Category Archives: Music

Lil Wayne and the soul of a city

This is an amazing piece written by a Teach for America teacher working in New Orleans. One of the most captivating pieces of writing I’ve come across in a long time. Enjoy.

I WILL REMAIN EVER FAITHFUL by David Ramsey, How Lil Wayne Helped Me Survive My First Year of Teaching in New Orleans

Originally written for OXFORD AMERICAN: THE SOUTHERN MAGAZINE FOR GOOD WRITING.

1.

Complex magazine: What do you listen to these days?

Lil Wayne: Me! All day, all me.

2. Like a white person, with blue veins

In my first few weeks teaching in New Orleans’ Recovery School District, these were the questions I heard the most from my students:

1) “I gotta use it.” (This one might sound like a statement, but it’s a request—May I use the bathroom?)

2) “You got an ol’ lady?” (the penultimate vowel stretched, lasciviously, as far as it’ll go).

3) “Where you from?”

4) “You listen to that Weezy?”

I knew that third question was coming. Like many RSD teachers, I was new, and white, and from out of town.  It was the fourth question, however, that seemed to interest my students the most. Dwayne Carter, aka Lil Wayne, aka Weezy F. Baby, was in the midst of becoming the year’s biggest rapper, and among the black teenagers that made up my student population, fandom had reached a near-Beatlemania pitch. More than ninety percent of my students cited Lil Wayne on the “Favorite Music” question on the survey I gave them; about half of them repeated the answer on “Favorite Things to Do.”

For some of my students, the questions Where are you from? and Do you listen to Lil Wayne? were close to interchangeable. Their shared currency—as much as neighborhoods or food or slang or trauma—was the stoned musings of Weezy F. Baby.

The answer was, sometimes, yes, I did listen to Lil Wayne. Despite his ubiquitous success, my students were shocked.

“Do you have the mix tapes?” asked Michael, a sixteen-year-old ninth grader. “It’s all about the mix tapes.”

The following day, he had a stack of CDs for me. Version this, volume that, or no label at all.

And that’s just about all I listened to for the rest of the year.

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Update + Link Digest

by necs2010

I officially moved into my NOLA home on Thursday, which means pictures and more coming soon. Unfortunately, this means I don’t have internet access. As I am never without internet access this is sort of a Brave New World for me. Scary.

This week has been a whirlwind of leases, thrift stores, and an embarrassing amount of Wal-Mart shopping, but I am at least settling in. Additionally, I had my first interview in a month and a half today…. fingers crossed.

Since I am writing from a Starbucks I decided to just share some of the things I discovered online in my week of unemployment. Therefore, I present my “Link Digest.”

Music – (500) Days of Weezy – by mysickuncle – A great mashup of the “500 Days of Summer” indie soundtrack with lil wayne. The premise is odd, but the result is absolutely fantastic. I am pretty much addicted to this mixtape.

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Finally, NOLA

by necs2010

After doing nearly 40 hours of driving this week across the United States of America I am now back in New Orleans for good. I can officially start blogging about the city (the intended purpose of this blog) and actually settle down from my nomadic life (although I don’t have a place to live or a job – not big issues, really).

Anyway, I feel like this calls for a youtube video. Classic rock song? Check. British Invasion Band? Check. Shameless NOLA reference? Oh yah.