After performing Monday night with Imagine Dragons, Lil’ Wayne has been taking some heat from critics all over the internet. Well I’m here to put an end to that nonsense. Lil’ Wayne aka Lil’ Tunechi aka Weezy F. Baby, please say the “Baby”, is still one of the most talented and iconic hip hop artists of all time.
Let’s start with Monday night. Admittedly, Wayne did look like a homeless man. Those are not my words, but the words of Wally from this group text that has been going on for over 15 years now.
This isn’t the first time that we have discussed Weezy in the group text. In fact, I would guess that we have had the “Top 5 Rapper” conversation upwards of 10 times. Oh, and if you missed that picture in the text or it wasn’t big enough, here’s another one:
The posts across social media were hilarious but also slanderous. Look at what some of these clowns were saying:
Monday night’s fashion train wreck got me thinking. There are probably people out there that are old enough to think for themselves that have no idea what a legend this man was.
Take my nephew, Gavin (who is in 7th grade), for example. As he was appropriately making fun of Wayne’s erratic on stage behavior, I found myself trying to get him to look away from the curved screen. I kept explaining to him “This is not the real Lil’ Wayne!” as he kept trying to get me to stop talking about it. Stop talking about it I did not. I proceeded to show him two of my favorite Wayne songs of all time on YouTube. Luckily, Chef Jeff was in the other room and I was able to let the curse words fly.
All that leads to this. I started wondering myself, what are my favorite Lil’ Wayne songs of all time were. Those thoughts took me back to last year’s teacher lunch conversation where things got heated. It started with a simple question:
Is Eminem’s “Stan” a top 5 Eminem song of all time.
I’ll be saving my opinion on this topic for a future blog. The sheer thought of a top 5 list was so intriguing for someone with such a huge catalog of great music. Full circle back to Lil’ Wayne, an artist with an equally impressive catalog of hip hop. Before we dive into the top 5, there are a few parameters I’m going to put in place.
I could do a whole separate blog for his mixtapes. For the purpose of keeping this streamlined, I have excluded all of Lil’ Wayne’s mixtape work. Hardcore fans are shitting themselves right now because some of his best efforts were in the underground.
One quick note about my favorite mixtape of all time, “Dedication 2”. I’m pretty sure my burned copy got stuck in my ’96 Chevy Blazer. It got no less than 500 plays. The opening track “Get Em” really got me, especially when the beat switched a broke down halfway through the song and then came back in. Who can forget “Georgia Bush” in response to President Bush post-Katrina. His passion for the NOLA really comes through on this track. One of my favorite songs “Hustlin” is posted below so you can wet your whistle on what the vibe of his mixtapes were like.
Another area of Lil’ Wayne’s masterful work is his features. I’m also going to avoid that for now for the top 5 list. There are literally too many to list all my favorites so I’m just going to talk about four.
Everyone remembers when he made D.J. Khaled relevant with his verse on “We Takin Over” as he opened with the line “I am a beast- feed me rappers or feed me beats.” If you clicked the link, save some time by fast forwarding to 4:06 to skip 17 other rappers attempting to be on Tunechi’s level. Remember how hype everyone used to get when his verse came over the speakers at the party? I do too. For the softer rap fans, his two verses on Lloyd’s “You” is a good listen. He opened the song and then came back in to leave “you” wanting more.
The cream of the crop when it comes to Wayne features is two tracks he’s on with my other favorite artist of all time, the afore mentioned Eminem. Who really had the best verse on “Forever”, the Drake track so hot that even Sprite couldn’t turn down for a commercial. Was it Kanye, Em, or Weezy? We all know it wasn’t Drake so don’t even @ me with that nonsense.
This last song is the type of thing that even the most average rap fan dreams of happening but never actually comes to fruition. You’ll hear shit like “Wouldn’t it be crazy if Lil’ Wayne and Eminem did a collaboration?” and then it typically never comes to be. Well in this case it actually did. On this track I’m torn between what part is my favorite; the beat, Wayne’s verse, Em’s verse, or Wayne acting as the best hype man of all time behind Em’s bars. On a personal level, I feel like this song never got the credit it truly deserved.
Now for the main event. Below are my top 5 Lil Wayne songs of all time. Remember, before he turned himself into a human styrofoam cup filled with syrup, he was at the top of the rap world.
#5 “Lollipop” (feat. Static Major), Tha Carter III
I dare you to turn this song on right now. Make sure there is someone else in the room with you. What happened? They started dancing didn’t they. It is physically impossible for any human being to hear the opening of this song and not start moving. Sure, this song went pop and got super played out. Doesn’t change the fact that it’s an all time great.
