Dee-1’s car needed gas after his performance at the Katrina Commemorative Conference in New Orleans on Friday, Aug. 28, the day before the 10th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

As he looked for a gas station, he realized Lil Wayne’s festival in the city, Lil Weezyana Fest, had not ended. Dee-1 grew up on Lil Wayne’s music.

“Everything before Tha Carter III, I could quote it word for word — any word he ever spit, any mixtape,” Dee-1 said. “Around Tha Carter III time is when I started to graduate past Lil Wayne’s music being commandment to me.”

Dee-1 got gas and proceeded to drive to Lil Weezyana Fest. As he looked for a parking spot, though, he rolled his windows down to hear the music. What he heard must have released after 2008, the year Tha Carter III dropped, because Dee-1 didn’t recognize it. He said he heard several chants start with “shoot” and end with the N-word, and he drove away.

“I know there isn’t violence going on in there,” Dee-1 said, “but I also know this is the messaging that is being portrayed through the music that he’s putting out there, even at this concert. At this point in my life, I realize that it’s not something I’m indifferent toward. It’s something I’m opposed to.”

This is the messaging that inspired Dee-1 to record Separated at Birth, a mixtape in which he rapped over popular Lil Wayne beats with a positive perspective — intentionally opposite of the one presented by his former idol. Separated at Birth was scheduled to release on Tuesday, but Dee-1’s record label RCA Inspiration claimed to Rapzilla it blocked the mixtape, though the full story remains unclear.

I'd like to apologize to all the fans. This is a project that was needed in hip hop and i was excited to give it to you all. All i can say is that 1. this industry is truly crazy smh, 2. some bold actions have taken place behind the scenes, and 3. some people fear what the truth sounds like. Trust me, if no one threatened legal recourse, I would still drop it because I worked hard on this and i think this music would bless all who hear it, and add a much-needed perspective to hip hop. The topic of my personal safety was also brought up to be honest, but truthfully God has me covered so I was neeeeeeeeeeeeeeeever worried about that. Until further notice, the #SeparatedAtBirth mixtape has been BANNED. Unfortunately, i need for orangemixtapes.com to not post the mixtape as of now until things clear up. Sorry for the wait.

A photo posted by Dee-1 (@dee1music) on


Rapzilla interviewed Dee-1 about Separated at Birth before news of its cancellation broke.

“This is something that’s urgent,” he said. “I’m still in New Orleans, and I just see that, young dudes coming up in the hood, we need to know there are other routes people can take and still be successful. I think that’s what I represent in hip hop at this point, from New Orleans especially.”

Dee-1 said the anniversary weekend of Hurricane Katrina, for which he performed at multiple events, also served as motivation.

“There was a lot of media attention down here,” he said, “and I could tell that, 10 years later, people still kind of look at New Orleanians the same way. They expect us to be thugs. They expect us to be about violence and negativity.”

Why did Dee-1 respond to these issues with a Lil Wayne concept specifically?

“He has influenced a whole generation down here,” Dee-1 said, “myself included. Me and the two dudes in the car with me, whether or not we know it, we’ve all been influenced by Lil Wayne — by his music, the amount of prominence he’s risen to and his success. He being a young black dude representing New Orleans, we kind of all see a little bit of ourselves in him.”

Dee-1 said he relates to Lil Wayne like a brother, but his music took a drastically different direction, which is why he titled the mixtape Separated at Birth.

Even though Dee-1 once nearly signed with Cash Money, he said, he has never met Lil Wayne. Dee-1 said he has no hate toward him and would even discuss the state of New Orleans and their generation over coffee. He just wishes Lil Wayne would use his platform to help listeners — not hurt them, which Dee-1 thinks Lil Wayne has done.

“Do I think Lil Wayne is the primary influence in the gangs I see exploding in New Orleans? All I know is we didn’t have Bloods in New Orleans — I’m talking specifically about Bloods — we never had Bloods in New Orleans ev-er growing up — ever,” Dee-1 said. “Then Lil Wayne started claiming he’s a Blood heavy. I’m talking about, he started repping it super hard — soo woo, the red rag hanging out and Blood gang-this, and now we have a new generation of bloods in New Orleans.

“That’s all I know. For me, I look at it like that. It wasn’t no influx of Bloods that moved down here. The Bloods didn’t have a convention and say, ‘We’re about to relocate headquarters in New Orleans.’”