The East Coast-West Coast rap rivalry of the ’90s led to great music, lots of publicity and arguably the deaths of two of the genre’s best and most promising talents. Yet with no shortage of MCs boasting that he or she is the best rapper alive, as well as the crowded release date schedule in late 2011 alone, hip hop is definitely a musical sector that thrives on the competitive spirit. But not anymore, at least according to Lil Wayne. “There’s no competition [with any artists]. Music isn’t about competition no more. All the gangster rappers are happy, all the skateboard rappers are happy, all the white rappers are happy… Everybody just happy to do music these days. There are no problems,” Weezy tells VIBE in the upcoming October/November issue. “That shit died a long time ago with them old-ass rappers. We are just making music, making money and having fun feeding our families. Competition is for the old guys.”
Non-violence is one thing, but isn’t the idea that you could one day be rendered obsolete by someone younger, more inventive and more talented what keep the creatively minded on their toes? Could Weezy be getting complacent? Maybe, or perhaps he’s taking one step closer to the dreaded 3-0 has left him with blinders on, choosing to focus more on promoting his latest album Tha Carter IV and supporting the Green Bay Packers. And if he’s not poring over album sales and download numbers of his peers don’t motivate him anymore, lyrical stabs at his crew can still manage to inspire a line or two on his own track. About the alleged dig at Jay-Z on “It’s Good”—you know, “I got your baby money/Kidnap your bitch, get that how-much-you-love-your-lady money”—Wayne was more evasive on whether or not he understood The Consequences of insulting members of hip hop’s royal family (Jay, Beyoncé and their future child), choosing to utilize a Gaga-like response: “I know for a fact, music is about perception. You can’t do anything but perceive what you hear. If I know that for a fact, I can never be upset about someone’s reaction to it. I’m not gonna say I don’t know what will happen before I say it [on record]. I do know what will happen. I am aware of it. It is what it is.” So competition is dead, but plain ‘ol feuds are alive and well? We should know this, we have an entire category dedicated to them; take a look at you’ll see a number of repeat offenders.
One person Wayne doesn’t plan on dissing is his Canadian protege Drake, whom he describes to love more than just a friend, yet not so much as to stop enjoying the professional perks that come with yielding power over him and the rest of the Young Money crew. “Drake is my artist. If he wasn’t my artist, then yeah maybe [there would be competition],” he explains. “But that’s my artist. He’s not [just] a friend. We’re more than friends. It’s business. It would be impossible for it to be a competition. I mean, I’m the guy’s boss.” Here that Drizzy? Don’t get any crazy corporate ladder-climbing ideas without running them by Weezy first.