Paging “Da Capo Best Music Writing 2008”
I studiously avoid listening to Lil Wayne mainly because a) I’m a reactionary fuck who doesn’t like it when more than two of my year end albums appear in anyone else’s lists and b) you all know deep down he’s never gonna top those skits on “The Mind Of Mannie Fresh” (“That caine slanging, those bitches, bitches stabbing other bitches in the eye”). Also, we’re not really keep on keepin’ it positive at ILB, mainly because all music writers ever are dreadful.
HOWEVER: you really do need to read David Ramsey’s piece on Lil Wayne’s impact in New Orleans schools asap, a piece that gets the Bob Dylan reference over and done with as earlier as possible just so he could get a truly literary, empathetic, funny, and uniquely depressing article published, a testament to the mix of resentment and not-giving-a-fuck attitude that comes to sum up all communities that have been fucked over one too many times. Too many choice sections to quote all, so go and read it now. However, this has to go down as an amazing passage:
After Michael cussed out our vice principal, I did a home visit. Michael was one of the biggest drug dealers in his neighborhood, and also one of my best students.
“Actually, that was good,” he said, later. “You teach me to write like that?”
His mother was roused from bed. She looked half-gone, dazed. Then she started crying, and hugged me, pulled my head into her body. “No one’s ever cared like this,” she said. “Bless you. Thank you.”
Michael smiled shyly. “I just want to get in my right grade,” he told me.
“We’ll find a way to make that happen,” I told him.
A few weeks later, I gave him a copy of a New Yorker piece on Lil Wayne.