Brands & Merch Business News

Mountain Dew ends partnership with Lil Wayne

By | Published on Wednesday 8 May 2013

Lil Wayne

As well as Tyler, The Creator, Pepsi-owned soft drink Mountain Dew has fallen out with another rapper, this time Lil Wayne. While a series of adverts created for the brand by Tyler were deemed too controversial (following complaints that the third in the series promoted violence towards women and enforced racial stereotypes), it was lyrics in a track not even directly linked to his partnership with the drink that led the company to ditch Wayne.

Pressure to drop Lil Wayne came from the family of Emmett Till, a civil rights icon who was tortured and murdered in 1955 for allegedly wolf whistling at a white woman. In a remix of Future’s ‘Karate Chop’, Wayne appears on the third verse and raps that he “beat that pussy up like Emmett Till”. He actually means he’s quite aggressive in bed, though that only annoyed the Till family further, who communicated their annoyance in an open letter published earlier this year.

Sony/Epic later said that the track was an unauthorised version and that the offending line would not appear in the retail version. Last week, Wayne also published a letter to the Till family apologising for causing offence, and adding that on top of the offending lyrics not being officially released: “I will not be performing the lyrics that contain that reference live and have removed them from my catalogue”.

Coming three months after the matter was originally raised, Wayne’s letter seemed to have little effect, with Pepsi announcing on Friday that the partnership between Wayne and Mountain Dew had ended, saying in a statement: “We do not plan any additional work with Lil Wayne moving forward. His offensive reference to a revered civil rights icon does not reflect the values of our brand”.

Though Wayne’s publicist said that it had been “an amicable split” prompted by “creative differences”.

This comes less than a month after Reebok announced that it was ending a partnership with Rick Ross, after campaigners pressured the company over a lyric which seemingly condoned rape that he contributed to Rocko’s ‘UOENO’, in which he says: “Put molly [MDMA] all up in her champagne, she ain’t even know it, I took her home and I enjoyed that, she ain’t even know it”.

Ross denied that the lyric condoned rape – mainly on the grounds that he’d not actually said the word “rape” – though his contribution was subsequently cut from the track.

Meanwhile, back to Tyler, The Creator, and in an interview with Billboard last week he also denied any malicious intent in his adverts for Mountain Dew, which saw a goat attacking a waitress in a restaurant, escaping the from the police and intimidating the waitress as she attempted to identify him on a police line-up. He argued: “It’s just a goat. I just think a goat is funny. It’s no deeper meaning. They said, ‘Tyler, you can come up with any commercial that you want’. I said, ‘You wanna know what’s funny to me and my friends? An animal talking’. Why? Cause animals don’t talk in real life, so let’s make an animal talk. What’s a funny animal? A fucking goat”.

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