Memphis-based rapper NLE Choppa has come under fire after portraying an Asian man as a dangerous person on the cover of “Drop Sh*t,” his latest album under Warner Records.
The rundown: On the album cover of “Drop Sh*t,” NLE Choppa and his “family” can be seen stepping on an Asian man in front of their holiday-themed home. The title track comes with a music video that provides more context: the man is apparently an armed interloper.
- The album cover shows the Asian man lying face down on the ground after NLE Choppa’s “family” thwarts his attack. In the music video, the man is slammed onto a barbecue grill after putting a gun next to NLE Choppa’s head.
- The 19-year-old rapper, whose real name is Bryson Lashun Potts, rose to fame in 2019 with his single “Shotta Flow.” The track peaked at number 36 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was certified double platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).
- In July 2019, Warner Records partnered with NLE Choppa for the launch of his label, No Love Entertainment (NLE). In its announcement, the company described the then-16-year-old as having “poise, charisma and cleverness way beyond his years.”
Reactions: “Drop Sh*t” immediately caught the attention of social media users who found it problematic, especially amid a pandemic that has seen a spike in hate crimes against Asian Americans. Just last week, six individuals were arrested for targeting scores of Asian American women in violent robberies across the San Francisco Bay Area.
- “What the f*ck is going on with NLE Choppa’s new single cover where he is stepping an Asian guy, smiling? What does he have to say? Just showing his hatred towards the Asian or what? This is already upsetting but I need to know why,” one Twitter user declared.
- Another Twitter user felt that the Asian man was depicted as a burglar trying to rob a wealthy Black family on Christmas Day. “Drop sh*t” = Neutralizing a ‘dangerous Asian man,’” the user wrote.
- Others called out Warner Records and demanded an explanation. “Hey @warnerrecords, remember when you pledged $100 million to support anti-racist efforts this year? Maybe some of that money can fix how your artists are depicting Asians in their ‘creative,’” wrote Meta’s Global Head of Social Marketing, Eric Toda. “Fix this and #StopAsianHate.”
Not the first controversy: Amid the ongoing backlash, social media users referred to a 2019 video that shows NLE Choppa berating an Asian man with a mock Asian accent. Some pointed out that if the roles were reversed, the outcome would be very different.
- “Imagine if the Asian guy said something racist back, I’d bet NLE and his friend would be real mad then and stop laughing,” one YouTube user wrote.
- Another user commented, “I guess if it’s an Asian [person] no one really cares.”
NextShark has reached out to Warner Records for comment.