Tag Archives: Lil Wayne

Mixtape Review-In Tune We Trust by Lil Wayne

Mixtape Review-In Tune We Trust by Lil Wayne

by Dan-O

Looking back on what Wayne accomplished is shocking, even if you start at 2007. By the end of 2008 he had sold 2.88 million copies of Carter III and changed how pop rap albums sound forever. He created the pop mixtape market with his Dedication series that started in 2005. Wayne didn’t fall out of touch he savagely experimented and when he was wrong he was so committed to that wrong that it was unbearable (see Rebirth).

The lessons Wayne teaches are all present on In Tune We Trust which is likely a collection of loosies he had hanging around.  Loyalty kicks off the mixtape with a brilliant first verse from Gudda Gudda. The key here is the beat by ChefBoy’RT is simple but filled with kinetic energy that drives at Weezy speed. Wayne taught us all what energy is. Whenever you hear Kendrick get into his take-over-the-world flow you know that comes from Weezy. In an interview Isaiah Rashad called Wayne the Michael Jordan of rap! You can debate the comparison but even on the low stakes freestyle Magnolia you marvel at how easy the art is for him.

The best song is Fireworks produced by Mike Will Made It. Jeezy kicks off the track with a great verse that puts Wayne into his perfect zone. While Jeezy has a pinpoint verse about success and drug dealing, Weezy wanders and jokes (“whip it like a big booty b__ like a cup of coffee with a spoon in it”) with the flow of a master and the mentality of a thirty four year old perverted Dennis The Menace. The difference in the two approaches makes the song work stand out.

The four song length of In Tune We Trust sets expectations low but it is a reminder that while you may think of Weezy as last era’s guy he is the same age as Future. He has just been professionally rapping before he could legally buy cigarettes.   I am dead sure that when he does get his label situation right his next album will be a monster.

Stream or download In Tune We Trust below:



Weezy Appreciation Week Playlist

Weezy Appreciation Week Playlist

by Dan-O

We don’t appreciate people in the moment. I think that’s ok. The moment can be tricky, you miss things. Wayne has been in the game so long it would be criminal not to look back at all that he has accomplished.

Tha Carter 2-Best Rapper Alive

Known as his best album, it’s one of a select few that shattered the notion of southern MC’s as second class citizens. Don’t get me wrong, southern rap had been dope but because the production and slang were different it was disregarded by a lot of the elites and hard headed old-schoolers. Seeing names like The Heatmakerz & Cool & Dre on a Wayne album was a shock for people and made it so everyone who heard it knew what he was capable of. This wasn’t a homegrown talent only good in his comfort zone. The world was his comfort zone. He was going pop but would end up making pop go Weezy.

On Best Rapper Alive he roars over guitar samples and blusters on an elite level. He swears a blue streak telling other rappers to go F_ themselves in a number of ways tells us he might bet all his money on one football play(#someweezyishrightthere) but when he says “It’s no problem, I so got ’em. It’s just a victory lap baby, I’m just jogging,” with a minute left, you really feel it. He’s not winded or tired he simply takes this beat, destroys it in about five minutes and you can picture him requesting the next beat queued up.

For rap it was a revelation for Wayne it was a Wednesday.

Teenage Weezy-Lights Off

When Lil Wayne was 17 years old when he released Tha Block Is Hot on Ca$h Money. I consider Wayne the best teenage rapper of all time. While Nas gave us Illmatic as a teen he faded back for years before his next project. Weezy was cranking out ill wordplay as a teenager and lacing smash choruses.  I love the whole album front to back and the Block is Hot chorus is stamped on the mind of everyone who lived through the Ca$h Money come up. All that said,  Lights Off has always had a special place for me.

His flow is special, his energy gives me energy. I’m a peaceful man but I could punch through something when this song comes on. As threatening as the lyrics are you won’t notice that many curse words from teenage Weezy. Wiki says his mother requested he keep a lid on it and so the early Wayne conveyed his nastiness through slice and dice metaphor and cackling vocal menace. No matter what my relationship was to Wayne (and I didn’t always like what he was doing because he never seemed to do what I wanted him to do) I always loved the early stuff. Always will.

