It's the line that could send a brilliant rap career down in flames: "He started a year long sentence in March but got time off for good behavior . . ."
In an industry where "street cred" is everything, good behavior doesn't sell records, which is raising the cloud of controversy over the release of rapper Lil Wayne yesterday from Rikers Island.
Dwayne Carter Jr., who performs under the moniker "Lil Wayne," has some explaining to do after being released months early from a year-long prison sentence for weapons possession.
The rap advocacy group, TrufeNow-Duh, is demanding answers about whether the rumor is true that Lil Wayne got time deducted from his sentence for "good behavior."
While "good behavior" is something that's usually cultivated and encouraged in people, it's like strichnine poison to rappers.
"I rather go on the subway wi' no pants than 'behave good,'" explained Sove Drank, TrufeNow-Duh president.
Back in the halcion days when Lil Wayne was first arrested, there was no question that he was rotten to the core. Even among rappers, he wask known for being "way out."
Having duly turned his face and body into a tattoo artist's doodle pad, Lil Wayne appeared to have all the cred a man could carry.
But in recent days, that cred has come into question.
For those who are not rap initiates, it's all a question of badness.
The subject was best explicated in the Michael Jackson music video for his 1987 song "Bad."
In the video, Daryl -- played by Jackson -- is a ghetto kid who has returned to the neighborhood on a break from the private school he attends. It's clear early on that he no longer fits in with his old friends -- one of whom is played by Wesley Snipes.
At one point, Snipes' character challenges Daryl, saying, "You ain't down with us no more, you ain't down, you ain't bad!"
To which Daryl retorts: "You ain't bad! You ain't nothing!"
The question to Lil Wayne is, are you still down? Are you bad?
Did you get time off for good behavior or did you ain't?