There is a YoungMoney Entertainment showcase happening in Miami on Saturday as part of Red Bull Guest House. It will feature performances and DJ sessions by Lil Wayne, Quest love, Hudson Mohawk and Annie Fresh.
The laid-back “Lollipop” was one of its biggest singles, and it remains pretty much the most ubiquitous (and perhaps a competitor for most filthy) Lil Wayne joint of all time. After blowing up from his third mixtape, this was the first single Drake released officially on YoungMoney, setting him up to become the conflicted, woeful heartstring-puller he is today.
It also has an eye-popping UV video straight out of Nicki Minaj’s fearless Harajuku Barbie era. This single from Toga’s second album, “Careless World: Rise of the Last King,” was back when DJ Mustard, the song's producer, was just starting to creep to international dominance.
And since then, Mustard has gone on to work with Big Sean, 2 Chain, Wiz Khalifa, KG and more. After Final emerged from 2014 victorious with the release of her second album, The Pink print, ” YoungMoney’s young hero Drake is preparing to claim 2015 as his own.
Having just dropped the surprise mixtape If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late, ” he’s expected to round off the year with his new album, “Views From the 6,” which will undoubtedly be one of the hugest releases to date. 1 single on the Billboard Hot 100 -- Wayne's They Carter III sold over a million copies during its opening week.
I ain’t tripping’ on nothing, I’m Pippin’ on something.” Wayne takes the time to lament on an old relationship, all while calmly celebrating his new freedom. The track originally appeared on the mixtape No Ceilings, but quickly earned its spot on I Am Not A Human Being.
The slower warped beat was an updated, unusual take for the rapper, but telling of Wayne’s growth by 2010. As he says, “I’m all over this ice cream beat like sprinkles.” This was the pinnacle of mixtape Weezy, showing him at his most thoughtful level of technical ability, but not once seeming like he was trying that hard to do so.
There was no beat he couldn't conquer, and even on tracks that seemed to need no help, Wayne could always somehow give them second life -- the best example probably being “Walk It Out.” With the help of the ever-smooth Bobby Valentino, Wayne delivers a slow jam for the ladies, all while emasculating all the cops who have ever done him wrong.
Long before the lawsuits, the accusations, and the deteriorating label, Bird man and Wayne ruled the south. After Lil Wayne proved himself as the best out, he started working on an emcee worthy enough to pass the torch.
By “Believe Me,” Drake was fairly established, but the Weezy affiliation still seemed connected to his name, and parts of his flow still seemed a little borrowed from his predecessor. The first thirty seconds of “I’m Me” are basically a killer compilation of all the best Cash Money affiliates’ adults and assertions, from the Bird man bird call to the “it’s Cash Money Records man, a lawless gang.” Then what ensues is the closest a rap song can get to a power ballad -- a song with Wayne showing off as hard as he can go on a laid-back flow.
He put it best when he said, “This is They Carter III, the New Testament.” The song spans a full five minutes, with Wayne not backing down once, trading in a faster flow for tact and lyrics, and flexing his iconic use of double entendres more than once. The cut came from the first-ever Cash Money Records joint album, marking a time when the label was at its peak, before the lawsuits and online back-and-forths.
Catching up on a beat that’s a bit more melodic than Weezy’s usual portfolio picks, “Hustler Music” is the rapper's own version of a more classic New York sound. The combination makes for a Weezy track that delivers life advice and lessons in a way that’s a little softer than some others.
In a showcase of a slightly more sentimental side, Wayne delivers one of the most relatable songs of his catalog -- a somber, cutting, and simple ode to lost friends and family, and fading friendships and relationships. On any streaming platform, the comments below “I Miss My Dawgs” are flooded with messages to lost connections and relatives, a testament to the way the track hit with listeners.
For a generation of fans, this debut solo single was the first track they heard from the scrappy 17-year-old Atlanta rapper. No longer just a hype man for the older guys on the label, a much-younger Lil Wayne proved his prowess with this classic track.
Wayne’s voice is as raspy as ever, and the video shows him baby-faced, still surrounded by the big kids on the label. In the same vein of the iconic “Walk It Out” freestyle, Wayne flips the switch on something that seemed to need no additives.
Over the iconic “Swag Surf” beat, Wayne begins with a flow similar to the original, but adds the exclamation points we expect from him at this point: clever wordplay (“watch me shooting to the bank, I’m a money pistol”), nearly four different flows on one track, and a consistency that lasts for the entirety of the five-minute song. At the height of the Auto-Tune movement arose the ultimate Auto-Tune masterpiece: “Lollipop,” an iconic Lil Wayne track based around an incredibly unsubtle innuendo.
