Photos by Michael Letterlough, Jr.
How can Lil Wayne talk about “How To Love” when he doesn’t love his self nor the youth he is effecting by his music is some of the topics Pastor Jomo K. Johnson talks about in his new book: ‘Deadest Rapper Alive: The Rise of Lil’ Wayne and the Downfall of Urban Youth’.
In this enlightening and informative treatise, Pastor Jomo K. Johnson reveals how the music of Rapper Lil’ Wayne has reached an epic height of depravity for the Black American and urban culture. “Never has it been seen in the history of African-American Music,” writes Pastor Johnson, “that the culture and generation has embraced and popularized an artist who is not simply immoral but amoral in all of his content, image, and representation. Lil Wayne is Marilyn Manson with darker skin but no one has seemed to notice.”
Deadest Rapper Alive goes beyond the surface level stigma of rap music by showing the pull and influence of Dwayne Carter and similar artists is having a never before seen effect on urban youth and culture. From the current trend of flash mobs, teen solicitation of prostitutes, and prepubescent sex, Pastor reveals how these and other sobering occurrences are being accentuated by the words of Lil’ Wayne. Pastor Johnson also traces the transition of Hip Hop from its early roots of the late seventies and eighties to its current form of dangerous hedonism and sadomasochism. What he shows is that the current trend of Hip Hop music has lost all its redeeming qualities and is now unable to become more degenerate than it already is.
“What Wayne shows by his appearance is that there is no moral standard of appearance. Wayne’s entire upper body, neck, and certain portions of his face are tattooed. He is constantly seen smoking marijuana or sipping from a cup of cough syrup and soda. (This drug, commonly known as ‘sizurrup, is a prescription strength cough syrup containing codeine and promethazine.) At least 3 rappers in the last 12 years have lost their lives by overdose to this drug.” – excerpted from Deadest Rapper Live
Throughout the book, Pastor Johnson gives a solemn warning to parents, church leaders and youth who are encountering the amoral trappings of Lil’ Wayne. These warnings, written with a Pastor’s concern for adults and youth to examine the lyrics, themes, subjects, and songs of Lil’ Wayne while exposing them under the light of statistics, history, sociology, and Biblical truth.
“When one seeks to follow the pseudo-philosophical ideology that artists like Lil’ Wayne expound, “Pastor Johnson writes, “history has proven with uncanny accuracy that calamity must shortly ensue. If the tragedy of Columbine could happen in the suburbs, what will happen in the hood?” In Deadest Rapper Alive, Pastor Johnson makes a heartfelt plea to this generation to reason with itself and examine the indicting evidence against Lil’ Wayne, while thinking twice about the man that has been crowned the “Best Rapper Alive”.
A very well-written, well thought out response to the international phenomenon that is Lil’ Wayne. This book does an excellent job of looking at the urban culture from an ethnomusicological and ethnodoxological point of view. One thing that definitely stands out as a positive: throughout this book the author makes it clear that he is concerned for the youth of today due to the influence of the rise of Lil’ Wayne and the spirit that his music and lyrics promote, the author also makes it clear that he is not condemning Rap or Hip Hop in general, only specific negatives that come from specific rappers/artist. In fact, he points out hip hop is quite the spiritual medium. This book is definitely eye-opening, and I would highly recommend it. -Review by Michael Balonek, International Music Missiologist
So is the Lil Wayne the Deadest Rapper Alive or the Greatest Rapper Alive??? Toodle/KO
The views expressed in this column do not reflect the views of the writer or the staff of SUAVV Magazine.