Time and again, mainstream rappers have shown they have a long-standing fascination with cartels. Wiz Khalifa, for one, has shown his admiration for Joaquín Guzmán in the past, and this weekend, he paid tribute to Pablo Escobar. After his Medellin concert, Wiz stopped by Escobar’s grave and photographed fresh flowers and what looks like a joint by his tombstone, according to the BBC.
Escobar – touted as both as hero and a monster behind the deaths of as many as 4,000 – is a polemic figure that has unfortunately come to shape many US citizens’ views on Colombia. Wiz – who has a strain of weed named after him – managed to upset Medellin’s mayor, Federico Gutiérrez, with his visit. The mayor called Khalifa a “scoundrel” and said that he should have sent flowers to Escobar’s victims instead. “It shows that this guy has never had to suffer from the violence inflicted by these drug traffickers,” Gutiérrez said.
While Escobar cannot and should not be erased from Colombian history, Wiz Khalifa’s Instagram post is framed in a way to mythologize a drug lord that has caused a lot of pain and suffering to many within the country. Some have come to his defense and said the media and the government have played a bigger role in Colombia’s inability to shake its reputation. On the other side, others have urged him to learn more about the country’s history or have, unacceptably, used racial slurs to insult him for his photo.