Weezy Appreciation Week Playlist
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.