Day 83: "David Banner" – Lil Weezy Ana , 2006
Lil Wayne and David Banner have been on and off creative partners over the years, although things seemingly soured a bit after Banner failed to receive royalties for his work on Tha Carter III (he successfully sued for around $160,000 earlier this year). One of their most fruitful partnerships is this mixtape song, which borrows Banner's name for the title (I assume it's over a David Banner beat, too, but I can't find any record of which one it is, and I am hopeless at identifying instrumentals unless they have a super obvious sample in them or something. If you know, let me know!).
This has deservedly become one of Wayne's better known mixtape cuts (I mean… at least a top 50 one?) because Wayne goes off in so many different ways here. He raps, "I'm connected, I got more hoods than a coat store," and that's basically a throwaway line. He has a bridge where he plays around with the phrase "whip it, stretch it, and flip it" and then "re-up, stretch it, and flip it," repeating the re-up part until he slides into the next verse with the word "re-up," essentially re-upping the raps on the song. Yes, I'm sorry for explaining that, but it's too good a moment not to take note of.
Beyond that clever trick of showing what the line is all about, Wayne's bars are loaded down with witty imagery, offering up punchlines that are visual metaphors as well as just wordplay. They only work when you picture what he's saying, which gives you a greater appreciation for just how far-ranging his mind is. There are simple ones like the image of tennis legend Pete Sampras making a serve and then more complex ideas like, "I know this world is so cold and deceiving / but I keep my head up like my nose is bleeding." The best one, though, might be when he's describing fucking a girl in the club and quips, "I like big tongues like the skateboard fashion." For context, he rapped this in 2006, the heyday of those goofy skateboard shoes like Airwalks and DC with the massive puffy tongues. Remember those? They looked so stupid. What a great thing to make a punchline about, though! So, yeah, he brought that up (also: foreshadowing his own skater phase).
There's another nice chunk of these images that make you think for a moment to close out the song, and they transition seamlessly into a more straightforward group of boasts that set the scene for where we are in the Wayne timeline. First, he says "beat the track up like a hundred arms / I'm funky like underarms." Then, he pulls back from that image and observes how well he's rapping: "the engineer's recording a thunderstorm / my hunger forms / then ring the alarms." Finally, he lets us know what is on the way to end the track and bury this beat: "Tha Carter II is nice but the third time's a charm." How prophetic. You can't help but want to run this back. Wayne knew what he was doing.
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