But I'm not here to talk about Killa Cam. Let's talk about Weezy F. Baby. The "best rapper alive" wants to be a rock star. Simple as that. I guess the earliest evidence of this was the "Leather So Soft" video from a couple of years ago. The video was memorable for two reasons - the white tiger walking around in the background and the image of Weezy sitting on his amp, guitar in hand, noodling away on a nonsensical solo at the end of the video. Fast forward a few years and dude's pretty much a household name these days. When Tha Carter III dropped, the vocoder-heavy "Lollipop" was chosen to be the lead single instead of any of the straight ahead hip hop numbers. I guess it was a good decision cause shit exploded after that. In the process, he and his guitar became inseparable. So inseparable that he chose to play a long, self-indulgent, dissonant solo in front of thousands of confused audience members at Summer Jam, one of THE hip hop summer events in the US. He also featured in Kevin Rudolf's ridiculous song and video for "Let It Rock" in which he proceeded to throw up the horns on numerous occasions. After hiring Kid Rock to give him guitar lessons, he's set to release his "rock" album sometime this year.
His most recent mixtape, Hottest Nigga Under The Sun features previews of what we can expect from him in the future. There's classic hip hop Weezy and there's a also a few rock numbers thrown in for good measure. Though I'll be honest, they are all pretty terrible but so long as he's having fun, I'm having fun. However, the notable exception would be "Around The Way Girl". It's an R&B/rock slow jam with amazingly effective out of key vocals - the falsettos are tremendous and lyrics that would make a high schooler blush but they're sung with so much conviction, you end up loving what he's singing. To top that off, he channels Prince in the guitar solo. Amazing. Best faux-old school R&B track since Biggie's "Playa Hater".
Just as a comparison, let's step back a few years when the mixtape game was simpler. "Borrow" well known beats of the moment, rap over the top, release it and get the internet to go nuts. Lil' Wayne did this when he released The Suffix as a precursor to Tha Carter II. Among the gems on this tape is "New Orleans" in which he takes Lil' Jon's beat for the Youngbloodz' "Presidential Shit" and decided that it needed more of his charm. He then proceeds to charm the fuck out of it. The little shout out to Monica Lewinsky in the chorus is the cherry on top.
Back to the current mixtape and as a reminder that he still owns the rap game, he hits us with "Road Block". The hook is infectious as hell and it's really fun to sing along with. Do it with me, "...fuck like rooooobots/Like rooooobots..."
And I guess I couldn't leave you without a Cam'ron track after talking up his poor grip on reality.
[Lil' Wayne Myspace]
[Buy Lil' Wayne's music from Cash Money Records]
[Buy Crime Pays from Asylum Records in May]