Don’t Worry, Lil Wayne’s Punchlines Are Safe Right Here

Day 360: “Miss Me” feat. Lil Wayne – Drake, Thank Me Later, 2010

TMZ has been continuing to shit themselves over Lil Wayne’s hospitalization, running reports that he has been constantly sipping syrup in recent months, that he in fact wasn’t sipping syrup and was the “picture of health” at his two most recent shows, and that he is now on doctor’s orders to rest for two weeks because “he was getting NO sleep.” If there’s one thing to be gleaned from this, it’s that everyone and everything is trash, and Lil Wayne can do nothing better for himself than to step away for a bit. Maybe it will even make people miss him a little.

Which brings us to today’s song, one of the best Lil Wayne verses ever, a moment in his catalog to come back to any time it feels like Wayne’s narrative is in need of a reset.

In 2010, Wayne headed off to prison for eight months, but not before laying down a bunch of verses, shooting a ton of videos, and getting eight emergency root canals. One of those verses was the all-important guest turn for the debut album of Young Money’s marquee artist, Drake. While Drake’s buzz meant that Wayne would still be coasting financially during his time away, it also meant that Wayne’s voice wouldn’t be ubiquitous the way it had been for most of the preceding decade. And so Wayne set forth a monster farewell, which includes about a dozen of my personal favorite Wayne punchlines:

Ooh shit, motherfucker, goddamn
Kicking bitches out the condo like Pam
Getting money every day, I’m a groundhog
‘Bout to scoop your girl up like a ground ball
I walk light, so I don’t piss the ground off
Man I swear my bitches do it ’til they suck the brown off
Ugh, that’s nasty—yes I am Weezy but I ain’t asthmatic
James Bond cologne, honey I put on
Make ’em run and tell they friends, like a marathon
Voice baritone, haters carry on
Beat the pussy up, call me Larry Holmes
Young Money’s Jerry Sloan, I turn every stone
When she masturbates to me, that’s how she learn every song
To the women I condone, better write me when I’m gone
No I’m not that thuggish, not that ruggish, but I do pack Bone
Uh, I’m a love machine
And I won’t work for nobody but you
It’s only me and her ’cause the Bugatti a coupe
It’s Blood gang, slime, but I parlay with Snoop
I ain’t lyin’, I shoot, you don’t need signs for proof
Turn you to a vegetable like you lyin’ in soup
And when I’m in the booth, bitch, the lion is loose
Man, I got so many styles, I am a group
Damn, I’ll be gone ’til November
But fuck it I ain’t tripping, I know Drizzy gon’ kill ’em
I’m sticking to the script like lint on denim
Mama said if the rules ain’t bent, don’t bend ’em
Real nigga talking, shut the fuck up, ho
Gotta do it one time for Haiti—what up, Zo?
Weezy F Baby and the ‘F’ is for ‘front door’
Cause that’s where I brang it
Su woo if you bang it, motherfucker

Listen to the way he dismissively drawls that he’ll “turn you to a vegetable like you lying in soup”! Marvel at the way he scowls “ugh, that’s nasty” with audible disgust for his own line about making his “bitches do it ’til they suck the brown off.” Seriously, how funny is it that he comments on his own words like that? It’s slapstick comedy reacting to his own joke! And then he makes another joke about his gasp of disgust, punning, “yes I am Weezy but I ain’t asthmatic.”

Wayne’s delivery is a big part of what makes this verse so good. He also gets slapstick-y on the line “Uh, I’m a love machine / and I won’t work for nobody but you,” but then he flips the idea on its head by rattling off the response—”It’s only me and her cause the Bugatti a coupe”—with unflappable self-assurance. If you ever have a chance to take a romantic drive in a Bugatti, that is your only acceptable caption. Wayne sounds so cool on this verse that you don’t even blink when he says that the F in Weezy F Baby is “for ‘front door.'” Instead you’re basically ready to mount up and ride out and start banging Blood (but still hanging with Snoop).

All of that pales, though, in comparison to my absolute favorite Lil Wayne punchline ever: “Make ’em run and tell they friends, like a marathon.” Think about that one for a second. Have you ever heard of anyone you know running a marathon and not being obnoxiously self-promotional about it? You most certainly have not! The only thing people who train for marathons like to do more than buy stupid performance fabric clothing is tell people that they are training for a marathon! The true marathon is the test of endurance you will feel hearing about their training process for the months leading up to the race, a period matched only in length by the amount of time you will hear about the marathon running after it’s all over. The level of specificity required as a rapper to make a sex joke about a marathon that is not about the race itself being long but rather about the funnier and more pointed observation that the people who run marathons won’t shut up about it—well, that’s what separates the champions from those who merely run the race.

However, since I am not the best rapper alive, I will end this post with a less clever marathon metaphor about this song. Appreciating music and the people who make it is not something that hinges on the breathless drama of a 24-hour news cycle, as evidenced by the fact that we’ve now spent nearly a year in the slow grind of documenting Wayne’s music every single day. You have to find value in it at your own pace. Life, art—whatever race you’re running may be—isn’t a sprint, and it’s just fine to take it one piece at a time.

Follow Kyle Kramer on Twitter.

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