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  • 14Mar

    The walrus is Weezy. Thoughts on hip-hop’s psychedelic future.

    It’s a popular notion for artists in hip-hop, or any musical genre to want to emulate The Beatles. However, for Lil Wayne and his brand new electric green Ugg boots, it’s quite possible that the notion is an obsession. The best thing to come from this lyrical and sartorial expansion is a motivation that could possibly open the door for a strange new musical road for future artists to explore.

    The Beatles went from normal to psychedelic without missing a beat. Their acceptance of pop culture’s shifting tide toward a free-thinking and romanticized hippie ideal pre-dated most of the universe. In fact, their embrace of the concept opened a door and allowed a brand new tide of artists and styles that progressed rock music in a creatively necessary fashion. In many ways, the Young Money Entertainment boss shares that notion.

    Hip hop has a decidedly “flower power” past. New York City suburbanites De La Soul’s 1989 debut album Three Feet High and Rising signaled the era of the “Daisy Age,” while the onslaught of their Native Tongues family of bohemians in both dress and mindstate was a revolutionary period in hip-hop. However, by the early 90s, De La Soul’s De La Soul is Dead album cover shows an overturned flowerpot with a daisy inside, a thinly veiled nod to the stress and pressure of remaining a free thinker in the commercial realm. Even further, if a fan of fellow Native Tongue family members A Tribe Called Quest, their recent Michael Rappaport directed documentary shows a group that, much like the Beatles, disintegrated at the onset of wild popular appeal.

    The walrus is Wayne. We should’ve seen it coming when he covered the Liverpool lads’ 1965 soundtrack hit “Help!” in 2007 on his The Carter III mixtape. At the time it felt like a strange choice of song, but if we look at Wayne as hip-hop wrapping the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album into a ball and pegging the mainstream in the face, it’s entirely on-point. Lil Wayne has tuned in and dropped out of society and wholly into himself. Hip-hop isn’t exactly the sharpest of mainstream genres at the moment. Therefore, for Wayne to have his creative vision be understood, it’s not quite enough to rap about how odd his life has become. He needs to emulate it as well. The Native Tongues felt like they borrowed psychedelia. They still felt like hip-hop dudes, but doing something different. Wayne? He’s a living embodiment of the style, adopting strange new flows, bizarre new punchlines and opening his mind to new rap frontiers. While his performances on tracks as divergent as underground heavy hitter “I’m Single,” Tyga’s radio killer “The Motto,” rap ballad “How to Love” and 2010′s rock out “Prom Queen” vary from excellent to forgettable, they’re always noteworthy, and if expanded upon by developing emcees, the building blocks of significant artistic creativity.

    Lil Wayne’s green Uggs are more than fashion. Like John, Paul, George and Ringo’s technicolor army trench-coats, they’re a historical precedent. It’s not enough that hip-hop music lets Lil Wayne be great. He wants to be greater. Those who define the future define it in their image and ideal. “Strawberry Fields. Nothing is real.” “Oh. My. God. Becky, look at her butt. Tunechi!”

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