Day 194: "Go Hard" – 500 Degreez , 2002
500 Degreez is one of Wayne's most maligned releases; at the time Cash Money's fan base is generally considered to have sided with Juvenile. Wayne's album was seen as a poor-spirited jab done in by its lack of innovation and retreads of Cash Money ideas that Juvie was doing a better job of taking to new places. But 500 Degreez is incredibly rich, especially when it comes to Mannie Fresh's production. Whether he's strolling through laid-back funk or barreling forward like a neon-lit SUV, he's totally in control of the sound, and his synthesizers are firing in all kinds of crazy directions at once. Just consider the insistent, glitchy synth beep—that buh nuh nuh, buh nuh nuh sound—here playing against the horror soundtrack synthesized strings in the background. And it all feeds into an old school soul break, with choir vocals welling up and a gruff voice yelling "Go Hard." This could be Sly and the Family Stone or Nate Dogg for the last minute and a half. It's an incredible composition, and it is exactly what the fuck we are talking about when we talk about Mannie Fresh. It doesn't hurt that Wayne sounds as comfortable on the beat than he does when he's describing getting head on a balcony on Bourbon Street. This is New Orleans through and through, and you are overlooking it at your own peril. This is the best Lil Wayne song.
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