Tha Carter 3- Phone Home

Take over the world Wayne went triple platinum with Tha Carter 3 which is honestly spotty as an album (I have no need in my life for Mrs. Officer) with highs that changed the way people made music. Rap stars had to look and sound a certain way. As Wayne began Phone Home  whispering “We are not the same, I am a Martian” a collective huh came back. Think of all the rap weirdos that get their origin from oddball Weezy? I’m not going to list them all just think of all the major rap flows with Weezy in them.

Cool & Dre load the beat with trunk rattling thump and Weezy makes it his right away. Could you imagine anyone else in the world making this song?

Mixtape Weezy-No Ceilings-I’m Single

Weezy on mixtapes is just a beast; taking beats and knocking the stuffing out of them. You can listen to him trading off dope verses with Curren$y on Dedication or tearing Banned From TV limb from limb on No Ceilings and feel the freedom. A guy who was raised to rap and does that; did he run himself down with release after release? Meh. I tend to think he was  always testing boundaries while dealing with a label that only wanted mild experimentation.

I’m Single always felt like the very essence of Wayne. It carries all the grossness that Wayne enjoys. It’s slinky and sleazy and sexual but playful, an anthem for people getting it in on the down low. Wayne is the weirdest sex symbol in hip hop history, a wild looking dude on drugs since he was a kid, constantly hurting himself skating but when speaking to a female audience or about a female character he was authentic and convincing. He didn’t change his tone (a la LL Cool J) and the ladies listened and supported him.


I could give you so many more. Even the worst Wayne is fascinating because he’s always jumping off the ledge, no safe bets. It took me a long time to value him properly. I had to realize that the expectations I had for him were limiting and he was tossing them aside. He was reckless and it worked because he bet on his talent, his work, to make the weird stuff pay off.

Mixtape Review-Coloring Book by Chance The Rapper

Mixtape Review-Coloring Book by Chance The Rapper

by Dan-O

Coloring Book is a testimony but it’s also a test. No one disputes Chance’s skill level in regards to flow, delivery, and wordplay… moving the crowd to keep it simple.  A few critiques of the project have already started to form and I think they portray the expectations of the audience that Chance is trying to extinguish.

The same audience that loves Kanye West and follows his every transformation (hoping he recaptures his “glory years”) are in pocket for Chance and are likely to love All We Got which features Ye and the Chicago Children’s Choir. It has the event feel of Ultralight Beam but those same listeners will definitely bristle at collaboration with Young Thug and Lil Yachty on a project so distinctly about spirituality. It doesn’t matter that the song is great (song is called Mixtape), most people acknowledge that. It just doesn’t feel right. What about Juke Jam? It features JUSTIN BEIBER so that sucks. I’ve never understood investing the energy to hate Bieber 1. If you don’t listen to his music 2. Don’t know him; why do you care?  Bieber doesn’t have the ability to affect a song the way Chance does so the shirtless lightning rod lays a silky chorus and Chance kills a slow flow. Song is great.

Backpackers want Chance to wave the flag Lupe Fiasco does for hip hop intellectuals who will not accept buffoonery. Coloring Book is as much about the warmth, joy, and splendor of Blessings and keeping divinity in your life as it is about the beautiful color selection we have to choose from in hip hop. Jay Electronica belongs on the gospel rap jam How Great the same way 2 Chainz and Lil Wayne belong on the blustering and frustrated No Problem. Chance is smart enough to see that all the colors belong and doesn’t see any reason he shouldn’t be able to use them all.

