There is no doubt in my mind that Lil Wayne belongs in the American literary canon, tucked in tight between (don't forget the) F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway. Mr. Carter is nowhere near the best lyricist, but he certainly has a lyrical style all his own; it's what keeps us coming back for more despite all the Paris Hilton collabs. We listen to Wayne not to learn about ourselves or the world around us, but to be blown away by some brilliant ignorance. It's why we love him and hate him at the very same time.
So, now that Sorry 4 The Wait 2 has dropped (I must have missed Sorry 4 The Last 6 Years), I figure the only way to truly give this masterpiece its just due, is to breakdown every cheesy line, ever Cash Money insult, and, of course, the vagina metaphors; good god the vagina metaphors.
Now, when I think of Lil Wayne lyrics I think of three categories. Best (the stuff that is actually good), worst (the stuff that makes you want to never love rap again) and the best-worst (the stuff that is actually good, but also probably makes you never want to love rap again, but you kind of love it). So, I went through each and every song, and broke down the best, worst, and best-worst lines. It took me forever and my brain's leaking out of my ears, but that Pulitzer will make it all worth it.
Let's get to it:
Best: "Who kept this shit together? Nigga, me, that's who / Who was there when niggas left? Nigga, me, that's who"
You know, I haven't really thought about it because Weezy hasn't been at his peak for a while now, but he really was fucked over by Birdman and Cash Money. I mean, they are family - Wayne did so much for him and made him so much coin - you would think Birdman would have a little more respect/appreciation for Wayne. Wanye really did make that label what it is, and he can't even get a release date? That's messed up.
Worst: "I ain't trippin', I got Barbie, I got Drake too / I send my goons to kill somebody, I need head proof"
Am I supposed to be scared of you having goons when you also say you have Nicki and Drake? Who the fuck are your goons then? Care Bears? Seriously though, you can't act hard after you mention Drake; they are mutually exclusive. Drake doesn't even have street cred on Sesame Street.
Best-Worst: "Birdman junior, more like ugly duckling"
I feel like my seven year old cousin wrote this line; Nebraska corny.
Best: "Did my time in Cash Money, time served and released / But this agent ain't free, word, that's the word on these streets"
Another one about the label situation that's kind of cold. Even if I'm not that excited about Carter V or Weezy anymore, it's still fucked up of Cash Money to keep him so shackled.
Worst: "I'm too legit I sleep on a crucifix "
Is this a line about Jesus or MC Hammer? Or is Wayne saying MC Hammer is Jesus? Either way this makes no fucking sense; sleep number beds are legit, a crucifix just seems really uncomfortable.
Best-Worst: "I fuck her on my balcony, we watch the moon eclipse"
On the real, that's some romantic shit. It becomes even more romantic when you find out, two lines later, he plans on putting it in her "maximus gluteus." Anal sex during an eclipse; think that was the last scene in the Notebook, right?
Best: "On the moon like Warren"
Truthfully, there wasn't a whole lot of "best" material on this one, but this one got me. I'm a sucker for sports references.
Worst: "Suck this thuggish ruggish bone swallow that bone marrow"
I see what he was going for, but this got weird fast. Hannibal Lecter and Bizzy Bone are not figures I want anywhere near oral sex.
Best-Worst: "I go down and kiss her Pearl Harbor"
Say what you want about Tunechi, but there is not a rapper alive better at making vagina references. When I tell you this is the best pussy reference on the whole project, that is no small feat. Seriously though, this is one of the most layered, contextual pieces of poetry since Whitman's Leaves Of Grass. I would super break it down, but sometimes my parents read my shit and I'm not trying to have this brought up at Thanksgivng, so I'll just keep it simple: Wayne managed a vagina reference out of a national tragedy. If we can't laugh we can't heal.
Best: "Me with no money is like a bunny with no front teeth"
At first I hated this line, even had it pegged for best-worst, but the more I thought about it, the more I came to realize it's super creative. It's a super original way of saying the least original thing ever so give credit where credit is due.
