Lil Wayne Ringtones have helped to make the rapper a household name, but “Ringtone rapper” has become something of a diss these days. The argument being that rappers devoid of any real depth or creativity are choosing to create songs that sound best in the three second loops you’ll hear on ringtones. This is a valid criticism at times, but not always.
On the one hand, this sort of criticism more than applies to a lot of rap out there today. It’s shallow, the lyrics are more often than not just plain stupid and meaningless, and the rappers are barely able to rap at all. In fact, in the average Mike Jones song, fewer than twelve lines rhyme with another line, while repeating the chorus and his own name make up for more than fifty percent of the lyrical content. However, there are other artists who this criticism doesn’t really apply to, and Lil Wayne is one of them.
Lil Wayne has yet to release his own “The Chronic”, but what he has to offer the rap world is significantly more than you’ll find with most of the modern emcees out there today. All of his self congratulating hype may seem big-headed, but it’s really just smart marketing, and when you really look at it, hip hop has always been fifty percent about the art of marketing. How else would these independent, self made artists thrive than to know how to promote themselves?
So the ringtones are just one part of Lil Wayne’s success, one part of the way he markets himself. He makes songs with really catchy hooks, the kind you’d want to hear on your cell phone, but his songs go a little deeper than that, too.
Wayne’s voice is really what lends him a unique sound on the mic. The raspy, bluesy sort of quality he has is pretty much one of a kind in the history of the game. He’s one of those rare artists who could keep you interested even if all he was doing was reading the phone book out loud. His voice just grabs you.
Secondly, his lyrical content. It does tend to tread the same tired waters we’ve all been in before. It’s all about weed, money and hot girls, but in rap, it’s not really what you rap about, it’s how you go about rapping about it, and Wayne provides some of the most clever, complex and interesting word play in the game today.
First of all, it rhymes, and sadly, that’s becoming a lost art amongst today’s rappers, who are typically content to simply talk, off beat, about whatever. So Wayne actually comes up with rhymes, and that alone makes him one of the few true rappers left. Secondly, the word play typically involves the sort of association we rarely hear in rap from any era. With Lil Wayne, you’ll hear puns, off beat and even obscure references and innuendos and all sorts of interesting combination’s alongside the usual similes and metaphors employed by the great rappers.
Whether you listen to him on your boom box or your cell phone, the fact remains that Lil Wayne is one of the most interesting rappers out there today.