Day 266: "Holla at Me Baby" feat. Lil Wayne, Paul Wall, Fat Joe, Pitbull, and Rick Ross – DJ Khaled, Listennn... the Album, 2006
DJ Khaled, as usual, is in the news this week. First, there was his weird Summer Jam performance on Sunday, which fell through on the promise of guests but did include one "superstar," a very confused Asahd Khaled, who was lifted to the heavens like Young Simba. Then, yesterday, DJ Khaled broke down the making of his hit single "I'm the One" with Billboard, referencing, among other key ingredients to the song, his longtime friendship with Wayne.
Wayne, as previously discussed, has been on a number of Khaled's hits over the years, including most of the early ones and also the recent number one single "I'm the One." He is one of the DJ's longest-running associates; the two met in New Orleans and later bonded in Miami, with Khaled even hosting some of Wayne's mixtapes. "Holla at Me Baby" is Khaled's auspicious debut posse cut, with a lineup that is frankly incredible to ponder in 2017. While the Khaled connection is always worth mentioning, I actually was reminded of this song by reading an article about Lil Wayne from 2005, which offhandedly mentioned upcoming collaborations with Paul Wall. As far as I know, this is the only one that was ever released.
It is also, to my knowledge, the only Pitbull-Lil Wayne collab to ever surface, which is crazy. Even crazier is the fact that at the time of this song's release, Pitbull and Rick Ross were in contention for the slot of least famous person on the track, a distinction that now would probably go to Paul Wall but shouldn't really go to anyone because everyone on the song murders their verse.
Paul Wall's opening lines of "It's Paul Wall baby, Swishahouse club rocker / Chunk a deuce, sip a deuce, pourin' up the Goose vodka" should be taught in rap verse construction class, while Rick Ross's bars of "known for the Benzes, chrome on the Bentleys / smokin' on the mint leaves, Dade county, big cheese" should be part of a Miami tourism campaign. (Pitbull's motto, "the Gunshine State where they'll shoot ya," on the other hand, probably should not be). Pit has never sounded cooler than when he says "It's Mr. 305 a.k.a. Mr. Snort Yay, spit rocks, made in Dade" and then ends his verse talking dirty in Spanish. But, of course, it's Wayne's star power that gives this song the immediate jolt it needs, with the bouncy delivery of: "We got a bunch of bitches, we pile 'em in the Phantom / they follow us to Mansion, but I don't mean the club / I'm talking bout my crib, mama I'm trying to fuck."
This is absolutely one of the most underrated Khaled bangers, and it's a shame that everybody on it is probably too famous to show up in the same place to perform it together ever again, even assuming any of them remember their verses, which is a long shot. But if the world won't hype this single and DJ Khaled in 2017 has other singles to hype, I am happy to hype it myself, by quoting an extremely hype 2006 Khaled ("a.k.a. The Beat Novacane a.k.a. Dade County a.k.a. my album comes out June 6 a.k.a. it's called Li-li-listen") talking to DJ Booth about the song:
I got em all together, what I did was when I got the beat—you know me and Cool and Dre knocked the beat out—I was like, 'man I gotta put Lil Wayne 'cause that's my brother and he's one of my favorite rappers.' Joey Crack's my best friend and one of my favorite rappers, too. And Paul Wall, man, another swagger, man. I figured I know he's gonna make a monster hook and kill a monster hook. And Pitbull and Rick Ross, that's Miami. I rep Dade County to the fullest, so you have to rep the city… We doin' movies right now, we shuttin' the whole city down, and we're takin it to a whole national level. And I just feel good knowing this record is so powerful.
Rick Ross also spoke to DJ Booth that year, describing his own appearance on the song, which he said was a last-minute addition that he wrote in ten minutes. "I was in the studio, and after he got off the radio, he came by there and said 'Rick, save my career, please,'" Ross remembered. "'Put a verse on this record, and can you do it in 30 minutes?'"
What's notable about these two interviews, other than the facts therein and the parts where the interviewer creepily wonders about the "lovely ladies" at the song's video shoot, is that they both show these larger-than-life Miami icons as basically already in their element as absurd personal brands. Khaled's description of putting the song together is almost the same as his explanation of putting together "I'm the One," down to the part where someone wrote their verse in ten minutes, which above all proves that not only is time a construct but that Lil Wayne's presence on DJ Khaled hits is timeless, no matter which era we're talking about.
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