Uncle Luke from 2 Live Crew put hip hop artists on blast for not standing up for their communities while they seem glad to drain all available resources. Speaking to the Miami New Times, Luke issued this ultimatum:
"I've got a message for Lil Wayne, his Cash Money Brothers, DJ Khaled, Puff Daddy and all the rappers from other parts of the country who now live in Miami," he said. "I'm tired of seeing these cats using up our beaches, soaking up our sunshine, taking over the nightclubs, and sleeping with our women without investing anything into the community."Luke continued to rail on his fellow artists about their lack of interest in supporting the people who give them so much.
"I want to know when Lil Wayne is going to do more than show up courtside at the American Airlines Arena" Luke continued. "H-ll, it's not like he paid for them anyway. You know he got comped. This free loading and mooching of my city has got to stop. There used to be a day when out of town rappers were scared to throw their weight around Miami. It didn't matter if they were coming from New York or Los Angeles, they knew better than to act like they owned this mother f--ker."
Luke continued on with his interesting statement:
"I'm giving them a deadline" Luke warned. "They got until January 1. If I don't see them giving back to the Magic City, I'm gonna have their Miami cards revoked. They won't be getting into any more nightclubs. They won't be able to go near our women. And Lil Wayne is gonna have to find floor seats for New Orleans Hornets home games because he won't be allowed inside the Triple A."
While I find it a bit odd that Luke talks about "sleeping with our women" as if they are possessions, I get his broader point. The artist seems to be referring to the fact that the hip hop industry has lost its soul when it comes to using its power to achieve meaningful social change for the millions of Americans who support the industry. While there is no shortage of rappers willing to brag about how many friends they've seen go to jail, very few of them are willing to talk about the ills of mass incarceration that have served to destroy the black family in America.
I hear artists rap about friends who've been shot in the street, but there is little serious political conversation about gun control. This doesn't even begin to touch the toxic message of self-destruction that too many artists have come to embrace as a form of psychological genocide that continues to undermine the potential of an entire generation. I long for the days when black men would encourage one another to be well-educated and hard working, and chastise ourselves for being lazy and irresponsible. But in too many situations, the latter is applauded, while all forms of intellectual achievement end up being murdered in broad daylight.
Luke's remarks are a relevant wake up call to the sleeping giants within hip hop. Artists should be called to action to help deal with the problems that affect all of black America, not just Miami. It's not only a matter of giving money or making quick appearances. Hip hop artists should form coalitions to achieve social progress that are similar to those that exist in Hollywood. We must grow beyond thinking that having money in your bank account somehow makes your existence worthwhile. There is nothing fulfilling about spending your time running from one party to another....it's actually kind of empty and pathetic.
So, good job Uncle Luke. I've honestly never liked the man's music, but I appreciate at least a piece of his vision. I doubt that his challenge to other artists is going to get a positive response (since beef and 'ignant' stuff sells records), but I hope that the people of his city back his sentiments. To whom much is given, much is expected. Hip hop artists get everything from their people, and they must also be taught the value of meaningful social responsibility.
Dr. Boyce Watkins is a Professor at Syracuse University and founder of the Your Black World coalition. To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here.