Let me begin by saying in no uncertain terms, I think Lil Wayne (aka known as Dwayne Michael Carter) is awesome. I think he's clever, funny, and has a unique voice and style to his rapping. I feel like he's a good representation of the traditional tennets of hip hop (aggressive, cocky lyrics over powerful bass-heavy instrumentation) while showing a willingness to push the envelope of the genre, both musically and topically. Also, he doesn't take himself too seriously, which, in my opinion almost always coincides with superior writing (and I'm not just saying that because Pem and I always call ourselves faggots...no homo.).
Now, as you may or may not know, Lil Wayne (much like Jay-Z) doesn't write his lyrics. As in, everything you've ever heard him rap on record, is, at least for the most part, freestyle. Pretty fucking, groovy, no?
Ok, here's my thing. Do I think it's fucking rock your face off your skull awesome that Misters Carter and Carter can do this? Yes. Yes I do. Do I sorta wish the world never found out about this? Yes. Yes I sorta do. Why, you ask? Well, for starters, now every 17 year old looking to be the next rap superstar feels like they can do it that way...even worse, a lot of them feel they have to do it that way, or the lines somehow lose merit.
I am a hip hop producer. I will now wait 5 to 7 minutes for you to stop laughing before I continue...
...you guys are real dicks sometimes, you know that?
...Ok. I have a next door neighbor who is 17 and he actually has a lot of potential as a rapper. He's goofy as shit, his rhymes are funny and his mind works uuber quickly, which makes him a quality freestyler, and (even though I've never actually seen him in action) an assumedly terrifying battle rapper. (By the way, if you're getting lost on terminology, maybe skip this post. Maybe go here and read something that hits a little closer to home.)
The only problem with my young friend is that for all the punchlines and wordplay, he still hasn't written a song. He raps over the beat that is playing and whatever comes out comes out. And that's fine, to a certain extent. But you're not going to want to listen to an album full of that, because after a while, it all sorta blends together.
I mean, Lil Wayne (and in my opinion to a much greater extent Jay-Z) is able to freestyle his verses and keep them fresh and interesting, for the most part. That doesn't mean that YOU can too. Worry about being good, writing compelling, unique shit that says at least something about yourself. For 99.9% of us, that means having a notebook, so you can organize your thoughts, make sure you are making sense, and do more than just rhyme the end of 16 sentences in a row. "Freestyle freefall" is what the dude from Hustle and Flow calls it. No, not the main dude. The other dude. No, not the white dude, the other other dude. NO, man the blonde chick was a CHICK not a dude, shitfuck. Whatever. Why the hell am I writing about this? Oh yea...
So Lil Wayne said something outlandishly stupid about the reason he freestyles all his songs...and I'm about to make fun of him for it...and probably regret it a million times over one day...
Let's fucking krump.
What about your songs. You never write them down?
I just say it. Say it when it gets in my head, the beat. Whatever comes in my mind at that moment.
Fair. You do you, Weezy F Baby.
So it’s always spontaneous?
Really? "Of course?" Doesn't really seem like an "of course" type of sitch, but I mean, it's Young Money, baby. I'll defer to Mr. Wayne.
I believe anything other than that—then why go buy it?
Then you could do it, she could do it.
Wait, um...so you think anything other than...what? "She could do it?" I...what? I mean, I know the dude is high all the time, but that hasn't stopped me from remaining at least semi comprehensible. So, it appears the interviewer smells the stank of that brain fart as much as I do, because (s)he responds, respectfully:
I couldn’t do it even if I wrote it down.
Translation: Your statement is the opposite of correct...and the opposite of sane, for that matter.
But you could read what’s on the paper, right? So basically anybody that could read could recite it. That takes something away from it.
WOAH WOAH WOAH WOAH wait. the. fuck. up. With all due respect, that's as stupid as the day is long. That's like saying Barack Obama isn't a good speaker because his speeches are pre-written. "Anyone could've gotten up and delivered the keynote speech during the 2004 DNC and subsequently inspire and lead an entire political party (and later a nation) in a brand new direction. I mean, the speech was written on paper!" That's just assinine. I can' believe that Lil Wayne is actually suggesting that rappers who write their lines down on paper are somehow inferior to those who don't.
(And let me get this out of the way right now: yes, Jay-Z, Lil Wayne, and from what I've read, Biggie don't/didn't write their verses. But he does. And so does he. And he did, too. So let's everyone chill, ok?)
I think a lot of people get this idea that somehow writing a rap song is different than writing a song in another genre of music. The only way that is even a little accurate is more often than not, the degree of difficulty is a little higher writing rap vs. writing other types of songs. The reason? Singers in other genres can extend the notes that they sing. So, in the same amount of time it takes for Big Punisher to sing "Dead in the middle of Little Italy little did we know
that we riddled some middleman who didn't do diddily," an R&B singer has the option of singing "No," or "Oh," or any other single syllable and extending it for as long as they please. All of this further bolsters the fact that WRITING DOWN WHAT YOU PLAN ON RAPPING is a helpful, good thing.
Listen, if you don't need to, good for you. That's just bully for you. But don't treat it like freestyling album-quality verses is a common trait. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that Albert Pujols doesn't stand around making fun of other players because they "need" batting practice and he "doesn't." Because he realizes that not everyone is as good as he is at hitting baseballs. Oh, and because he still takes batting practice so he can be even BETTER at hitting baseballs.
I always tell somebody that’s why I am good, that’s why I’m okay, because I’m being me, I’m doing me. Now the day I gotta write stuff down—no one can believe what’s written down.
I get the first part. Yes, when you're expressing your thoughts and feelings on the spot, you are very fresh, very raw, and often very honest. You are also prone to say things that don't make a lot of sense, and it's extremely difficult to stay on one topic, let alone write an entire song based on one. (As big a fan as I am of Lil Wayne's, there are times when I'm like, "wait, why is he rapping about money and killing people when the hook of the song is about how he's a Martian from another planet?"). As for the second part? Um. No. No, that's not true. That's barely a thought. In fact, it's like 5/8's of a thought.
SPOILER ALERT: The following example is very, very, very, very, very imperfect.
If I was a bum and I told you I had a mansion around the corner and three Bentleys and twenty-eight bitches in my house butt naked waiting for me, you wouldn’t believe me. I’d say you stink, say Get out my face, give him $100, and say Get the fuck.
Ok, well, other than the fact that he completely changes perspective of narration in the middle of his thought and ends with a sentence fragment, the rest of this example...makes no sense.
But if there was a book that said, there was this bum with a mansion with twenty bitches in it, you’ll try to use it and put it toward real life.
What. the. fuck. are. you. even. TRYING. to. say?
Hey Weezy...maybe...Idunno...write some of these ideas down first the next time you get interviewed?
If I'm gunned down, check Lil Wayne's prints. And Pemulis's. It was one of them...and you can BULEE DAT. Even though it was written down (?!?).