Lil Wayne – One of Hip Hop’s Best Closers

“Ah, I am the beast/Feed me rappers or feed me beats.” Lil Wayne never capped in his raps. He proclaimed himself the best rapper alive and stood by that in every way. His run throughout the 00s was one for the ages and one we often reflect on. For many, he is the GOAT and of course, one GOAT must get compared to another. For me, Weezy F Baby’s performances, specifically in closing out songs, mirrors none other than His Airness, Michael Jordan.

One of the things in music and sports that make you legendary, aside from accolades and pure ability, are the iconic moments. It’s clear MJ was more talented than anyone he was on the court with. His 6-0 record along with six MVP awards in the NBA Finals has yet to be matched and likely won’t ever. The multiple runs of dominance that he went on feels a lot like what Wayne seemingly could not stop doing when his name was called. You got Weezy on your track, and he’s the last voice people hear? You’re never going to fail. You’re in for a moment.

Moments like 1988’s All-Star Game hosted in Chicago or “The Flu Game”. These are the things that come up in conversation when the argument goes beyond the championships and abilities. When people find a way to discredit those achievements, moments like these hold MJ’s ground. 

For Lil Wayne, it’s the same. We know he can rap his ass off. His commercial success was admirable back in the 2000s, and especially exceptional looking back in the context of our current era. But it’s the “Upgrade U” freestyle, his near 80 records put out in 2007, and the way that people continually requested his presence on beats knowing they would likely get washed. Then again, his magnificent verses helped to boost a lot of people so they still benefitted.

Weezy is the GOAT to many. It’s a hard sell accolades-wise when you’ve got JAY-Z’s dominance, but Wayne is no slouch when it comes to numbers. He could flourish at any part of the song, but there’s something about him talking his shit to end a track that is especially breathtaking and awe-inspiring.

Today for Closers, I’m digging into one of the many DJ Khaled posse cuts of the late 2000s, and a very recent feature of Wayne’s with a longtime collaborator. These not only showed his skill was and is well intact but also he’s not planning to let the “Best Rapper Alive” title go any time soon.

DJ Khaled – “We Takin’ Over” ft. Akon, Birdman, Fat Joe, Rick Ross, T.I, Lil Wayne

Depending on how long you’ve been following us, you might have seen me already compare a DJ Khaled song or album to the NBA’s All Star Weekend. Now, there was a time where players took that weekend seriously. They would bring their very best alongside the league’s brightest talents. Honestly, they’ve done so the last two years. That timeline’s alignment with Wayne’s resurgence may be an article in itself.

Anywho, this particular smorgasbord of artists turned into an anthem. A radio-friendly chant that anyone could feel, from a barber to an elementary basketball coach and even a preacher. I know it as that very year I can recall hearing three people with those very professions quoting the song at some point.

Mike scored 16 points in the final five minutes and 30 seconds 1988’s All Star Game in his hometown. He stepped into the game with the best, saw the competition was trying to stiffen up, and still closed out in dominant fashion. Akon’s hook was great, as were everyone’s verses. Birdman’s just won’t count. Wayne stepped in for exactly 33 seconds and stole the show. This is amongst rappers who were arguably approaching their primes, in the midst of them, or at the tail end.

The Verse

The arrangement of this song is impressive. You almost get lulled with Baby’s verse along with the hook repeating again. If you really listen to the beat though, it’s a chilling leadup to the main event. Then it happens.

He proclaims his beastly nature, requesting rappers to feast on or beats to destroy. Did Wayne not realize he was essentially feeding on rappers by killing every beat he touched? Oh well. He picks up in animation in his voice, going from “I’m untamed, I need a leash/I’m insane, I need a shrink/I love brain, I need a leech.”

It’s a clear reflection on what he’d been doing musically at the time. He can’t be tamed, his brain is working overtime, but he also just really loves getting some. Likening women to leeches is totally on-brand for Weezy. There’s a chorus in the background slowly picking up the volume of their soulful crooning. Wayne breaks into the song’s normal beat with a flow switch.

