By Carter Maness
After his track "Get Smoked" was sampled and remixed by Lil Wayne on his Dedication 4 mixtape, Lil Mouse, a 13-year-old rapper from Chicago, is receiving major attention for his lyrics about gangs, guns, drugs and sex.
Largely unknown before the video for "Get Smoked" was uploaded to YouTube on July 5, Mouse slowly but surely became a controversial figure in the violence-plagued streets of Chicago. He appears in the gangster-by-numbers clip in the Roseland neighborhood of the city's South Side, waving a stack of money and posing with a gun.
Last month, Chicago veteran Rhymefest, who has also criticized the city's most popular upstart rapper Chief Keef, put it frankly. "Record labels are exploiting the violence in Chicago at the expense of young people who are being used to do it," he said to the Chicago Sun-Times.
Lil Mouse's success and inherent co-sign from Lil Wayne brings up two big questions. First, is it acceptable or appropriate for a 13-year-old boy to be rapping about such brutal subjects (even if he is seeing these things happening in his own life)? And second, does Lil Wayne, who once shot himself while playing with a gun as a 12-year-old, have a moral responsibility to not promote such artists?
P. Noble, an associate of Mouse's who produced the "Get Smoked" video recently told NewsOne that Mouse is honestly rapping about his life. “Lil Mouse is writing his own lyrics about what he sees in his community every day,” he said. “This is an eye opener for people about what’s really going on in urban communities. His message doesn’t disturb me. It’s what young people call, ‘Keepin’ it real.’ And this is the way the music industry is headed.”
Another Chicago rapper, conscious veteran Lupe Fiasco, recently spoke extensively about the city's culture of violence and the new breed of rappers like Chief Keef and Lil Mouse. "The murder rate in Chicago is skyrocketing and you see who's doing it and perpetrating it, they all look like Chief Keef… When it comes to the point that, you know, that kids who are doing the killings, and they're kids 13 to 19-years-old."
What do you think? If adults can rap about guns, drugs and sex, should the 13-year-old Lil Mouse do it? Do you fault Lil Wayne for remixing his song?