When crazy people do crazy things — especially if those crazy things are violent or harmful — there is an unfortunate tendency to look for some external impetus for the craziness. Like when Drowning Pool got scapegoated for the Tucson killings last year, or when the Colorado Springs police openly blamed hip-hop for a rash of shootings in 2007. Which is pretty weak. Whether bodies did or did not hit the floor after Drowning Pool sang about it or whether violence did or did not happen after hip-hop glorified it, the music is never the source of the crazy. People do the crazy things music tells them to do only if they are already crazy.
Eminem once wrote a song about this phenomenon. It was called "Stan," and it was about a mentally unstable fan who takes Eminem's lyrics so seriously that he locks his pregnant girlfriend in the trunk of his car and drives off a bridge. Dido's song "Thank You" was sampled on the chorus. You may remember it. But Eminem is far from the only rapper to be on the receiving end of disturbingly zealous interpretation of his lyrics. It happened to Drake last week when a fan took Drake's request to "tat my name on you so I know it's real" (from "Free Spirit," featuring Rick Ross) at face value and went ahead and tattooed DRAKE on her face. (It's worth noting that Rick Ross also raps this lyric in the song, but as of press time, no one had yet tattooed RICK ROSS on his or her face.)
Like most of us probably would be, Drake was clearly uncomfortable about the tribute. But he was kind to the fan: "I want to meet her and understand what happened," he told the L.A. radio station Power 106. Oh, Drake, no you don't. You never want to meet this crazy-ass person, because she is obviously crazy as hell. Nevertheless, given our well-known impulse never to blame crazy people for their crazy actions, it was understandable that Drake found a scapegoat for his discomfort in the artist who inked the tattoo. "Fuck you to that tat artist, by the way," he said. "If I ever see you, I'm-a fuck you up."
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For his part, the artist, one Kevin Campbell, noted that he tried several times to talk the woman out of getting the tattoo, and then lamented the state of the world with a lengthy poop metaphor: "In my opinion, this whole world's going to shit, and shit rolls downhill. So I might as well just jump in, hold my breath and pray to God there's a nice big soft puddle of diarrhea for me to land in once everything hits the fan." Thanks, Kevin Campbell, that's just...wow. I'll be trying to scrape that image from my mind for the rest of the day.
At any rate, it's enough to make you wonder how Eminem feels about Dido's revelation last week that she named her recently born son Stanley, presumably in tribute to their one-time collaboration. Which, considering the song's story line, is almost crazier than getting it tattooed on your face. Then again, maybe it's just desperate and sad.