'Hurtful' Lil Wayne Lyric Prompts Apology From Epic Records

Rapper made crude reference to death of Emmett Till on remix

Lil Wayne in Las Vegas.
Kevin Mazur/WireImage
February 14, 2013 10:25 AM ET

Epic Records has apologized to the family of Emmett Till after Lil Wayne made a crude reference in a leaked track to the 1955 beating death of the 14-year-old boy, The Associated Press reports. 

Wayne contributed to a remix of Future's "Karate Chop" that leaked last weekend and included the lyric, "Beat that pussy up like Emmett Till" – referencing the Chicago teen who was infamously tortured and lynched for allegedly whistling at a white woman while visiting Mississippi in 1955. After Till's family objected to the line, the Rev. Jesse Jackson contacted Weezy's management company, the Blueprint Group, on their behalf.

Random Notes: Hottest Rock Pictures

Epic issued a statement yesterday night apologizing for the song: "We regret the unauthorized remix version of Future's 'Karate Chop,' which was leaked online and contained hurtful lyrics. Out of respect for the legacy of Emmett Till and his family . . . we are going through great efforts to take down the unauthorized version." The label eventually plans to release a version of the song that "will not include such references." 

According to the Mamie Till Mobley Memorial Foundation's Facebook page, Epic chief L.A. Reid reached out and apologized to the family personally.

A publicist for Lil Wayne says the New Orleans rapper has no comment right now, while neither Jackson nor Till's family could be reached.

Till's murder marked a turning point in the civil rights movement. He was beaten, had an eye gouged out and was shot in the head before his body was thrown into the Tallahatchie River, weighted down with a cotton-gin fan tied to him with barbed wire. The two men put on trial, including the husband of the woman Till allegedly whistled at, were acquitted by an all-white jury. When Till's body was recovered and returned to Chicago, his mother Mamie insisted on having an open casket funeral; pictures of his mutilated body were published across the country, helping to push Southern racism and the civil rights struggle into the public discourse. 

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

Music Main Next

blog comments powered by Disqus
Around the Web
Powered By ZergNet
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.


We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories

“Try a Little Tenderness”

Otis Redding | 1966

This pop standard had been previously recorded by dozens of artists, including by Bing Crosby 33 years before Otis Redding, who usually wrote his own songs, cut it. It was actually Sam Cooke’s 1964 take, which Redding’s manager played for Otis, that inspired the initially reluctant singer to take on the song. Isaac Hayes, then working as Stax Records’ in-house producer, handled the arrangement, and Booker T. and the MG’s were the backing band. Redding’s soulful version begins quite slowly and tenderly itself before mounting into a rousing, almost religious “You’ve gotta hold her, squeeze her …” climax. “I did that damn song you told me to do,” Redding told his manager. “It’s a brand new song now.”

More Song Stories entries »