Backpackers aside, some reviewers are uncomfortable with this deep sense of the lord as the centerpiece of the album. This isn’t a religion thing per say, any music fan should be expected to be intelligent enough to know that whatever works for the album & for the song works…period. This critique operates around the notion that old Chance was mixed up and dealing with growing up (10 Day era) and this one has all the answers and the journey to them was more fun. I’m trying to give this credence, I just don’t remember any of these guys repping for 10 Day at the time. During that time he was definitely more jumbled thematically but also as a craftsman, he wasn’t as good. He’s gotten better and so Coloring Book is better. He found out The Social Experiment makes more sense and that his off the wall excited delivery works best around their fresh instrumentational grandness. When you see Same Drugs and Angels on the same track listing he expects you to stow your confusion. Chance is speaking to an intelligent audience that gets his three dimensions and that being in a blissful spiritual place is not preachy or permanent. Some days the sun shines on you that way. Chance can give you joy and frustration with equal pressure and style, so I love where he’s going and where he is; Coloring Book is an important part of what he is trying to accomplish in the long run and if it makes you want to get off his bus, do it now before it really gets rolling.

stream the mixtape at Apple Music or at this link below:


Mixtape Review-Fuk What They Talkin’ Bout by Tyga

Mixtape Review-Fuk What They Talkin’ Bout by Tyga

by Dan-O

I didn’t realize that I hated Tyga until I came across some internet list about hip hop’s most punchable faces and he was number one. I spoke to some wise music people in my circle and they confirmed…they would love to punch Tyga in the face. Maybe not love rather they would feel the obligation. His new mixtape Fuk Wat They Talkin Bout confirms that he’s seen these lists and really enjoys how punchable he is.

How intentionally annoying is Tyga? I will tell you that every single S on the back of the track list is replaced by the dollar sign. This is only the beginning. He has that pipsqueak voice that the kid in school had who started all kinds of fights but ran from every single one. The sex imagery is downright horrifying. On Stimulated he manages to make bank transactions into ugly bumpin’ with the chorus (repeated over and over) “I’m at the bank I’m penetrating, I’m putting in I’m penetratin’ I’m getting big I’m stimulated.” Can you imagine this poor teller? As he’s making his O face and handing his deposit slip over, he’s found some way to make this normal part of life lurid enough to hold his erections attention. In the verses he goes from knocking down beauties to pistol whipping enemies so briskly (and without description) that it comes off as the fakest stuff ever written. It’s not just that the braggadocio comes off as power fantasy; it’s the lack of imagination his fantasy generates.

The other shockingly offensive “what an a-hole” moment is Turbans. Where he promises to “throw the hoody on like a turban” making a joke out of not just the deaths of black people in hoodies (why is it ok for white people to just say they are afraid of black dudes in hoodies? We never seem to respond as a group “WTF!”) but the discrimination that Arabic and Muslim people have to deal with. It’s not like we get a payoff for this annoyingly childish comparison, it’s just two minutes and forty five seconds of Tyga attempting his mini-Wayne flow. On Ice Cream Man he compares women to hungry hippos and chunky monkey without really adding any perspective to the images. He just seems to shoot things out there and do his best to connect them to how he’s awesome. That’s how we get dumb stuff like “I like my Pie A La Mode!” which is an actual interjection yelled during this project.

The other really annoying part of Fuk Wat They Talkin Bout is all the implications that he is somehow comparable to Michael Jackson and 2pac. He puts interludes from both of them called A Voice 4rm Heaven, pt. 1 (features 2pac declaring that he retains faith even in the bad times. The difference of course is that while bad times for Pac were five shots to the chest, what are bad times for Tyga? Ugly Instagram exchange? Bad pictures of you and Kylie Jenner in the tabloids?) A Voice 4rm Heaven pt. 2 is Michael Jackson laying out the media conspiracy to ruin his career.

Tyga forces these comparisons with songs like Death Row Chain. In the song Scandal he declares that he’s “the reincarnated Michael Jackson”.  He struggles to create an air of “enemies out to get me” on Rap Star (I will not use these dollar signs, sorry buddy). None of it makes sense; Tyga never articulates any activity that would inspire murderous enemies; unless he’s being hunted by disgusted bank tellers.   I can’t even remember which song it is where he brags about watching his girl masturbate…maybe I blocked it out (Master Suite). It makes my head hurt. The notion that you would impress listeners by painting a mental image of you giggling, drinking Sunny Delight, watching your girl masturbate is so outrageous that I’m pretty sure he’s in on it. I’m pretty sure he’s trying to be the Ty Cobb of this rap landscape and you know what…I’m down. Tyga is so offensive and churlish and slimy that I hate his rap persona…but I kind of love hating it.

