Day 276: "The Heat" – Tha Carter, 2004
Lately, I (and the rest of Noisey) have been playing the shit out of 2 Chainz's "4 AM," which includes a line about listening to the first Carter in the trap. Naturally, this has been a good reason to revisit Lil Wayne's 2004 breakthrough because anything is a good reason to revisit Tha Carter, and we absolutely have not done enough discussing of it on A Year of Lil Wayne.
"The Heat" is somehow one of the hardest songs on Tha Carter, one of the catchiest, and one of the best rapped. It's basically about shooting people and the many ways in which Wayne might do that. He rattles off about "22s, 38s, 44s, 45s / tucked in my 38, mack on my back" and two lines later brings up "Calicoes, AKs, Uzi machines / got ya misplacin' your arms and losin' your knees." He talks about ARs, pistols, silencers, a gun with a scope that helps him hit his target from across the street. He brags, "In less than three seconds I'll pull a three-eighty / three feet from my waist / three inches from your face." All of this calls to mind something that Mannie Fresh said in an interview with the FADER about Wayne's early years developing as a rapper:
He did the homework on everything. If we were talking about something, Wayne went and researched it. If we said on the name of a gun was a Serafina, he was a kid who went home, looked it up, and came back and knew everything about it. So when he rapped about it, he knew stuff that we didn't even know. While we're saying the raps, it would be a weird moment in the studio where'd he be like, "Oh that gun was made in Germany in 1947 and so and so used it." If he didn't know it, he'd figure it out so he could talk about it on a record.
"The Heat" is evidence of all those homework assignments paying off. Lots of people have talked about shooting people in rap songs over the years. But has anyone ever done it better than Lil Wayne? Absolutely not.
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