I’m as big a Weezy fan as you will find. I’ve seen him live, I’ve memorized every single word to “This Is The Carter” and “Go DJ” still give me chills. I’d put my quintessential Weezy playlist up against anyone's. I love Lil Wayne.
But let’s be real, he’s lost a step like a broken staircase, which sounds like the kind of lost-a-step analogy that Wayne would use these days. It’s just not the same. Like present day Kobe, he’s respected as an OG, but he’s no longer looked at as a master of his craft. He’ll probably make one or two amazing shots, but those shots are surrounded by dozens and dozens of misses. Misses that make us both laugh and cover our eyes Still, god bless him, he trots out there and keeps firing like it’s 2006. Yeah, Lil Wayne is totally Kobe Bryant, just with more pussy references.
Over the holiday, Lil Wayne dropped No Ceilings 2and it says something that instead of immediately listening to the tape I went on watching football and stuffing my face with food. But then I realized that, like Kobe, we won't have him much longer. There won't be many more chances to over-analyze his menstruation references, and the best way to honor him is to celebrate the good, laugh at the bad and remember there was a time when he was an unstoppable force. So like I’ve done for Free Weezy and Sorry For The Wait 2, I spent the last two days diving deep into Lil Wayne's poetry. The way I always see it, Lil Wayne’s lyrics fit snugly into three categories.
- Best (The stuff that is actually good.)
- Worst (The stuff that makes you groan in pain.)
- Best-Worst (The stuff that is actually good, but also makes you groan in pain, but you kind of love it, but it makes you want to die.)
If Lil Wayne doesn’t make me laugh, cringe or laugh-cringe, there’s just no point in listening to his work. Pulitzer Prize here I come...
"Fresh": "More cane [cain] than a cripple"
It’s a thin line between Best and Best-Worst. I wanted to hate this line, I really really did. At first glance it has Best-Worst written all over it, but once I heard it, I sat back waiting for the cringe and it never came. I really, genuinely, truly enjoyed this line. I’m as surprised as you are.
"Poppin":“Cause I swear we all nuts, John Bobbitt, nigga”
It takes a true poet to make something as traumatic as a guy getting his dick chopped off hilarious but Wayne did it. God bless him. This one got an audible laugh from me, but it also made me feel kind of old. Does anyone under 20-years-old know who John Bobbit is? Definitely one of the few standouts.
"Poppin":"We all over the bread like a sloppy joe"
Two great lines in one song? Wayne really brought the heat on “Poppin.” Bread lines are so tired, but Wayne shows flashes of what made him a national treasure but taking something completely corny and over-used and making it outrageously original. This is the Weezy we fell in love with.
"Jumpman":“My goons break into your house like BruhMan”
This one is simple; I have a soft spot for '90s sitcom references. Bonus points because it’s funny to picture his goons breaking into a house and only stealing an iPod, that half-eaten sandwich in the fridge and a robot vacuum.
"Live From The Gutter": "Wake up in the mall, she dribble like Sebastian Telfair"
Of all the NBA players to ever exist, of all the athletes ever to pick up a basketball, Wayne settled on Sebastian Telfair, an obscure, off the bench, journeyman who has been woefully irrelevant for years. Goddamn I love Lil Wayne.
“Fresh”:"No Ceilings, bisexual, that means two" - Mannie Fresh
Um. No it doesn’t Mannie. It just doesn’t.
"Cross My Heart":"Girl I'm with got much class but she got a dumb ass"
If I had never heard another rap song in my entire life this punchline would land, but that “dumb ass” line is so over-done. Kanye did it years ago, and he probably wasn't the first either. Even for Wayne this one is bad. If you are going to be cliche, at least be tongue in cheek about it. Don’t just be flat out bad. Be better at being bad.
"Destroyed": "One thing led to another and then the pencil broke"
Someone’s gonna have to explain this one to me. The “led” instead of “lead” thing is a interesting idea, but still, it makes no sense and it’s completely out of context. The line before it is “I’m tippy toeing with ya hoe,” so is the pencil his dick? But then, why did it break? Either way, if you have my head spinning trying to figure out probably a penis metaphor, it’s probably not the best line.
"No Reason":"I'm forever connected like AOL and Yahoo, okay"
Gonna copy this one and put it on my away message. Did Wayne just get the internet? If you are going to say “forever connected” make sure the thing you say is connected is actually still connected.
“Big Wings”: "Drink codeine like it's Aquafina / My bitch jalapena"
Either Wayne thinks we are dumb or he’s been hitting the lean way too hard, because he already used this line on Free Weezy. He couldn’t even make it one project without repeating a line. To me that’s the real indicator he’s lost a step. I’m fine with bad lines, but I can’t settle for regurgitated bad lines that were used literally months ago. People don't forget...
"The Hills":“And we got that white girl if your nose runnin'”
I’m not a doctor nor a cocaine user, but I do have allergies and as an expert in the field of curing runny noses, I’m pretty sure cocaine would not help. I bet Wayne thinks it’s ok to drink when you are sick because alcohol kills germs.
"I’m Nice":"You know I'm the nicest, this dick need a license"
This dick need a license. This dick go wait in line for three hours at the DMV. This is Wayne at his best, it doesn’t quite make perfect sense, but it gets you to crack the fuck up. It’s so outrageous it’s impossible to not love.
"Poppin":"She kinda thick as fuck and got some knockers"
Does “Kinda thick as fuck” mean she’s very “kind of thick” or she’s thick but not quite thick as fuck? Also, I love Weezy using “knockers” like he’s a 14-year-old boy. The definition of so bad that it's actually good.
"Destroyed":"Giving these hoes headaches like rams"
This is bad. Real bad. Rams butt heads, therefore they must get headaches. Get it? GET IT?!?!?! But it’s hard for me to really knock a line when I understood it right away. That’s the magic of Lil Wayne, even when lines are kind of lazy he can make them worth it just because he had the cojones to actually say it. You can’t teach that kind of talent.
"Finessin":"On MLK in a Bugatti, I feel free at last"
On the one hand I want to cringe because this probably wasn’t what MLK had in mind, but on the other it’s a legitimately creative, funny line. If there ever was a way to honor the face for the civil rights movement, it's in a brand new Bugatti.
24 songs and not one menstruation reference? How's that possible? A Lil Wayne album without a menstruation line is like a meal without wine. I’m starting to worry. I know Wayne has lost a step, but even for old Wayne this whole effort is lackluster. I made a lot of fun of Free Weezy, but a few of those songs actually stuck with me. I still laughed, I still cringed, but this project just doesn't have that special magic. Unpacking his literary genius isn’t quite as fun as it used to be, and when that happens, I think it’s time to call it quits. It truly is the end of an era.
It’s sad, yes, but I’ll choose to remember Wayne not as he is now, but as the creative, innovative, literary genius that brought us “real G's move in silence like lasagna.” That’s the Wayne I fell in love with. That’s the Wayne I’ll remember. Long live Weezy F. Baby.
[Lucas Garrison is a writer for DJBooth.net. His favorite album is College Dropout but you can also tweet him your favorite Migos songs at @LucasDJBooth.]