Drake Vs. Lil Wayne Is the Softest Show of Life
Sayre Berman Drake asks the crowd, "Who's the softest of 'em all?" Well, not really.
Each year, Big Ghost Ltd, as "Ghostface Killah" does the world a great service by creating a well-crafted and deeply contemplated list documenting the "10 Softest Niggas (or Rappers) in the Game." This July, the sixth annual hit the interwebs. Drake naturally made number three in 2014 and number two in 2013. That year, he described Drizzy as: "Drake aka the Patron Saint of Tenderness aka the Human Glee Episode aka The Inventor of the Audio Scrunchie aka the Merchant of Cuddles otherwise known as The Wizard of Pause." In 2011, Drake scored spots one, two, and three on the list. This is why the internet doesn't suck.
I had already read a review of Drake Vs Lil Wayne before attending the bromantic rappers' show Wednesday night at Cruzan Amphitheatre in West Palm Beach. So I knew what was coming, like word for word. The two throw jabs at each other, soft-ass insults, and sometime during the middle, the audience votes for one or the other to win the battle through an app. Lil Wayne rightfully won this show. But it's probably rigged, because the crowd cheered more for Drizzy.
I'll talk about that more later, but first, I want to address the idea of softness in hip-hop and explore the way that softness was exemplified by these YMCMB superstars.
To begin, there are two issues at play here: authenticity and masculinity. You can assume that being soft is sort of a castrating adjective, and it is, but there's more to it than that.
So, I'd like to circumvent the ideas surrounding how women are portrayed in rap, the lyrical and visual objectification of females by those in the genre. That's a whole 'nother bucket of crazy, and a somewhat adjacent issue. The "ideal" of masculinity in hip-hop isn't even the most important thing to look at when it comes to the idea of being soft. There are so many different approaches to what a real man is within the genre. It depends on if you ask a Juggalo or a dude who jocks Rick Ross. The way each male rapper relates to females certainly brings up a huge bag of WTF, but hey, if I rapped about guys I messed around with, things might sound a lil more similar to Lil Kim than Drake. Because Kim was never soft, and Drake is.
Being very, very strongly uncool is also soft. And if we're gonna talk uncool, obvi, after like dudes like Mac Miller, the half-Jewish, Canadian former actor who spent a lot of time in a wheelchair to please horny tweens is going to be your first target. He's all "real niggaz" and everyone real's like, all awkward, "Uh... What's up?"
Lil Wayne, though a truly brilliant and clever wordsmith and decent tastemaker, still has the corniest soft spot for all things lame, like his tragic taste in rock at its worst with Rebirth and working with acts like this poor chick Porcelain Black. Like the least awesome stuff ever made. Why would anyone hard bring that kind of weak shit into our sonic universe?
Possibly because times are soft in hip-hop these days.
Sayre Berman Weezy looking tough.
Kanye West told the BBC in 2013, "Now the rappers are the new R&B niggas. Rappers are the new radio. Rap is the new rock 'n' roll. We the real rockstars, and I'm the biggest of all of them." This statement doesn't entirely make sense. But what matters to us is that he's sort of recognizing that rappers nowadays are like R&B singers of the past. In 1998, as part of Black Star, Talib Kweli rapped the line: "While R&B singers hit bad notes, we rock the boat of thought." Back then, much rap had real meaning, R&B had radio play.
I'm a feminist. I think men are allowed to have feelings, but sometimes things Drake sings even embarrasses me. I grew up, like you all did (hopefully) listening to the greats. Let's talk Tupac for simplicity's sake.