A Year of Lil Wayne: Solange's "Mad"
Lil Wayne's verse on Solange's latest release is one of his best in a long time.
Day 14: "Mad" – Solange feat. Lil Wayne, A Seat at the Table, 2016
In recent years, the conception of Lil Wayne as a New Orleans rapper has largely faded, since he lives full time in Miami and is also now in the class of celebrities whose primary residence seems to be the collective consciousness (there's a good vlog of him a couple years ago giving a tour of his barely lived-in house where he comments on staying in hotels his whole life). But Lil Wayne is still so New Orleans, and on Solange's new album—have you heard this thing? It's dope!—that makes him a perfect fit. The album is narrated by Master P, and it's broadly about Solange exploring corners of her identity, which, as she told Stereogum, involves family ties to rural Louisiana. So naturally Wayne has to come by. And if this marks the beginning of Wayne's run as a prestige guest for the artsier/more experimental music world a la Andre 3000, that would be great. I mean, here he is on a song with Moses Sumney. He's like a step away from making songs with Thundercat and Flying Lotus.
Either way, it's one of the most thoughtful Lil Wayne appearances I've ever heard. After a few opening bars where he apes Drake's flow, he delivers the song's guiding mantra: "so I let it go let it go let it go." Anger in pop culture is often treated as a virtue of sorts, probably because it makes good television and online talking points. If you are angry, pop culture suggests to us, it probably comes from a place of conviction and integrity. But, particularly in my personal experience, anger is a cancer: It almost always brings worse problems and more to be angry about when indulged, and it hurts people. I don't know if Wayne and Solange feel the same, but I like the way that Wayne tackles his frustrations in this verse, including his frustration with a certain "burden" (sounds a lot like Bird—you get it):
But I got a lot to be mad about
Got a lot to be a man about
Got a lot to pop a xan about
I used to rock hand-me-downs
And now I rock standing crowds
But it's hard when you only got fans around and no fam around
And if they are then they hands is out
And they pointing fingers
When I wear this fucking burden on my back like a motherfucking cap and gown
Then I walk up in the bank pants sagging down
And I laugh at frowns what they mad about?
'Cause here come this motherfucker with this massive count
That didn't wear a cap and gown
Oh you mad 'cause the judge didn't give me more time
and when I attempted suicide I didn't die
I remember how mad I was on that day
Man you gotta let it go before it get up in the way
Let it go let it go
Let it go. I recommend listening to this song at least once a day as medicine.
Kyle Kramer is letting it go. Follow him on Twitter.