Stream or download Fuk What They Talkin’ Bout below(at your own risk!):


Mixtape retrospective: looking back on Drake’s So Far Gone

Mixtape retrospective: looking back on Drake’s So Far Gone

by Dan-O

So Far Gone is like a mixtape rubik’s cube. I keep picking it up and listening and getting confused; how do people like this? It seems needy and emotional but not thoughtful. Drake was constantly referencing women but not with any distinct intelligent things to say about them. The fact of the matter is that if you look back on it So Far Gone changed the rap universe. If your listening for the ramifications turn on the radio.

Even when Kanye was backpacking he was talking about political and social issues. He got a lot of credit for changing masculinity but it all boiled down to having the stones to wear a pink polo shirt…which seems like a small accomplishment (Cam’ron nods). So Far Gone really does change things. It’s not a break up album full of anguish like 808s& Heartbreak; the level of barren emotion you can hear on the Trey Songz assisted Successful is Drakes resting place. Goofball fun Kraftwerk-sounding tracks like Lets Call It Off with Peter Bjorn & John are natural and not stretch tracks, where a tough guy rapper does a goofy song to have a single (Eminem nods). How many rappers were jumping all over Lykke Li’s Little Bit for a singing duet? Listen to the beginning of Say Whats Real “Why do I feel so alone? Like everybody passing through the studio is in character as if he acting out a movie role.” It’s not just about him feeling lonely it’s about the hollowness of male bravado in hip hop circles. The never smile attitude that leaves a world without smiles.

He jumped on Ignant Shit with Lil Wayne and flossed (although he still says the phrase eager beavers which is not very flossy) then shared the Teddy Pendergrass-esque sex breakdown song A Night Off with Lloyd. R&B dudes used to play at rapping but rap fans didn’t really care/acknowledge it. Drake was comfortable in both spheres with a real knowledge of rap that extended to Houston hip hop and Little Brother underground. Balancing both is something that really hadn’t been successfully pulled off before (Domino nods).

Best I Ever Had changed the industry. The notion of a hip hop song not even really solely about love, like the old LL Cool J stuff, but a song about a woman being the best sexual partner you’ve ever had. A lot of credit goes to Noah “40” Shebib who put the bass knock in that song that makes it undeniable. This is a hip hop song. Whether you believe Drakes sincerity regarding women or don’t try and find a Dr. Dre song that’s complimentary of female sexual partners. It just wasn’t done, women were reduced not pedestaled.  After Drake became Drizzy the male MC had more he could do. If he mixed feelings or relationships into his songs he would get thoughtful points but still having the gun talk (absent from a lot of Drake stuff) the fans would still consider him hard. Before that if you made a sensitive song everyone assumed you were riding the Common lane and were playing community leader. If you listen to what a lot of us consider the high point of rap (90’s) it’s an emotional wasteland. What’s the most emotionally charged Das Efx Song? Black Moon? I love all that stuff but we have to respect that So Far Gone broke things wide open. Is Houstatlantavegas a faux pimpish sleezeball anthem soaked to the skin with the kind of R&B you used to make fun of? Yes. It’s also really really good; Drake can sing and construct a hook and what he’s doing is unlike your favorite or least favorite rappers. You can always say this dude sounds like Drake but I’ve never said “Drake is just ___” cause who would that other name even be? Not Kanye, he’s more Phonte from Little Brother and he’s darn sure not Phonte. He’s still very vein and self-centered; lots of braggadocio but never ever convincingly hazardous.

Maybe the thing I love most is how stupid he is sometimes. On So Far Gone,  his first major major mixtape he has a song with Bun B & Lil Wayne called Uptown on his time to shine he says the corniest line “sipping Pink Floyd, puffing Wayne Brady. Damn…Whose Line is It Anyway?” Really? A Wayne Brady, Whose Line name-check on your big southern style collabo jam? Yup. That’s some Drake ish. This is the only platinum artist who raps about muffins.

