“Lil Wayne Goes to Jail”
That’s the cover story for the current issue of Rolling Stone, which I noticed the other day in the grocery store checkout aisle. The 27-year-old New Orleans native will be serving at least eight months on a New York state charge for illegal gun possession. The full RS article doesn’t seem to be posted online, but it sounds from the online preview like the prolific rap star is not planning to let his stint behind bars put a dent in his career:
“I don’t like to stop,” Wayne tells RS’ Chris Norris. “I believe you stop when you die.” So in the weeks before he reports to Rikers Island, Wayne is keeping busy — recording tracks bound for Tha Carter IV (the album Cash Money staffers call “C4″ because it’ll be the bomb), shooting videos with his Young Money protégés, spending time with his growing family, and deliberately not asking anyone for advice about life on the inside. “This is Lil Wayne going to jail. Nobody I can talk to can tell me what that’s like,” he says. “I just say I’m looking forward to it.”
While Weezy’s away, his label is relocating to New York to be near him, and his manager Cortez Bryant is exploring ways to keep Wayne in his fans’ minds for the duration — from jailhouse Twitter accounts to endorsements. “I’ll have an iPod, and I’ll make sure they keep sending me beats,” Lil Wayne says. Tha Carter IV — which Norris is told features tougher, faster beats — is scheduled to arrive shortly after he gets out.
Actually Lil Wayne was supposed to head to Rikers earlier this month, but got his sentencing postponed to accommodate an oral surgery appointment; his new court date is March 2. I’m always curious about what, if any, effect celebrity prison stints such as this will have upon the national dialogue about mass incarceration. Obviously, most inmates do not have the luxury of their employer relocating to be near their jail, and I’m not entirely sure what a “jailhouse Twitter account” would entail. But, even if Lil Wayne is not going to have the typical experience behind bars, perhaps his highly public jail term will get his millions of fans thinking about America’s prison complex. Any thoughts, readers?