Day 8: "Mr. Carter" feat. Jay-Z, Tha Carter III, 2008
Today is Lil Wayne's birthday! Happy birthday Lil Wayne! The rapper turns 34. How do you pick a song for the occasion? Well, there's a loosie (presumably an outtake from Dedication 3 based on the ad libs) called "My Birthday," but it's about Mack Maine's birthday, and it's not that good. As far as I know Wayne doesn't have any good lines about being 34. So let's focus on something else: astrology.
A couple weeks ago, Lil Wayne went on the show Undisputed, where he talked about his current, er, dispute with Birdman and addressed the frustrated tweets he'd sent several days prior that made it sound as if he were retiring. But where many people might have gone into legal minutiae or resorted to namecalling to make their point, Wayne went with astrology: "I'm a Libra," he said, as if that explained everything. "We're known, we're cliché known to not have real emotions. We're the only Zodiac sign without a heart or a soul, only sign that's just a symbol. So since it's a scale we have to let something get all the way down there for it to tip over, for us to boil out. I was at my tipping point."
I'm not sure if that explanation makes sense—I'm no astrologist, for one—but I will say this: not a lot of rappers talk about astrology. However, whether it's just part of his toolkit in the endless range of references he might want to be able to draw upon or it's something he sincerely believes in—his recent quote points to the latter—Wayne mentioned his sign a number of times on record. The most prominent Libra reference is probably on "She Will," with Drake, but I'll be damned if I pick a Wayne song I don't really like for his birthday. So that leaves the next most prominent, on "Mr. Carter": "I know my role and I play it well / and I wear it well / on my Libra scale."
"Mr. Carter" is also a good birthday song because it's about, well, Wayne. It contains a lot of fantastic punchlines, and it has one of what I consider the key Wayne sequences: "I been in and out the bank, bitch / while y'all asshole niggas been on the same shit / I flush and watch 'em go down the drain quick / two words you never hear: Wayne quit." There's also that outro, where he imagines his mother at a funeral parlor, which is one of the most devastating things he's ever rapped.
On a lighter note, there's a great part where he talks about all the seasons hating on him and another where he calls people April babies—because they're fools. He mentions some biographical info in this double entendre-laced set of lines "I got the flow, I'm trying to see the roof / didn't wear a bulletproof / so I got shot and you can see the proof / blind eyes can look at me and see the truth." The whole song is Wayne rapping in full dumb-brilliant mode, where every line is wildly intricate and clever yet delivered with the ho-hum matter-of-factness that suggests he put the song together one morning while he was bored brushing his teeth. You can look at him and see the truth indeed.
And then of course, it also has that other Mr. Carter, Jay Z, who at the time, as I've mentioned, was in a bit of a cold war with Wayne over dominant Carter and king of rap status. Here, Jay passed the scepter, anointing Wayne "my heir." So Wayne was not only Mr. Carter, now he was the Mr. Carter of note, and he was also the king of rap. Whether Jay considered that title-passing a permanent thing or not is up for debate—the two were reputedly never on great terms, and by the end of the year this came out Wayne was wading into full Auto-Tune mode while Jay was staking his next album promo on killing Auto-Tune—but the fact stands that at this point in time, for the second track on his biggest album to date, Wayne was anointed the king of rap by the biggest rapper ever. That's worth celebrating, surely! Light some candles! Bring the cake!
And, to bring things full circle, let's go back to astrology, which Wayne is no doubt consulting as we speak, and see what our pals at Broadly say is in the stars for today:
Mars enters Capricorn at 4:08 AM, creating a hardworking (and hard-partying) energy over the next few weeks! The Moon mingles with Uranus in Aries at 4:52 AM, bringing surprises early this morning. Later, it enters Earth sign Virgo at 5:43 PM and connects with Mars at 6:27 PM, helping us vent our frustrations in a productive way. (All times EST.)
I don't know what all of this means, but hard-partying energy bodes well for a birthday I would say. Same with venting our frustrations in a productive way, which might mean recording music about being mad at Birdman rather than just being mad with no recourse. Libra's own horoscope for today is more guarded:
You're so open and friendly, but there are times that you must focus on your private life and not be available to help everyone else. Warrior Mars enters Capricorn today, helping you create better boundaries and encouraging you to establish a more secure home or private life.
That could be about Birdman, too. Either way, Wayne, do you today, and don't let the bullshit of the world get you down. Let this year be a good one! For the rest of us, let's do what we can to help and celebrate Lil Wayne on today, just like we do every day. Next time you mention 'Pac, Biggie, and Jay Z, don't forget Weezy, baby!
Bonus:For the occasion, here's a video of Drake singing Wayne "Happy Birthday":
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