Lil Wayne’s Musicality in “On My Own”

Day 250: “On My Own” – Tha Carter, 2004

Let’s talk about Mannie Fresh. Specifically, let’s talk about his role in Wayne’s musicality. At the beginning of this song, Wayne tells him to bring up only the snares, which is kind of the way people tend to look at Mannie Fresh—he’s a snares and hi-hats and synths guy. Which he is. But he also knows how to put a lot more melody into those things, which in turn gives Wayne far more incentive to get musical on those beats.

“On My Own” is a great example of the versatility Wayne’s flow already had firmly demonstrated by this point in his career. Even though it’s relatively straightforward rapping, there’s a bounce to it that puts it almost on the edge of being sing-song. It’s a sound you don’t hear from many other rappers, and it’s good foreshadowing of the musicality Wayne would later embrace. Listen to the way he pulls up on the beat as he raps, “They say they want the drugs to stop / but I’m a major set back when my album drop” or when he says, “But the laser on the .45 is eyeing you stupid / one shot to remind you who is / that fly little nigga that’s behind the trigger, Wizzle.” Tell me that’s not impressive! What a musician!

Also, this has to be one of the few times ever in rap someone has made the distinction of cooking crack on a Viking stove, which is the kind of ultraspecific flex only Wayne would bother to pull off.

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