After Reebok’s recent decision to drop Rick Ross over controversial lyrics endorsing date rape on Rocko’s “U.O.E.N.O”, PepsiCo has followed suit dropping Lil Wayne, after he came under fire from the family of Emmett Till – a black teenager beaten to death in 1955 for flirting with a white woman – whom he used as a punchline on Future’s “Karate Chop”.
“Pop a lot of pain pills, ’bout to put rims on my skateboard wheels … beat that p***y up like Emmett Till,” was the lyric in question, costing Wayne his endorsement deal with PepsiCo/Mountain Dew.
With Tyler The Creator also coming under fire for what has been called a “racist” and “sexist” Mountain Dew ad (we just see it as “dumb”), corporate sponsors have essentially become the new record labels, and losing deals is the new “getting dropped” of the 90′s.
Our take: The Biz Markie sampling lawsuit of the 90′s and DJ Drama’s mixtape raid of the 00′s were two events that changed the game in recent years, causing many rappers to move away from sample based production, and leading to the complete demise of physical product mix CD’s. These events with Wayne and Rick Ross could actually have a large effect on hip-hop music, with rappers holding their tongues and double-checking their lyrics for anything that could cost them an endorsement deal. It’s pretty safe to say that at this point we are far off from a second “conscious hip-hop movement”. However, if guys like Common or Q-Tip start landing all of the big endorsement deals because corporations are afraid of negative publicity from acts like Wayne, you might see Waka Flocka rocking an African medallion next year.
In the words of Ice-T: “Freedom of speech, just watch what you say…”
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