The most heated of internet commenters will have you believe that there's some sort of hip-hop war happening that you have to choose sides in, but of course that's not true. In real life it's entirely possible to like a range of artists from a range or eras in a range of styles because real life is complicated.
So while fans sometimes feel like they have to hate one artist in order to love another, when you talk to the artists themselves the lines can get much blurrier. The beloved Andre 3000 recently praised the often hated Young Thug, and now Kendrick Lamar, the "God MC" of the moment, has gone on record paying his respects to Lil Wayne who gets more "he's trash" comments on our Facebook page than almost anyone.
“...we was just huge, still to this day, huge Lil Wayne fans. Lil Wayne is the greatest. Not only because of his music but also because of the culture he put behind it. It was a big part of what he was talking about, so we always hold Lil Wayne in high regards. Juvenile as well. And yeah, it’s the impact of them man. To be a part of it the same way he was a part of it years later is just a great feeling.” - The Coveteur Magazine
Notably, Kendrick's not necessarily saying that Wayne's music was the greatest influence on him, although the fact that K. Dot once did an entire C4 mixtape also makes that clear. Really, he's saying that Wayne's entire body of influence, from his rhymes to his clothes to his general persona, had an enormous impact on hip-hop and Kendrick personally, something that often goes unacknowledged when discussing Wayne's legacy.
Incredibly, the two have never had a song together. The closest they came was "Buy the World," a posse cut of sorts that Mike WiLL put together, which is hardly the same thing as two artists working on music together, but hopefully that will change someday. Personally, I'd love to hear Kendrick and Wayne go back and forth, I feel like they'd bring out the best in each other. And maybe, just maybe, we'd hear some of that Weezy influence in Kendrick's voice.
The fans may erect walls between artists, but for the artists themselves, all those walls do is prevent them from making great music.
UPDATE: Lil Wayne replies and gives props back.