Worst: "Lick lick llick tha lolly pop I got the gum inside"
Yo. Fucking gross. I don't need any more references to your "gum" Weezy.
Best-Worst: “She ride the dick the dick gonna kill her/vehicular homicide”
It's such a stretch (pause), but Weezy still manages to make this awful, cheesy shit work. Another one that made me laugh out loud.
Best: "I got, mind control over Deebo"
Anytime you make a Friday reference, you win. It's that simple.
Worst: "Suck a nigga dick for an iPhone 6"
Well.... my screen is cracked...
Best-Worst:"We come through motherfuckin' hang gliding off motherfuckin' Versace skyscrapers"
Who would have thought that in a song with Drake and Weezy, Riff Raff would have the most ostentatiously absurd line? I'm not tally sure what a "Versace skyscraper" is, but I'm all in on this line.
Best: "When I met Codine it was love at first Sprite"
I love terrible puns. Love 'em! I consider myself kind of an expert, but I have never heard a lean-related pun before. It's almost awful, but it's just too dam punny to be "best-worst". No irony or jokes, I legit love this line.
Worst: "She like bad boys, I'm her crook in the neck"
I really tried to figure this out, but it just makes no sense. Is it a Bad Boys reference? Is it a terrible play on "crick in the neck"? But if she likes bad boys, why would he be a "crick/crook in her neck? Is crook in her "neck" a blowjob reference? If I am thinking this hard about a line, chances are it makes no sense.
Best-Worst: “Bad bitch on my team like Katniss Everdeen”
I saw the pics. Katniss is indeed a "bad bitch." This is Best-Worst Weezy at his best (worst); it's so simple, so corny, but it fucking works.
Best: "I'm tighter than a pinched nerve, bitch"
This line wins by default because there wasn't much here that was actually good. So I'll begrudgingly give it its shine. Meh.
Worst:"Got a bad bitch body curvy like a curveball"
Did he even try on this one? Wayne is the king of saying the same word twice in the same line. Not creative, not absurd, not even really accurate; In no way is the trajectory of a curveball like the curves of a woman.
Best-Worst: "My new nina just told me that she sick of being a virgin"
This could very well be the best line, but there's some good old fashoned absurdity, some real OG Wayne shit, that takes it from a solid line to that over-the-top Weezy shit we all love to love. It's way better than pinched nerve, but it's also has that laugh out loud factor that all good best-worsts need.
Best: "I been high since 1998, nigga / That's 98 degrees, Nick Lachey, nigga"
Yo, Lil Wayne made a fucking Nick Lachey reference, and for that hip-hop is much better off. Is this the first Nick Lachey reference in the history of rap? Plus it came about 20 years too late, which only adds to the awesomeness. Nick-Fucking-Lachey.
Worst: "I'm aimin' at your grapefruit, blaow, grape juice"
Serious question, do you think Weezy knows that grape juice don't come from grape. Also he has wayyyyyyy too many "aim at your head" lines on this tape, but this is by far the worst one.
Best-Worst: "Momma jumped out a plane, I was airborn."
Told you I love puns. Love 'em.
Best: "She thought could snort more coke than Pinocchio"
At first I hated it, but the more I thought about it, the more I liked it. Anytime you make a beloved childhood character do cocaine it's going to go over well with me. Just imagine Pinocchio in the bathroom at a party, cutting up lines with his credit card, crazed look and cocaine on his face. It's a pretty damn good image.
Worst: "Got this heat on my waist so somebody better monitor the thermometer"
OHHHH SHITTTTTT!!!!! DID HE JUST RHYME MONITOR WITH THERMOMETER?!?!! STOP THE FIGHT!!!! DOWN GOES FRAIZER!!!!!!!
Best-Worst: "Vagina connoisseur out the hood"
I simply love the idea of a vagina connoisseur. Like some wine snob, but instead of a Merlot, it's a vagina, describing them as "earthy with sweet undertones" in his vagina cellar. Told you, vagina references really are Wayne's forte.
