Lil Wayne is himself a music icon, but on the cover of Vibe magazine’s October/November issue, the YMCMB superstar channels the spirit of another. Sporting a regal red and gold-accented coat, similar to one that Jimi Hendrix famously wore, Weezy capped off his outfit with a black fedora and black sunglasses, finding inspiration in the legendary guitarist. In his interview, Wayne opened up about competition in rap, his feud with Jay-Z and Drake’s success, and of course, MTV News got the exclusive scoop.
“There’s no competition [with any artists]. Music isn’t about competition no more. All the gangster rappers are happy, all the skateboard rappers are happy, all the white rappers are happy. … Everybody just happy to do music these days,” Weezy said in an exclusive magazine excerpt obtained by MTV News. “There are no problems. That sh– died a long time ago with them old-ass rappers. We are just making music, making money and having fun — feeding our families. Competition is for the old guys.”
The quote is a bit contradictory considering Wayne threw a shot at Jay-Z on “I’m Good,” a song off of his latest album, Tha Carter IV. The two have quietly been feuding for some time now, throwing subliminal darts in each other’s direction, never actually acknowledging each other by name. When asked if he expected any backlash from the dis, Wayne stood confident.
“Well, I’m a man. I believe as a man, you should know that. Every man should know the repercussions and consequences behind whatever they do before they do it. And of course, I know there won’t be any repercussions behind what I did,” the rapper told Vibe.
Hip-hop beefs are a very small part of Wayne’s dynamic. Vibe editor in chief Jermaine Hall said that the Young Money boss is more than just a rapper, citing his 2010 rock-inspired Rebirth album and his acoustic hit “How to Love” as examples of Tunechi’s reach. It was his diversity and modern-day rock swag that led the magazine to use Hendrix as a muse.
“He was very into the Jimi Hendrix concept,” Hall said of the shoot, which took place in Miami in early August. “I didn’t know how far Wayne was willing to take it. But it just so happens that Jimi is also one of his idols and actually one of the people that influenced him to pick up a guitar and try to learn how to play. So he was 100 percent onboard with the concept.”
In the issue, which also features Chris Rock, J. Cole and a story on Tupac’s Hollywood impact, Vibe also got Weezy to open up about Drake’s success. Is his competitive spirit fueled by Drizzy’s accomplishments? Not in the least bit. “I don’t look at it like that. Drake is my artist. If he wasn’t my artist, then yeah, maybe,” he said of their relationship. “But that’s my artist. He’s not [just] a friend. We’re more than friends. It’s business. It would be impossible for it to be a competition. I mean, I’m the guy’s boss.”
Weezy also gets political talking about his feelings on the riots that rocked London this past August. “All you could do is pray for the people that were dealing with the situation and hope for the best. As far as them blaming hip-hop, you can blame Jesus for things, so you can’t really fault anybody for blaming someone or something. All you can do is hope for the best,” he said in response to those who blamed rap for the political upheaval.
“Wayne is the type of artist … obviously he’s a rock star, he’s loved in the ’hood, he’s touching so many pockets around this country right now,” Hall said of his latest cover subject. “It’s what allows him to come out first week and do [almost a million]. He’s not just dealing with one audience anymore.”