Nathan S. 's avatar

Let’s Have A Serious Conversation About Lil Poopy

Posted by Nathan S. on 01/30/13 | Filed under Top Stories, Opinion
If you don't already have the distinct pleasure of being familiar with the work of one Lil Poopy, allow me to Poopy. He's nine, he's from Boston, he's signed (or at least affiliated with) French Montana's Coke Boyz posse, and he mostly rhymes, as you'd expect, about cocaine.

Because we live in an interwebs-driven world, I'm willing your first instinct after learning of the absurdity of Lil Poopy's mere existence is to make a joke. MEME ALERT! And I'm no different. In fact, I've already joked about Lil Poopy.

But then I read Vice's quasi-review of his "Coke Ain't a Bad Word" mixtape and it shame-slapped me into taking this shit more seriously. (Or at least trying to. I apparently can't even write a sentence about taking things seriously without making a Poopy-shit pun.)

Really, there's nothing funny or amusing about children getting rap fame off something like this. In fact, the more I think about it, a 9-year-old rapping about avoiding the Feds while trafficking drugs feels more like child abuse than entertainment. It's not like I expect French Montana to be the next Ghandi, but seriously; what kind of grown man involves a child in something like this? What parent allows their kid do this? What kind of adult woman poses for photos with a shirtless kid named Lil Poopy? (See above.)

And perhaps most importantly, how have we let our standards of decency slip so far that someone like French Montana feels completely comfortable pushing a pre-teen Coke Boy?

To be clear, the child star phenomenon is nothing new, and it's certainly not contained to hip-hop. The same "Holy shit, this child can sing about the adult wolrd like an adult" quality is what makes MJ's performance on "Want You Back" so mesmerizing, but from MJ to Lil Bow Wow way back when, they usually stayed well within the ballpark of young love.

Adults writing rhymes for kids about murder, illicit sex and drug trafficking though, that feels like a distinctly 2013 phenomenon, and Lil Poopy is far from an isolated example. Remember this kid? And of course Lil Mouse makes Lil Poopy look like he's in an episode of "Sesame Street":

I'm sure there are some people who will read this and call me a hater, or think I'm being preachy and hypocritical. They're right. I am preaching, and I have made jokes about child rappers like Lil Poopy, which makes this preaching hypocritical. But I also think we live in age where people are so afraid of being called a hater they're willing to let some pretty terrible things slide.

Well, I'm drawing my proverbial line in the sand with Lil Poopy. I have a 3-year-old daughter, and believe me, she absolutely soaks in everything she sees. Nothing good can come from children participating in, or consuming, hip-hop like this. And as adults we have to acknowledge that watching it, laughing at it and ultimately supporting it, creates the space for someone like Lil Poopy to exist.

Of course, the real problem isn't Lil Poopy or Lil Mouse rapping about murder, the real problem is that Lil Mouse lives in an environment where a child rapping about murder isn't considered particularly remarkable or unrealistic. All of Chicago could listen to nothing but bluegrass music and parts of Chicago would still be a terrible place for a child to grow up. Frankly fixing the problems that drive Chicago's, and the nation's, horrific homicide rate are beyond me.

But I don't have to worry about drive-bys, and I'm willing to bet the majority of people who have listened to and written about something like "Smoke Out" don't either. They have to worry about writing funny new articles for Vice, or RefinedHype. And I'm forcing myself to acknowledge that child rappers like Poopy are far sadder than funny.

True, I'll continue to listen to "Murda On My Mind", which is only the actually adult version of "Smoke Out", and watch the "Bandz A Make Her Dance" video even though I'd never want my daughter to become a stripper (or even worse, a video girl who acts like a stripper for a music video). That probably still makes my a hypocrite, and I don't have any clear answers on where the line between child and adult is. Is it ok to post a video of a similar song from a 17-year-old like Chief Keef? 15? 13?

There aren't any easy or obvious answers here, but that's no reason to avoid the difficult questions. At the very least I know this is going to be the last time I mention Lil Poopy, and I have to believe that's a good thing.

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