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Lil Wayne's "Banned from TV" Is a Perfect Rap Verse

The words keep going, like a teleprompter.
Illustration by Michael Alcantara

Day 289: "Banned from TV" – No Ceilings, 2009

This is the best Lil Wayne song. I mean, all the other Wayne songs aside, this is perhaps the most perfect rap verse ever written. I mean, there are a lot of perfect rap verses. But this is definitely one of them, just three minutes of pure flames, proof that Wayne is "the best to ever do it, motherfucker, I know it." Seriously, just take this in:

Ayo, it's Weezy motherfuckin'
Easy with the hatin'
Bitch, I'm in the buildin'
You just decoratin'
I'm just detonatin'
Then I get blatant
More dangerous than internet datin'
Scoob got the cameras on
So I got to show off
I'll put your sister on
I'll knock your bro off
Weezy spit snowballs
Catch it in your face bitch
Good game, Wayne
Mane, I deserve a Naismith
Cocaine gang flow
Dope in the vein flow
I'll only be smoking the purple out the rainbow
Stronger than Drano
Your boyfriend a lame-o
And if you stay with him, then y'all in the same boat
Deepwater Carter
Fishing for a dollar
You can join the salad, I'm splitting your tomata
Ball cause I gotta
You'll love me in the morning
I told her I'm a king
Them other niggas prince charming
She love to rock my mic
She say there's nothing like performing
Man, I'm in love with her grill
George Foreman
Young Money's armed
And we can shoot it out
I got the money drawn
Yeah, take that to the bank wit' ya
I rock my hat to the side like I paint pictures
Smoke weed, talk shit like Lane Kiffin
Whole country in recession, but Wayne different
And I'm a Maybach rider
Haven't drove it one time
I got a cool black driver
Can't walk around with guns
I got a dude that got 'em
Don't worry if I'm shootin'
As long as you get shot
And I'm a beast, I'm a Pitbull
I get my ass kissed, I get my dick pulled
I'm a beast, I'm a big bull
I got my money right, I got my clip full
Yeah, it's like seven in the morning, nigga
I'm up for whoever the opponent, nigga
Stop the track, let me relish in the moment, nigga
Now bring that motherfucker back, 'cause I'm goin' in, nigga
I go hard like Rafael Nadal
And if the bitches worth having then I bet we have 'em all
And man I'm so high it's like an everlasting fall
And I'm charging these hoes like women basketball
I bet that chopper get his mind right
Leave a hole in his chest like a lion bite
Super hero car, like I crime fight
I see big cheese, you niggas' blind mice
T-Streets still roll with me
Still sticking to the script like Nicole Kidman
Need the man hit? We are those hitmen
He stopped running, the bullet holes didn't
Basically, I'm still a monster
'Til the fat lady sing, I come to kill a opera
Y'all too plain, I'm a helicopter
My words keep going, like a teleprompter
I'm a asshole; wipe me down, bitch
I get big checks; Niketown, bitch
Yeah, mean mug; Bobby Brown shit
And the flag red, like clown lips
T, I can't stop goin'
Drop my best shit, like the Cowboys dropped Owens
I'm the best to ever do it, motherfucker, I know it
No Ceilings, goddammit, now the fuckin' sky's showin'

Is it worth even pointing out all the good stuff here? I mean, sure, why not, even though every line is magic. You should just read every line in here back to yourself slowly. The words keep going, like a teleprompter. Big cheese and blind mice? Phenomenal. "I'm in the buildin' / you just decoratin'"? Brilliant. When the beat cuts out for "Stop the track, let me relish in the moment, nigga / now bring that motherfucker back, 'cause I'm goin' in, nigga"? Beautiful. "Drop my best shit, like the Cowboys dropped Owens"? Topical.

In the fall of 2009, the whole country was in recession. The economy sucked. I was a senior in college, and the general mood for people graduating was one of despair. Entire industries were collapsing. There would never be any jobs. But if there was one ray of hope, it was Wayne's total defiance of the world around him. "The whole country in recession, but Wayne different." To me, that rang out like the boldest note of optimism possible. It was going to be OK. It was possible to succeed. And were there limits to that success? Hell no. Fuck no. "No Ceilings, goddammit, now the fuckin' sky's showin'"! The world will constantly try to pull you down. But if you listen to this song, it will pull you right the fuck back up.

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