Day 116: "Knuck if You Buck Freestyle" feat. Mack Maine and Curren$y – Young Money The Mixtape Vol. 1 , 2005
Kyle: I'd like to begin this conversation the way that I begin every conversation, by talking about Mack Maine's political legacy. OK, so maybe we don't talk about it very much, but it seems relevant here because he quips, "Young Maine for president / I'd probably paint the White House black if it was my residence / Bush back in office / some niggas feel that's irrelevant / because they still peddling this medicine." We're a week away from Trump being in office, and, while plenty of people are ready to chalk this up as the greatest catastrophe American democracy has ever faced (it may be, but), in another sense we're just right back where we were 12 years, when Mack Maine was complaining about Bush's reelection and pointing out that drug dealers will mostly be unaffected.
These last few months politically, combined with listening to a lot of Lil Wayne's music from between 2002 and 2008—which is more full of jabs at Bush than you might remember—have served as a good reminder of the anger that period generated and of how quickly everyone seemed to forget it entirely. It didn't take a savant to see that Trump was going to be Bush 2: Orange and Bushier (that Trump was painted by his opponents as a departure from this once-terrible norm was a huge strategic blunder, but that's a discussion for another time), and, sure enough, he's already gotten right to work trying to fill his arriving administration with oil industry cronies, racist shitbags, and inexperienced hacks. If you want a sense of how bad Bush was, consider that Mack Maine, a guy who is best known to the world as the guy who propositioned an underage Miley Cyrus on a track, was taking time out of his day to publicly denounce the man over the "Knuck If You Buck" beat. But just like the world has let this song fall by the wayside, so too we have failed to learn from the lessons of our past.
But enough scolding. Let's also point out how funny this set of Wayne lines is:
Happy as I ever been
Lamping in the Hamptons like what the fuck is a hammock
The chef up in the kitchen like what the fuck is a sammich
I'm like we gotta find middle ground we need balance
Anyway Lawrence, you brought this song up. What are your thoughts on it/Wayne's hammock and this chef who is too fancy to make him a sandwich?
Lawrence: I don't know if it's the fact that sounding anything less than remarkable on the "Knuck If You Buck" beat is impossible or if this may actually be the best verse Mack Maine ever blessed the game with. "Juju on that Beat" had every kid, preschool to teenage, rocking off throughout 2016 to the beat twelve years after the song came out. But Mack Maine is letting off some quotables on this. The bars about Bush were great but he doesn't lose steam after starting his verse with that. For example, "Stephon Marbury tight bullets, they like to penetrate / Young Money we out of school but we got chemistry." If the song didn't kick off with Mack's energy, even with an amazing contribution from Wayne, it wouldn't hit the same.
As for Wayne, approximately three seconds into his verse he holler, "No we don't run for the Olympics but the flame with us." I wish my keyboard had the capability to insert an emoji right here because that's the only way I could truly express my reaction to that bar. It's really sad in a way because throughout Wayne's collaborative mixtape run, he's always recruited rappers more than capable of stellar performances on tracks but even when they do deliver, he follows up and makes you forget it ever happened. As much as I enjoyed Mack Maine's verse, it vanishes from my memory bank when Wayne hops on. I mean how could I remember when he's saying shit like "I'm outstanding like standing outside up in a twister and walking, not damaged / Standing outside up in a blizzard and walking hot handed"? It's not really fair.
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