29 August 2020 00:34
More than any other pop star of the 2000s, Lil Wayne thrived in the chaos left behind by a rapidly changing music industry. When streaming was still a dream and physical CD sales were cratering, the New Orleans rapper consumed and re-contextualized everything from the Beatles to Beyoncé. It was an exciting time like no other, but as a result of this approach, many of his best bars, punchlines, and melodies are clearance nightmares at best and completely lost to time at worse. Where most artists' discographies can be easily found on DSPs like Spotify and Apple Music, Wayne's defining moments are scattered across mixtape sites like Datpiff or random, fan-uploaded YouTube videos. So when Lil Wayne's 2009 tape No Ceilings arrived to major streaming services (albeit in truncated form), 11 years after its initial release, it came as a welcome surprise.
In retrospect, "YM Wasted" — the tape's best moment — feels like a signal of the end that was approaching for Wayne's peak era. Over the beat to Gucci Mane and Plies' "Wasted," Wayne performs like a man possessed. On the horizon was a looming jail term, and across No Ceilings, there's the knowing tension of a run cut short. For over four minutes, Wayne vomits up every defining trait he honed across his prolific mixtape streak in the previous few years. The song begins with his characteristic lighter flick; he mispronounces a word to fit his rhyme scheme ("Geronimo" gets twisted into "Ja-ran-a-moh"), and by the song's end he manages to drop a reference to 2008's Step Brothers and the popular History Channel show Ice Road Truckers.
Find a playlist of all of our recent Songs You Need to Know selections on Spotify. (CNN) "No Ceilings" has finally made it to some major streaming platforms. The 2009 mixtape is now available on platforms such as Spotify and Apple Music, more than a decade after it first dropped. It's a shortened version, containing 12 songs where the original had 21, and it features guest artists including Drake and Tyga. Lil Wayne recently told ESPN's Michael Eaves he has new music coming.
"Carter VI coming soon," Wayne said. "But I got 'No Ceilings' coming first." Read More It's a slow process, but the classic mixtapes we know and love are gradually being added to streaming platforms. The most recent to join the ranks is Lil Wayne's No Ceilings, originally released in 2009 at the height of his "best rapper alive" crusade. And while that old pain sample clearance left a few tracks behind during the transition, many of the tape's key bangers remain intact--including the introductory highlight "Surf Swag," which finds Wayne unleashing four minutes straight of pure bars. In other words, the best way to kick off a project. Not only do the punchlines land, but the sheer intensity with which Weezy spits is something to behold. It's fair to say that few rappers put forth a mixtape run even close to his level, and many hold No Ceilings close to heart as a result. Sadly, the whole premise of jackin' for beats seems to have faded in this new streaming era, leaving mixtapes of this nature to feel like a relic of the past. As such, songs like "Surf Swag" are bolstered by nostalgia not only for vintage Wayne but for the mixtape as a whole. Check this one out for old time's sake, and show some love to Weezy in the comment section below. QUOTABLE LYRICS And I live on an island, Atlantic in my backyard I just tell my pilot to land it in my backyard Quarterback shotgun, you don't get any sack yards Bitch I ball hard, breaking all the backboards Pretty Boy Floyd, step up, I will crack yours It was back in 2009 when Lil Wayne delivered the first installment of his No Ceilings series, which only further added to his icon status with 21 tracks of the New Orleans emcee giving some of his best bars over your favorite tunes of the time. Eleven years later, Weezy brings a new version of that classic project to all streaming platforms, a slimmed-down version for fans to continue to enjoy. Presumably due to clearance issues, the updated version of No Ceilings now sees 12 of the infectious cuts heard on the original, with slight changes to song titles — "YM Wasted," "Shoes," and "Banned" are only a few examples. He also made sure to add his track "Kobe Bryant" to the tracklisting, a bittersweet offering given the NBA legend's passing this year. One particular standout from No Ceilings is "Throw It In," a freestyle over Fabolous and The-Dream's "Throw It In The Bag," which is itself a flip of The-Dream's "Fancy." One listen will remind you of the classic stream-of-consciousness bars that made Lil Wayne one of the top rappers in hip hop: "Swimming in Polo, sleeping in Jordans, I bought her cell phone and I don't even much call it, new imports make her feel important, no bulls***, n***a, no Ben Gordon/ Get her information, take her on vacation, give her dope d***, now she under the sedation, wake her in the morning, breakfast where she slept at, tell her go shopping, I can't wait til she get back.../" In addition to No Ceilings' expanded release, Lil Wayne has promised a slew of projects on the horizon, including Tha Carter VI and No Ceilings 3. He's also confirmed that he's reconnecting with 2 Chainz and Cash Money Records boss Birdman for ColleGrove 2 and Like Father Like Son 2, ensuring that there's more than enough music for his massive fanbase.