Rap and rock music have long been bedfellows ever since the early 80s with vaunted rap legends Run-D.M.C. (who collaborated with rock group Aerosmith on a cover of the band’s track “Walk This Way) finding a way to merge the two separate but often equally rebellious styles into a brand new sound.
During the early days of music videos with rock ruling the charts, young listeners who were not necessarily fans or the target audiences of rockers latched on to some of the classic songs of the day. Iconic Seattle grunge/rock band Nirvana and their smash hit “Smells Like Teens Spirit” was one of those songs from the early 90s and an inspiration to one of Hip Hop’s biggest stars today.
Young Money captain Lil Wayne sat with MTV News correspondent Sway Calloway while wrapping up his “Unplugged” show from earlier this year, discussing how the song was relatable to his own burgeoning teenage angst – at the song’s height, Lil Wayne would have just been shy of nine years of age. However, the popularity of Nirvana’s breakout smash apparently resonated with a young Dwayne Carter who discovered the video by way of now defunct pay-for-play video music channel The Box. “Because I was young and I actually listened to the lyrics, and I probably felt at that time that I was rebelling and I could associate myself with that and relate to the things [deceased lead singer Kurt Cobain] was talking about and speaking about in the song,” shared a reflective Tunechi. “I probably couldn’t, but I thought I could.”
Although Wayne jokingly shared with Sway that he had to suffer through a series of songs before his favorites would appear, “Smells Like Teen Spirit” was the one rock song he connected with. “‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ was one of the only rock songs that would come on, and you’ll be like, ‘That one is OK, I can deal with that one,” said Weezy.
Were you too a fan of Nirvana’s “Smell Like Teen Spirit” song? Did you buy their classic second album Nevermind? Tweet to us at @MTVRapFix or leave us a comment below
Stick with MTV News all week as we reveal the Nevermind You Never Knew, celebrating the 20th anniversary of Nirvana’s definitive album with classic footage, new interviews and much more.