Lil Wayne's 20 Best Songs: Critic's Picks


Lil Wayne didn't encounter fame — he bulldozed his manner into the music business. Before blossoming right into a cerebral lyricist, at age 15 Wayne joined the Hot Boys alongside B.G., Turk and Juvenile. By 17, he unleashed his debut album The Block Is Hot, which debuted at No. three on the Billboard 200 and later earned platinum standing.

Unsatisfied along with his early accomplishments, Lil Wayne developed an insatiable urge for food for fulfillment, and launched a flurry mixtapes at a frenetic tempo. From his Dedication sequence to The Drought Is Over, Wayne rocketed to the apex rap along with his prolific work ethic. While he was crushing instrumentals on the mixtape entrance, he additionally was obliterating what was left the mainstream circuit.

After proving his lyrical prowess on Tha Carter and Tha Carter II, Lil Wayne morphed right into a full-fledged famous person along with his launch Tha Carter III. Thanks partly to his tuneful single "Lollipop" — which turned his first No. 1 single on the Billboard Hot 100 — Wayne's Tha Carter III offered over 1,000,000 copies throughout its opening week.

Though he encountered a number of roadblocks, together with extreme delays, the elusive Tha Carter V might be launched subsequent Friday (Sept. 21), concluding his fiery 14-year run with the embellished sequence. For now, let's take a stroll down reminiscence lane and mirror on some Weezy's greatest tracks beneath.

20. Lil Wayne – “I'm Single” – I Am Not a Human Being

Opening with the almost muted items conversations with Nicki Minaj, “I'm Single” is a relaxed anthem for anybody newly single: “I’m Single… I ain’t trippin’ on nothin, I’m sippin’ on one thing.” Wayne takes the time to lament on an previous relationship, all whereas calmly celebrating his new freedom. The monitor initially appeared on the mixtape No Ceilings, however rapidly earned its spot on I Am Not A Human Being. The slower warped beat was an up to date, uncommon take for the rapper, however telling Wayne’s progress by 2010.

19. Lil Wayne – “Ice Cream Paint Job” – No Ceilings

Another iconic instance that no beat is protected with Wayne. As he says, “I’m throughout this ice cream beat like sprinkles.” This was the top mixtape Weezy, exhibiting him at his most considerate stage technical skill, however not as soon as seeming like he was making an attempt that tough to take action.

18. Lil Wayne – “Walk It Out” – Da Drought three

At one level, Wayne was the undisputed king freestyles and remixes. There was no beat he couldn't conquer, and even on tracks that appeared to want no assist, Wayne might all the time by some means give them second life — the most effective instance most likely being "Walk It Out." Wayne took the track behind the dance craze, and introduced himself one other alternative to casually ship verse after verse, declaring, "If they talkin, almost definitely I’m what they talkin’ ‘bout."

17. Lil Wayne ft. Bobby Valentino and Kidd Kidd – "Mrs. Officer” – Tha Carter III

With the assistance the ever-smooth Bobby Valentino, Wayne delivers a gradual jam for the women, all whereas emasculating all of the cops who’ve ever completed him incorrect. Complete with a cultural reference to Rodney King, Wayne lays again on this one, making it one his smoothest songs, and one other testomony to his witty metaphor expertise.

16. Lil Wayne – “Georgia … Bush” – Dedication 2

Up till this level, Lil Wayne’s legacy had little or no to do with any his political views, however "Georgia … Bush" was a gorgeous testomony to his political capability. After the catastrophic 2005 Hurricane Katrina swept the south, the rapper took goal at President George W. Bush, who was criticized for gradual response to the pure catastrophe, and as Wayne places, “let em kill all our troops.”

15. Lil Wayne & Birdman – “Stuntin’ Like My Daddy” – Like Father, Like Son

Long earlier than the lawsuits, the accusations, and the deteriorating label, Birdman and Wayne dominated the south. "Stuntin’ Like My Daddy" is a staple the southern rap motion, with an infectious hook and a few the toughest bar for bars between two rappers, perhaps ever — and by some means additionally one arguably the most effective Wayne verses as he is available in for his third spherical.