Stream or download So Far Gone below:


Song Review-Shit by Lil Wayne

Song Review-Shit by Lil Wayne

by Dan-O

I like my Wayne desperate and angry. The difference between stagnant Wayne and enraged ,in the zone, Wayne is shockingly vast. On Sorry 4 The Wait 2 damn near every song references the fact that Cash Money is holding back The Carter 5. On this song alone he references listening to it in his ipod and speaks about his time on Cash Money like a jail sentence.

Shit showcases Wayne with that undeniable flow dropping signature wordplay head scratchers like “I been a turd in these streets since these curtains were sheets.” Wayne went off the rails when he was bored with how successful he was but now (after a few bad albums) the view is that he’s over. If he has a Stillmatic-style comeback in him I’d be up for it. Birdman has talked about how betrayed he is by the seething indignation Wayne levels at him on Sorry 4 The Wait 2 but I wonder how far he’s willing to push (why is he pushing by the way? Why not let Weezy put out whatever he wants. He still gives great features and he made you this empire)? If Wayne leaves who would he take with him? Would Drake and Nicki go with him if he jumped into MMG or GOOD Music? If Wayne left would Drake really become the free agent rumors have declared him for a while? Would Jay make him an offer he can’t refuse to come to Roc Nation? Sorry 4 The Wait 2 leaves so many questions in its wake and the possibility of a brand new era.

Mixtape Review-Roachy Balboa 4 by Roach Gigz

Mixtape Review-Roachy Balboa 4 by Roach Gigz

by Dan-O

The mental picture created when listening to Roach Gigz is that of a race car driver or X Games participant. He seems to have a flow faster than his mind if that makes sense. He doesn’t just surprise listeners with odd entertaining imagery at times he seems to surprise himself. His new mixtape Roachy Balboa 4 is full of smiling shake your head moments like stunting so hard you get a crook in your neck (Too Easy) putting in more work than your right hand (Like This) and the line “thank you Mom you did not abort me now I can get drunk and have orgies (Misfit).” This kind of careless freewheeling imaginative sex and party talk is what sucked America into early Lil Wayne and we are talking about skill level in that ballpark.

Unlike vintage era Wayne this isn’t someone who switches gears into different tempos. Gigz runs the track like the 7 seconds or less Phoenix Suns always pushing the ball. Not only does he never stumble but he can’t help but find the craziest things to say “kill that p#$% now we talk through a Ouija, psychedelic Gigz might walk through your TV (Zombie).” If you feel as if you’ve exhausted your love of ratchet let me pitch you. I don’t think you have. The problem is not the proliferation of a trend it’s the decay of its quality. Great ratchet is still inescapably dope and three elements hold it there: great flow, fun rewindable raps, and a beat that feels like the collective hum of a crowd losing their mind. All are present on Roachy Balboa 4.

While Jay Ant could bottle and sell his cool demeanor resulting in a large profit Roach is the opposite (their collaboration on this project I Just Want works despite any logical assumption to the contrary). He seems to be running with the bulls all throughout Roachy Balboa 4 trying to move faster and more uninhibitedly through whatever it is he wants to discuss whether its meeting women on Telegraph Ave or snakes. In my running of the bulls metaphor C-Loz is the bulls. He produces seven out of thirteen tracks including the first three which really set the pace of the race. C-Loz determination to maintain the stampede velocity is as pronounced as Gigz. Any sample used, every clatter or jangle or hand clap you can hear is moving in the same direction; forward and fast.

If you were to tell me that what Gigz does is stupid I’d call you half right. Have you ever had a friend that you thought was stupid but the more time you spent with him the more you found genius in what from far away seemed daft? That’s how it is for me. The first time I heard “rather be loved than feared rather make love from the rear (Talking My Sh#t),” my face looked like a confused dog but at this point if you think its stupid its my kind of stupid. The kind that glimmers like a sharpened blade and slices through ratchet beats. When you mention the top ratchet names or top Cali rappers Gigz should be amongst them. None of the others would even think about saying the stuff he does. That counts for something.

Download and bump Roachy Balboa 4 below: