Lil Wayne Had A Sage Reaction To The Ongoing Ja Morant Gun Controversy: ‘Do Y’all Know That Boy?’

It’s the playoffs and the Nuggets are up 2-0 over the Lakers, but it seems all anyone can talk about this week is Ja Morant and his ongoing inability to avoid being caught on camera showing off guns. Not only are sports commentators weighing in (that’s their job, after all), but even rappers like GloRilla and Vic Mensa are also sharing their thoughts. The latest hip-hop artist to contribute to the discussion is Lil Wayne, who had a much more patient outlook than many observers.

Appearing on Showtime’s All The Smoke podcast hosted by Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson (two of Morant’s finest forebears in the “NBA troublemaker” category), Wayne gave a considered, empathetic take, putting himself in Ja’s shoes and lending him the benefit of the doubt. Here’s the blockquote:

The best I could do is remember when I was younger and my homies, my squad, my n****s around me, at the age where they don’t have money. I’m the one with the money, and I don’t even know how much money I’ll end up with, but I’m the one with some money in my pocket — I know I got a bright future.

My homies, they ain’t on a payroll. They my homies, they live good when they with me. When I gotta go to work and all that, they gotta go back to being who they gotta be. So I’m saying that to say, they in them streets and I was aware of that. So if I was going through something at that point in time, something public what slime going through, I could imagine the rebellious attitude I would have if my homies is egging that attitude on.

In response to the oft-made point that Ja comes from a decent family, not the gritty streets he appears to want so desperately to appeal to, Wayne had one question: “Do y’all know that boy? ‘Cause I don’t.”

I know him from dunking and jumping, and I only started knowing him when I started paying attention to him in his last year of college. He come from a town with 3,000 people. Like, what? What y’all expect? Y’all gave him $200 million. I just said, a town with 3,000 people. You expect him to be responsible? Now we tripping. That’s magic. ‘Cause I could tell you now, I come from a real well-raised, beautiful mother, nice, you know what I mean? My mama would bust her ass to make sure everything around me was nice, and I still was a knucklehead. I shot myself. And that young man, I could imagine if I came from a f*cking place with 3,000 people and I became who I am.

Morant himself issued a statement earlier this week, saying, “I know I’ve disappointed a lot of people who have supported me. This is a journey & I recognize there is more work to do. My words may not mean much right now, but I take full accountability for my actions. I’m committed to continuing to work on myself.”

And while folks blame everything from Ja’s choice of friends to his love for rap music, let us not forget that the US is a nation with more guns than people, where many states continue to refuse common-sense legislation to prevent the frighteningly common mass shooting incidents that have plagued us since a national ban on assault weapons was repealed. So, let’s keep some perspective, yeah?