"Drunk In Love"
Best: None. There isn't a single, genuinely quality line on this whole song. There isn't even one I can take poetic license with; this effort is a slight against god.
Worst: Everything Christina Mlian says
That hook consisted of lines from two other songs; there was not a single original thought in there. I'm not asking for the next "All Falls Down," but you also can't just take two random hooks, smash 'em together and play it off. Also "Right in the skate park, riding on your skateboard" made me die. Also, also, keep Aaliyah's name outchya mouth or we are going to have problems. I liked it much better when I thought Christina Milian had fallen off the face of the earth.
Best-Worst: "Dick gon' have you walkin' crazy / Round this bitch lookin' handicapped / At least you'll get good parking spaces"
Weezy, ever the optimist, coming with the silver lining. Sure you can't walk, but think of the parking?! I fucking love this line.
"U Guessed It"
Best: "I couldn't be JR for ever, I don't mean to ruffle your feathers/But I had to spread my wings, ain't trying to get lemon peppered"
Another one I almost hated, but then I really dug into it and it's not actually that bad. Sure it's cheesy, but when you compare it to the last Birdman shot, the "ugly duckling" line, this sounds like Shakespeare. Bonus points for the wing reference; it's like he was possessed by Rick Ross for one bar.
Worst: "Her pearl tongue like the pearly gates/And what said I'll climb the fence"
For the kids keeping score at home, this is the third "a vagina is a pearl" reference on the tape. It's also the most illogical. I get the whole her vagina is the gates of heaven thing, not a new concept, but he lost me with the climb the fence part? Wouldn't it be bust through the fence? Is he literally climbing over her vagina? I'm all for vagina references as long as they are biologically and anatomically accurate. Go to health class just one time Lil Wayne...
Best-Worst: "If she ain't fucking it's Uber time"
I don't know. I just fucking love this line. Is it offensive? Of course. Is it kind of weak? You bet your ass. But damn if it doesn't stick with you. Out of the whole song, this was the line that jumped out to me. So over the top. So brash. So Weezy. Wayne, so hot right now.
Best: "Tunechi what's your fuckin' problem? I got fuckin' problems / Bad bitch on top of me, she started from the bottom"
Normally a Drake reference will make me throw shade like a palm tree, but this one is actually super clever. Seriously. I really like this line. It's not every day a Drake line doesn't result in me throwing up everywhere.
Worst: "Point guard with the bullets, you say Rajon, I say Rajon"
With the "point guard with the bullets" he had a perfect chance for a John Wall reference. Sure, as a Wizards fan, I'm biased, but that doesn't stop that whole Rajon pronunciation lesson from being really awkward. Plus, Wayne is notorious for mispronouncing words, why is this the place where he decides to break the third wall and talk about it? I'm more concerned with his pronunciation of "Chiquita" than "Rajon" (see "Alphabet" below).
Best-Worst: "I'm so fly, shop at Skymall"
Obliviously it's a reference to being on a plane and whatnot, but, also, Skymall is actually really cool. Have you ever actually looked at it? The have some fly stuff in there.
"Preach": 2 Chainz Vs. Weezy... a clash of Best/Worst titans
Best: "Never seen my car before, it’s like a unicorn in traffic"
It took 40 years, but we finally have the first ever unicorn-centered line. Bravo Wayne, bravo. Wayne managed to make an original "I have a nice car" line and for that he deserves a Pulitzer. Weezy is so bad sometimes, but then he'll do something like this that washes away all of his sins. It's lines like this that remind me why I loved him in the first place; you are guaranteed to hear some shit, good and bad, that'll make you laugh
Worst: "Boy I think your whole clique’s Summer’s Eve, Massengill/ Minus that seven Vagisil"
I'm not quite sure what this means, but I know what Summer's Eve and Vagisil are so I'm too scared to Google it.
2 Chainz' Worst: "Eat so much Benihana I need nunchucks"
Not to be outdone, Chainzy comes with the...heat? Just using the two most stereotypical icons of Japanese culture in one line. No big deal. Also, why does he need nunchucks to eat at Benihana?
