Day 229: "Cross Me" feat. Future and Yo Gotti – No Ceilings 2, 2015
No Ceilings 2 is the whimper with which Wayne went out last, his most recent full-length project and one of his most maligned (a quick survey of reviews: 2/5 from HipHopDX, C+ from Consequence of Sound, "Thanks, But No Thanks" from Complex, no review from Pitchfork). Its legacy has not been particularly strong, so you may have missed its original single, "Cross Me," featuring Future and Yo Gotti (adding to the likelihood you missed it, it came the same year that Future was enjoying the best run of his career and around the same time as Yo Gotti's biggest ever hit, meaning that the potential all-star collaboration was largely overshadowed).
That's too bad. Even though the aforementioned Complex review quips, "leave it up to Wayne to absolutely brick a Future feature," Wayne is actually surprisingly crisp on this song, leaning into Auto-Tune with poise that contrasts nicely with both Future's use on that hook and Yo Gotti's typically gruff verse. The trademark of Wayne's 2007 mixtape freestyles was his precision and repetition, and I think that sometimes fans get caught up comparing Wayne now to that sound. By that standard, he is constantly falling short, but that's because his new trademark is these long, unspooling melodies that find him playing with structural breaks and sound. So we get stuff like "put your head in a microwave—ding, nigga," where the punchline is as much the note that Wayne's voice hits as he sings "ding" as it is the joke about the microwave.
Ultimately, this is a far better deep cut single than you might assume: The three performers counterbalance each other well, it's still a Future hook during one of Future's best eras, and Wayne goes off, which bodes well for the future. I've said it before and I'll say it again, Wayne over the last two years is a far more interesting rapper, sonically and technically, than people are willing to acknowledge. So when he says "Super where the cup at / I'm working on my comeback," I'm not only thrilled that the godfather of syrup-laced Auto-Tune is offering a nod to the reigning don of the form, I'm also excited thinking about what that Wayne comeback could look like in an era shaped very much in his image.
Follow Kyle Kramer on Twitter.