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A Year of Lil Wayne: There's a New Raekwon Album, so Here Are Some Thoughts About Great MCs

It's been fun watching Wayne join the pantheon of MC elder statesmen.

by Kyle Kramer
Mar 24 2017, 9:50pm

Day 185: "My Corner" feat. Lil Wayne – Raekwon, The Wild, 2017 / "Section" feat. Lil Wayne – 2 Chainz, COLLEGROVE, 2016

PSA: There's a new Raekwon album out today called The Wild. It has a song featuring Lil Wayne, and—other than a couple awkward attempts at keeping up with the times (i.e. a song with G-Eazy)—it is super solid. Raekwon is one of the few older rappers who sounds just as sharp as if not sharper than he did 20 or 25 years ago, and he's one of the only people alive who can pull off a series of rhymes with the word "Schenectady" and not sound like a dick. In fact, in the pantheon of all-time great MCs who remain all-time great MCs despite rapping for two decades, Raekwon and Lil Wayne are good partners. One thing I've enjoyed witnessing over the past few years is Wayne's quiet entry into this tier of real-deal hip-hop head elder statesman MCs. Ironically, after years of banging at the gates for acceptance from the same type of East Coast rap fans who venerate the Raes of the world, Wayne slipped in without protest shortly after all his own fans decided he fell off.

Another artist who has subtly entered this category even as he continues to enjoy more commercial and cool-kid relevance than ever is 2 Chainz. Noisey contributor Paul Thompson wrote a great essay about this today that you should check out, so I won't go too far off in this direction. But 2 Chainz and Wayne are interesting because they are perhaps the most recent inductees into this class of MC and, other than Andre 3000, some of the only Southern artists accorded the respect that has always been assumed for rap's great lyricists from New York and California. I imagine that will only continue to be the case. But to make sure of it, we need more positive reinforcement of COLLEGROVE's success.

And we need more songs like "My Corner," which finds Wayne and Rae nerding the fuck out over bars. To put it in simpler terms, Wayne may be able to hop on a hit song with Ariana Grande, but nobody there is going to open a verse with the satisfying snap of Rae going, "picture me stomping you out up on a flying train." What is more fun than Wayne rhyming "standoffish" with "swordfish" with "cordless"? What is better than "Smokin' on pounds 'til them shits just dead weight / Ben Franklin straitjacket, my money gonna stay straight"? Half the reason we listen to great MCs is to geek out over crazy lines like that, and that's something fans of Raekwon, Wayne, and 2 Chainz can all get behind.

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