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A Year of Lil Wayne: And Now Like Something Completely Different

Yesterday, we talked about "Like Dat." Today, let's talk about another "Like Dat."

Day 62: "Like Dat" – PartyNextDoor feat. Jeremih and Lil Wayne, single, 2016

Yesterday I wrote about a little-known Wayne freestyle called "Like Dat," but I realized this must be confusing to the search algorithms of the world because right now Lil Wayne is on a quite popular song called "Like Dat" with R&B sensations Jeremih and PartyNextDoor. Jeremih and Party are on tour together, and they shared this song earlier this summer with the news that they were planning to release a joint album called Late Night Party (a suitable portmanteau of their respective recurring album titles). It seems promising! I'm an avowed Jeremih stan, and, for all that PND is maligned by Drake fans who need some outlet to shit on OVO, I find him to be enjoyable, talented, and, above all, gifted at curating an aesthetic. PND, like Jeremih, understands more so than many artists precisely where the overlap between more melodic, synthetic, R&B-oriented pop and hip-hop falls, and he has a knack for incorporating rappers with underappreciated aesthetic qualities into the realm of his music.

Which leads us to "Like Dat," an oddly tautological track in that it was Wayne, of course, who gave Drake his start and Drake who gave PND his start. Ipso facto, here is Wayne and PND. It's also a good fit because Wayne and Jeremih are in some ways the twin poles of blending pop melodicism and hip-hop deliveries that led to an artist like PND. Point being, there's a lot of potential here, and this song does indeed manage an excellent job of creating its own self-contained world.

That world seems to energize Wayne: Despite his gift for fusing into other sounds, his role here is pure rap dynamism. Not only does he rap like a fucking machine gun for the second half of his verse, but the entire thing is packed with layers of punchlines. It's so densely effective. He builds a half-dozen or so bars around the word "hundred," including the eloquent declaration that "If I trap we do a hundred corners in a day," and in there he makes a joke about tying himself to the railroad tracks as the money train is coming. When he revs up into that rapidfire second half, he doesn't just get more excited but his rapping becomes even more lyrically effective. How great are these bars? He raps, "everything's looking all right / yeah I just talked to my lawyer, it's time to enjoy it / Tune it's time to enjoy it / I had to tell myself on the track cause sometimes I ignore it." Just when you think Wayne could be kicking back and letting his delivery carry the rest of the verse is when he hits you with the real truth. And don't you hope Wayne is enjoying things right now and not letting his legal woes get to his head?

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