GQ Magazine recently named Eminem, Lil Wayne and Keith Richards three of many surviving ‘gods of rock’. Those are the three that grace the issue cover though.
Even though Eminem and Lil Wayne (and other rappers included) are… well, rappers – GQ obviously feel they capture the rock ‘n’ roll mindset well enough to called Gods of Rock.
I don’t personally agree with Lil Wayne being included there, not only due to the fact that his music and attitude (besides the basic idea of being somewhat of a rebel, and a youth with a big mouth) don’t particularly capture or represent rock ‘n’ roll, but also because, he hasn’t made a significant artistic impact.
Has he sold a lot of records? no doubt about it. He’s had hits, he’s done a lot of collaborations and he’s gotten a lot of respect from other rappers… but he’s also the subject of ridicule from many serious hip-hop fans and I don’t even feel fans of the genre fully accept and respect him on a major-scale, let alone fans of rock music. So crowning him with this title is a little presumptuous, and pretentious, in my opinion.
Aside from Tha Carter III, basically none of his albums have had the kind of critical acclaim classics or ground-breaking albums have, or made a dent in the minds of the masses or been especially innovative.
Compare that to the fact that all of Eminem’s first three albums, or at least his first two are considered (by many) to be absolute hip-hop classics and we’re now seeing the major influence they’ve had on a generation of hip-hop fans who grew up on them (Hopsin, Tyler, the Creator and others). The Marshall Mathers LP for example is arguably the most controversial rap album ever made, and one of the best. It is not controversial for arbitrary reasons though. It’s a conscious piece of reactionary art, that was made with the INTENTION of being controversial as a response to misunderstanding. Simply put, it’s one of the most deftly clever, ballsy, daring and melodic rap albums ever, period. You can even go ahead and spin that disc today and it sounds fresher than the freshest CD out right now, or of the past ten years.
I don’t believe the same can be said for any Lil Wayne album.
Eminem was the voice of a generation and a sharp, provocative lyricist that indulged in persona and character-play, influenced and inspired and held the attention of the world for a significant period of time. What has Lil Wayne done that is comparable to that, in any sense? rapped about his dick, his bitches? his chains? rapped about Young Money… endless puns and lyrics about the mysterious planets that he’s from. All he’s done is bombard us with auto-tune and flat, repetitive ideas.
Not to turn this article into an out-and-out bashing of Lil Wayne, he’s made the odd song I like but, I just think GQ are jumping on the bandwagon on this one and that there are other rappers far more deserving of gracing that cover with Shady. Kanye West and Andre 3000 both spring to mind.
Moving on, inside this issue, GQ do a special on Eminem’s drug addiction. This is much of the reason for picking these particular three guys to front the cover as it’s about icons that have survived personal tribulations, legal battles and drug habits, and so on. So in that sense, I can see the sense in picking Lil Wayne.
Here are a few excerpts from Em’s interview:
The thing sobriety has taught me the most is the way I’m wired – why my thought process is so different. I’ve realized that the way I am helps with the music. Sporadic thoughts will pop into my head and I’ll have to go write something down, and the next thing you know, I’ve written a whole song in an hour.
But sometimes it sucks, and I wish I was wired like a regular person and could go have a fucking drink. But that’s the biggest thing about addiction: When you realize that you cannot – for fuck’s sake, you can not fuck around with nothing ever again. I never understood when people would say it’s a disease. Like, ‘Stop it, dickkhead, it’s not a disease!’ But I finally realized, fuck man, it really is.
Em also briefly spoke on Encore:
Five or six songs leaked from the original version of Encore. So I had to go in and make new songs to replace them. In my head I was pissed off: ‘Oh well. Songs leaked. Fuck it. I’m just going to take a bunch of fucking pills and go in there and have a party with myself.’ I’m sure the more pills I took, the goofier I got.
Damn. We kind of already knew this was the case as he talks about it in his book (The Way I Am), but it’s still frustrating to know that had he not felt the need to replace those leaked songs from Encore, it would of been a very solid album. Not a classic, but a damn solid album, no doubt.
(read the article on Em here.)
Anyway, seems like a very interesting cover, you can pick it up on October 25 (US).