One of my favorite blogs is Letters of Note. They post interesting letters from famous figures and offer a little bit of context behind them. The letters capture a moment in time that has faded from the public consciousness, but remain bright and vibrant in the words on the page. I decided to write a letter to the incarcerated Dwayne Carter, AKA Lil Wayne this afternoon. He entered Rikers prison in March for an 8-month sentence for gun possession. He is due to be released in November. I intend to mail this and will share his reply, if he feels so inclined.
Hello Mr. Carter,
It sounds silly to call you that. Kind of like calling Diddy "Sean" or Bono "Paul". What do they call you in prison? Well I'm sure all the other inmates call you Wayne or Weezy, but do the guards? I guess they've probably had their share of celebrities in Rikers Island, but someone of your stature and influence is a whole new ballgame. Are you in a separate ward? Do you get special treatment? I heard you got busted for having smuggling in headphones (I don't want to know how you got them, but I hope they have Purell stations where you are) which sounds a bit harsh to me. Taking away a rapper's headphones is like burning Picasso's paintbrush. Cruel and unusual.
I know you struggled with syrup just before prison, but if there's a silver lining in your sentence, it is that you will almost certainly get clean while you're locked up. Withdrawal isn't a pretty thing, but I can't imagine going cold turkey on top of not being able to express yourself the only way you've ever known. It's probably worse than solitary. I know you don't like to write your verses down, but I hope you've had a chance to put pen to paper, if only to get it out of your head. I hope you are finding other outlets for your creative energy. I know some prisons offer classes for inmates to earn a degree or something to help them find their footing when they get out. Of course you won't be needing "footing" like most will, but it's a better use of your time than memorizing bible verses or spending hours on the bench press.
I heard you filmed like 10 music videos and recorded hours of new songs the week before you turned yourself in. Sounds like what the junkies refer to as "the last binge". Well if you were afraid we would forget you, don't worry. It's like you never left. By my count, you still have verses on every good song I hear (except "Power" and I look forward to your remix), and every blog is buzzing about when you'll drop The Carter IV. Speaking of that, your newest album came out yesterday, which I like a lot. I love the triumphant string part on "Right Above It" and I think you made a great move by letting Nicki Minaj handle the hook on "What's Wrong With Them". Everyone knows she can rap, it's nice to see her pipes. I do have a couple beefs though. It's not that I'm not grateful, I am. It's just that I Am Not A Human Being sounds like a Rebirth B-side and messes up the flow of things a bit. Also, I've noticed that you get into some simile ruts from time to time. How many euphemisms for "big shit" can you come up with? "We the shit like diarrhea" sounds like you're scraping the bottom of the barrel. Also, you may be a bit pent up sexually, and the success of "Every Girl" may have gone to your head, but gifted or not, we don't need to hear that you can "fuck the world and make it come hard". I think it was EB White who said "Be obscure clearly". These nitpickings aside, the album shows that you were still going hard until your last hours of freedom. I guess we'll see how much of that was the promethazine and how much was Wayne. Here's to hoping it was all you.