14. Lil Wayne ft. Drake – “Believe Me” – Tha Carter V

After Lil Wayne proved himself as the most effective out, he began engaged on an emcee worthy sufficient to go the torch. And that’s the place Drake is available in. By "Believe Me," Drake was pretty established, however the Weezy affiliation nonetheless appeared linked to his identify, and elements his stream nonetheless appeared a bit of borrowed from his predecessor. On "Believe Me," the 2 sound comfy exchanging, constructing on one another verse for verse, and proving that Wayne was pretty much as good a mentor as he was a rapper.

13. Lil Wayne – "I’m Me” – Tha Carter III

The first thirty seconds "I’m Me" are mainly a killer compilation all the most effective Cash Money associates’ ad-libs and assertions, from the Birdman fowl name to the “it’s Cash Money Records man, a lawless gang.” Then what ensues is the closest a rap track can get to an influence ballad — a track with Wayne exhibiting f as arduous as he can go on a laid-back stream. He put it greatest when he stated, “This is Tha Carter III, the New Testament.” The track spans a full 5 minutes, with Wayne not backing down as soon as, buying and selling in a sooner stream for tact and lyrics, and flexing his iconic use double entendres greater than as soon as.

12. Young Money ft. Gucci Mane – “Steady Mobbin” – We Are Young Money

In the mid 2000s it was almost inconceivable to compete with Weezy on any mid-tempo beats. And whereas Gucci Mane positively held his personal, Wayne makes it clear it’s his track with three the toughest verses, including Gucci Mane as an exclamation level. The minimize got here from the first-ever Cash Money Records joint album, marking a time when the label was at its peak, earlier than the lawsuits and on-line back-and-forths. As for “Steady Mobbin,” its largest legacy may be one essentially the most iconic Weezy questions it gave us: “Okay you’re a goon, what’s a goon to a goblin?”

11. Lil Wayne – "Hustler Musik” – Tha Carter II

Catching up on a beat that’s a bit extra melodic than Weezy’s ordinary portfolio picks, "Hustler Musik" is the rapper's personal model a extra traditional New York sound. The mixture makes for a Weezy monitor that delivers life recommendation and classes in a manner that’s a bit of ster than some the others.

10. Lil Wayne ft. Reel – “I Miss My Dawgs” – Tha Carter

In a showcase a barely extra sentimental aspect, Wayne delivers one essentially the most relatable songs his catalog — a somber, chopping, and easy ode to misplaced family and friends, and fading friendships and relationships. On any streaming platform, the feedback beneath “I Miss My Dawgs” are flooded with messages to misplaced connections and kinfolk, a testomony to the best way the monitor hit with listeners.

9. Lil Wayne – “Tha Block Is Hot” – Tha Block Is Hot

For a era followers, this debut solo single was the primary monitor they heard from the scrappy 17-year-old Atlanta rapper. No longer only a hype man for the older guys on the label, a much-younger Lil Wayne proved his prowess with this traditional monitor. Wayne’s voice is as raspy as ever, and the video exhibits him baby-faced, nonetheless surrounded by the massive youngsters on the label. But within the subsequent few years, Wayne would stand alone on the high.

eight. Lil Wayne – “Swag Surfin” – No Ceilings

In the identical vein the enduring "Walk It Out" freestyle, Wayne flips the swap on one thing that appeared to want no components. Over the enduring "Swag Surf" beat, Wayne begins with a stream much like the unique, however provides the exclamation factors we count on from him at this level: intelligent wordplay ("watch me capturing to the financial institution, I’m a cash pistol"), almost 4 totally different flows on one monitor, and a consistency that lasts for everything the 5 minute track.

7. Lil Wayne ft. Static – “Lollipop” – Tha Carter III

At the peak the Auto-Tune motion arose the final word Auto-Tune masterpiece: “Lollipop,” an iconic Lil Wayne monitor primarily based round an extremely un-subtle innuendo. The track and video instantly turned a serious mainstay on the spin cycle at TRL — at a time when that meant so much — with cameos from R. Kelly and a really younger Tyga. Adding to its early 2000s glory, the monitor additionally turned the #1 promoting ringtone 2008, bumping out tens of millions flip-phone audio system throughout the nation. Fittingly, the track is one solely two Weezy’s chart-topping tracks on the Hot 100.