The song and video immediately became a major mainstay on the spin cycle at TRL -- at a time when that meant a lot -- with cameos from R. Kelly and a very young Toga. Adding to its early 2000s glory, the track also became the #1 selling ringtone of 2008, bumping out of millions of flip-phone speakers across the nation.
Switching effortlessly between at least two different flows, Wayne saunters over the DJ Khaled beat, adding “fucking” to the list of words the F in Weezy F Baby stands for. “ Young money militia, and I am the commissioner, you don’t want to start Weezy causes the F is for finisher.” Wayne absolutely destroys the militaristic beat, pulling back on speed at points, only to emphasize absolute speed and dominance in his bars moments later.
At one point, he spits “Ain't nobody fucking' with me, man /He-man, ski mask, spending' next week's cash, he fast, and I don't even need a G pass,” a play on words so casually brilliant only “the best rapper alive” could pull it off. “Let The Beat Build” is a concept track at its core, a swaggering soulful rap ballad that takes one of the most recognizable samples of all time and pairs it with the then best rapper alive.” Its brilliance is -- as almost always -- in the way that Wayne can match, and then add, to a beat.
For four minutes, Wayne goes uninterrupted on wordplay, all while executing a flow faster than some of his more recognizable mid-tempo tracks -- not once sacrificing speed for lyricism. Since proclaiming himself the best rapper alive” on his 2005 album They Carter II, New Orleans MC Lil Wayne has been living up the title.
A rapper so big appearing on a track with Fat Joe was another sign that hip-hop was rapidly changing throughout the 00s. While not an example of his best lyrics, the song has become a staple of every celebration in black America and an early signifier that Wayne would be a star.
15: ‘Tie My Hands’ (featuring Robin Thick) Wayne rapped a lot about the impact of Hurricane Katrina and the Bush Administration. Sometimes he did it brazenly, but “Tie My Hands” is the opposite, thanks in part to a feature from Robin Thick.
His voice is restrained but hopeful, and a great counterpart to Wayne’s (at times frantic) grief. He was at his most convincing in this mode on They Carter II, on which his fame and power were in perfect balance.
13: ‘This Is The Carter’ Because the collaborations between Wayne and Annie Fresh were ultimately fewer than a lot of people hoped for, the highlights have come to age like fine wine. In some ways, he did, though the song would more or less mark the end of his professional involvement with Many Fresh for years to come.
But the fact that it works and is inherently charming is a testament to the charisma that found Wayne living up to the best rapper alive” boast when They Carter III was released. For others, it was a moment of Wayne’s noticeable transformation into a more diverse, freely associative rapper.
9: ‘We Takin’ Over’ (DJ Khaled, featuring Akin, TI, Lil Wayne, Rick Ross, Bird man and Fat Joe) Another DJ Khaled song ranks higher than this one, but the original “We Takin’ Over,” and Wayne’s subsequent freestyle over the instrumental, was indisputable proof that, when he said he was the best, he was right. 8: ‘Right Above It’ (featuring Drake) “Right Above It” came at a specific moment in time in Wayne’s career: his unopposed run as the king of random was drawing to a close, and he was about to start his infamous imprisonment at River’s Island.
Kanye was poised to release My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, and Drake was getting bigger by the day. The “DJ Khaled!” drop is almost chilling, and it would be hard to top a beat featuring these three artists at that time.
Thick’s best collaboration with a rapper, it’s also a staunch and awesome indictment of anti-Southern sentimentalities: “If we’re too simple, you all don’t get the basics.” “Stunting’ Like My Father” is so big, its reputation will probably outlive the feud that eventually undid their collaborative partnership.
It opens up with the bombastic and melodramatic “3 Peat’,” as Wayne runs his victory lap throughout the rest of the album. ‘Mr Carter’ isn’t just two titans trading bars over a classically-chipmunked soul sample, however, it’s one greatest all-time baton passes and endorsements.
2: ‘Hustler Music’ For those among Wayne’s fans who consider Carter II to be his crowning achievement, “Hustler Music” is perhaps most representative of a “they don’t make ‘em like this anymore” beat that showcases the confidence of Wayne’s flow. 1: ‘A Mill’ With “Lollipop,” Wayne crafted one of the biggest crossover singles ever, establishing the complete hip-hop domination he’d been talking about for years.