#4 “Shine” (feat. Jazze Pha), Tha Carter
One of the more slept on songs of Lil’ Wayne’s discography. It’s a rare song where I actually remember the first time I heard it. I was instantly hooked when Josh Roe and I were skipping school senior year. He gave me a copy of this CD and this was one of the first songs he showed me in that Shell gas station parking lot. I personally love this song because he shouts out my squad in the opening verse when he says “I take ya bitch, give her back, take your bitch again- that’s because you throw her five I pitch her ten. Now she wanna get inside of my ’66, she see my wrist blue and yellow like Michigan.” Like, umm, what? There is so much to dissect in that line alone. The beat is super vibey to boot. He also talks about turning a girl’s vest into a dress. You nasty Lil’ Wayne. But we love it. Lastly, am I the only one that remembers this song being called “Earthquake” when the album actually came out? At any rate, all the major platforms have it listed as “Shine” and here it is.
#3 “Tha Mobb”, Tha Carter II
Who opens an album with over 5 minutes of just straight rhymes? Weezy does, and he does it often actually. This beat gets you hype as soon as you hit play and the opening snares that lead to the beat drop will make your heart explode. This is when the super gangster Wayne started to rear his ugly head, “Then hunt for the lunch and dinner, no beginner to the criminal activity fuck with them they rushin’ in like Seminoles, Indians, no bow and arrows Harold.” Reading it back, that line doesn’t sound like much, but that’s why you have to listen. His delivery is flawless.
#2 “President Carter”, Tha Carter IV
Here, we are in the stages just before Wayne goes off the deep end. Luckily, in 2011, he blessed us with one last great album. With songs like “Blunt Blowin” and “She Will” (feat. Drake), he gave us something to remember him by. I still firmly believe the best song on this album is “President Carter”. Sampling audio from President Jimmy Carter’s Inauguration for the chorus, Wayne references how he is the President of the rap game. Even though this wasn’t even the last album in “Tha Carter” series, to me it was. Takes me back to pre-gaming my bachelor party in the back yard playing cornhole. The fact that this song is near the end of this album is symbolic to Wayne’s career, too.
#1 “3peat”, Tha Carter III
I could have easily picked more than two songs from this album for the top 5. Imagine an alien comes down from outer space. He crawls up to me and asks what the deal is with this alien-looking man they researched before they got here. I immediately know the real alien is talking about Lil’ Wayne but I only have time to show him one song before I’m abducted. This would be that song. Tha Carter 3 was so highly anticipated weeks before it’s release, songs were starting to surface on YouTube before it came out. This song however, stayed under wraps and I did not hear it before purchasing the album. As mentioned before, Lil’ Wayne loves to start his albums out with a bang. This one is a little shorter than his “Carter II” intro but way more powerful. Dramatic beat, intense fuck-the-world mentality from start to finish, real stories and seemingly millions of amazing similes. Here’s a few; “Bounce right back on them bitches like Magic, abracadabra I’m up like Viagra, I just do this shit for my click like Adam Sandler, I control hip hop and I’m a keep it on my channel.” Jimminy Christmas, Dwayne. No question my favorite Lil’ Wayne song of all time.
This list could go on all night but there are a few songs that I feel like should be mentioned. Remember how Lil’ Wayne used to use the same beat multiple times in the same album. That shit was ahead of it’s time and genius. “Tha Carter” had “Walk In”, “Inside” and “Walk Out” while “Tha Carter II” featured “Fly In”, “Carter II”, and “Fly Out” all with the same astonishing beat. I also failed to mention some of his greatest songs simply because Birdman ruined them. “I’m a Dboy” from Tha Carter and “First Key”, “You Ain’t Know” and “Leather So Soft” from Like Father, Like Son were so hot until ole’ bald head got on the beat. Tragic. “Mr. Carter” from “Tha Carter II” was the first song I heard at a Lil’ Wayne concert in Detroit and it changed my life. It was only left off the list because he shared so much of the track with Jay-Z. His later work on the “Rebirth” album actually had some hits that no one ever heard mainly because it was marketed as a rock album. Go back and check out “Paradice” and of course “Drop The World” (feat. Eminem). His latest album in Tha Carter series, “Tha Carter V”, was super disappointing but I still enjoyed “Famous” (feat. Reginae Carter). Yes that is his daughter and the song is actually pretty hot.
Listen, I’m not here to defend this guy. If you actually read that entire book, you’ll know how great he is. His music speaks for itself. It doesn’t change the fact that he has been overtaken by drugs and is one of the weirdest dudes walking the galaxy. He is going to make for one hell of a “VH1 Behind The Music” if that channel even still exists. The fact of the matter is, you can make fun of him all you want. Don’t have such a short memory, though. Appreciate what he gave us and please say the “baby”.