My biz partner David and I have talked at length about how our business has forced us to grow to like artists that would normally make us lose all respect among our long-time friends. The irony is amazing. He may just be the world’s biggest Pearl Jam fan – a band that will sell out MSG a few nights in a row, yet haven’t had a radio hit in years and refuses any and all corporate sponsorship. Personally and sadly, I haven’t maintained that kind of steadfast dedication to an artist in years, but have definitely had brushes with music snobbery in my day. Now we both have to stay completely dialed into the game plans of what our friends would label the biggest sell-outs ever, but we deal with it. I can think of about 30 million worse jobs out there.
Our job is to stay open-minded, un-biased, consumer-focused and always strategic. And because of this, I think I am finally able to understand and respect the total fuckin’ juggernaut that is Lil Wayne.
Forever, I despised him. Here is a brief list of reasons why:
- Until very recently, his music made me cringe
- His persona and music did not speak to me (nor should it have)
- His previous associations – Cash Money, Hot Boyz, etc.
- Awful quotes in magazines
- His adoption and overuse of my favorite brand at the time, Bathing Ape
- Two words: Barry Bonds
That shit ain’t cool!
Reasons why I like him now:
- Lollipop is undeniable
- The reaction he gets from crowds – of all types of kids – is infectious
- He follows nobody, but his range of influences is very interesting
- He claims Nirvana was his favorite band growing up
- He has an insane grasp on very current pop culture and can weave it into his 77 songs/year
- I learned he was in the ‘gifted’ program at school, dropped out at 14, but still got his GED
- He plays guitar, and gets indie rock, music snob love
- He sells a million records in a week, and still is smart enough to get music videos for two of his singles for the price of one, as seen below
His rise also reminds me a lot of another artist that grew on me enough to become one of my favorite people of all time. Let’s hope for a different ending to Wayne’s story.