Lastings Milledge is a renaissance man. It seems Milledge, in addition to being a talented ballplayer, is an entrepeneur. He’s the CEO Soul-ja Boi records, a Florida-based label.
Not too shabby for a 22 year-old, eh? But wait! Milledge doesn’t just make business decisions and steal bases. He raps too! And that seems to be what’s gotten him in trouble this time.
Some of the language that Milledge uses on one of his songs, “Bend Ya Knees,” has been deemed innapropriate.
From the New York Daily News:
The rappin’ right fielder uses the N-word and bitch and also says “ho” in a song featured on his new record label’s Web site.
Milledge, performing on souljaboirecords.com, raps about “rich (N word),” “wealthy (N word),” a “top-notch ho” and having “a different bitch for every night” on the sexually explicit song “Bend Ya Knees.”
Quite a few people have taken offense to Milledge’s lyrics.
“He’s lost his mind,” said City Councilman Leroy Comrie (D-Queens), who sponsored the Council’s resolution that condemned use of the N word. “I don’t understand how he could, in the spirit of Jackie Robinson, put out music that’s so vile, using . . . some of the worst words in music.”
The Mets are distancing themselves from Milledge’s rap, saying, “We disapprove of the content, language and message of this recording, which does not represent the views of the New York Mets.”
But I for one don’t think it’s a very big deal. Milledge isn’t using language that’s any different from what other mainstream hip-hop artists use. In fact, it’s far tamer than language used by other rappers.
Eminem, for example, raps about killing and raping his mother in his song, “Kill You.”
Then there’s 50 Cent, who reminds us in his song “How to Rob” that, should his music career not work out, he can always go back to his day job as a criminal. These are my favorite lines, from that song, though they are certainly not the most profane:
I’m about to stick Bobby for some of that Whitney money / Brian McKnight, I can get that nigga anytime / Have Keith sweatin starin down the barrel from my nine
The fact is, our society celebrates rappers who write songs with violent, sexist and derogatory lyrics. So why shouldn’t Milledge?
In Atlanta, where I live, there is a Tupac Shakur Center for the Arts, which includes a Peace Garden. In the garden, you’ll see a large, bronze memorial to the “peace loving” rapper.
Of course, Tupac’s lyrics did little to promote peace. In his song, “A Crooked Nigga Too” he raps:
A loaded AK47 layin on my hips so don’t trip
One motherf**ker from the underground
And Big Stretch buckin’ niggaz if they f**k around
Tupac was gunned down by members of a rival gang. But now he’s got a peace garden. 50 Cent, Eminem — they’ve got millions of dollars and international stardom.
Telling Milledge his songs can’t contain the same words that propelled those artists to stardom just seems random.