Long before Lil Wayne was living his rock-star dreams onstage, he was at home — like many other kids his age — rocking out to Nirvana.
“I was a real big fan of that,” Weezy told MTV News’ Sway after his MTV “Unplugged” taping earlier this year.
The multiplatinum rapper — who released his first rock-inspired album Rebirth in 2010 — recalled the impact that Krist Novoselic, Dave Grohl and Kurt Cobain had on him. It all started with The Box, a now-defunct cable station that was fueled by fans’ phoned-in music video requests. For Wayne, it was rare to see a rock and roll video, especially one that he could identify with. ” ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ was one of the only rock songs that would come on, and you’ll be like, ‘That one is OK, I can deal with that one,’ ” he recalled.
On Saturday, the Seattle grunge band’s breakout album, Nevermind, turns 20. And while singles like “Come as You Are,” “Lithium” and “In Bloom” helped make Nevermind a classic, it was “Smells Like Teen Spirit” that made music fans across the world take notice. Nirvana was bigger than just rock.
Maybe it was the loud guitars, the punk-style wardrobe or Cobain’s long hair, but something attracted Wayne when he first saw the video as a kid in 1991. Interestingly enough, the Cash Money Billionaire now plays guitar , dresses with a punk-inspired swag and swings his long dreads onstage. But if you let Weezy tell it, it’s the lyrics to “Teen Spirit” that he most identified with.
“Because I was young and I actually listened to the lyrics, and I probably felt at that time that I was rebelling and I could associate myself with that and relate to the things [Cobain] was talking about and speaking about in the song,” Tunechi remembered. “I probably couldn’t, but I thought I could.”
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Stick with MTV News all week as we reveal the Nevermind You Never Knew, celebrating the 20th anniversary of Nirvana’s definitive album with classic footage, new interviews and much more.