Lil’ Uzi Vert’s DJ is Prince Paul’s Son
When Lil’ Uzi Vert appeared on the Hot 97 Morning show in February of 2016 and refused to rhyme over Gang Starr’s “Mass Appeal”, he set off a firestorm of angry social media activity from hip-hop purists. Telling show co-host Ebro, “I’m telling you right now, if you put on one of them old beats, I’m not rapping on it. Straight up. You see me bro? I’m a rock star bro. I’m not rapping on that type stuff,” people took offense to his callous attitude towards an iconic rap song and a legendary rap group.
When pressed on what it meant to be a rock star and asked by Ebro, “What does that look like?”, Vert responded “It looks like Marilyn Manson. It looks like GG Allin.” Ebro responds with more than a hint of sarcasm, “real creatives.”
“You see me bro? I’m a rock star bro. I’m not rapping on that type stuff.”- Lil’ Uzi Vert
Before moving on, let’s pause to address comparing yourself to the late GG Allin. Allin, a white man, wrote a song called “No Room for N*****s”. He threw shit at audience members during shows, glorified rape, was a regular corespondent with child murderer John Wayne Gacy, and admitted on Jerry Springer, “I might grab a girl and force her to perform oral sex on me” when describing his shows. And you want to model your career after him? That should bother people more than a Gang Starr slight.
Questionable role models aside, let’s unpack the “if you put on one of them old beats” talk. Rappers disrespecting older rappers is nothing new. Even beloved “golden era” artists did it. Biggie took a major shot at Kwame and 2Pac said, “All you old rappers tryin’ to advance, it’s all over now, take it like a man” on “Against All Odds”. So while its OK for fans to wish rappers would respect the history of the genre, a less-than-perfect track record of doing so already existed before Lil’ Uzi Vert.
“Can’t like hip-hop without Premier…I wish he would have given me the “Full Clip” instrumental.”- Lil’ Uzi Vert
Uzi Vert also made a career/creative decision that raises the question if his comments are an accurate reflection of how he feels. His official DJ is DJPForReal, Prince Paul’s son. Prince Paul played an integral role in artists/groups like De La Soul, The Gravediggaz, Stetsasonic, and many others. One would assume that if Uzi Vert has DJPForReal touring all over the world with him and backing him on stage every step of the way, he at least has a mild curiosity for his father’s significant contributions to rap and other genres.
A recent interview posted by SONOS between DJ Premier and Prince Paul seems to confirm that Uzi Vert may have more appreciation for the history of the culture than his Hot 97 interview indicated. According to Premier (starting around the 8:25 mark), someone called out Uzi Vert on Twitter and included Primo in the tweet. Premier defended the young rapper and said he could choose to dislike “Mass Appeal” if he wanted to. According to Premier, Uzi Vert responded and apologized for his remarks being taken out of context, saying “Can’t like hip-hop without Premier. They just tryna come for a youngin’. I wish he would have given me the “Full Clip” instrumental.” This shows that he has a least a cursory knowledge of Gang Starr’s catalog. Uzi Vert then reached out to Premier through DM on Twitter and the two seem to be on very good terms now.
“It may not be stuff that I like, but I at least want to understand it. It keeps me from being bitter like a lot of old school guys and it keeps me learning.”- Prince Paul
It’s easy for us to criticize the young guys. It’s harder to look in the mirror and admit that the golden era generation could have shown more respect to the founding fathers and done a better job of preserving the culture. If you want people to appreciate the music of years past, the best way is to share some of it in a constructive way instead of eviscerating Lil’ Uzi Vert on Facebook.
Prince Paul had a great quote that sums it all up. When OC Weekly asked him about current music and pop culture he said, “It may not be stuff that I like, but I at least want to understand it. It keeps me from being bitter like a lot of old school guys and it keeps me learning.”