Often times, there is a parallel between professional basketball and hip hop. This parallel was arguably at its strongest in the early 2000s. Professional basketball had recently come to terms with the retirement of Michael Jordan, regarded by many as the best basketball player ever. In hip hop, the community was still reeling over the deaths of Tupac Shakur and The Notorious B.I.G. Both professional basketball and hip hop were in search of “the second coming.”
When searching for “the next big thing,” usually a spotlight is placed upon someone not quite ready to handle the challenge. Lil’ Zane fell victim to the search for “the second coming” in hip hop. In 2000, Lil’ Zane released his debut album and he immediately shot to fame. Immediately, Lil’ Zane’s name became synonymous with the shows on the now-defunct UPN television network. The then-teen rapper made appearances on both “The Parkers” and “One on One.”
Despite the buzz from appearing on sitcoms, lyrically, Lil’ Zane was not all he was hyped up to be and this had a negative impact upon his career. Once his career did not materialize the way it was predicted to, Lil’ Zane was added to the list of rappers considered laughingstocks. However, theÂ Los AngelesÂ hip hop scene, itself, was nearly considered a laughingstock, as only Snoop Dogg and Game were keeping it relevant. Tyler, the Creator helped breathe new life into Los Angeles hip hop, with the release of his second album, Goblin.
Quickly, Tyler, the Creator proved to be among the most-sarcastic rappers ever. In his songs, Tyler, the Creator poked more fun and had more offensive statements than the most-controversial song from Eminem. Along the way, Tyler, the Creator made enemies out of B.oB., Bruno Mars, and several other members of the hip hop community. In the midst of all the madness, Tyler, the Creator did make several friends, too. Game was among the friends Tyler made, which led to their “Martians vs. Goblins” collaboration. Since then, Game and Tyler, the Creator have been publicly hanging out and making fun of several celebrities.
The most-recent victim of Game and Tyler, the Creator’s rants was Lil’ Zane. Unlike many others, who have learned to ignore their antics, Zane decided to go after the duo on wax. Lil’ Zane’s 2011 comeback was among the most-unexpected events of the year, as he took the ever-popular beat of “Niggas in Paris” to respond to the duo. Recently, Lil’ Zane discussed his reasoning for going after Game and Tyler, the Creator during an exclusive interview with HipHopDX.com. In the wake of being dissed, Lil’ Zane released a new mixtape, The Missing Link, and he has another mixtape in the works in celebration of Valentine’s Day.
When asked why he decided to diss Game and Tyler, the Creator, Lil’ Zane said he has never made a diss record in his life. Instead, he calls his track a response record. Lil’ Zane said there was no beef behind the song, as his “Niggas in Paris” freestyle was him defending himself. The rapper went on to say he was raised to hit someone back if they hit him, but to never start trouble. For those who follow Lil’ Zane and Tyler, the Creator on Twitter, they noticed the rappers had been tweeting each other. New to Twitter, Lil’ Zane said he continued receiving messages from @fucktyler and he responded to the tweets one day.
Upon responding to Tyler, the Creator’s tweets, Lil’ Zane realized @fucktyler was not a fan rapper looking for a co-sign, instead he was tweeting Zane as a joke. Admitted by Zane, responding to Tyler was his first mistake. Unfamiliar with Twitter, Lil’ Zane quickly learned the ropes and he soon learned how Tyler, the Creator operated. Weeks later, Lil’ Zane saw Tyler’s Twitter beef with Chris Brown and wrote him off as a guy who starts problems on Twitter. When Tyler, the Creator began releasing videos, Lil’ Zane noticed how his name was brought up in nearly every video, with Tyler saying “I’m Lil’ Zane.”
On his version of “Niggas in Paris,” Lil’ Zane included a line which stated “I’m the creator, fuck Ty.” In Lil’ Zane’s opinion, Tyler, the Creator going around saying he was Lil’ Zane was like saying “fuck myself, I’m Lil’ Zane.” Due to him using his name, Lil’ Zane could not figure out why Tyler, the Creator got mad at the line. Lil’ Zane went on to say, he and Tyler, the Creator did not have a Twitter conversation, he just fell for a joke, when he assumed Tyler, the Creator was a fan. Realizing he was among one of the many Tyler, the Creator jokes, Lil’ Zane felt the rapper was very disrespectful and decided to go after him.
Now, having spent twelve years in the game, Lil’ Zane sees himself as a veteran and he called his response to Tyler, the Creator as him telling the young rapper to respect his elders. Game is around the same age as Lil’ Zane and he works with Tyler, the Creator and had his own set of jokes aimed at Lil’ Zane. During his series of interviews with Vlad TV, Game had some interesting things to say about Lil’ Zane, which HipHopDX.com asked led to him including Game in his response. However, Lil’ Zane told them to pay attention to Game giving him props and admitting there is no beef between the two of them.
While Lil’ Zane considered Tyler, the Creator disrespectful, he took Game’s insults as a challenge. Comparing it to a basketball game, Lil’ Zane felt Game’s statement was like a friend saying he is good at basketball, while saying the other friend sucks. For the most part, Lil’ Zane views the remarks from Game as a competition. After making his statement on Vlad TV, Lil’ Zane decided to say something back to Game on his freestyle over “Niggas in Paris.” On the track, Lil’ Zane said he decided to show him he is just as good, if not better, than him on the track. Lil’ Zane went on to say, he receives constant hate because the people cannot deny good music.