“And my wrist-wear Chpard but the Müller’s cooler/I have more jewels than your jeweler/Touch and I will bust your medulla/That’s a bullet-hole, it is not a tumor” It’s honestly just more shit talk. Your jeweler is irrelevant because he’s got more than him. You’ll get hurt if you come in contact. He plays on anatomy, as medulla tumors do occur. Wayne wanted it to be clear that when he busts yours, there will be no confusion about what’s in there. Straightforward king.

The wordplay continues. “Red light, read light, stop your rumors/I stay on track like a box of Pumas” was a shot to all who talk a lot without not doing the education. In fact, there are no rumors to spread because he’s doing quite well, word to Pumas. Of course, there was no ending more fitting than his signature “y’dig.” Me having this much to say about a 33-second verse is wild, right?

T-Pain – “Goat Talk” ft. Lil Wayne

Back in March, T-Pain sat down with Rob Markman for another episode of the ever so popular Genius Level. Toward the end, they discuss Rob’s favorite song “Goat Talk” citing that “there”s nothing humble on this.” Pain confirms that was the intent. “Fuck everything, I’m the GOAT.” Teddy throws out a bunch of melodic yet forceful “kiss my whole ass” and “suck my dick” requests to confirm it over heavy, booming bass.

He says they don’t want to see him in the booth, their career earnings are a month of his life and a load of other sharp jabs. It almost sounds reminiscent of music you would hear fighting a villain in a video game. Negative reception often meets GOAT proclamations. Being two legends removed from this current era of music, T-Wayne is liable to catch even more heat. Their claims hold merit though.

Of course, Lil Wayne fits perfectly on a song with this message, as they both arguably birthed this generation. Legal troubles and a worsening relationship with Birdman followed his prime. Any music intended for release got frozen. MJ retired twice, switched sports only to not pan out, and came back for an underwhelming victory lap. People were excited about Tha Carter V‘s release, but it came and went like many 2018 projects.

This performance for Wayne was like Jordan’s 51-point showing against the Charlotte Hornets. This happened two days shy of losing his 866-game streak of scoring double digits and posting the lowest-scoring outing of his career. He played for his pride, as the Wizards were not much of a contender.

The Verse

T-Pain’s suggestion was simple. “Fuck everybody. Talk that shit bro. It’s me and you. We’re good. Keep talking that shit after the beat goes off.” It’s like asking a person with a cold to sneeze. Too easy for Weezy.

Almost scoffing, he opens with “They say I need to get back on my rap shit/I say they need to get a fuckin’ pap smear, lil’ bitch.” Ouch. Focus on yourself, in short. He asserts his GOAT status and says to check his statistics. It was nice to see that playful slight slur of words that was a usual suspect within his repertoire a decade ago.

Continuing on, he calls everyone catfish who trying to be like him. Wayne questions how he’s a has-been when the only thing Wayne has been is what no one else can ever become. A mouthful but a very packed thought. The joy here is some older rappers will say they’re the best and inspired people but only in the media. Wayne is delivering it in a verse along the same vein of “Dedicate” from C5.

The insults don’t stop. “Looking like my mannequins/Somethin’ like some amateurs, I call ’em Tunechi Scavengers/I need to sue they managers/All these lil’ robots, do they even include the batteries?” It’s bad if someone who just dealt with all that legal trouble wants to jump right back in it with managers.

The beat drops out a bit and Lil Wayne follows T-Pain’s lead in inviting people to kiss his backside. He goes more formal with the gluteus maximus references. Few can match Wayne’s ability to fit big words into unique pockets, and rhyme them. Later on, he says if new rappers are his sons then he’s failed as a parent. Harsh.

Once again, Tunechi reminds us he doesn’t write his verses down. Despite that, he still delivers so many quotable lines better than those who actually write. With the beat completely gone at this point, it becomes a ferocious spoken word. “That’s true, she got a G.O.A.T. tattoo/I got a G.O.A.T. statue, you gotta quote that too/From the G.O.A.T. mouth.” The last line fades in repetition. A legend beyond his prime leaves us reeling with a 51-point game. Still, just as capable.

Of course, for a rapper like Lil Wayne, there is a load of other verses that could be used. Two doesn’t even cover a fraction of his lyrical excellence. However, with a career this long and quality delivered throughout the duration, it was important to show the presence in his early golden years and what he can still do in the slower, more calculated phase of his tenure. Jordan had a few moments too. That’s what we remember.

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