Wiz Khalifa’s tribute to the infamous drug lord Pablo Escobar has landed him in hot water.
During his trip to Medellin, Colombia over the weekend, the Taylor Gang boss shared a series of photos on Instagram, including one of Escobar’s gravesite with a joint next to it, and one of himself smoking in front of a building Escobar lived in. The images were not well received due to Escobar’s notorious past as one of the world’s most powerful kingpins.
Medellin Mayor Federico Gutiérrez called the rapper a “scoundrel” who should apologize for “advocating crime,” according to the BBC. “It shows that this guy has never had to suffer from the violence inflicted by these drug traffickers,” said Gutiérrez.
Khalifa’s Instagram page now houses arguments about his visit and his perceived respect for Escobar. “Dude! I love your music,” one fan wrote. “But… You really FUCKED IT UP WHIT THIS POST! U insult our country, our culture.”
Another added: “What’s wrong with you? Maybe you have no idea that this guy killed a lot of people. We are not proud of him and you shouldn’t be neither! I really like you but this is disappointing!”
Still, some supporters sided with Khalifa. “Dont give a shit about nothin dude @wizkhalifa im from colombia and i think that those little pussy that think that What you did is wrong are just a mass of ignorant people,” one fan replied. “Pablo Escobar was a legend, he did terrible things and a lot of amazing things they just said that you are wrong cause the goverment thinks it is wrong, they just follow the thoughts of the press… Keep it up man !!”
Escobar rose from poverty to become a wealthy man, a congressman, and one of the world’s most powerful and dangerous cocaine traffickers of all time. He built a massive fortune for himself, supplying a large portion of the cocaine used in the United States. He reportedly paved roads, built sports stadiums, and provided jobs to many, but he was also blamed for hundreds of murders across Colombia in the process. Escobar was killed by authorities in December of 1993.
“Hundreds of Colombians — brave police officers and innocent people — lost their lives as a result of Escobar’s terrorism,” President Bill Clinton told Colombian President Cesar Gaviria Trujillo at the time of Escobar’s death. “Your work honors the memory of all these victims.”
Escobar’s fame has only grown since his death. Most recently, the Netflix series “Narcos” chronicled his life, his rise, and his demise. Despite his infamy, Escobar has become a symbol of power and success for many, including several members of the hip-hop community like Nas, who nicknamed himself Esco, and Kanye West, who named his 2016 album The Life of Pablo. Other rappers, including 2 Chainz, Remy Ma, Fat Joe, and The Game have rapped about Escobar, as well.
Khalifa has not commented on the controversy.