Lil Wayne & Kendrick Lamar Battle Over A Woman & Rap Supremacy On The Carter V (Audio)
After more than five years of anticipation, Lil Wayne has dropped Tha Carter V. He did so as part of his 36th birthday celebration. Released entirely through Young Money Records, this LP defies several trends of 2018. For starters, Wayne goes back in his bag with a project that is just three ticks under an hour-and-a-half. In no shortage of sounds, the New Orleans, Louisiana native MC packs 23 tracks that play to both his personal side and continue the party to which he’s long been the soundtrack.
There are late ’90s and early 2000s callbacks to tracks like Dr. Dre’s “XXplosive” (see: the Snoop Dogg-assisted “Dope Ni**az”), and G. Dep’s “Special Delivery” (see: “Uproar”). Wayne enlists former fiancee and son’s mother, Nivea. Wayne’s daughter, Reginae Carter, also appears on the album, as does longtime YM President Mack Maine. One of Weezy’s superstar proteges, Nicki Minaj continues her busy 2018 with another high-profile spot. However, no feature may be more exciting than Kendrick Lamar on “Mona Lisa.”
The same 2011 summer that Lil Wayne dropped Tha Carter IV, Kendrick Lamar made a splash with Section.80. K-Dot had studied Lil Wayne, especially during a prolific period of dominating mixtapes, guest verses, and a stride between Tha Carter II and Tha Carter III. Wayne’s nimble flow, ability to make non sequiturs in his verses while still sounding intent, and the balance of cleverness and gangsta-ism were things Kendrick studied. In 2009, Wayne—who had taken Jay Rock under his wing, appeared on a song, “Colors,” that also included a 22-year-old Lamar. In that brief mixtape look, it showed the connective influence. Half a decade later, they’d link on Mike WiLL Made It’s “Buy The World.”
However, no song shows Wayne and Kendrick together better than the just-released “Mona Lisa.” This is the moment that many Heads have been waiting for—Weezy at his most focused, and Kendrick in the midst of a run as powerful as any in Rap history.
The song is high-concept. Analyzing the smile of Leonardo Davinci’s painted masterpiece, both MCs join forces to spin a tale of a woman using her male admirers as pawns. “Mona Lisa Long hair, don’t care, she handle the business and don’t ever tell / She bite the bullet and cough up the shells / She tell him, ‘Ooh, daddy, let’s go to your place’ And if he say, ‘Yeah,’ then we meet him there / She feed him lies with his silverware / She don’t want love, she just want her share,” spits a locked-in Wayne during the first verse. The N.O. narrator goes on to unwind a narrative that sees Mona morphing into an associate of Weezy’s named Liz. He and Liz work together to seduce a man, gather his secrets, lure him home, and then rob him while he’s most vulnerable. Weezy narrates the heist and its dialogue akin to JAY-Z’s “Friend Or Foe.”
After extensive bars from Wayne, Kendrick picks up with his take on the subject. He describes a love affair with another femme fatale. From the good life of court-side Laker games, lots of lovin’, and meeting the parents, things seem to be going quite well.
However, there are suspicions too. “I’m a dog in the wind, I’m a pit laughing / I’ma call up again like I did last week / Make good with the friend and I’m more jazzy / Britney with the twin and the girl Ashley / Found out that I f*cked, he was unhappy / B*tch, I never let the bullsh*t get past me / Better yet, I wanna break up, don’t you ask me ‘Bout a motherf*cking double standard, acting / F*cking on another ni**a, that’s a negative alone / But you sucked this d*ck, that’s just nasty / Matter of fact, b*tch, gimme your phone / You f*cking with Wayne? / B*tch, gimme your phone / No, let me take this call real quick …lick me like a lollipop / He on your f*cking ringtone? Is that the sh*t that you do?” The lyrics are filled with references to Kendrick’s early songs (see: “No Makeup (Her Vice)”), as well as Wayne’s (see: “Alphabet B*tch” mentioning Ashley and Britney). The conflict ends poorly, with the final declaration, “You know what, I get buck, let me go get my gun / I got one in the chamber I’m plannin’ on aimin’, God dammit, you know that the damage is done / B*tch I’m emotional ’cause I’m in stress I’m not supposed to go through this, I guess / So in conclusion, since you like rappers that’s killing that p*ssy, I’m killing myself.” That’s where the song stops.
Wayne and Kendrick compete in the song, at least in Kenny’s verse. In the end, it all ends badly. However, both of these highly-regarded MCs compete together on their biggest stage to date.