Praise T-Pain and Lil Wayne, the Once and Future Kings of Dumb Jokes

Day 247: “Waist of a Wasp” – T-Pain and Lil Wayne, T-Wayne, 2017

If “DAMN, DAMN, DAMN” is the promise of a future that never was, the follow-up song, “Waist of a Wasp,” is pure late 2000s radio material, from the classic T-Pain hook to the semi-incongruous chopped up soul production down to the reference to Wayne’s girl having her own folder in his Sidekick. Wayne gets into super weird Auto-Tune territory on the second verse, but at its core this is really both artists doing what they did best at the time. T-Pain could churn out a million hooks like this, and Wayne could rap a million verses where he rides the beat just this smoothly. But here’s the key thing: Nobody else could. Wayne is the only person who could jauntily deliver these lines and have them come out sounding cool instead of corny. Seriously, look at this verse:

Shawty want a real nigga
Construction hat Weezy, I’ma build with her
She be my meal after I have a meal with her
Then I deal with her hehe
Now won’t you shake like a dog, hop like a frog, ride it like a horse
Scream and holler til you lose your vorse
Promise I know how to love know what to do with your heart
Shawty you so much of a target I hit you with a dart
I don’t bullseye baby, ooh I baby
Can I stick my finger in your apple pie, baby?
And I know everybody want a piece of the pie
But you know that they ain’t greedy as I
Now won’t you do it like I told you
Send a pic or download it
‘Cause I promise in the Sidekick you got your own folder
If you keep fuckin’ with me you gon’ get your own chauffeur
But first put your legs up on my shoulders

It’s so precise! And let’s not discount T-Pain’s rapping, either. After all, dude says, “but I ain’t trying to butter you up / I’m tryna fuck you in the kitchen let me butter you up / where is my manners? / Which one you like, butter or syrup? / let me show you what your Mrs. Butter is worth.” One reason people now might discount the idea of T-Pain and Lil Wayne as artists is that music with “substance” has swung very heavily back into fashion. But there’s so much to be said for a song that just sounds great and has some dumb Mrs. Butterworth’s jokes in it.

The reason we were all waiting on T-Wayne was, yes, in one sense, because they were great Auto-Tune pioneers who shaped the next decade of popular music in their image. But the other reason is because no two artists were as skilled at making music that was really fucking fun to play at a party, that leaned so far into dumb jokes and slapstick humor. T-Pain was famous for wearing top hats for Christ’s sake. Let’s not pretend we’re too good for that kind of music now just because we all quietly put away our shutter shades in 2010. It still goes hard as shit. Which, if I were Lil Wayne or T-Pain, is a phrase I would definitely riff on with a toilet pun. Now run this back so you can listen to T-Pain rhyme about getting out of the Lamborghini in slo-mo one more time.

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