Re: Verse (and if you have a better title for this, let me know) will be an occasional look at some of my favorite single verses in music. I suspect it will have a hip-hop bent, but I’m, as always, open to suggestions.
Today, Lil Wayne’s second verse from “We Be Steady Mobbin’.” NSFW language, of course. The verse starts at 2:29 of the video, and, well, feel free to let the video load and then skip to it.
The rest of the song is sort of pedestrian, with Weezy ripping off himself and T.I. in the rather stupid chorus, the last verse sounding like it came from Drake’s pen with the poker reference and use of the word “wobble,” and Gucci rushing through a verse about killing someone or something. But Wayne’s second verse is a great distillation of the things that he is best at when he’s on.
It’s ignorant, sure, and all sorts of the wrong stuff in hip-hop, content-wise. But technically, and stylistically, it’s excellent.
The-the-the money is the motive
Fuck with the money, it get ugly as coyote
Okay, I’m reloaded, better pull it if you tote it
I buy a pound, break it down, and put it in a stogie
Swagger so bright, I don’t even need light
I’m with a model broad, she don’t even need rice
But, would you believe it, she dykes
And she asked me for a picture, so I gave her three strikes
(Yeah) I-I’m the man around this motherfucker
I’m so hot you probably catch a tan around this motherfucker
This rap game, I got my hand around this motherfucker
Yeah, I said game, but I ain’t playin’ around this motherfucker
(Yeah) I’m the best to ever do it, bitch (chuckle)
And you the best at never doin’ shit (chuckle)
If you the shit, then I am sewer rich
T-try me and I’ll have your people readin’ eulogies
(Ha, ha) I swear you can’t fuck with me
But I could fuck your girl and make her nut for me, then slut for me
Then kill for me, then steal for me, and of course it’ll be your cash
Then I’ll murder that bitch and send her body back to yo’ ass
The opening couplet starts slow enough that the second bar’s tricky second half (“It get ugly as coyote,” itself a clever use of ugly) sounded like Pig Latin to me on the first listen or two, all full of vowel sounds. He then brags about a marijuana cigar with some interior rhyme, and about swagger and models at a leisurely pace, tossing in that “Would you believe it” in recognition of the tired trend of rappers inserting unnamed waifs with lipstick lesbian tendencies into rhymes, then flips “picture” into “pitcher” for a baseball reference.
The next four bars get four separate pronunciations of “motherfucker,” one of Dwayne’s favored words of late, and eight-syllable rhymes, though lazy, in each; it’s the former, yet another example of the malleability of Weezy’s croak, that is his way to make the latter sound fresh.
The penultimate four bars come out at a slightly slower pace, but are blessed with some gloriously stupid schoolyard talk: “I’m the best to ever do it, bitch/And you the best at never doin’ shit,” followed by the chortle, is what arrogance should sound like. And the way “Try me and I’ll have your people readin’ eulogies” starts high and plummets in pitch makes it sound even darker, and segues into a blistering four-bar finish.
Those four bars go from Weezy dismissing a rival to stealing his girl to loving his girl to pimping her to having her steal from said rival (explained almost parenthetically in the verse) and then 7even-ing her as the final flourish. And they do it in a hurried 54 syllables, a master plan tumbling out at warp speed.
None of it breaks new ground on approach, and none of it is mind-blowingly bizarre, as some of Wayne’s best stuff is. But this is a technically sound and stylistically varied chunk of verse, sort of a low-grade bit of the “mixtape Weezy” Jay-Z shouts on “D.O.A.,” a guy who experimented with voice and verse structure like Jimi on a guitar. That verse elevates an otherwise forgettable mixtape track to rewindable status.
So, kudos to you, Wayne. You have one-fourth of a hot track there. But you can stop recycling the “goon to a goblin” line: It’s played.