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Lil Wayne: 10 Best Songs Ranked
Weezy F. Baby… and don’t forget the baby!
Lil Wayne — born Dwayne Michael Carter Jr. — has made enormous contributions to hip-hop and is one of the most influential rappers of his generation. Wayne started off his career signed to Cash Money Records by rapper Birdman. At the time of his signing, he was one the youngest on the label. He dropped his solo album Tha Block Is Hot in 1999 but created himself a following after he launched the first installment of Tha Carter series in 2004. However, it wasn’t until the third installment, Tha Carter III, which was released in 2008, that he really took off and became a household name. The New Orleans native sold one million copies of the album in its first week and won Best Rap Album at the 51st Annual Grammy Awards. The album housed singles “A Milli,” “Lollipop,” and “Got Money.” The rapper received his first No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 with “Lollipop.” In 2020, Wayne surpassed Elvis Presley with the most Top 40 hits. He is now tied for that spot with Taylor Swift with 86 top 40 hits for each artist. The artist leading the pack is Drake with 158 who was discovered by Wayne in 2007. Lil Wayne founded the record label Young Money Entertainment, an imprint of Cash Money Records, which has released No. 1 albums by rap artists such as Drake and Nicki Minaj.
Weezy spoke to Hypebeast back in March about his trailblazing career in hip-hop:
“First of all, you have to be embracing,” he explained. “You can’t be the person that’s saying I don’t like the new music. You gotta love it. Learn it, like it and love it started you better understand that’s music. That’s not a certain type of music, that’s music.”
“Therefore you have to embrace that,” he further shared. “You gotta go get you a vocal coach. Rest in peace, Ms. Betty Wright. Then you got a Drake. He’s music. My goal now, if you want to be the ultimate artist, that’s what I want to be. In sports, we like to call them the Swiss Army Knife.”
Take a look at 10 of Lil Wayne’s best songs ranked below:
"Go DJ" is the second single from Lil Wayne's 'Tha Carter.' This was Wayne's best solo song before "Lollipop" in 2008. "Go DJ" reached top three on the US Rap Chart and became a top 20 single. The NOLA native sampled the chorus of the song of the same name from a fellow New Orleans rap group U.N.L.V.
Lil Wayne enlists Eminem for "Drop The World" which is from his seventh studio album 'Rebirth.' The video was directed by Chris Robinson who said both rappers gave a great amount of energy the entire time. "You got two guys who are basically huge supernovas coming together, and the way that the song is constructed is great," he said to MTV News. "Because unless you see it coming, you don't know Eminem is on the track. The first two hooks and the first two verses are all Wayne, and it's kind of a surprise when Eminem comes through, and we matched it visually how Eminem enters the piece. From the concept and to just hearing the lyrics, with both of these amazing lyricists killing it, the whole video is just energy." Slim Shady and Weezy previously worked together along with Kanye West and Drake on the track "Forever."
"Uproar" is all about letting the haters know you're not one to be messed with. The Swizz Beatz-produced track features a sample from "Special Delivery", performed by G. Dep and P. Diddy. The track peaked at No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was a hit on social media too as fans created the viral #UproarChallenge that showed them dancing along to the track.
"How To Love" is the third single from Lil Wayne's 'Tha Carter IV' album, which dropped in 2011. This is considered the Young Money honcho's first ballad. The rapper told MTV News that he was inspired by the late Tupac Shakur for "How To Love." "That song is just sweeping the world. It's touching every woman, that's what it was for," he said. "It was like Tupac had 'Keep Ya Head Up' and it was a message to women and little girls across the world just to keep your head up even though things are hard." He added, "A lot of women don't know how to love because there's deep reasons for them not knowing how to love. And what I mean by deep reasons is deep and dark reasons. A lot of people don't open up that can and I figured that I can open up that can of worms and see what happens." The song brought a lot of success for Wayne also. When "How To Love" rose to No. 3 on the R&B/Hip-Hop Songs dated September 10, 2011, Wayne became the first artist to feature on the chart's top three spots simultaneously. The other two songs were "Motivation" by Kelly Rowland featuring Lil Wayne at No. 2 and "I'm On One," by DJ Khaled featuring Drake, Rick Ross & Lil Wayne leading the pack.
