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A Year of Lil Wayne: Q-Tip on the Brilliance of Lil Wayne

"He’s one of my favorites, as an MC, as a visionary—like, he’s just dope. He’s just so dope."

by Kyle Kramer
Apr 5 2017, 7:14pm

Day 197: "Thank You" feat. Q-Tip, Kanye West, and Lil Wayne – Busta Rhymes, single, 2013

Last week, I had the honor of talking to Q-Tip about A Tribe Called Quest's new video for "Dis Generation," the group's final album, and art in general. It was a great conversation—even such august institutions as Chelsea Clinton and Longreads felt it was worth sharing, which was pretty cool. But the real pleasure of doing it was getting a window into the mind of a visionary who has shaped culture indelibly over the past two decades and recognizes the brilliance in others who have done the same, whether that means Young Thug or Prince.

Since I knew that Q-Tip had worked with Lil Wayne on a couple of occasions, I had to ask his thoughts on Weezy F Baby (please say the baby). Their artistic collaborations have been fairly limited—Tip explained that the tracks they did were all pieced together over email—but they have a close tie. In fact, Tip's longtime friend and collaborator Busta Rhymes was briefly signed to Cash Money, which I totally had forgotten about until I was watching the video for his song "Thank You" as I revisited Tip's quotes. Busta left the label after two years without releasing an album, but, still, count him on the roster of legendary artists who have repped Cash Money at one point or another. And his time there did yield this dope video, featuring Tip, Wayne, and Kanye.

Granted, the features are a bit of an oversell. Wayne just provides an intro about how you can go to the bank with Young Money and leave with Cash Money, and Kanye just provides an intro to Q-Tip rapping (like Wayne with Busta, 'Ye ostensibly was and still is Tip's label boss at G.O.O.D. Music, a relationship that also has yet to yield an album). But it's sick that it exists, and, along with being a great rap performance, "Thank You" is a historical document that we will look back on someday with awe. Hell, we can look back on it right now, as it provides an excellent reason to share Q-Tip's thoughts on Lil Wayne. Here's what he had to say:

I love Wayne. I think he's a fucking beast. He's an ill lyricist. He's a prodigy. I love to do stuff with him. And that's my boy, too. We talk sports and all of that shit. Yeah man, he's acutely intelligent. Highly intelligent, skilled. He's just got so much soul. I could go on and on about him. He's one of my favorites, as an MC, as a visionary—like, he's just dope. He's just so dope. He's fucking brilliant… he's just a cool motherfucker, man. He really is. He's a special guy. And I really love, like, Tha Block Is Hot, 500 Degreez, all that early stuff, too.

So yeah, if you ever doubted that Lil Wayne was already capable of great things from the beginning, you now have Q-Tip's word that he was. You should watch this Busta Rhymes video and contemplate that.

Photo: Composite screengrab of "Thank You" via YouTube

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