Lil Wayne has always had a special talent when it comes to taking a hugely popular song and making it his own. However, with the divide between generations in rap feeling larger than ever in 2017, the announcement that he'd be taking on Playboi Carti's SoundCloud smash "Magnolia" didn't seem as sure a bet as say, "Shoulder Lean" in 2007, or "Swag Surf" in 2009. Now that we've heard the remix in full (it was previously shared as a snippet), it's clear that Wayne's "Magnolia" is very much a success. That's not to say that we'll stop listening to Carti's version the way we did when Mike Jones' "Mr. Jones" became "Sky's The Limit" (were we listening to "Mr. Jones?").
But as freestyles fall out of favor in general, Weezy has proven that he's the rare rapper who can still sell the formula. Wayne wastes no time hopping into Carti's stuttered flow, and unlike some of his peers, he doesn't pull a muscle while doing it. In fact, he's able to find a happy medium between the song's freestyle-like bars and his meticulous punchline style. within the first few lines he's already laid into Birdman, quipping "Stunna number blocked," in the cadence of the song's memorable hook. From there, he plays into the New York concept with a shout-out to The LOX and the story of how he spent over half a year in the city. "Did a show with Ja, soon as I left the spot / Pulled over by the cops, them bitches found my Glock / They threw me in the box, eight months tops / Starin' at the clock, commissary stopped," he raps, recalling his time spent at Rikers Island following gun charges he landed in NY. With that behind him, book deal and all, he instantly shifts to his latest struggle: "Man when Carter 5 drop, a n---a jaw gon' drop." There have still been no developments on Wayne's studio album that's been trapped in the corrupt Cash Money network for years, but this freestyle bodes well for Dedication 6, the recently announced installment in the rapper's remix-oriented series.
One of the most thrilling moments of the track comes when he slips into Mannie Fresh's one-word-per-beat flow from "Get You Roll On," a rhythm that showed up in a flashy new form on Carti's own "NO. 9." This, along with Carti's interview that revealed Curren$y, a fellow New Orleans rapper, former Cash Money signee, and frequent collaborator of Wayne's, to be one of his primary influences, is another reminder that Wayne is not as far from the pulse of rap than his years of experience would suggest. Mixtape Weezy is alive and well, and while we may not see Carter V anytime soon, Dedication 6 could be just as jaw-dropping.