I keep hearing all this talk about how great Lil' Wayne is. I guess he's supposed to be the greatest rapper out and theoretically better than sliced bread. But here's my question; if Lil' Wayne is such a great rapper, how come he's not dead?
I'm sure that there's some complex formula that actually distills what makes a rapper great. I'm imagining PowerPoint presentations with graphs that show verbal dexterity in relation to rhymes and flows. I know that there's probably an equation out there that factors in collabos and features. Call me a jaded Gen-Xer, but for me, one sure sign of greatness is that you're dead.
Prime example; Notorious B.I.G. Many hail him as the greatest of all time. The guy released one album when he was living. That's it, that's all. He died at age twenty-four, yet his influence lives on. The shadow he cast over the industry is still present. That is greatness.
Of course you can't bring up B.I.G. without exhuming the corpse of Tupac, yet another rapper widely considered to be "the greatest." He was much more prolific than B.I.G., but they were equals in influence. And Tupac also died too young.
Tupac and Biggie are both considered great. Both their lives were cut short, in their mid-twenties by a hail of bullets, in western states while traveling in automobiles. Now, it seems to me that sounds like a surefire recipe for greatness.
"But Skip" you say, "what if Lil' Wayne doesn't want to spend his final moments in a car?" Great question. My answer is the to take the Big L option. Granted, L isn't "widely considered" great, he is pretty well respected. And if Wayne were to opt for that route he'd only need to get shot dead in the street.
(Now I would never suggest that someone try to help "make" Lil' Wayne; that would be completely wrong. By the same token, the police have yet to solve the murders of Biggie, Tupac and Big L.)
Now, suppose Lil Wayne doesn't want someone else to shoot him? Well, as a fan of Nirvana, he should know that the late (and emphasis on) great Kurt Cobain killed himself, with a shotgun.
Lil Wayne is venturing into the Rock genre, perhaps he'll draw on some of that Nirvana inspiration and become "great."
If Lil Wayne is a Hip-Hop anomaly and doesn't fancy gunplay, he could take the Big Pun approach and expire due to an unhealthy lifestyle. Certainly the purple drank isn't the healthiest thing to drink, despite all of the medicine it contains.
So maybe if Lil Wayne overindulges in something the way Pun overindulged in eating, Wayne too can be considered great.
Some might use semantics and point out that Lil' Wayne's goal was to be the "greatest rapper alive" and to that I say; isn't that like wanting to come 2nd in a marathon or wanting to lose a presidential race? If you're going have a goal, it shouldn't be modest it should be grand. Lil Wayne should want to be the greatest rapper ever, even if it means dying at a young age.
And that's the thing, Wayne's got a lot stacked against him. Biggie, Pun and L only released one album in their lifetime. And off all of the greats I mentioned Big Pun, who died at 28, lived the longest. Lil Wayne will be 27 this year, so if he's aiming for greatness, the clock is ticking.
Who knows, maybe one day Lil' Wayne's shower shoes will join Biggies Belt, Tupac's fanny pack, Big Pun's lobster bib and Big L's disposable camera in a museum exhibit devoted to artifacts left behind by Hip-Hop's greatest emcees.
But only if Lil' Wayne's life is extinguished too soon. And quickly.