In July, Meek Mill appeared to have had some sort of epiphany. Taking to Instagram, the Philadelphia rapper declared, “AFTER DC4 I won't continue to rap about extreme violence!!!” Around that time, Meek had been posting about Black Lives Matter and, in that same Instagram post, he wrote, "Stop focusing on non important shit and use your platform to bring attention to these foul ways some people believe we should b treated!"
Meek also had this advice for fans: "I seen a few celebs say 1 thing about it...This the most intense it has been in years don't let up!!!! Pay attention to these people y'all look up to too! And jump on they ass and let them know we 'see em' THIS SHIT IS NOT A GAME!"
The declaration came in the midst of many rappers speaking out against state-sanctioned violence and racism. And many faced the same pointed critique: How can they condemn one form of violence, while glorifying violence on record?
T.I. was asked about this recently in an interview with The Daily Show’s Trevor Noah. “I think people need to take into consideration that hip-hop traditionally has always been a reflection of the environment the artist had to endure before he made it to where he was,” T.I. explained. “So if you want to change the content of the music, change the environment of the artist and he won’t have such negative things to say.”
Meek has said similar things: “Don't question my raps because it's a life we lived and suffered from, I have a right to express my myself!” That he does. Still, Meek must’ve felt something to give a public pledge.
However, this month, beef with The Game appears to be bringing out the worst in Meek, returning him to old habits. After shots back and forth, the beef has culminated in Meek’s remix of Young M.A’s “Ooouuu.” Hearing the song, one wonders how he can disavow violent language because of its real world implications, while continuing to use violent hate speech?
First, if you’re writing about guns, homicide, and “trigger finger,” you’re not that committed to your own pledge. (And, before you mention it, we’re still in a pre-DC4 era. However, the album is reportedly finished and on its way this month: if Meek had set a date for a serious subject change, that time has come and gone.)
Beyond that, though, this entire song is nearly five minutes of Meek and his cronies calling The Game a faggot. At one point, Meek raps, "Strippers turned rappers look what we come to/You a faggot/My lady'll never fuck.”
The irony here is that Meek is freestyling over an instrumental from a gay rapper. When I mentioned this on Twitter, straight Black men attempted to explain the nuances of homophobia to me, in “child left behind” fashion. It was akin to white folks trying to break down racism to us presumably confused Negroes.
Let me save everyone from repeating themselves: It’s beef; it’s hip-hop. Blah, blah, blah. There. Settled.
It’s not surprising to hear faggot repeated throughout the song. You know, because being gay means being soft, and to be soft is to be like a woman, and to be a woman is, apparently, the worst thing in the world. The “you’re not a man, you’re a faggot” condemnation is not new, but even as boring as many rightly find it, it still has real world implications.
Why half-heartedly commit to removing one form of language that’s understood to be damaging and, instead, introduce another? This is the same person who claimed in that July Instagram post, "US BLACK PEOPLE ARE STILL AT WAR WITH OURSELVES AND THE SYSTEM IN REAL LIFE!”
In this context, many Black people who happen to be part of the LGBTQ community are at odds with the ignorance of and prejudice of straight Black men. Meek calls for unity in the Black community, but all his language does is exclude, and hate speech can sow the seeds for real life violence. According to a 2014 study conducted by the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, “people of color made up 80 percent of the LGBT people killed in America” that year. This is an ongoing question for many who want to rally behind Black Lives Matter, but understand that not everyone ascribes value to every Black person’s life.
Perhaps Meek Mill changed his mind. Maybe he realizes he can’t commit to the ideal he spoke of in July because his life won’t allow it. Yet, if we are to judge him by his words, he isn’t living up to his own standard. That’s even worse than his lazy-ass way of dissing Game.
And trust, in 2016, if your only way of battling and debasing another man is to call him a faggot, you’re one lazy, uncreative, uninspired, boring motherfucker.