brought positive energy to the situation because a lot of people don’t know, my dad didn’t even know who Emmett was. He’s thinking I’m talking about Emmitt Smith. … He raised awareness to people who didn’t even know who Emmett Till is to young kids who didn’t even know what happened to him. … After Lil Wayne brought light to it, they had to go and do their research.” (“Big Boy’s Neighborhood”)
Maybach Music Group’s Meek Mill recently defended Ross’ “U.O.E.N.O.” lyrics and called out Reebok for severing its relationship with the “Boss.”
“F*ck Reebok, we wear Pumas,” Meek said in an interview. “That’s what we do. We wear Pumas. As far as Ross’ situation with Reebok, I just don’t approve of none of that. I don’t approve of no companies trying to dib and dab in our culture and then when you make a mistake they dip out on you. They’re still making money off our brand. I’m very against that. Ross is off Reebok and Reebok is still going to make money off of Ross. Before Rick Ross, Swizz [Beatz] and Tyga, it was no Reebok no more. These companies actually follow our culture and make money off of our culture and pay us like a pimp out. ‘This b*tch ain’t working today. Put her off the strip.’ If you fire me, we’re going to tear your sh*t back down. Nobody’s wearing Reebok no more. Reebok ain’t cool. Don’t wear that.” (Civil TV)
Grammy-winning rapper T.I., who has worked with both Ross and Weezy, weighed in on the debate last week.
“Endorsements come from corporations,” T.I. said when asked for his take on controversial lyrics hurting hip-hop artists’ endorsement deals. “Corporations, that’s outside dollars. You know what I’m saying? That’s money that you would not normally be making if you were not associated with this brand. So if you’re going to be associated with this brand, you’re going to have to be associated with this brand and have them, you know, be associated with pride in whatever it is you do. So, it’s kind of like you got to be mindful of the things you say if you choose to take in money from outside sources. But me knowing [Lil Wayne], I know [he] ain’t mean no harm in what he said. He was just kicking flav. You got to really be in our life and of our lifestyle to understand how we can kinda unplug and — be on our own sh*t sometimes.” (“Hoodrich Radio”)
Check out Talib Kweli’s interview: