“That boy got a head on his shoulders / I’ll knock it off” From: “Lights Off” Album: They Block Is Hot A great thing about teenage Wayne verses were how defiant they were, and how hungry he consistently sounded.
Wayne’s ability to call back to hip-hop legends is highly appreciated here, as well as his use of the word “exfoliated,” for those of us passionate about our skincare routines. At the opening of Wayne’s Carter series, where he began to grow out of his youthful trappings and demanded to be taken seriously as an MC.
“The heart of New Orleans / Thumping and beating / Living and breathing / Stealing and feeding / Peeling and leaving / Killing and grieving” From: Best Rapper Alive” Album: They Carter II If there was a turning point in Wayne’s rhyme structure, and the way he attacked beats, it began on Carter II, and with this song.
“Pockets getting' too fat / No Weight Watchers, no lip / Money talks, bullshit walks / On a motherfucking tightrope” From: “Rich As F×ck” Album: I Am Not A Human Being II Wayne, it seems, has never run out of ways to discuss the joy he finds in accumulating money.
“I'm just feeling Weezy / Hop in my shit and say goodbye / Cause the ceilings leaving” From: “They Still Like Me” Album: Dedication 2 Mixtape Wayne, who thrived while simultaneously in the thick of the first three releases in his Carter album series, was almost an entirely different rapper.
“Benjamin Franklin on Ex how that cash roll / That's right, the mills do like damp clothes” From: “Maybach Music II” Album: Deeper Than Rap The great Benjamin Franklin makes another appearance, as well as yet another unique play on language and sound.
Not only a play on Wayne and Baby’s geographic location and a not to migration tactics, but also a reminder of happier times. On an album that pretty much served as a vehicle to capitalize off of Wayne’s hot streak, he still didn’t take any plays off.
“Forewarning / Young Money’s armed / And we can shoot it out / I got the money drawn / Yeah, take that to the bank wit' ya / I rock my hat to the side like I paint pictures / Smoke weed, talk shit like Lane Kyffin / Whole country in recession, but Wayne different” From: “Banned From TV” Album: No Ceilings Despite the dated USC-era Lane Kyffin reference, Wayne’s onslaught on this classic Swizz Beatz-produced Noriega beat is one for the ages.
“Just bought a new charm / Fuck the watch, I buy a new arm, you lukewarm” From: “No Problems” Album: Coloring Book A vintage Wayne guest verse coming last year, he anchored this song and stole the show.
A guest offering on Orange’s stunning album produced one of Wayne’s most vulnerable and honest verses of all time. Hard to pick a single line from this song, which is one of Wayne’s most iconic and memorable from his brilliant run.
Thankfully, Weezy is lyrically in his bag once again on C5, which enlists a star-studded lineup of guests that includes, Nicki Minaj, Travis Scott, XXXTentacion , Snoop Dogg, Kendrick Lamar, Ashanti and more. Don't fret, Wayne doesn't disappoint when going toe-to-toe with his high-profile compatriots, or from dropping the kind of fire lines we've come to expect from him.
Well, hold back those tears La Flame, as “Let It Fly” found its way onto the mythical project four years later, locking in at track No. Lil Wayne previously rapped over this Swizz Beat z-produced Instrumental for Dedication 4 standout “Green Ranger” featuring J. Cole.
First, Weezy lets us know that his wealth always reigns supreme over the women beside him at that moment, like his Carter II deep cut “Money On My Mind.” He finishes off the bar by funnily telling listeners he still sleeps with the gun by his side, rather than a woman, because at least weapons don't snore at night.
The ominous “Mona Lisa” may sound familiar since a snippet was leaked on a live stream by the infamous incarcerated Pharma Bro, Martin Shebeli, who got his hands on an early copy of They Carter V, after purchasing the unreleased album from someone who found the project in Wayne's old Bugatti. “Mona Lisa” finds the hip-hop heavyweights at their best, as Wayne connects with Kendrick, who seemingly pried the best performance out of each other.
Weezy masterminds a plan to use a girl's connection to her guy friend in order to have him set up for an embarrassing robbery. On the other hand, Kendrick is ashamed at what transpired and commits suicide as a result, which is mentioned later on the album.
For Wayne, the purple drank has already played a major role in his previous seizure episodes. On “Don't Cry,” he implements shrewd wordplay with X's name to pay tribute to the fallen rapper who was gunned down in June.
“And I'm sitting' here reading about what I do, what I didn't/ I ruined relationships before my image but/ All I ever wanted was everybody's attention/ Cause most people are nobody 'til somebody kills em/ Probably thought that my career, be short and sweet/ Within' I was in your shoes, I'd take them off and find a beach.” Wayne follows the 19-year-old's impressively intoxicating hook by opening up about his struggles to adjust to fame at such a young age.
Wayne, born Dwayne Michael Carter, admits that he just wanted to capture America's attention with his rapping ability, but had no idea what celebrity life would entail because he figured his time in the limelight would only be a short stint. The diehard Los Angeles Lakers fan gets reflective about his career, reminiscing on his decision to bring his movement to mainstream America.
Vintage Weezy shows through with a pop-culture reference to the 1992 classic film White Men Can't Jump. One that comes to mind, when the “Lollipop” rapper throws money in the air at the strip club, white politicians' faces printed across the dollar bills are temporarily flying.
He closes with a funny -- but probably true -- theory that time is the only luxury that can't be bought in stores. He realizes that the Styrofoam cup is probably a bad look as a role model for the younger generation, combined with the fact it has severely hampered his health in recent years.
Following the tragic deaths of multiple celebrities due to drug overdoses, Wayne wants everyone to really not take him -- and whoever else they are a fan of -- for granted going forward. It’s sort of a confusing time for Lil Wayne fans what with the MC’s long-awaited They Carter IV getting less-than-stellar reviews.
Logic used to hold that when a new chapter in They Carter series dropped, it would immediately change the game. Sadly, that’s not the case, and we as fans and chroniclers of Tune chi have to live in this brave new world where Wayne may really not be the Best Rapper Alive.
That reason isn’t his talents on the mic (though he has that in spades), nor is it the sheer number of his releases (though that figure is staggering) or his loads of charisma that abounds each time he drops a verse. From the unintelligible to the just plain weird, these are concrete proof that when Wayne opens his mouth, kooky shit follows.
It’s also a way to understand the shift that occurred in They Carter IV and get a sense of where Wayne may be headed next. So, sit back, relax, and enjoy what we think defines Wayne’s complete disconnect with reality.