Can Lil Wayne pay attention?
We consult some baffling verses
Lil Wayne is set to perform at the Marcus Amphitheater tonight, bringing with him a ridiculously large array of lyrical non-sequiturs and head-scratchers. These baffling verses even seem to distract Wayne himself, as evidenced by an appearance on Rap City. First, Weezy drops some mighty prodigious rapping of the freestyle variety, but then drifts away from the mic as if the verse has left him lost in the catacombs of his own imagination.
He might also just be really high, but being high won’t make you say something like, “I hear the track, I’m like a energy pack. / The instruments are cryin’ out, ‘Where the sympathy at?’” And yet the question remains: Does Lil Wayne know what the hell he’s doing? And does it matter? Let’s examine some lyrical instances.
“I get high, my words slur, / and I’m callin’ ’em Merle”—“Get High Rule Da World”
“Get High Rule Da World” is partly about what happens to Lil Wayne when he gets high. Specifically, he turns into a possessed man tossing out references faster than any sane human can process them. At the same time, he seems to know how all-over-the-place he sounds, and even cops to some slurring of words. Wayne is boasting about his exploits with “the women not the girls,” but one thing puzzles us: Why would he start calling the-women-not-the-girls “Merle?”
According to a commenter at RapGenius.com, there is somebody named Marley in Wayne’s entourage who guards his stash of—ahem—herbs and spices. Factor in the slurring, and “Marley” comes out as “Merle.” This would suggest a fairly lucid Wayne cataloging one of the many weird-ass effects of being under the influence of a certain substance. But again: Why is he calling the females “Merle?” Does Wayne secretly think he needs some smokin’ hot surrogate bodyguards like Gaddafi used to have?
“My flow is art unique, / my flow can part a sea. / Only thing on the mind of a shark is eat by any means, / and you just sardines.”—“Ride For My Niggas (Sky Is The Limit)”
Lil Wayne has often compared himself to a shark. Though his favorite animal is probably the gremlin (as alluded to elsewhere in this song), the shark is clearly his spirit animal. One famous tidbit Wayne may have learned about sharks during Shark Week is how they must keep moving, lest they die. For Wayne, given his penchant for picking up and discarding signifiers like boring toys, these lyrics appear to be about the moving and the eating.
Here, he modifies the singular goal of himself and/or a shark with the phrase “by any means.” Many will recall the famous Malcolm X quote, “By any means necessary.” Again, Wayne is teasing us. At first, eating is the only thing on his mind. But then we get this phrase, which suggests some forethought, and even a politically minded Wayne just below the surface.
“I’m a shark in the water, / yeah I swim with the big, / so I don’t have time to deal with Willie the Squid. / Li-li-lilypad homies, / l-l-look at the monster-man, / and you don’t wanna crash like / La La La Bamba”—Rap City freestyle
Who the hell is Willie the Squid? Well, there were originally two educated guesses around the hip-hop campfire. One was Gillie Da Kid, Wayne’s former Cash Money Records label mate. But it turns out that Wayne was actually dissing somebody called Willie The Kid, a rapper from Grand Rapids, Michigan. Our guess is that the two are amalgamated into one general hater for the purposes of this freestyle.
In the rest of the verse, Wayne is a shark, then a monster-man. He’s also hinting—sort of in the way wiseguys in movies would hint—that it’d be a shame if anything happened to you like what happened to Ritchie Valens. It’s not clear whether this is directed at Willie or Gillie, but you can just as well take it as a cautionary statement about the perils of messing with wack shit, lest your taste in music crash right into the netherworld where Will Smith’s Big Willie Style dwells. And as far as we know, Wayne and Lou Diamond Phillips are on good terms.
“We knocked the Eagles and the Falcons and the Bears off, / now we ’bout to cut Troy Polamalu’s hair off”—“Green & Yellow”
“Green & Yellow” was released as a response to Wiz Khalifa’s “Black & Yellow,” further peeling back the layers of Weezy’s psyche to reveal he’s actually a Green Bay Packers cheesehead. He assures us, “This ain’t a diss song,” though “Steel curtain, / what is that, / velvet?” would appear to be a diss, and a good one at that. One question, though: Is forcible barbering by Lil Wayne covered under Troy Polamalu’s Lloyd’s Of London hair policy?