Best-Worst: "Too much fucking talent, rap Shakespeare go Hamlet"
I hate it so so much, but the fact that he used perhaps the greatest writer ever for a "go ham" reference is to terribly awesome to pass up.
Best: "He not romantic, I'ma scene from Casablanca"
This line is one of my favorites from the whole tape. It really reminds me of the old Wayne everyone loves to talk about. He would rattle off simple, random one-liners like this with no real rhyme or reason but it worked because the lines were just that off the wall creative. This is one of 'em. It's not complex, it's just a funny ass line that's effective. It's "genius" in a way....a very weird way.
Worst: "And the J is for Joanne, I just call her Jo"
I'm a sucker for songs where guys talk about different girls (see "Girls Girls Girls") so, inexplicably, I really dug this "Tuesday" remix. 25 of 'em were fine, but J fucking sucked. The other 25 are absurdly awesome - convenient Gina and bi-lingual Lisa had me rollin' - but this Joanne was a big let down. I was expecting something crazy, but all I got was "I just call her Jo." Boring.
Best-Worst: "She treat my dick like jalapeno and my cum like Aquafina"
Technically, you aren't supposed to drink water after eating something spicy, it only spreads the spice around, you should drink milk or eat bread instead, but I'm willing to let it slide becuase this line is a lyrical triumph. Gross, but a triumph nonetheless....
Best: "My bougie bitch ratchet, my ratchet bitch a straight snob"
I never thought I would like a line with the word ratchet, but I thought this one was pretty clever; definitely made me chuckle in a non-ironic way. So, um, props I guess?
Worst: "Bust your motherfuckin' egg till I see egg nog"
The worst part about the whole tape is all these "bust at your head" lines. By the 15th song it's so played out, but that doesn't stop Weezy from being consistently corny.
Best-Worst: "I lost my mind but I got extra copies."
My current mood:
Best: "I like my girls BBW/The type that wanna suck you dry then eat some lunch with you"
This was actually one of my favorite songs off the tape, but it is also, quite possible, the worst lyrical performance. Not a looker in the bunch, so I guess I'll just go with Drake's line, which sounds much more believeable coming from Wayne.
Worst: "Booty on bubble, titties so fuckable"
Not even a good "worst" here; that's how bad this song was. I guess this wins? I mean it's bad, but it's not like throw up bad. Kinda just "meh"-bad. For a song about big girls, I thought he could have come up with something truly terrible.
Best-Worst: "I admit it, big booty, big titties, I admit it"
Lil Wayne likes big titties and a big booty. In other news water is wet and grass is green. (Another Drake reference?)
"Dreams And Nightmares"
Best: "The money turn my face into a stocking"
I thought this line was actually pretty cold. Another simple, yet effective jab. Maybe I'm giving him to much credit, but I just like the imagery and the way it rolls of the tongue. I know it can be hard to detect sarcasm on the internet but, belive it or not, I'm being 100% truthful here.
Worst: "Watch me pull up with no roof that's cause I walk the dog and pet it"
I see what he was going for here, but Wayne missed the mark like Stevie Wonder at the target range. He is just lazy. "Roof" may sound a little like "woof," but not enough to make this work. You can't just string together two similar-ish words and have us make the connections.
Best-Worst: "You could tell I pimpin' the way I hit the blunt with my pinky out"
Just thought this was kind of baller. Sure the ratchet activity with a high class twist is overdone, but fuck it, I dug this one.
Well, I made it. I lost some intelligence points and a few shreds of dignity, but the tape is over. Say what you want about Wayne, but how many emcees could spur an absurd breakdown like this? Good, bad, good-bad, Wayne is a once in a lifetime artist. Now excuse me while I go listen to "Hurt Me Soul," read The Wall Street Journal and try to get back some of these withering brain cells.
Just remember kids, if you're listening to Lil Wayne and you're confused, it's probably a vagina reference.
[Lucas Garrison is a writer for DJBooth.net. He always orders guac at Chipotle even though it's extra. You can find him on Twitter @LucasDJBooth.]