Day 126: "Seat Down Low" – Da Drought 3 , 2007
It's time to talk about Mannie Fresh again. Well, isn't it always? But it's been awhile since we've done it, just as it had been awhile since Lil Wayne had rapped on a Mannie Fresh beat when he made this song, a freestyle over T.I.'s "Top Back." While we've talked a lot about Wayne's relationship with Jay Z, also relevant is his relationship with T.I., who at this point was at his career peak as the King of the South and perhaps in a tangible sense Wayne's most direct rival. However, as Wayne insists here ("that is my brothers, ladies and gentlemen, T.I., and he is the King") the two of them were cool with each other, and as far as I know they always have been (although Wayne does brag in the song about jacking this beat).
Anyway, back to Mannie Fresh: After Tha Carter, Mannie Fresh parted ways with Cash Money (in case you were sensing there might be a trend with Wayne's current lawsuit: there is), which meant that he was no longer Wayne's de facto producer. While this likely benefitted Wayne's career by pushing his sound in new directions, it also was a blow to what is cosmically just and aesthetically satisfying—namely, listening to Lil Wayne rap over Mannie Fresh beats. But on the bright side, it gave him the opening to point out that here he was about to show everyone how it's done. And he did!
Not only does he get in some good bars about sex tapes and smoking White Widow weed and how he's never had his jaw broken, but pretty soon he launches into a cadence that is, in a word, inimitable. Listen to the way the words roll around in his mouth as he raps this sequence: "Pint of DJ Screw in that Hawaiian / I am leanin' like a three-legged lion / climbin' right to the top of the motherfuckin' mountain / countin' / I'm gonna need me an accountant to count it." Maybe it's just the mountain line, but I definitely see foreshadowing in listening to this of the way Nicki Minaj would go on to rap her legendary "Monster" verse. Or of the way Young Thug uses his voice when he raps. Perhaps it was because he grew up rapping on those spare Mannie Fresh beats, but Wayne has always been a pioneer in using his voice as an instrument. Oh, and that whole thing I wrote yesterday about how pithiness seems to have eluded him in recent times? No worries about that here, since he drops one of his most Instagram caption-worthy lines of all time: "Candy on candy nigga grippin the grain / see I am the only fire that can live in the rain." Does Lil Wayne body this beat? You bet. To quote him, "put this bitch to sleep—fuckin' right I nightgowned it."
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