Day 161: "High Beamin'" feat. B.G. – Tha Block Is Hot , 1999
I've had this printout on my desk since I wrote about "Loud Pipes" in the very first week of the Year of Lil Wayne. It's a page from a 2000 issue of VIBE, when the rest of the country was just beginning to delve into the world of Cash Money and the Hot Boys, on the heels of the $30 million deal with Universal, Juvenile's 400 Degreez, and Lil Wayne's Tha Block Is Hot. "Bling Bling" and "Back That Azz Up" were smash hits, and Lil Wayne, a 17-year-old star, had people entranced. Cash Money's universe has since been absorbed into the national lexicon, but at the time it was new—presumably even to the readers of VIBE. And so there's this page that explains all the Cash Money slang, from "Act a Donkey" ("'That just means you're gonna act like an ass' — Mannie Fresh") to "Chopper" ("'That's another word for an AK-47. That's all they tote where we from.' — B.G.") to "Whoadie" ("'That's your nigga, your bitch, your dog, your cat, whatever.' — Lil Wayne").
Another term that's in there is "High Beamin'," which Wayne defines as, "That's Ice. When somebody puts they high beams on behind you, they blinding you. When we put our ice on, we be blinding you like high beams." That concept is more or less what the song "High Beamin'" from Tha Block Is Hot is about. B.G. brags about the $30 million deal, and then Wayne talks about his Jesus piece in between lines about all the girls he's fucking (never mind the inappropriateness of that given that he recorded this when he was 16). Wayne is already an incredible rapper here. I mean, look at this run: "I'm tryna see six numbers / pull up at the Grammy awards in six Hummers / leave the Grammy awards with six womans / then make a stop at the gas station for six rubbers / put it together." Or what about the internal rhyme in these lines: "Here I come, star rapper, I get the fast money / short, cute Hot Boy, that rapper Cash Money / stand out the roof of my car and flash hundreds / take your girl to the mall, spend a G like that's nothin'"?
Yet ultimately the star of the show is not B.G. or Wayne or the excellent slang terms or the $30 million Cash Money deal. It's the mastermind of that $30 million sound, Mannie Fresh, who goes truly bananas on this beat. Listen to the way the drums hit from 0:02 to 0:04. Listen to how they come knocking out of nowhere from 0:58 to 1:00. Listen to those squelchy spaceship sounds. Listen to the eerie "wooo wooo wooo wooo" synth line that comes in at 3:07 sounding like an alien abduction. Listen to every one of those drums firing in 14 different directions at once. If you take one thing away from this blog post or really this entire year, let it be this: Mannie Fresh is a goddamn genius.
Follow Kyle Kramer on Twitter.