If teeny-bopper rap sounds like something Method Man's nightmares would be made of, it's not. The Closer to My Dreams Tour, headlined by Young Money labelmates Tyga and Lil Twist (with opener Diggy Simmons, son of Rev Run of Run-D.M.C.), is proof that teeny-bopper not only lives, but that it sells. It could also leave hip-hop fans scratching their heads thinking, How'd we get to this point? It's easy to say that Tyga and Lil Twist are rap's answers to Justin Bieber. Lil Twist is a best pal of the pop star, after all. Marketers' desire to captivate tweens and their sticky little dollars no doubt played a role in creating Tyga and Lil Twist, but there is precedent in signing teenage rappers. Some Weezy fans are old enough to remember voting for "Back That Azz Up" on BET's 106 and Park so they could watch 16-year-old Wayne mumble as he fanned cash at the camera. However, most won't recall that Cash Money released Lil Wayne's first album, True Story, when he was just 12 and part of the Baby Gangstaz duo. Despite his age, Wayne's persona was in step with the era's aesthetic (illustrated by lyrics from "From Tha 13th to Tha 17th": "Caught him slippin' on the dark side / Had to do a walk-by / Walked up on, then popped him up / Watched that fuckin' clown die"). Maybe this is Wayne returning the favor to some young'uns under a radically different context. More likely, Wayne is just getting his slice of a really sweet pie.
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