Illustration by Michael Alcantara
Day 354: "One Blood Remix" feat. Jim Jones, Snoop Dogg, Nas, T.I., Fat Joe, Lil Wayne, N.O.R.E., Jadakiss, Styles P, Fabolous, Juelz Santana, Rick Ross, Twista, Kurupt, Daz Dillinger, WC, E-40, Bun B, Chamillionaire, Slim Thug, Young Dro, Pusha T, Malice, and Ja Rule – The Game, single, 2006The most absurd and low-key greatest song concept of the mid-2000s was The Game's "One Blood" remix, which was 11 minutes long and featured 24 rappers. The mp3 I had just said it was "feat. hip-hop," and Nahright quipped at the time that it was "half the rap industry." (Nahright also noted, in the only review of the song from the time I could find, "this track is exhausting." Eskay did acknowledge "a couple of good verses scattered throughout though.")
Although the sheer immensity of the song made it an instant punchline about overblown rap excess, there's no denying that it is a cool concept, and, regardless of how you feel about any individual verse, an impressive artifact of rap history that will never be reproduced. Look at that lineup! It's a murderers' row! You could make a similarly overstuffed track today, but you would never get all those people together again.It also became, at least in my neck of the woods, a bit of a radio staple, something that DJs could throw on to shore up their hip-hop bona fides (or maybe something they could throw on so they could step out of the studio and take a smoke break). In fact, I've been reminded of it a few times in the course of A Year of Lil Wayne by hearing it on the radio, the only place that seems to acknowledge it ever happened. Just last week, I heard it as I drove through southern Virginia.Despite its landmark cast, it wasn't a landmark moment or really any kind of inflection point for the genre, so critics don't pay it much attention. It's not available officially on streaming services; it's a great example of how much of rap culture in 2006 was happening in a sort of digital wild west outside of the official release system. I'm sure many new rap fans don't even know about it, even though it seemed huge at the time. In the official narrative of Lil Wayne's 2006, it's obviously a footnote to more pivotal songs like "Stuntin' Like My Daddy," "You," and "Make It Rain." But it matters that he was on it because, despite all those other big names, he was the hottest rapper at the time. It was important for him to be a part of a major cultural event.Lil Wayne's verse is nothing particularly special; it sounds like he's warming up for a longer verse that never comes. I'm not sure where it would rank among the others, and ranking the verses is obviously the intended purpose of making a song like this. But it sounds cool—sorry, bool. "504 gangster, New Orleans soldier / bangin' underwater, fuck around and soak ya" is a sick opening couplet. And ultimately, if you're going to feature all of rap on your song, it has to include Lil Wayne. The bottom line is this is part of the culture, and so is he.Follow Kyle Kramer on Twitter.