Day 245: “Bow Chicka Wow Wow” feat. Lil Wayne – Mike Posner, 31 Minutes to Takeoff, 2010
I just spent the weekend in Durham, North Carolina, at Moogfest, a wonderful festival for discussing experimentation in music. It is, however, one at which, unfortunately, Lil Wayne’s experimentation is not such a central topic. Nonetheless, Durham is home to Noisey columnist and occasional Year of Lil Wayne contributor Drew Millard, and it is also home to Duke University, alma mater of Mike Posner. As you might imagine, Lil Wayne, who has done a song with literally everyone, has also done a song with Mike Posner, and Drew, who is willing to write about literally anything, asked me if he could write about it. So this is what Drew had to say about Mike Posner and Lil Wayne.
Drew: One of the sick things about Lil Wayne is he has done a song with pretty much every artist ever. A lot of people don’t know that. They think Lil Wayne has made one, maybe four songs, and they were all just him. If a person tells you that, just know that they are full of shit. In fact, the entire purpose of this column by my esteemed colleague Kyle (NOT the rapper Kyle) is to prove that Lil Wayne has made at least 365 songs, and that a lot of those songs were recorded in conjunction with other people.
Seriously though, a side effect of Lil Wayne’s prolific output is that you can randomly pick a spot on the real hip-hop spectrum (a legally binding term that starts at Weezer’s “Can’t Stop Partying” and ends with Little Brother’s The Listening) and be reasonably sure that Lil Wayne has either collaborated with a person at that spot on the continuum or at least made a song that kinda sounds like them. I recently ended up on the worst part of the internet, a.k.a. the Wikipedia page for Mike Posner’s alternative R&B duo called mansionz. I then thought to myself, “I wonder if Mike Posner has made a song with Lil Wayne,” Googled “mike posner lil wayne,” and found “Bow Chicka Bow Wow,” a bad song that Mike Posner made with Lil Wayne when Weezy was extremely good and extremely indiscriminate when it came to doing guest verses.
As its title might suggest, “Bow Chicka Bow Wow” is a lazy, intentionally corny song about fucking, and as such, Wayne’s verse consists of silly come-ons like “I bet you love it… I win the bet” and lasts all of eight bars. I just looked his verse up on Rap Genius and counted the number of words in it just to see exactly how hard Weezy was phoning it in here, and it turns out the entire verse is only 60 words long, which I think we can all agree is nine words shorter than it should have been.*
Even though I don’t really think about Mike Posner and have never met him, I feel like I have been on a journey with him. He actually attended Duke University at the same time that I was at UNC-Chapel Hill (the two schools are about 20 minutes apart), and I remember watching him open for Ben Folds and The Roots at Duke’s Last Day of Class concert back in 2009. He brought out a rapper I’d never heard of who in retrospect I’m pretty sure was Big Sean, played a song called “Drug Dealer Girl” that included the lyric “I’m sure that you’re never ever gonna be a runway model / but you can make a bomb-ass piece out of a water bottle,” and got booed by everyone in the crowd after like ten minutes. Because performing in front of a crowd often takes borderline-delusional self-confidence to begin with, Mike Posner told all of us haters in the crowd something like, “You guys are hating on me now, but just wait until I blow up!” Sure enough, like eight months after he nearly got booed offstage at his own fucking college, his single “Cooler Than Me” randomly showed up on the radio and seemed to stay there for one million years. I believe this little anecdote provides a perfectly reasonable explanation for why “Bow Chicka Bow Wow,” one of the follow-up singles for “Cooler Than Me,” feels like a totally unearned, self-satisfied victory lap of a song.
Even still, it’s really amazing how hard Mike Posner was feeling himself on “Bow Chicka Bow Wow,” despite the fact that his entire vibe was basically “musical theater kid pretending to be a version of Justin Timberlake that smoked cigarettes.” To wit: In the song’s music video, Posner literally pushes Lil Wayne to the side after Wayne––who was, in 2010, just months removed from having reclaimed the title of “Best Rapper Alive” with the release of No Ceilings––finishes his verse. Imagine having the moxie to do that! Pushing Lil Wayne aside so you can take center stage in the music video for your corny song about fucking takes a freakish level of confidence that is basically unimaginable, and it’s that sort of hubris that made Posner’s sober self-examination on his comeback single “I Took a Pill in Ibiza” feel so revelatory. Strong men also cry, Lebowski. Strong men also cry.
*69. I’m saying that Lil Wayne’s verse about fucking should have been 69 words long.
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