"She Will" is on Wayne's 'Tha Carter IV.' Wayne recruits his protégé, Drake, for the record. Weezy wrote the song after he finished his eight-month prison sentence on weapons possession charges."I don't think he would've did 'She Will' or 'So Special' right before he went in," Young Money President Mack Maine said of his more woman-centered records. "That wasn't where his mind was at, but all in all, you got some of Wayne before he went in, you actually got some of Wayne while he was in there, and you got some when he came out. So you got three different sides of Wayne."
In "3 Peat" Wayne raps about the success of 'Tha Carter' series. Vaushaun Brooks (Maestro) produced this track and spoke to Rhapsody about how it all came together."I made the track for Jeezy and originally he dissed it. My friend Shanell Woodgett played it for Wayne and he jumped on it that night. He made the song the length of the snippet. I didn't put the full beat out there. I put like two minutes to allow me to go through all the changes I had made to the track and that's exactly how long he did the song for. He didn't try to loop the two-track or nothing. Also, a lot of producers, they have to say, 'Hey, put my [tag] on it,' but Wayne worked my name into his verse."
Both "Mr. Carters" slid on this track as Jay-Z (Shawn Carter) and Lil Wayne (Dwayne Michael Carter, Jr.) go back and forth with one another. Jay famously raps "my heir, Young Carter," on this track which Wayne took as a huge compliment and validation for his rapping. "That line right there was hard! Unbelievable," he told Rolling Stone. "I didn't even realize it at first. My homie had to tell me 'You know what he said, right?' I didn't even get it. I was like, 'Why is he saying 'air'? Is he just talking about the air?' But I'm smart enough to know that he's smart enough not to just be talking about the air. I felt real dumb, but then I felt so good. It was an incredible compliment."
"Lollipop" was Wayne's first No. 1 hit and his 20th chart entry. The track also won the Grammy Award for Best Rap Song at the 51st Annual Grammy Awards. "Lollipop" features R&B producer and songwriter Stephen "Static Major" Garrett, formerly of the group Playa. He famously was a lyricist behind Aaliyah's "Rock The Boat," "More Than A Woman" and "Try Again." Wayne told Rolling Stone how the record came together: "My homeboy Static, the guy who's on the song with me, it was all his idea. He brought the song to me with his vocals already on there, the beat was already done and I just laid my vocals to it. The decision to make it the single was evident right after I finished recording it. Everybody in the studio knew this was the one. We had some females in there and they were going crazy."
Although Lil Wayne killed it on "A Milli," this song is still so recognizable for its beat, which was produced by Shondrae "Mr. Bangladesh" Crawford. "When I made it, I knew it was an important track. I didn't know it was gonna be as big as it was. I knew it was for Wayne," Bangladesh told MTV News. "I had plenty of people wanting to purchase the beat, but they wasn't worthy enough. Even if they was worthy, until I let Wayne hear it, I couldn't move to nobody else. I had that beat for two years, just holding it. If you look at my career from (Ludacris') 'What's Your Fantasy' to 'A Milli,' it's kind of the same element of music. Four or five sounds in the beat. Simplicity. Those are the things I've learned since being in the industry." "A Milli" won "Best Rap Performance" at the 51st Annual Grammy Awards.
Bangladesh and Wayne team up again for "6 Foot 7 Foot." This is the first single from Lil Wayne's ninth studio album, 'Tha Carter IV.' The track also features Young Money rapper Cory Bunz. Bangaldesh spoke about teaming up with Lil Wayne once again: "It's kind of similar [to how we worked together for 'A Milli']," said the Atlanta-based producer. "I had 'A Milli,' knowing that the actual track was actually important. I had opportunities to sell it, but until I got it to Wayne at that time, who I wanted to get it to, I couldn't sell it to anybody else. This time, I knew this beat was great like that, too. And I hadn't really thought of sending it to him. I sent it to Gee Roberson, and he works closely with Wayne and played it for him. That's how it happened, really." Wayne spoke to MTV News on putting Cory on the track. "You know, I put Nicki on the right songs, I put Drake on the right songs; I picked the right song," he told the outlet. "It makes people pay attention because I know that people were waiting to see what I'll say on my first record, my first Lil Wayne record [since getting out of prison]. 'Cause, of course, I've done a bunch of features, and I'm quite sure whoever I did a feature for [before], as soon as I came home they put it out 'cause it got Wayne on here. 'He just came home, let's put it out.' So, I knew people were going to look at my first record like, 'I want to know what he's talking about on his first record.' And, I gave you the jewel at the end. It's like I'm forcing it on you, you got to hear this. It made everybody who didn't know Cory Gunz [say], 'Who is that?'"