When you think of Lil Wayne, the phrase “poetic prowess” isn’t normally the first thing that comes to mind. Most of his jabs and punchlines bear very little gravity but recently one in particular bore way too much. In a remix of Future‘s track Karate Chop, Weezy made a reference in very poor taste and has since been paying for it.
In the track, Wayne drops the line “Beat that pussy up like Emmett Till”, referring to the late Emmett Till, who was brutally killed in 1955 aged 14 for apparently whistling at a white woman. The hate crime was a catalyst for massive social change in North America and pushed forward the issue of equality more so than ever. Till’s cousin Airickca Gordon-Taylor heard the lyric and was less than impressed.
Gordon-Taylor, who founded the Mamie Till Mobley Memorial Foundation spoke to the Chicago Sun-Times, stating, “My agenda is not to be disrespectful to Lil Wayne, even as much as I feel he’s been disrespectful to my family. We just want Emmett’s name removed from that song.”
“The entire segment is very misogynistic,” she continued, “and promotes domestic abuse toward women by our own race… It also shows total disregard of where you’ve come from. He wouldn’t even be out there rapping these stupid lyrics without the sacrifice Emmett made. Personally, I think Lil Wayne should just go ahead and apologize to my family. It’s hurtful.”
It was only a matter of time before Epic Records became aware of the controversy, and the label has since put their foot down on the issue. Epic are currently working towards ridding the internet of the remix version, commenting in an official statement that they “regret the unauthorized remix version of Future’s ‘Karate Chop,’ which was leaked online and contained hurtful lyrics… Out of respect for the legacy of Emmett Till and his family and the support of the Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, Sr…. we are going through great efforts to take down the unauthorized version.”
Word is the original track wil be rereleased in the near future but “will not include such references”.
According to MTV, Kanye West has also mentioned the tragic event in a one of his own songs Through The Wire, written after surviving a near-fatal plane crash. The song includes the line “On the plane, scared as hell / that her guy look like Emmett Till”.
Weezy is yet to comment.