At the tender age of 12, Dwayne Michael Carter Jr. signed with the Cash Money Records label and presented himself to the world as Lil Wayne. Three years later, in 1997, he became the youngest member of the New Orleans boy band called Hot Boys, which also consisted of Juvenile, B.G and Turk. In 1998, the talented red bandana-wearing MC was featured on Juvenile’s iconic “Back That Azz Up“ anthem.
For his 1999 debut solo album titled Tha Block Is Hot, Lil Wayne showed the world that his cornrows weren’t the only thing tight about him — so were his bars. The album sold more than 229,000 copies in its first week and was certified Platinum within months. This first victory launched a series of wins for Lil Wayne through a combination of successful albums, mixtapes, and released and unreleased singles that display his versatility.
As Lil Wayne’s career soared to new heights, he was sure to pay homage to his support system — his mother Jacida Carter, Birdman and his former Hot Boys bandmates. He has endured many of the music industry’s shifts and even started his own record label, Young Money Entertainment, which carries big rap names like Drake and Nicki Minaj.
Whether you’re listening to Tunechi, Weezy F. Baby — “and the F is for Phenomenal” — or Lil Wayne, the unique rapper has bars that prove he’s one of the best to ever do it. Let’s revisit a list of Lil Wayne lyrics that make you realize this fact:
1. I Miss My Dawgs: “My other, my partner, I was teacher, he was father / I skilled, he schooled, we chilled, we moved / We thug, we hung, we ate, we slept / We lived, we died, I stayed, you left!”
On this track, Lil Wayne’s heart bleeds for his beloved former Hot Boys group members. Though he chose to stay with Birdman’s label, he expresses his longing for his boys who left. He addresses Turk with this bar, placing a heavy emphasis on everything they went through together, what they meant to each other and his feeling of abandonment. He’s in a lot of pain and he’s letting it be known.
2. Fly In: “Yeah, I’m eating, but I got a tapeworm in my tummy, oh.”
On Tha Carter, the MC’s opening track has him “Walk In.” Continuing the album series, Tha Carter II shows Lil Wayne no longer walking in, but flying in on this track. While he’s beginning to rise in the industry on this album, he’s remaining hungry. He will never be satisfied because of this metaphorical tapeworm that keeps him chasing after success.
3. Money On My Mind: “Dear Mr. Toilet, I’m the s**t / Got these other haters pissed, ’cause my toilet paper thick.”
Known for his figurative language, Lil Wayne personifies a toilet in this track. In an open letter to Mr. Toilet, he releases facts: He’s great, this greatness comes with haters and he’s making money in abundance.
4. Fireman: “Money too long, teachers, put away your rulers.”
One can assume that teachers are experts at measuring, especially since they taught us how to. Lil Wayne makes it clear that you couldn’t count his income even if you had multiple rulers and expert mathematicians.
5. Hustler Musik: “I’m ahead with this one, see you f**king with the boy / Who tote toys way before Christmas, no assistance, just / That persistence with that commitment, if / I don’t get it, somebody gon’ die tonight.”
In 2005, when Tha Carter II was released, Lil Wayne continued to outdo himself. In this lyric, he calls his guns “toys” and doesn’t wait until Christmas to protect himself. Lil Wayne didn’t get his success from a handout. Instead, he credits it to his persistence and steadfast dedication to his craft.
6. Best Rapper Alive: “I’m busy, I got paper to reel in / God, I hope they snappin’ at the end of my rod / I hope I’m fishing in the right pond / And I hope you catchin’ on to every line.”
Lil Wayne delivers weighty wordplay regarding the act of fishing on this track. Given his confident bravado thus far, there’s a shift in these lines. He’s doing a lot of hoping, which shows that he’s uncertain on if he’s being well-received. He hopes his listeners are snapping at the end of his rod and that he’s fishing in the right pond because this will lead to more money and success.
7. Mr. Carter: “Man, I got summer hatin’ on me ’cause I’m hotter than the sun / Got spring hatin’ on me ’cause I ain’t never sprung / Winter hatin’ on me ’cause I’m colder than y’all / And I will never, I will never, I will never fall.”
In collaboration with the esteemed JAY-Z, the two MCs rap about the significance of coincidentally sharing a last name. On the most successful album of his rap career, Tha Carter III, which earned No. 1 on the Billboard 200 Chart and sold 1 million units in the first week, Lil Wayne explains how unstoppable he truly is. In this bar, he creates a vivid image of how he’s hated all year, yet those same haters can continue witnessing him thrive.
8. A Milli: “I’m a venereal disease like a menstrual bleed / Through the pencil, and leak on the sheet of the tablet in my mind.”
Exactly like a venereal disease, Lil Wayne isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. He and his career are going to keep coming back every month, like a period, to give listeners and haters more of his talent. His brain is where he stores all of his distinctive bars.
9. 6 Foot 7 Foot: “So misunderstood, but what’s a world without enigma?”
What would life be like without Lil Wayne and his music? He might be misunderstood, yes, but the rap game wouldn’t be the same without him.
10. John: “I get money to kill time, dead clocks.”
The track “John” features Miami rapper Rick Ross, who is all about hustling and making money. Lil Wayne’s verse allows fans to comprehend just how focused he truly is. While the average person or artist kills time with other vices that probably don’t increase their wealth, Lil Wayne kills time by making money and he gets so much of it that clocks eventually stop ticking.
11. She Will: “I already know that life is deep, but I still dig her.”
In “She Will,” Lil Wayne begins rapping about a sexual encounter with a girl. Before you know it, that same girl becomes life. He knows that life is hard, but he’s going to keep on going no matter what. These lyrics also show that he understands what he signed up for.