6. Lil Wayne – “Best Rapper Alive” – Tha Carter II

The strain that surrounds dropping a monitor entitled "Best Rapper Alive" is clear. But for Weezy, the self-inflicted problem was one other alternative to show, that in 2005, he may need actually been the most effective rapper alive. Switching effortlessly between at the least two totally different flows, Wayne saunters over the DJ Khaled beat, including "fucking" to the checklist phrases the F in Weezy F Baby stands for.

5. Lil Wayne ft. Cory Gunz – “6 Foot 7 Foot” – Tha Carter IV

For Wayne, "6 Foot 7 Foot" served as a reminder to many, that he nonetheless had it. The 2011 monitor was on the tail-end his almost half-decade lengthy reign as hip-hop king, and the rapper went out with as a lot energy and tactful lyricism as he got here in with. “Young cash militia and I’m the commissioner, you don’t wanna begin Weezy trigger the F is for finisher.” Wayne completely destroys the militaristic beat, pulling again on velocity at factors, solely to emphasise absolute velocity and dominance in his bars moments later.

four. Lil Wayne – “Fireman” – The W. Carter Collection 2

Within the four-minute span "Fireman," Wayne speedy hearth delivers some the goiest, most quotable Wayne lyrics all time, after which delivers one other Wayne staple once more when he comes by with an plain hook. At one level, he spits “Ain't no one fuckin' with me, man /He-man, ski masks, spendin' subsequent week's money, he quick, and I don't even want a G go,” a play on phrases so casually good solely “the most effective rapper alive” might pull it f.

three. Lil Wayne – “Let The Beat Build” – Tha Carter III

“Let The Beat Build” is an idea monitor at its core, a swaggering soulful rap ballad that takes one essentially the most recognizable samples all time and pairs it with the then “greatest rapper alive.” Its brilliance is — as virtually all the time — in the best way that Wayne can match, after which add, to a beat. For almost the primary three-fourths  the monitor, Wayne stays proper on high the booming Eddie Kendricks’ pattern, delivering bar after bar easily, constructing on the identical pure, hypnotic tempo the beat. Then, with solely a couple of minute left, he dances f it, rapidly and cunningly dropping some his most explosive bars, virtually as if to show it’s not simply the Deezle and Kanye West produced beat that’s main this monitor. It’s a lesson in methods to amplify one thing that already appears excellent, a beat that’s so iconic it’s the ficial beat ciphers and freestyles, but it’s and all the time might be Wayne’s: “As I hit the kill swap, that’s the way you let the beat construct bitch.”

2. Lil Wayne – “Go DJ” – Tha Carter

"Go DJ" was a single that marked the tip Lil Wayne’s period as a rising rapper, and solidified him as high rating on the Cash Money Records lineup, the Lil Wayne we all know him as now. It’s the top mixtape Wayne assembly the extra industrial Wayne, the extremely vivid starting to his almost five-year reign because the undisputed greatest emcee within the sport. Not solely did it mark the tip Weezy’s climb to the highest, however it was the tip Wayne’s working relationship with famed producer Mannie Fresh, who stopped collaborating with the rapper after Tha Carter. The two had greater than sufficient time to make their mark as a pair, and “Go DJ” remains to be a probable play on the membership on any given weekend.

1. Lil Wayne – “A Milli” – Tha Carter III

At one level, it appeared like everybody in America had memorized each phrase to "A Milli" — which may be a hyperbole, however there appeared to be real nationwide sense awe over the bars on this monitor. For 4 minutes, Wayne goes uninterrupted on wordplay, all whereas executing a stream sooner than some his extra recognizable mid-tempo tracks — not as soon as sacrificing velocity for lyricism. The track was a ubiquitous hit the entire 12 months, enjoying continuous on the radio, at events, and on TV — however by some means ten years later, it nonetheless doesn't really feel previous.