A Year of Lil Wayne: Curren$y, Cubism, and "Kryptonite"

You can listen to 'More Life,' or you can listen to more Curren$y.
March 19, 2017, 6:38pm

Day 180: "Ridin with the AK" feat. Curren$y and Mack Maine – Dedication 2 , 2006

Writing about the same thing every day is like being a Cubist painter—you set out trying to capture a subject from every angle and end up with a painting that examines every part of the subject without looking anything like it or really looking any good at all. But the results don't necessarily mean that the process wasn't worth the effort; for one thing, Picasso's paintings are worth a fortune now. For another, the process might lead you down just one of these kinds of tangents and you come up with a good Cubism and Young Thug-related pun about putting that Braques in your brack, which is where I am, mentally, right now.

Much as my own attempts to portray Lil Wayne's music from every angle have taken on a certain disjointed quality that seems to obscure the grander purpose the longer it goes on, you could argue that Lil Wayne's own approach to popular music—basically to leave an imprint on all of it, to find brilliance in every corner of it—has a similar effect. There is almost no notable rap hit from the mid-2000s that Wayne didn't cannibalize by freestyling over it, and so many of those freestyles are incredibly memorable. Wayne's version of everything from "Upgrade U" to "Ice Cream Paint Job" is as rich in its own way as the original. I've wrung my hands a lot writing this blog and grappling with this fact: Surely every Jay Z beat Wayne demolished, every random Atlanta rap hit he twisted in his own way deserves some sort of commentary about the momentousness of Wayne choosing to tackle those beats. But at the same time, while you could probably make some broader point about rap through a compare-and-contrast exercise between Wayne's version of a song and the original for just about every one of these freestyles, in aggregate they take on a Cubist logic of their own, where they are perhaps better enjoyed simply on their own merits. The "I'm On It (Kryptonite)" beat seems like enough of an event rap to point out, but at the same time, Wayne was on the official remix, so what else do we need to discuss about the tie between Wayne and Big Boi or whatever?

The more salient point is that Curren$y raps, "I'm in the Lambo makin' donuts like I work for Krispy Kreme," and Wayne positively bounces through his verse, yielding neck-snapping bars like, "Pull it right over and park that whip, everybody better run when the trunk gone lift." This is a thoroughly enjoyable song that there's not much to say about other than: Enjoy it. It's Sunday, and you can listen to More Life, or you can listen to more Curren$y, and all of it will just be fine.

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