A Year of Lil Wayne: A New Wayne Verse and the End of Football

In which Wale bites from Lil Yachty and makes a good Lil Wayne song.

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Feb 6 2017, 10:01pm

Day 139: "Running Back" feat. Lil Wayne – Wale, single, 2017

Super Bowl LI—for LIE, which is what we were sold—is over, and, given the outcome of my least favorite football team winning, I say we move on posthaste. To quote Lil Wayne, "I used to play running back / I turned that football to a money bag." May we all do the same.

The quote is from Wayne's new single with Wale, "Running Back," the video of which is out today, presumably to mark the end of the football season and the ritual moving on (smart!). As far as I know, this is the first Lil Wayne verse of 2017, and woo buddy, let me tell you something crazy: I have found myself replaying a Wale song. Is Lil Wayne's reign as the King Midas of mid-tier pop-rap singles about to return? Let's hope. If so, this is the latest salvo, a totally generic Wale trap look over a frankly incredible beat that sounds like a cartoon circus, brought to life by Wayne's playful Auto-Tune. It seems like a credible mid-tier hit, as promised. Am I mad that Wale, an artist with a proven track record of ruining things, is jacking Lil Yachty's sound? A little. But am I incredibly happy about what it inspires Wayne to do? Absolutely.

Look, we can acknowledge that this song about scheming women, in which Lil Wayne makes fun of someone's ass injections, is not the most enlightened piece of media. But Lil Wayne's voice sounds beautiful here. He is so enthusiastic complaining about this woman lying that he sent her a wedding ring! He makes having money sound so much more fun than playing football! He injects a whole new poetry into the phrase, "me, I want a hunnid stacks." The way Wayne's voice dips and dives here—especially on the line "These hoes'll say about anything / 'Cause they know that y'all believe everything"—feels like he's writing a ballad for the ages. This is a great use of Auto-Tune and melody, and I invite more artists to put Lil Wayne on their songs to do exactly this. I would absolutely love a Yachty/Wayne album that was just Wayne rapping on these Gameboy soundtrack-ass beats. Plus, Wale's fans hate it. Look at this amazing review on iTunes:

The end.

Photo: Screen grab via YouTube

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