Day 213: "Blunt Blowin'" – Tha Carter IV, 2011
All week, this column has been devoted to chasing the perfect high. Is it in the pairing of weed and alcohol? Can it be found in Cali? Is it a classic, kush? Does it involve smoking a really big joint? Is blunt blowin' just part of your character, like polo drawers showin'?
Or is there something more to getting high than smoking the ganja? Let's refer to "Blunt Blowin'," the first proper track on Tha Carter IV, Wayne's comeback album after prison. This is, to younger fans, perhaps Wayne's most iconic weed track because a) who doesn't like smoking blunts and b) it kicked off the persona of latter-day Wayne (yes, technically there was Sorry 4 The Wait and singles before it, but more or less). If Wayne before prison was a syrupy mess who people were afraid might kill himself with drugs, Wayne after prison was a more lighthearted pop entertainer who just wanted to spend his time skateboarding and had to be careful to avoid violating his probation with drugs. As far as character transitions go, it's not a bad one, even if it did generally seem to, ahem, blunt his edges when it came to writing blistering raps.
"Blunt Blowin'" is not anywhere near one of my favourite Lil Wayne songs. But it's definitely a good song for getting hype, especially if you want to get hype about weed. It was, for this reason, Wayne's opening salvo on the Drake vs. Lil Wayne tour, the last time I saw him perform. And, moreover, I have come to appreciate "Blunt Blowin'" much more since reading Lil Wayne's prison journal/memoir Gone 'Til November. The last page of the book, which is a loose facsimile of Wayne's actual composition book journal, contains the only lyrics in the whole thing (remember, Wayne hadn't written rap lyrics since 2002). He copies out the following words:
I live it up like these are my last days
If time is money, I'm an hour past paid
Ughh, gunpowder in my hourglass
Niggas faker than some flour in a powder bag
Yeah, I put it down like my hands hurtin'
I'm on a natural high, but I land perfect
Some of us are lovers, most of y'all haters
But I put up a wall, and they just wallpaper
So love or hate me,
I stay hate-free
They say we learn from mistakes
so that's why they mistaking me
I got some weight on my shoulders,
to me it's like feathers
All hail Weezy, call it bad weather
I stick to the script
I memorise the lines
'Cause life is a movie that I've seen too many times
You're on the outside looking in, close the blinds
And they say never say never, but fuck it, never mind
I've been gone too long
True or false, right or wrong (ha-ha)
He then writes, "(My first rap since up in this bitch… gotta use this in a song… yeah)." Not only is "And they say never say never, but fuck it, never mind" one of Wayne's most quotable bars, making it an appropriate one to stick in his book, but this verse, of course, became the first verse of "Blunt Blowin'." To me, that definitely changes the context of this song, which has always felt like a triumphant return but also one undercut by the fact that Lil Wayne bragging about being a guy who smoked blunts was like a step backward. This was a guy who once rapped he was so high he could play basketball with the moon, and he was back to just being an average guy who smoked blunts and wore Polo boxers? There's no way that his return would live up to his pre-prison days by that count. But if you look at the song through the lens of it being a new beginning rather than a return, it makes a lot more sense.
And that's the way to view it. See, as Wayne writes to close out Gone 'Til November, his jail time taught him the value of, as we used to say, getting high on life. So "Blunt Blowin'" was, yeah, a declaration he was back, but it was also a declaration of the idea that Wayne had changed from the blunt smoker of the past. Here are the final paragraphs of his book, which are some of the most profound things Wayne has probably ever written and a good way to close out this Weed Week, with the reminder that the greatest drug of all isn't a drug at all:
I have so many things going thru my mind right now. Jail has changed me forever. The greatest positive that I take away from this bullshit is that I was able to tap into a depth of creativity that I never knew was in me. I've always thought I needed things like being high with my niggas, a Bugati [sic], a dope-ass crib, or some big-booty bitches to be creative. But once all that was taken away from me, my creativity was put to the ultimate test. And I passed that shit like a mothafucka! I've never felt more creative in my life!
The ultimate high is to know that my creativity can never be taken away from my by anyone or anything. I'm so grateful to not have been mentally scarred by being up in this bitch. I've unfortunately seen a lot of spirits get broken in this hellhole. I don't wish jail on anybody.
Final thought… A butterfly landed on me when I went to the yard the other day. For whatever reason, I felt connected to it and got lost in the beauty of seeing a butterfly in hell able to fly away.
Art: Tha Carter IV artwork and photo by Rafael Castillo via Flickr
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