Rapper Wiz Khalifa, who has been unusually quiet on the music front, has made headlines for a controversial Memorial Day tweet:
He did receive some backlash, deservedly so. This was an exercise in poor taste, but was it a calculated exercise in poor taste?
To say that Wiz does not understand the significance of Memorial Day is probably a false statement. Despite him repping Pittsburgh, he is actually a native of Minot, North Dakota, to parents who were both in the military. There is an Air Force base 15 miles outside the city limits. Presumably, Wiz has an understanding of the military and its patriotic significance. So, why make such an insensitive tweet about Memorial Day?
At the bare minimum, he committed the mistake of TUI (tweeting under the influence). At best, it was an underhanded slap against today’s political climate and American history. Rappers everywhere are taking “strong” political stances and speaking out against racism, bigotry, and police brutality, using their platform to push their belief systems onto their subservient fan bases. T.I. has made an entire album predicated in this arena. But, sometimes, it pays to be subtle. Instead of going to a studio, getting a beat, writing lyrics, getting the song mixed and mastered, and going through the whole process of making a song, (and making big headlines for releasing new material), Wiz (possibly) took a less time-consuming and inconspicuous route to get his message across. A Black Hip-Hop artist belittling the symbolism of a prominent American holiday, one could say, has bubbling undertones of the racial division going on in the country.
Wiz could also be taking advantage of the notion, at least on the outside looking in, that he is blissfully ignorant to the world around him. Marijuana is a huge part of his branding, leaving many to view him as a stoned-out rapper. Law 21 of the 48 Laws of Power suggest that “one must play dumb while remaining smart”. He put his message out there, under the guise of “dumb” rapper, and will let the people connect the dots.
Perhaps there was some method to Wiz Khalifa’s madness.