I don’t even remember the first time I heard Lil Wayne. I feel like I have been listening to him as long as I can remember listening to music. The first time I realized how great and next level he was is when the Carter III came out. He was able to blend pop with hard rap music in a way that had not been done since Biggie, making sure his album had just as much pop radio sensibility as traditional hip hop sound. This has been a goal of most popular rap music to come out since. He completely influenced the song structure and overall sound of rap today. When Lollipop came out, it was very strange for the time. The use of autotune in the way Lil Wayne used it with deep trap sounding beats had not been done before. But you hear the influence of this song in most popular rap music today. There are many rappers today that would say that Lil Wayne is the biggest influence on their music, such as Lil Uzi Vert and Young Thug. But I think that Wayne’s influenced goes beyond the sonic aspect. The attitude that he had was always that he was the best, and this type of cockiness is definitely very big in rap now. He also was the first rapper to be into skateboarding and dress more punk and skater than traditional gangster clothing. It is so apparent to me that Weezy is an extremely direct influence on fashion, attitude, and sound, of the whole rap scene today.
Everything about Lil Wayne’s swagger and presence is polarizing. I mean he is definitely one of the most recognizable rappers literally by his face. Over the years it has seemed his hair has changed with his career; when he was young he had the baby dreads, then is his prime he had the iconic long black dreads, and now in his older, wiser years he has super bound together dreads that equate to like four actual strands out of his dome, like an old Rastafarian. Even though Weezy has always represented and rapped about gang and hood culture, he has always dressed to his own tune. He and Pharrell were the only famous black people skateboarding until the 2010’s, and they honestly made it cool among black people, and now so many rappers at least claim they skate. Wayne, by just being different and himself, helped change the style of a whole generation of youth, and helped black kids who had different interests feel accepted, because Wayne was into not traditional activities and style.
Another reason everyone wants to be like Weezy is his confidence and attitude. Every song you hear by Wayne will make you believe he’s the god damn man, mainly because he says it in so many clever ways and it gets drilled into your skull. Some people would say this cocky and full of yourself attitude is annoying and problematic, but I think this is a good thing for people to hear. I mean let’s be real, Wayne isn’t the tallest or most attractive dude, but he’ll make anyone believe he’s the best in the room. We should all feel this way. It’s a good thing to think that you are the best and to know your worth. And when Weezy says “And I move like a coup through traffic rush hour GT Bent’ roof is absent” on the song Go DJ, it makes me think I can be as cool and exciting as a foreign car with the roof down driving around. Really, I believe in the mantra fake it till you make it, so having unwavering confidence until to see on top seems like a good way to go to me. Thanks for inspiring us Lil Wayne!
It’s pretty obvious to see how much Lil Wayne has shaped the sound of current hip hop music if you think about it. I mean the fact he found and built the career of Drake alone makes him extremely influential on modern hip hop. But it goes way beyond that. Lil Wayne’s metaphors and lyrical structure is being copied by so many modern artists such as Young Thug, Lil Uzi Vert, Trippie Redd, Juice Wrld, and countless others. One phenomenal metaphor that is a good example of this is ” hey Mr. Toilet I’m the shit, got these other haters pissed cuz my toilet paper is thick” from “Money On My Mind.” First of all, can we appreciate how amazing this line is. It’s hilarious. But check out this bar from Thugger on “Old English.” “I’m talking M’s and I’m not talking Mickey D’s, my jewelry gold like the tokens at Chuck E. Cheese.” The tokens at Charles Everett Cheese are more bronze or brown in my opinion, but I’m sure how you can see the similarity in these two lyrics. Lil Wayne was also the first artist to help propel hip hop to the top of the mainstream by doing so many features. Back in 2007 I swear to god every song you heard on pop radio was remixes by Wayne. I believe this helped people gravitating towards hip hop leading it to be the most popular genre. Also, Lil Wayne was one of the first auto crooners in hip hop. He was sing rapping back on tracks in the mid 2000s before most other rappers were besides Kanye. Kanye and Kid Cudi are both very influential on this part of modern hip hop as well. And, obviously, Drake, who pretty much owns his whole career to Wayne. Without Weezy, we would not have so many aspects of the way hip hop sounds today, and considering how popular hip hop is now, that’s a great thing.
Wayne knows how influential he is to everything about hip hop today. Just like he says on the song “Dedicate,” off the Carter IV from last year: “You tatted your face and changed the culture.” I mean who can say it better than Mr. Carter himself. It’s crazy because we are still living in the midst of his career, but in ten years, I really think he will he talked about like Biggie and Tupac. I would hope all y’all have some Lil Wayne in your own music libraries, but regardless, his Spotify is linked below!
Thanks for reading!