Day 202: "I'm So Paid" feat. Lil Wayne and Young Jeezy – Akon, Freedom , 2008
In the annals of modern music history, few artists have been as unjustly ignored as Akon. Not only did Akon score a dozen or more monster hits in one brief, five-year, three-album run, but he also shaped a decade of pop music. He signed both T-Pain and Lady Gaga to his Konvict Music label and pushed the sound of Auto-Tune into the mainstream. As a Senegalese-American artist, he was bridging the sounds of North American and West African pop long before the idea ever occurred to Drake, not that you would know it by the way people talk about Akon. If not for Akon, Lil Wayne might never have realized the potential of Auto-Tune the way he did; if not for Akon, Young Jeezy might never have had a top ten hit. It's a travesty that Akon hasn't released an album since 2008, but that's a story for another time.
The story for today is that, in those halcyon days when Akon's star was burning bright, we got the perfect song that is "I'm So Paid." It's no exaggeration when I say that this is one of my favorite Jeezy verses and objectively one of his best features. He kicks it off with the line, "She said, 'Young, why your voice so hoarse?' / I just sound like money, I should've been a Porsche (vroom)." Which: Oh my God, does that not explain everything? This line is the urtext of Young Jeezy's entire rap persona. He sounds like money. And that's not even the best line.
Jeezy goes on to add, "Took my own gross net and hid it under my mattress / used to get bored and count 20s for practice," which is great. And then he punctuates it with my favorite Jeezy line: "paper therapy we let money relax us." Doesn't that sound incredible? I have no idea if it's a medically approved procedure, but paper therapy sounds absolutely lit.
Yet as good as Jeezy's verse is, Wayne keeps pace. First he quips that he's undefeated and can "snap my fingers, disappear from the precinct," which is brilliant. Then he croons about gunplay (hilariously, this means that the edited version for the radio and the video has like five bars in a row with hardly any words). There's an abrupt about-face as he pulls up with mock disappointment—like, your parents being "not mad, just disappointed" vibes—on the line, "I send some niggas with guns at y'all house / only to find out you live in a doll house" And then he continues with this run of wordplay that goes, "Damn, but I thought you was tough, though / we carry choppers on our necks, call it cutthroat / we bury cowards on the set that they come from / we know magic, turn weed smoke to gun smoke." Finally, he puts a nice little sing-song bow on it by laughing, "We bomb first when we ride / you in a hearse when you ride." What a verse! What a song!
All of this would be cool if the song were simply Jeezy and Wayne, but let's not forget that Akon is involved, too, singing about blasting Do or Die and ordering snipers to post up on rooftops. This is big budget music meant to make broke-ass you, too, feel like a million bucks. In the video, Akon is on an enormous yacht and involved in a diamond heist of some sort, which also involves a high-speed car chase in a Ferrari. That is honestly how we all should feel every time Jeezy and Wayne get on a track together, especially if it involves Akon, who once again is one of the great songwriters of our era. This is quite literally the yacht rock of our era. It is smooth as hell and it involves an enormous yacht. Long live yacht rock, long live Akon, and may you stay paid on this fine spring day.
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