12. Can’t Be Broken: “I ain’t finna break or fix the brakes / You emulate, I’m laughing in your face / Now fix your face, I can’t disintegrate ’cause I facilitate a mil’ a day for like a million days.”
The rapper wants everyone to know that he’s unbreakable and he’s not going to slow down. He’s guaranteed to make millions on top of millions.
13. Something You Forgot: “Give me another chance / I’m needin’ it like a kidney.”
Mixtape Lil Wayne was a different beast! Sampling the pop-rock 1985 hit “What About Love” by Heart, the MC somehow retains the essence of regret and heartbreak from the original ballad, giving it a facelift with his bars. Lil Wayne is desperate on this track and if he isn’t granted this second chance, he might die. The kidney organ that’s essential to the human body equates to how badly he needs this love back to function, to live.
14. I’m Single: “I’m chilling, but my swag on full attack.”
Further emphasizing Lil Wayne’s earlier claim of being an enigma, he provides more proof as to why he’s characterized as such. Even if he’s calm, his outfits, and the way he carries himself and makes his music will never reflect his undisturbed state. His swag is always working the room even if he’s not.
15. Right Above It: “I been fly so long, I fell asleep on the f**kin’ plane.”
Lil Wayne can safely attest to longevity in the music industry. Since he’s been making quality music for well over two decades, one can interpret his journey as being a long plane ride. In this case, he’s always been musically desirable, and fly for so long that the only thing left to do is sleep, like most people do on long plane rides.
16. No Worries: “I swing your a** back and forth, back and forth on my monkey bar.”
In this colorful single, Lil Wayne paints a carefree picture with his lyrics. Mack Maine, Weezy and the woman he references have no worries. Since monkey bars are made out of pipes and the MC repeats the back-and-forth swinging motion that one would experience while playing on them, the lady is almost certainly on his pipe.
17. Steady Mobbin’: “Big house, long hallways / Got 10 bathrooms, I could s**t all day, n**ga.”
Attempting to subtly drop his net worth in this song, Lil Wayne describes the interior of his mansion. Having 10 bathrooms sets him apart from many artists and unfortunate circumstances. He doesn’t want to s**t all day in the literal sense; he wants others to know that they are not in his caliber or tax bracket, and this big house gets that message across.
18. Ice Cream: “If you ain’t the bank teller, don’t tell me nothing.”
Lil Wayne has made it clear that he’s making money and that’s his main focus. In the remix to Dorrough’s “Ice Cream Paint Job,” Weezy wants to clarify that the only people he’s interested in talking to are those who handle his cash. While giving a nod to Kanye West’s “Can’t Tell Me Nothing,” the New Orleans lyricist raps that he can’t be controlled or told what to do unless it’s from the bank.
19. Lollipop (Remix): “Safe sex is great sex, better wear a latex / ‘Cause you don’t want that late text, that ‘I think I’m late’ text.”
On other tracks, Lil Wayne has made sexual references and painted intimate scenes. On the “Lollipop” remix, he places himself in the position to educate listeners on the importance of safe sex. He does this in a way that the culture can relate to, and uses noteworthy wordplay with the words “latex” and “late text.” Without spelling it out, it’s universally understood what that “late text” means.
20. No Love: “Married to the game, but she broke her vows / That’s why my bars are full of broken bottles / And my nightstands are full of open Bibles.”
Lil Wayne compares the rap game to a girl who did him wrong on this Eminem track. He implies that he’s been slighted by the game and as a result, he’s going to drink the pain away. While self-soothing with alcohol and girls, he seems to be looking for answers and solace within the pages of the Bible — which are typically found in the drawers of hotel nightstands.
21. Love Me: “Got that A1 credit, that’s that filet mignon.”
Similar to other bars, Lil Wayne finds yet another way to describe just how well off he is. Comparing his hefty currency to a premium steak and simultaneously referencing a popular steak sauce helps drive his point home. His money, just like his filet, is top-tier.
22. Crying Out For Me (Remix): “Shawty like a valet service, I swear she been through a lot.”
The master of using double entendres in his lyrics did not disappoint with this one. On the remix of Mario’s hit “Crying Out For Me,” Lil Wayne empathizes with a lady who has seen more valleys than peaks in life. Not only has the woman he’s referring to been through a lot of challenges, but she’s also experienced a pattern of brief moments with men.
23. Workin’ Em: “B**ches on my stick, but my name ain’t Harry Potter.”
Not only will Lil Wayne educate his listeners on safe sex, but he will also teach you a thing or two about literature. Referencing the well-acclaimed “Harry Potter” books by J.K Rowling and the movie series, Lil Wayne mentions the ladies being on his stick. In the Harry Potter world, the popular sport called Quidditch is played by team members riding flying broomsticks to catch the ball. The rapper alludes to this to describe how women are all over him — even without him being the book’s protagonist.
24. We Takin’ Over: “I am the beast / Feed me rappers or feed me beats.”
On this DJ Khaled track that features six rappers — Akon, T.I, Rick Ross, Fat Joe, Birdman and Lil Wayne — they saved the best for last. Weezy’s opening line creates the allusion that he’s not human — he’s superhuman. When it comes to his lyrics, he will eat these other rappers alive.
25. Drop the World: “The top gets higher the more that I climb / The spot gets smaller and I get bigger.”
The title of this track personifies Lil Wayne’s rage and the ups and downs of life. When experiencing downs, listeners are faced with a mountain, but there is no reaching the top to take in a scenic view. The harder he works, the more work he has to do, and Wayne outgrows some spaces as well. He’s accepted it and in this rebirth stage of life, he’s raging, but he’s also going to continue climbing.