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Lil Wayne's Jail Time: All Part Of The Plan
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Lil Wayne's Jail Time: All Part Of The Plan
Lil Wayne's Jail Time: All Part Of The Plan
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MELISSA BLOCK, host:

Today, a New York judge told rapper Lil Wayne, born Dwayne Carter, that he can't postpone going to jail past March 2nd.

Last year, he pleaded guilty on gun possession charges. Lil Wayne is one of those stars whose influence reaches well beyond the hip-hop world. He's been in a Nike commercial with LeBron James, he's been interviewed by Katie Couric, even President Obama has mentioned his name a few times.

Commentator Donnell Alexander says Lil Wayne will represent a new model for rappers going to jail.

Mr. DONNELL ALEXANDER (Producer, "Dock Ellis & The LSD No-No"): It's no secret that you could gain credibility by having a sort of a pedigree in the pen as a rapper. That's sad, and it is what it is inside the society and out. And with Lil Wayne, it's a situation where he was busted after a show in New York for having a gun on the bus, his tour bus, I should say. That's kind of a mundane offense in the world of hip-hop, but people have become anesthetized to the idea of a rapper going to jail.

I think it's important with Wayne because he's sort of an everyman and, you know, his music is down and dirty, but there's always been an element of instructiveness to it.

(Soundbite of song, "The Profit")

FAT JOE (Rapper): (Rapping) We gettin' money, man. I'll show you how to turn profit.

Mr. ALEXANDER: A really good example would be that song, "The Profit," that he did with Fat Joe, on this one simple line after his, you know, his verse of braggadocio, you have him talking about: Stop hating, get your money on.

(Soundbite of song, "The Profit")

LIL WAYNE (Rapper): (Rapping) The money home. Stop hatin', get your money on.

FAT JOE: (Rapping) We getting' money, man. I'll show you how to turn profit.

Mr. ALEXANDER: And the fact of the matter is that it's easy to be down in the dumps about being broke and all that, and to hate on other people or be jealous. But if you really focus on getting your career or your life straight, there isn't so much to stop you. And I don't think a lot of rappers, today especially, stop to take the time to suggest you move forward with your life.

(Soundbite of song, "Forever")

LIL WAYNE: (Rapping) My minds shine even when my thoughts seem dark. Pistol on my neck, you don't wanna hear that thing talk.

Mr. ALEXANDER: And he's really done this amazing sort of run-up to lockup. He's been everywhere. He's part of the "We Are the World" Haiti remix that's coming out, and most prominently, there was his performance at the Grammys the other night: He brought down the house with Drake, one of the artists on his label, Eminem. I mean, people didn't even notice that Kanye West wasn't there; it was that big a hit.

(Soundbite of song, "Forever")

LIL WAYNE: (Rapping) I will never stop like I'm running from the cops. I hopped up in my car and told my chauffeur to the top. Life is such a fucking rollercoaster then it drops. But what should I scream for, this is my theme park. My mind...

Mr. ALEXANDER: Where once, going to jail was just part of the rapper persona, I think for Wayne right now, it's part of a business plan. He has a label, Young Money Entertainment, that is going to keep him front and center while he's in prison. First of all, they're moving from New Orleans to New York to be closer to him while he's up at Rikers Island. Wayne himself has recorded an album's worth of material for the time while he's locked up. It's a rock album, so this will also be his big venture into crossing over even more than he has already.

His label has pretty much made every effort to make it seem like he's not gone while he's actually gone. And I think that when he comes out, he'll be much bigger than when he left.

(Soundbite of song, "Lollipop")

LIL WAYNE: (Rapping) And that's when she say I'm lick like a lollipop. Oh, yeah.

BLOCK: Donnell Alexander is the producer of the documentary film "Dock Ellis & The LSD No-No."

(Soundbite of song, "Lollipop")

LIL WAYNE: (Rapping) I like that. Shawty said like a lollipop. Shawty wanna thug. Bottles in the club. Shawty wanna hump and ooh I like to touch ya lovely lady lumps. Shawty wanna thug. Bottles in the club.

MICHELE NORRIS, host:

You're listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News.

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