Lil Wayne, Future, and the Ouroboros of Defensive Trendhumpery
If you pay attention to the Rap Internet, you are probably up to your elbows in people slinging the term "Appropriation" around, mostly in the context of the Harlem Shake meme. Even more loosely, people have been talking about what the idea of "ownership" in hip-hop actually, like, means these days. If you want to get caught up to quite literally the rhetorical end of it, just read this thing by Jon Caramanica in the New York Times, which basically explains that rap music is a land of messy boundaries that are becoming more and more blurred, and no amount of finger-wagging and thinkpiecing (including half-joking ones that I write) are going to change anything.
This is a photo of Lil Wayne
And that's fine, because appropriation is something that goes on every day in hip-hop and is indeed something to be noticed and thought about, but not necessarily criticized. So instead of thinking about Baauer and how he's single-handedly ending the idea of pop music as we know it, let's think about Lil Wayne and his new video for "Love Me," featuring men of the moment Future and Drake double-teaming a hook for a song that is loosely about getting double-teamed by as many girls as humanly possible.
Lest we forget, a large chunk of why the Rap Internet even exists is because of Lil Wayne. His prodigious output in what could be termed his "Mixtape Era" where he fell into ubiquity through using the Internet to give away as much awesome music as humanly possible. He was quite literally the Rapper Eater, destroying everything in his path, be it a beat or a rapper who had the unfortunate luck to show up on a track with him. People started talking about him, because he deserved to be talked about, and they talked about him (and other prodigious talents) on the very Internet that spawned him.
As he worked too hard all these years to establish, Lil Wayne is not a human being. He is more powerful and stranger than hip-hop, or even time itself. These days, he's become a Rapper Eater in the worst possible way, existing in a Gollum-like deathlessness where he subsides off of other rappers, lean, and rudimentary skateboard tricks. I am Not a Human Being 2, his upcoming album, quite plainly asserts this fact in its title. And where he once gleefully feasted on the flesh of his competition, now he merely absorbs them, expelling their husks so that he may live another day.